Friday, January 14, 2011

The Bald Truth about Pnoy's Porsche and the non-urgency of Constitutional Reform

(By the way, is Memorandum Circular 9 still in effect? 
It prohibits gov't officials from purchasing luxury vehicles. Just wondering.)

This post is really about the 
need to press for a faster, more responsive 
system of government -- just like a Porsche.
 Please read the following articles which 
discusses the merits of Constitutional Reform:






Some claim that the car that a man drives gives an insight into their character, perhaps just as much as who they hang out with and where they hang out.

At least in novels, the mode of transport that a character uses becomes somewhat of a device to describe their social status, the state of their mind, and other things that may become relevant to the story.  

Detectives are often described as owning old cars, CIA and Military Intelligence types use SUVs, very wealthy use limousines, and young, virile protagonists are sometimes depicted as driving luxury sports cars.  

Usually, when there is incongruence or inconsistency between the man and the car, it is a tip off that the character is in  engaged in some manner of activity which makes it necessary for the character to hide their real character.  Hence, we can have a tough looking man driving a sports car that can later be revealed to be a car thief or a hired assassin using a stolen car.  Or we can have a middle aged man driving a vintage sports car that he admired in his youth.

More often than not, a middle age man in a sports car has been a popular image describing an old man's attempt to recapture his youth or project virility.

Here's an article that suggests that CBC News that suggests a direct relations between the kind of car that a man drives and its effect of testosterone levels -- the male macho hormone.
Researchers at Concordia University's John Molson School of Business in Montreal took 39 willing young men and let them take a cruise in a $150,000 Porsche 911 Carrera Cabriolet.
The men were then asked to drive a 16-year-old Toyota Camry.
They drove each vehicle once on a busy street where they would be seen by women, and then again on a quiet road.
After one hour, the men's saliva was tested for testosterone.
The researchers found that in the sedan, the men's hormone levels remained low, but in the sports car, testosterone levels stayed high — with or without an audience.
"In other words, just put a guy in a Porsche, and his testosterone levels shoot up, whether people watch or not," said marketing professor Gad Saad, the study's lead researcher.
Saad said the study is evidence of "sexual signalling," similar to animals in the wild, where males try to prove to females they're the best breeding stock.Marketing professor Gad Saad says driving a Porsche is the human equivalent of the peacock's feathers. (CBC)
"It's literally the peacock's tail. It's the human version," said Saad.
Read more:

In an E-Zine article by M. Maxx, another description is made between cars and the character of the car owner:
In fact nowadays what you drive adds more to your reputation than what you wear. Studies have shown than rides reflect more of the personality of the person than clothes. Cars have ceased becoming tools and have transcended into the realm of lifestyle.
Playboys want fast looking coupes while daddies are opting to get minivans. Buicks are said to cater to the less internet savvy drivers compared to Honda which has an overwhelmingly digital age buyer group.
This trend even goes to driving tendencies. Sports cars owners tend to be a little less patient on the stop light than station wagon drivers. The gigantic proportions of some SUVs tend to make their owners bully smaller sized vehicles in rush hour traffic.
Now, President Noynoy Aquino's purchase of a third hand Porsche comes at a time when, just the other day,  Retired Chief Justice Reynato S. Corono delivered a speech at the UP College of Law entitled "The need to change the 1987 Constitution". (I advise you to click HERE to read the entire speech.)

One passage in particular, perhaps, speaks directly to President Noynoy Aquino and in a very oblique way comments on his choice of car.  This passage is actually one of several points enumerated by CJ Corona as a way to describe why it is necessary to change the constitution:
Third. The Presidential system of government has resulted in gridlock especially when the leaderships of the Executive and legislative departments belong to different political parties. These gridlocks usually prejudice the common good and result in bad governance.
We saw these gridlocks in the past when executive officials refused to obey the summons of Congress exercising its power of investigation in aid of legislation. These refusals shrunk the right of Congress in crafting laws, especially anti-corruption laws.  These gridlocks will always stop the wheels of government from working and will not bring about a government that ought to work together for the people.  Again, there is need to amend the Constitution to delineate more clearly the demarcation line between executive privilege and the power of the Congress to investigate in aid of legislation and avoid abuse in the use of the executive privilege and equally  avoid the misuse the power to investigate.  Will the adoption of a parliamentary form of government eliminate these gridlocks in a presidential system of government?  Will it result in a more responsive government because the Parliament can be dissolved whenever the ruling party fails the people?  Will it eliminate the threats of coup d’├ętat which are destabilizing to democracy? It is time to audit the merit of all of these arguments.
For those of you who may not be familiar with the term, GRIDLOCK is a type of traffic situation where in all streets are jammed or locked in traffic.

Now, here's my point: Of what use is a fast car if you are in a literal GRIDLOCK?

Of course, if you are the President of the Philippines, the highest office of the land affords its occupant with a number of privileges which includes having the MMDA in coordination with the PSG ensure that the road  he is travelling on is relatively free of traffic.

For the President, as a person, there can be no literal gridlock -- at least, in theory.  The rest of us have to wade through traffic and sit through GRIDLOCKS.

