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Aug 13

Mock battle?

Scuttlebutt this weekend is proving rather disturbing. Both media and political sources claim that Secretary Mike Defensor’s press conference (Alecks Pabico -sorry for misspelling his name over and over!- clarified my recent entry in this comment; more on the PCI blog on what was really said and not said, here and here) was meant to lay the basis for throwing out the impeachment complaint next week.

There are really two flavors to the scuttlebutt. The main one mentioned by media colleagues with varying levels of certainty, and some, in turn, quote politicians in the opposition, is that Defensor’s rather clumsy press conference was meant to provide an excuse for the Committee on Justice to throw out at the very least, the amended impeachment complaint. The administration and its allies would then simply hunker down for a couple of weeks of hell from the media and the opposition, but that the public would then calm down and simply go on with life, leaving the President safe. The additional flavor is that the idea is, throwing out the most dangerous complaint will trigger cases being filed with the Supreme Court, which would then bog down any impeachment complaint for some time to come, as the various merits and demerits of the petitions are decided.

The most extreme interpretation I heard ties in Senator Edgardo Angara (whom I spotted Wednesday at the Japanese restaurant of the Shangri-La Makati hotel, having dinner with Tomas Alcantara, ally of the President), and even Senator Panfilo Lacson (who eagerly challenged Sec. Defensor today to submit their tapes to the same expert in the United States), to a softening in the opposition stance against the President. While Angara may simply be keeping friendly lines of communications open with the Palace, it seems far fetched to think that both he and Lacson would be contemplating collaborating with the President. The idea that the goings-on in the House are simply a mock battle is depressing.

So, the serious scuttlebutt is about the potential junking of the amended Lozano complaint (unless all complaints are thrown out, which seems a bit extreme, but who knows?). The camp of the President can count on several things in their favor: the continued lack of a credible opposition; the increasing indifference of the middle class and the broader public; the inability of the “middle forces” to keep the momentum going, while the parade of witnesses by the opposition is simply not working; the declaration of support from provincial officials which seems independent of whatever support former president Ramos has provided the Palace (which shows increasing signs of wanting to wean themselves from over-identification with him). All these indicate they just might get away with throwing out the most harmful impeachment complaint or simply shutting down the whole circus.

Media-related scuttlebutt is more fuzzy: the powers-that-be are not pleased with either Newsbreak or the PCIJ. There is even talk of at least one ad agency allegedly getting phone calls saying placing ads in Newsbreak will not be appreciated. Then there are allegations that critical articles against PCIJ may be the doing of a former colleague not pleased with their current focus on the President.

21 comments

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  1. Alex

    Yes, it is depressing. And I have this nagging feeling that everyone, including the media and the intellectual elites, have been taken for a ride by the politicians. It’s not news that political rivals would get in bed together for political advantage, that’s pretty much the essence of political parties in the Philippines, at least since the time of Cory. And this whole brouhaha about jueteng, poll cheating, Garci tapes, etc. has so far not produced a single, solid evidence for impeachment. It’s all been pretty much posturings and hearsays, even hidden conspiracies. I see no end to this at all, worse, what’s in it for the people? Except, perhaps, to exact more revenge against GMA, which I admit has its pleasures, but where would that get us? This whole mess has distracted us from the real issues: how do we strengthen our democratic institutions? how do we empower the majority so that they have more say on what’s going?

  2. masha

    it seems that vic agustin’s pet project now is to undermine pcij and newsbreak. between him and these 2 institutions i can definitely say who is credible.

  3. fencesitter

    If GMA will keep her course until 2010, it will appear to mean that the good has triumph over evil. As always, the two sides of battle are good and evil and in our myth, the liars, the evils, the wily characters are always trounced by the good force and the good live ever after.

    If we believe in our heart that niether the opposition nor the adminitration are doing the right thing to give us ( the broader public, the middle forces, the middle class) the TRUTH that we deserve to know, the kind of governance that we all expect only from the people we rightfully elect to govern, then what are we doing? Instead of complaining and whining that the CBCP is not doing anything why not take the course to correct what we nknow is very wrong.

    The reason why protest had not been successful is that aside from the fact that the intention opf the mainstream opposition is suspect, there are no strong personalities coming from the middle class who are brave enough to take strong action in correcting what we all believe is not right. Hanggang dyaryo lang hangang blog lang, hangang habla habla lang. Lagyan mo kaya yan ng mukha ni Ayala katulad nung Edsa 2 tingnan natin.

    Let GMA reign because we are all stupid and lazy.

