Saturday, March 1, 2008

Ex-presidents against Philippine President GMA

So now a former president brought into office by People Power 1 and another former president kicked out of office by People Power 2 are joining together against current president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo due to a multi-million-dollar deal for a government broadband network gone bad. How disheartening it is to watch the politics in the Philippines from the sidelines -- with one corrupt president after another being forced to step down. It seems like a never-ending cycle.

And it seems you can't even speak out against corruption and keep your position in the government. Early in Februay long-serving House speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. was ousted for criticizing the president.

But more of my concern right now is the coverage of this issue in the Western media. It seems more like a soundbite, a bit of gossip, in this BBC article. The article fails to address the seriousness of the issue (the woeful state of politics in the Philippines), nor did it bother to explain the broadband network scandal. The ex-presidents' presence in the 15,000-strong protest may be interesting, but the corruption in the president's office is even more alarming. My concern is what people outside the Philippines will take from this kind of coverage: nothing, it seems -- no lessons learned, no alarm bells ringing.

So for anyone interested in learning more about this issue, I strongly suggest you bypass Western coverage of this and get the story straight from Philippine media. Things seem to be heating up with the vice-president "prepared, not preparing" to take over.

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