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Aug 23

Hopefully not a slow news day

The question of reconciliation continues to interest opinion and news makers, as does, of course, today’s resumption of the meetings of the House committee on justice.

Apropos of reconciliation, the Inquirer says Bro. Mike Velarde believes the President is willing to give 60% of the cabinet to the opposition and that she’s willing to step down by 2007; ABS-CBN with AFP says otherwise; Lito Banayo has an interesting take on the failed reconciliation attempt (blaming its collapse, among other things, on the Inquirer gunning for a scoop):

On Friday, close aides and even kin of Mang Erap were still trying to dissuade him from appearing onstage with Doña Gloria, but the guy, I am told, wanted to give in to Bro. Mike’s request. “Gagamitin ka lang”, they reasoned out. But when news of the “recognizance” quid pro quo came out, it was bedlam at Tanay. Did little Mike do it on purpose? No, I do not think so. He probably thought giving a scoop to the newspaper would be enough to let them forget his silly attempt to re-invent himself as acoustic or sonar engineer under the tutelage of one Jonathan Tiongco.

On impeachment, PCIJ reports on what to expect today; Newsstand punnily titles his entry, “Whine and Chiz,” and strongly suggests that the opposition is dropping the ball big time.

Dong Puno thinks the opposition is down to its last card:

The opposition is seeing the handwriting on the wall. The House proceedings are going in one, and only one, direction: a quick dismissal of the impeachment complaint. A two-fisted, drag-out fracas now seems improbable because the economic situation has declined materially and now holds all sorts of fearsome prospects for the country and, naturally, for GMA’s own incumbency….

On the other hand, faced with certain defeat at the hands of a determined majority, and bereft of the numbers needed to win any issue presented for a floor vote, has the minority thrown in the towel? No way! Not if you listen to the more vocal among the opposition stalwarts who maintain a brave, never-say-die demeanor.

This is no mere self-deceiving hype. The opposition truly believes that it can still play the “creeping impeachment” game. One reason Malacañang thought it necessary to call House supporters to a sumptuous meal cum booster rally is the intel report that there are turncoats in the majority just waiting to come out of the closet at the right time.

There are even rumors that some of the more “practical” ones are simply waiting for Presidential largesse to be securely in their hands before they jump ship, You know, the old have your cake and eat it too gambit. The Palace, as a kind of loyalty check, is asking those who have remained strangely quiet to be more vocal about their support….

It appears, though, that the minority now has an argument which stems from the very language of the rules. If their interpretation is correct, the majority has overlooked a loophole which may enable the minority to send the complaint to the Senate for trial.

Under Section 13 of the impeachment rules, a verified complaint/resolution of impeachment filed by at least one-third of the House “shall constitute the articles of impeachment” and “shall be endorsed to the Senate in the same manner as an approved bill of the House.” The complaint/ resolution “must, at the time of filing, be verified and sworn to before the Secretary General” by that one-third of the House…

This issue can be expected to attract more heated and lengthy debates. But there is a lot at stake in this issue. It’s really the last card which the opposition can play, and is totally dependent on its being able to deliver the 79 votes as advertised.

GMA, it is now clear, does not want the Committee to sit on this case for the full 60 session days allowed in the Constitution. She looks forward to a Senate trial with even less relish. Both developments just put too many political variables in play, many of them beyond her control.

Alex Magno, on the other hand, is more confident:

As the rallies dissipated, the opposition leaders swallowed their pride and adopted Plan B: impeachment.

But there were problems in their Plan B.

Earlier, opposition spokesmen ridiculed Oliver Lozano and the impeachment complaint he filed at the House of Representatives. They announced then that the complaint was doomed. Later, left with no other option after the insurrection they imagined all but dissipated, they tried to file their own hastily assembled complaint, disguised as an “amendment” to the original one.

Even as the opposition shifted strategy, their appalling incompetence remained constant.

Having decided to retreat to Plan B, they then went on to shoot themselves in the foot. From some unfathomable reason, the opposition made an issue of the rules in impeachment proceedings adopted by the 13th Congress. They demanded a reversion to the rules of the 11th Congress, the same ones used in the Estrada impeachment.

Again, the immensely tolerant majority in the House, like solicitous parents dealing with a tantrums-prone child, obliged the minority. The rules of the 11th Congress were adopted.

But the while rules of the 13th Congress explicitly allowed separate impeachment complaints to be consolidated, the rules of the 11th Congress did not. That is why the incompetence of the minority in the House is unfathomable…

The rules of the House, the same ones the minority demanded, along with the Constitutional command that only one impeachment complaint be entertained in a year dictate that the Lozano complaint enjoy primacy. That is how the House majority ought to decide. That is how they will likely decide.

