First tape follows transcripts of PCIJ, the second tape, however, jumps around and “may be indicative of a tape of a second-hand nature,” according to an administration representative. Rep. Gilbert Remulla says, however, that his observation was that both tapes matched both transcripts.
The 3-hour tapes were finally played, and now it seems the battle will shift to the administration finding a means to enter other tapes into the discussion. As Sheila Coronel said, there’s nothing in the Paguia master tapes (which match the Ong tapes) to incriminate the opposition. Yet the opposition is already reacting, at least Senator Enrile has, with a little help from Chairman Abalos.
Another administration Rep. “observes” that since there are annotations in the tapes, it means that there is still a master tape. So, back to the administration effort to introduce its own bombshells.
It’s too early to tell what the reaction of the public will be to the playing of the tapes. The number of conversations in Visayan languages should intrigue people in those areas.
What might be the strategic moves of both sides in this? The questioning of Paguia resulted in his motives being questioned, and pushed Paguia to push forward his exotic constitutional theories. Having impeached, or put the credibility of the witness, in doubt, the administration could then proceed to plant doubts about the tapes. Having done that, since it’s position is circumscribed by the President’s statements, it could then express pleasure over the real mother (that is, their tape) of the mother of all tapes (that is, ong’s tape) appearing. This would then subject the public to the temptation to either tune out because of information overload, or hopelessly confuse the issue, or best of all, destroy the credibility of the Estrada camp.
A text message sent me by someone not in the habit of sending text messages, suggests the danger that the gamble might backfire:
We urge Congress to air the 3 hours tape of Paguia. Be sure that the voices of Sotto, Angara, Lacson, Jamby, Roxas, Maceda,& Jinggoy are also aired. Please pass so people will know (from a very reliable priest friend).
None of the above materialized in the Paguia tape. Which means the conversations didn’t happen, or have yet to be exposed. If, however, this is an indication of what people expect, it certainly shows how wide the swathe of damage caused by an administration scorched-earth policy might be. It will be very interesting but ultimately, harmful both to the administration and the opposition. I still think if this happens, it will ultimately harm the President most, as she would be asked to lead a mass resignation of government officials. The number of names being implicated by innuendo is growing, but no consensus on which names actually will end up appearing has apparently emerged.
It will be interesting how this plays out in the Visayas and Mindanao, presuming people also listened on AM radio. It will also be interesting, over the coming days, to see which political reputations remain unscathed.
It seems the putative Chief of Staff has been withdrawn; the position, it seems, is still “vacant.” Was this to counter Ellen Tordesillas’s column, or a sign of a shifting in the power structure within the cabinet? Rep. Golez, who isn’t the brightest lightbulb in politics, convinced the Chairmen to summon some military types, for reasons best “kept secret.”