The Peso is at 56.075 to the US Dollar, which is far better than was speculated over the weekend. New Central Bank Governor Tetangco may have read the riot act to currency dealers by saying the Central Bank “will move to smoothen out currency fluctuations” as a journalist I was asking about it explained. As a result, the dealers may have decided to “behave”. However, there was a “bloodbath” at the Philippine Stock Exchange, while at today’s auction, the Treasury rejected all bids on T-bills. When I asked someone to explain this to me, the reply was, “No wonder they rejected the bids. The 91-day rate would have gone from 5.893% to 6.318%. If your loan’s interest rate was pegged to that, you’d be knackered”. How this will play out among businessmen remains to be seen.
PCIJ finds validation of its earlier information in Ellen Tordesillas’s column (update: Jove Francisco blogs that Executive Secretary Ermita cancelled a press conference that day and has been scarce since); the apparent consensus among reformists in the Cabinet and the business sector reflects what I blogged about as the rumor mill and scuttlebutt about Civil Society demands as early as June 13-14. That these demands are being met only slowly, and reportedly, hesitatingly, may buy the President time, but at what cost?
Last night, heard a rumor the opposition might have someone with evidence or information highly damaging to either Namfrel or the administration. Certainly the challenges to Namfrel’s impartiality, which includes questions over the Philippine Information Agency (government owned) helping Namfrel in Mindanao, is troubling. I don’t think Bill Luz advising the President on how to weather the storm helps.
Additional columns worth reading: JB Baylon asks the President to resign; Amando Doronila says the crisis boils down to how the President “will go”; Luis Teodoro indicates just how big a gamble the President is taking; Joaquin Bernas, SJ examines the various constitutional options and ends rather strongly (for him):
The stark reality is that the current status quo is unacceptable. Moreover, the President’s credibility has been severely damaged and her ability to govern has been considerably impaired. Indeed, redemption is always a possibility; converts have been known to become saints. For the sake of the nation, she must seek redemption and demonstrate to the people dramatic and effective reforms both personal and structural. There are things which the Constitution allows the executive power to do without having to wait for Congress. She must do these very soon if she wants her presidency to survive.
He wants a miracle.
Additional updates (5:07 pm): Joker Arroyo speaks up, not least to condemn efforts by the Communists to take advantage of the situation (he told me privately last week exactly what he said in his statement -that the opposition cannot be judge, jury, and executioner in this case); Jove Francisco updates his latest entry and says the Palace has virtually admitted military movements are afoot; Speaker Jose de Venecia says it is his duty to endorse an impeachment complaint; Joseph Estrada says he wants a snap election; Paguia says he wants to pass the buck to Atty. Ong (unless given immunity); the Secretary of Finance has petitioned the Supreme Court while Standard & Poor’s says they’re waiting and watching.