And when they do, the impeachment effort will be doomed.

True, the Lozano complaint is immensely weaker than the “amended” version proposed by the minority. It is, in fact, absurd. No self-respecting Republic impeaches its president on the basis of so obviously trumped up charges.

Malaya says the Road Users Tax is being used to bribe congressmen: the Manila Times reports the Palace’s denial.

The punditocracy has Connie Veneracion angry at the media; Tony Abaya believes that the disappearance of Garci counts for a hell of a lot, politically.

The blogosphere has a new netizen, Armed With Idealism, who blogs anonymously as the media company she belongs to has banned blogging by employees; Another Hundred Years Hence is another interesting blog, focusing on one of my amateur interests, urban planning and design: read the series of entries on the problem with Metro Manila’s mass transit system (as I’ve always said: nationalize the jeeps and buses!).

A series of whoopsie! entries: Lattes & Lights caught a government official’s secretary stuffing US dollars into her boss’s desk; Madame Chiang forgot to close the curtains.

Serious matters are covered by Mamutong, who, in connection with tthe privatization of electricity, puts forward a presentation he made recently, and points to the mess in California as a cautionary tale for the Philippines. Jove is skeptical about jueteng-related government statistics. Sassy Lawyer is leery of Communist howling over human-rights violations. Edwin Lacierda mulls over the vice-president’s unfortunate situation, politically.

In the cultural sphere: Metro Stations of the world, show magnificence for the people: Mena explains why she came up with the bitchy If Bloggers Had Been Around Throughout History
The Wily Filipino meditates on Fil-Am life and the late Ben Santos; BuzzMachine blogs on a blogger blogging on insatiable blogging; iBlog, already a blog, and doing podcasts, now unveils its latest offering, a vidcast.

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  1. miron

    mlq3, i’m attempting a live coverage on miron. no guarantees i’ll stay through the end. contingent on whether i don’t get caught running my virtual coverage amidst our actual coverage (i am quiet like a ninja) or if i get called to another urgent meeting…

  2. gari

    frustrating. 54-24-03.

    lunod sa technicalities ang impeachment.
    am still wallowing whether the voting will be good or bad.

    for whatever its worth: i think, the composition in the house has been exposed.

    the downside: if they continue voting this way, all hopes for impeachment are gone.

    i don’t think that alex magno is right in saying that impeachment is plan b.

    i don’t think so.

    what the hell our three congressmen [etta, risa, mayong] be doing in congress with the impeachment complaint being deliberated.

    is he expecting that the party [with social movement components] will just sit and wait for whatever will happen.

    of course, there’s a difference between pinning all your hope for truth and justice in the impeachment process than letting the people decides and effect the change they want.

    and of course, there’s a difference between strategies and tactics…practical applications of theories varies from your point of analysis. well, let say that magno is just trying to make a generalization.

    don’t know what is happening to these ntellectual.

  3. djuara

    its this tuesday afternoon and onwards as the session in the lower house enters its climax on the impeachment issue.

    many believe its the end and gloria can start singing the excelsis, but somehow i feel it isnt so.

    and now we bro. velarde joining the fray i find really strange despite the cbcp’s stand on the impeachment issue, in desperation la gloria tries to reach out thru el shaddai a cheap shot indeed.

    with all the promised millions to the apes in congress gma and her ilk have realized the crucial situation they are in despite having the majority and a orangutan to lead them in speak no evil(just do it),see no evil(every one else is doing it), hear no evil(excuse me what did you say..? impeach? hello, garci…)

    but then desperation proves the worse in this situation as extralegal means is used to ensure gma’s hold on to power.

    therfore worse is yet to come

  4. KULAS PIRO

    mlq3,

    maiba lang po na kaunti . . .

    whether there are slow news days or not, what i’ve been interested this past week are sites pertaining to the current ( or more accurately permanent) energy crisis we’re facing. and this has given me “apocalyptic news days”.

    i would just like share with you and my co- regulars in your blog the site http://www.lifeaftertheoilcrash.net. it has some really alarming information on what we are about to face in the next 10 to 40 years. there is also an interesting article in the new york times magazine for this week’s issue on the same topic, titled “the breaking point”, which you might also want to visit.

