Monthly Archives: May 2011

THE SECRETS OF POLITICIANS’ STAYING POWER

 

JGL Eye

By JOSEPH G. LARIOSA

 

CHICAGO (jGLi) – When I was covering the mayor’s offices of Rizal province in the Philippines in the seventies, I was pleasantly surprised to see a mayor of Antipolo in near tears when I told him politicians should pave the way for other aspirants when they had grown tired of their jobs or had run out of ideas to improve other peoples’ lives.

“Joseph,” the mayor told me, “what will happen to me when I leave the town hall? Running for mayor and winning the job is the be-all and end-all for me. I don’t have any other marketable skills to boot.”

If you get a similar response from politicians in your neighborhood, you should be ready to stick by him for a long haul.

These kinds of politicians might not have heard of the Peter Principle propounded in 1968 by educator Dr. Laurence J. Peter, who said that: “In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence … in time every post tends to be occupied by an employee who is incompetent to carry out its duties … Work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence.”

This theory met its match when the United States Military has required that certain ranks should be held for no longer than a set amount of time, a lack of compliance of which could render grounds for dismissal.

We can just imagine if the Philippine military will ignore the Peter Principle. What would have happened to the Philippines if thefts of comptrollers of the Philippine Armed Forces like Generals Carlos Garcia and Jacinto Ligot or AFP Chiefs of Staff like the suicide-driven Angelo Reyes, Diomedio Villanueva and Roy Cimatu were not exposed? Don’t you think they would ever leave their posts if they were not detected?

And if these kinds of generals were given the option to retire from office like a United States Supreme Court justice who has lifetime tenure, where will the Philippine government get its depleted funds?

LESSONS FROM GENERALS

Look at what happened to other generals abroad, whose rise to power had remained unchecked. There were Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Augusto Pinochet or Col. Muammar Muhammad al-Gaddafi to name few, who are shoo-in for entries into the Hall of Shame.

And this takes us back to our local politicians, like my favorite provincial governor in Sorsogon, Atty. Raul Lee.

Governor Lee is your typical Filipino politician, who believes that, like the mayor of Antipolo, Rizal, or the Hall-of-Shame generals that they are the only competent people who can improve other peoples’ lives.

If Governor Lee will be voted off, he can no longer game the system. His position will be a fare game to all comers, who believe that he no longer have an iota of competence.

Ever since his political rival in Governor Juan Frivaldo died after becoming the longest-serving Sorsogon provincial governor, Governor Lee seemed to have carried a chip on his shoulder because he could no longer break Mr. Frivaldo’s winning streak.

With term limits now in place, like any other politician protecting his turf, when Gov. Lee will just about to be termed out, he will let his wife, Sally, run for his position so he will not lose his touch of power. And he can run again for the same position in case his wife is also about to be termed out.

But if they have outlived their competence, as they never age like wine, I believe, Governor Lee should just cede his position to his vice governor and “cut his losses.”

POLITICAL DYNASTY IN THE MAKING

Instead of enjoying his retirement, the 69-year-old Mr. Lee is now re-enforcing his mini-dynasty that he would only be dreaming if the aging “Tata Juan” were still alive. He is now grooming his son, the incumbent Sorsogon City Vice Mayor, and his grandson, the incumbent SK Federation President, for his position.

I don’t mind if his dynasty takes root for as long as can improve the peoples’ lives till Kingdom Come.

But why is he now so insecure like Marcos? Governor Lee has also now usurped the power of the provincial legislature called Sangguniang Panlalawigan by reducing its budget?

The last I heard, in order to silence his critics, Governor Lee has also taken over the appointing power of his vice governor (Antonio H. Escudero) and suddenly became a micro-manager.

After being named to answer for the fertilizer scam, Mr. Lee turned the table on his opponents in the Sangguniang Panlalawigan by hitting them where it hurts most: deprive the SP the ability to hire and keep their own staff.

All appointments by the SP will now have to go thru the eye of his needle so he can buy their loyalties.

His vocal critique, SP member Vladimir Frivaldo, the grandson of “Tata Juan,” was deprived of his “proposed staff complement” after Governor Lee learned that the grandson of his former foe was opposing Lee’s support for STL (small town lottery) operation, the controversial operation of mining in Barangays Balocaue and Cabagahan both in Matnog, Sorsogon and demand for liquidation of the loan obtained by his wife, Sally Lee, in the amount of 260-M pesos (U.S.$ 5.7-Millions) before Lee can obtain a new 350-million pesos (U.S $8.75-M), the biggest loan in the history of the province.

Mr. Vladimir Frivaldo reminded Gov Lee that it is the duty of the SP to approve the annual budgets, the request by the office of the Governor to obtain loan, to oversee that programs and projects are implemented properly within existing laws, guidelines and procedures and make implementors accountable, and not the governor’s.