What is more confounding, at this point, is that as the highest leader of the land, his priorities seem skewed.

During the days of fast and furious campaigning, President Noynoy Aquino promised to deliver changes in government that would lead to the end of poverty and corruption.  However, the changes are still forthcoming and as can be expected, there is hardly any evidence of it.  

A staunch ally of President Noynoy whom I once worked for when he was in the Department of Trade and Industry pointed to the incrementalist nature of the Filipino culture and their government.

Mar Roxas, in his speech on incrementalism, pointed out a number of occurrences that described just how slow the country's government is when it comes to responding to a need for change.

Roxas made an example of the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis where in the economies of Thailand and other Asian countries rapidly went south while the Philippines -- apparently not as affected as the others -- chugged along.  A few years later, Thailand and other economies that too the hardest hits, rebounded at a staggering pace -- while the Philippines continued to chug along.

The lesson, he said, was that the Philippines (its government and its economy) is more like a 20 year old jeep that chugs along at a slow pace and is stable in the sense that it doesn't experience sudden stops or rapid acceleration.

And in this speech, oddly enough, was the first time that I heard someone use GRIDLOCK to describe the situation between the Executive and Legislative branches of government. 

In that speech, which he delivered as a member of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's cabinet, he underscored a pressing need to address the government gridlock through CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGE.

I lost respect for him when he shouting PUTANG INA NI GLORIA in AYALA to voice his opposition to CHA-CHA.  Perhaps, if his voice pipes up again on CHA-CHA or Constitutional Reform and stands up for it without vacillating, oscillating, or in other words waivering -- he'll be in a better position to get votes in 2013.

To wrap it up, let me point to a news item on the Philippine Daily Inquirer which is apparently President Noynoy's response to CJ Corona.

The title of the article is "Noynoy: Too busy for Cha-cha":
Speaking to reporters after attending a mass oath-taking of local officials at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City, President Aquino made it clear that CHa-cha was not his priority right now.
"We had promised to study that (Cha-cha)," the President said of the Charter change initiative, and that was the only reference he made of it all throughout the interview, as he concentrated more on saying what his priorities were.
The President cited the need to address the floods and landslides that hit many parts of the country since last week, as he pointed out that he would fly today to Bicol, Southern Leyte, and the Caraga Region.
By this rather flimsy reasoning, President Noynoy seems to be saying that Constitutional Reform is of a lower priority than natural disasters -- in a country visited by at least 20 typhoons a year, that may mean Constitutional reform will have to take a back seat until there is actually a year when there are no typhoons.

Which perhaps means, in the forked tongued linggo of most politicians, I'll consider it when it I'm pretty sure I'll get pogi points for it. 

The thing is, the debate on Charter Change has been going for quite sometime and some even point at the fact that movements to change the constitution started just a few years after it was ratified.

However, the first instance that I am sure I heard of a need to reform the constitution was during President Ramos:
During his final years in office, Ramos tried to amend the country's 1987 constitution; a process popularly known to many Filipinos as Charter Change or the so-called "Cha-Cha". Widespread protests led by Corazon Aquino and the Catholic Church stopped him from pushing through with the plan. Political analysts were divided as to whether Ramos really wanted to use Cha-Cha to extend his presidency or only to imbalance his opponents, as the next presidential election neared.[11] Ocol testified before a Senate blue ribbon committee that people in the former Clark Air Base during the Centennial Expo preparations desperately tried to produce all ways and money to prevent Estrada from winning in the coming May 1998 elections.
The next time I heard it was during the last few years of the Arroyo Administration and eerily, the same arguments were brought up.

And comically, there are people who are still against Charter Change and they are now saying that it may PAVE THE WAY FOR GLORIA ARROYO'S RETURN.

Ah, come on! Really?

Neal Cruz in his column says that he agrees with President Noynoy Aquino's statement that Charter Change is not an urgent need.

But here's the flaw in Mr. Cruz' logic.

The best time to discuss Charter Change is during a time WHEN IT IS NOT URGENT, when there is no source of duress that can be brought to bear upon the people and when people can deliberate on the pure merits or demerits of whatever change is proposed dispassionately but with an eye on determining how we will as a nation meet the future.

Now is the perfect time to discuss Charter Change, when congressmen and senators have just received their mandate -- with their minds unbothered by a need to campaign in a coming election.

Going back to Pnoy's Porsche....

It would be a sad image indeed to see Pnoy speeding by on a Porsche as his country's government and economy sputters along like a rotten old jeepney.


Anonymous said...

Now, we nitpick about his Porsche. What an exponential improvement from last government regime! Crocks in BIR still reign. How's that? Bloodthirsty bus drivers still get busloads. Trailer truck drivers still think they're on a bike in the hood. Yeah, let's talk about Porsche and movies and novels and chacha.

Anonymous said...

Well nice one Pnoy, it only shows how insensitive you are while the majority of the Pinoys are stuck in a rut.

Paul Farol said...

It just seems to me that he has the wrong priorities.

GabbyD said...

memo 9 is whether govt funds can be used to purchase cars.

individuals can buy these funds.

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