  5. mlq3

    kulas, there are some interesting documentaries you can download through bittorrent. basically the idea is, we will have oil, but the era of cheap oil may be over. problem is, the question of reserves: countries may have bloated their reserve figures to the extent that no one can really tell how much is left. so the problem is, is the period of peak production over? we won’t be able to tell, until the period of peak production has already passed, by which time it will be too late to sustain current levels.

    the businessmen i talk to aren’t worried; every crisis breeds opportunities. for example, motorcycle dealers are very happy. people cope, and the question is, does a gas crisis make things much much worse, or only worse? how did we cope in the 70s?

  6. bogchimash

    with my limited time to surf the net, i am glad that there is an mlq3 to whom bright people like kulas and carl have gravitated…kudos to you guys…it is difficult to present neo-imperialism without being dismissed as conspiracy theorists…you must have put a lot of effort in sharing your thoughts intelligently…i hope that you don’t tire in peeling off the layers of masks worn by the real beast

    every citizen of this country who is hurting is ready to kick ass…without the proper information that you are trying to put out in the open, the anger, i’m afraid, will again be wasted on another leader who was there to provide a face for a demon far more sinister but hidden

    infect everyone you talk to with the germ of your truths…if sustained by the impetus of love for country, i am certain that this will result in a national outbreak of freedom, at least in our minds…and that’s a big big start

  7. Alex

    So where the heck did this “Reconciliation” thing came from? Did someone saw this coming? Right smack at the time when GMA appears to have survived the worse of it, when the opposition are starting to look like fools and even, reportedly, ready to comingle with GMA (note previous rumors on Angara, even Lacson), and when talk is turning more towards cha-cha.

    Maybe the past few months have just stressed GMA out and she’s getting tired of this politicking and just want to move on. Whatever it is, it appears that the unlikely winners could be Erap, even the Marcoses. As everyone knows, Erap has been “suffering imprisonment” the past few years at his 15-hectare, 14-room estate at the company of his prized horses, this after plundering the country and being forcibly ousted by people power. If he gets released on recognizance, then what was all that people power about?

    Meanwhile, the Marcoses may have their hopes realized of having FM buried in Libingan ng mga Bayani.

    So where are all these Makati ralehistas when you need them? They should have been storming Tanay, Rizal all this time demanding justice on these corrupt politicians that have brought our country down. We may have Edsa I and II, but the people stopped at Edsa and then dispersed.

  8. KULAS PIRO

    i have full trust in your optimism. that makes feel better. thanks mlq3

  9. KULAS PIRO

    bogchimash,

    thank you for the compliment – since you’re a regular with mlq3’s blog, you must be bright too or, i must say with the way you right, even brighter than me.

  10. Carl Cid S.M. Inting

    Kulas, you may want to look up Jonathan de la Cruz’ article in Malaya entitled “The Enveloping Oil Crisis” @ http://www.malaya.com.ph/aug25/edcruz.htm

  11. KULAS PIRO

    thanks Carl!

  12. Urbano dela Cruz

    MLQ, Kulaspiro,

    two interesting sources, discussions on “Peak Oil”:

    1) On dead tree media: Howard Kunstler’s The Long Emergency

    2) From the other side: Steven Levitt and Steven Dubner’s blog (authors of Freakanomics) has a good back and forth (in the comments section) on their Aug. 21 entry

    Lastly, I point to a classic in systems theory – applicable to analysing the fossil fuel based economy, or our own political-economics: Dana Meadows’ (late founder of the Sustainability Institute) Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System (pdf file)

  13. Carl Cid S.M. Inting

    Urbano, very interesting discussions on Peak Oil. The bottomline: It seems that the era of cheap oil won’t be coming back for some time, if at all. That impacts very heavily on the Philippine situation because 1) We import almost all of our oil 2) We were lulled into compacency by the decdade of cheap oil and neglected develpment of indigenous energy sources, hence we now have a lot of catching-up to do, and 3) Inflation from more expensive energy could translate into a higher interest regime, creating a double whammy by making our debt servicing even more onerous.

    While a doomsday scenario may not be warranted, as other countries find ways to get around the high oil price regime, the Philippine situation is more daunting because we have to carry the heavy baggages of debt servicing and political gridlock.

    Digressing a bit, I do believe we have oil in the Philippines. We just may have to dig deeper and spend more to find it. But as the price of oil climbs higher, there will be more incentives to explore. There could be some flies in the ointment, though. I refer to border rows with some of our neighbors, particularly China, Vietnam and Malaysia.

  1. bogus

    malady front…

    I cogitating it worked out whole, his dam said. Leena ki ukhadi saans thodi shaant huyi tab boli, ha, phalli baar pi malady front hun….

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