I don’t know how Gov. Lee can circumvent the fertilizer scam filed against him before the Office of the Ombudsman. If he can steer clear of the charges, the people of Sorsogon can always gather enough signatures to start the ball rolling for his unprecedented recall. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

 

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Aries Caces And The Beauty Of Piano Music

by jun asuncion

If  you understand that music is a craft,  then you would also appreciate watching how musicians work offstage in full concentration as they give form to a printed music and refine the details. It is hard work. Personally, I enjoy more watching rehearsals or musical workshops for that matter than concerts for the simple reason that I learn more about music. In a concert situation you’ll only find yourself adoring the artist after a virtuosic or in your own opinion a perfect piano playing and interpretation. But if you ever learned something about the music and techniques, that’s another question.

I have seen two years ago how Aries Cases rehearsed his pieces in the morning before his evening concert, and how he was completely absorbed in his playing amidst the noises around him as chairs were being pushed and pulled, mics and mixer being tested, stage screen rolled up and down, tables set, etc. Aries just went on undisturbed, hovering his fingers on the Steinway keys, playing a barrage of perfect glissandos  of Liszt’s Mephistopheles Waltz, Beethoven’s Appassionata, to name just a few of his very heavy playlist that evening of 2009. After his rehearsal, I helped him re-position the piano in search of the point on the stage with the best acoustic return for the pianist. And then we talked about music.

Now, as my mind is full with classical music again in anticipation of  Aries’ concert  in Zürich next month, I was fortunate enough to have found uploaded video materials with Aries and his student during a master class on Beethoven’s piano works held in Manila. Here you can see how a master shows the student the finesse of piano playing and musical interpretation.

I look forward to meeting Aries next month with Franz Liszt in his luggage, I mean in his head, for I know he will be playing Liszt’s piano works wholly  from memory. I’m over the moon as I imagine  to hear live Liszt’s Liebestraum, Hungarian Rhapsodies, Trancendental Etudes and perhaps Nuages gris.  This year marks the 200th birth anniversary of Franz Liszt, the enfant terrible of piano in his time who, in 1848 in his mid-age, had left the concert stage and retired into seclusion in search of new musical forms and harmonies which resulted in his symphonic poem – a one movement orchestral music-  and  in works containing whole tone scale, parallel fifths, diminished and augmented triads and dissonances, thus breaking the walls  of classical constraints and laying  the foundation for 20th century composers like Ravel, Bartok and Debussy and anticipating to a great extent modern musical forms as rock and jazz.

My acknowledgement to Aries’ student for his uploaded video clips.

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The Pianist

Vienna based pianist Aries Caces is one of the most versatile Filipino concert pianists. Aside from being a chamber musician and repetiteur, he is also a conductor. The late Manila critic Vilma Santiago-Felipe described him as “another gem in the Philippine music scene.” At the age of seven, he enrolled at the University of Santo Tomas (UST) Conservatory of Music as a personal scholar of Prof. Feliza Custodio. From 1980 to 1985, he attended the Philippine High School for the Arts and the UST Conservatory of Music under the tutelage of Prof. Ernestina Crisologo and Prof. Bernardino Custodio. In 1982 he won First Prize in the National Music Competitions for Young Artists (Piano Category). Two years later, he was runner – up in the Manila Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competitions. Caces came to Graz, Austria in 1985 upon the invitation and arrangement of then Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr. Friedrich Posch. He studied with Prof. Walter Kamper at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Graz. From 1986 to 1993, he was under the tutelage of world-renowned pianist Prof. Paul Badura-Skoda at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna. He finished his “Diplom” in 1989 and obtained his Master’s Degree (Magister Artium) in Piano Performance in 1994 under Prof. Roland Keller. He also studied Piano Chamber Music with Prof. Georg Ebert. In 1999, he finished his “Diplom” in Conducting at the Hochschule für Musik in Vienna under the tutelage of Prof. Uros Lajovic. Caces has performed several solo recitals and various concerts in the Philippines, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.S.A. In 1989, he was soloist of the Hochschulsymphonieorchester in a concert performed at the Golden Hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. He was awarded the “Prix Decouverte” during the Festival International de Musique in Le Touquet, France in 1991. He has also played as soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, UST Symphony Orchestra and the Hannover Kammersymphonieorchester. In 2001, he was a featured soloist of the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra during its first European tour. He was a recipient of several scholarships, including the Makiling Academy and Research Institute for the Arts (MARIA), UST Conservatory of Music Alumni Association, Music Promotion Foundation of the Philippines, Cultural Center of the Philippines Young Artist’s Fund and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research.

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