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 DoÃƒÂ±a Gloria, but the guy, I am told, wanted to give in to Bro. MikeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 GMAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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 MalacaÃƒÂ±ang 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. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢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.