  4. LJA

    manolo,for the 2nd time (on another point), it’s alecks PABICO, not pablico 😉

  5. LJA

    … and, on the contrary, it’s not far-fetched to say ANGARA is collaborating with PGMA because he is. (ask your friends in malacanang). why else do you think he has been awfully quiet about the matter of election fraud, considering that it was HIS CANDIDATE who was cheated? previous negotiation points: loren wins election protest, mike romero heads pagibig fund, angara himself to dof — but these all fell through because they’re way too exorbitant a price for getting angara into the fold, considering he only has a shell of a party…

  6. james

    Scary scuttlebutt. Although I don’t know what pichay and gonzalez’s distancing off of tiongco and/or defensor means. weren’t they informed of The Plan?

  7. har

    “…the increasing indifference of the middle class and the broader public;”

    Manolo: are we just to “Weep like women for a homeland we failed to defend like men?”

  8. gari

    “Weep like women for a homeland we failed to defend like men?” is not even a politically correct and bias free acceptable comment…weeping is not only a woman’s thing.

    its tantamount into saying that the WOMAN president gloria is making the MAN’S world weep for her continuous defense.

  9. Carl Cid S.M. Inting

    Say what you want, almost everyone underestimated how stubborn this woman can be. She’s a tougher nut to crack than Marcos or Erap were. By sheer obstinacy and endurance, she has managed to perplex her opposition and amaze the public. I have little sympathy for her, but on the other hand, I would enjoy seeing the “balimbings” and the opportunists of the Left and the Right get their come-uppance.

  10. Alex

    Carl, I agree, this woman is the best political tactician that’s occupied Malacanang. And it’s amazing that her inner circle did not crack at all despite the mass resignations in her cabinet. In fact everyone ganged up on her, especially the media and the Catholic Church, pronouncing her all but guilty based on hearsay. Her performance so far is Clintonesque, probably more so as she has dodged impeachment. If anything, I think this episode shows us that it may be best for all the people to think more independently, even give our elected leaders some benefit of the doubt, and not be so easily swayed by the media and the church, which I’m afraid have become too politically powerful, even somewhat biased and irresponsible.

  11. Masha

    stubborn, yes but honest, no. hard to explain to children.

  12. MitaMS

    She’s also damned lucky. In the last elections, the opposition fielded 2 candidates and Raul Roco got sick towards the end of the campaign. Those two factors won her the elections – whether she cheated or not. And her luck is still holding out with the scatter-brained opposition we now have.

  13. Ed

    she will be judge by my children to come.

    she might think she won the battle now but in the end history will judge her harshly

  14. Carl Cid S.M. Inting

    Sen. Miriam correctly observed that the opposition has reduced this whole spectacle into a bloodsport. Now we have a bunch of bewildered whiners protesting that the Marquess of Queensberry rules aren’t being applied, even as they threw out the rulebook when they were doing the bloodying. What a motley group of sissies and hypocrites! History? Let’s not mount our high-horses here. Hey, Ferdinand Marcos destroyed Philippine democracy, corrupted all institutions to the core and damned you, your children, and your children’s grandchildren to poverty through massive debt. Yet, in all surveys taken, he ranks among the best President we ever had. And to be very blunt about it, the opposition has more mundane concerns than history. They want to grab power at all cost. Even if it means allying themselves with the devil.

  15. masha

    allying with the devil? as represented by gloria and her minions, right? a revolution is sounding more and more attractive. will not anyone rid us of these leeches?

  16. masha

    or we can say it this way, gma set an example in staying put at all cost even to the point of allying with the devil, and the opposition is mirroring her moves.

  17. Carl Cid S.M. Inting

    Yes, masha, much like Bishop Cruz wouldn’t mind being used by known crooks, killers and torturers, like Ping Lacson and his sinister witnesses, if only to achieve his mad obsession.

  18. masha

    bishop cruz is now allied with the devil? what about bunye, with his spliced tape? what about ebdane who’s hiding garci? what about mike defending his amour to the point of feeding us lies (and missing his paid beat at the denr)? oh and mike a staying in a 20K hotel room when people are hungry; iggy being one of the richest congressman when he paid less than a 20k in income tax a few years ago; and mikey having 74M when he was not even a millionaire a decade ago? they are more sinister than lacson’s witnesses, if the latter in fact are.

  19. Carl Cid S.M. Inting

    Old, rehashed stuff, masha. Nobody listens to those anymore. A gossipy old bishop making a pact with the devil is more scandalous.

  20. mlq3

    Alex: the only solution is slow and painful -getting everyone involved, sort of a national “teach-in”

  21. john marzan

    Then there are allegations that critical articles against PCIJ may be the doing of a former colleague not pleased with their current focus on the President.

    sino yan? si tikboy tiglao?

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