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Sep 05

The Session:Coverage (updates continue!)

4:00-4:05 Session begins; swift dispatch of preliminary business; Jose de Venecia is not presiding.

In the gallery, Cory Aquino with Dinky Soliman and Susan Roces arrived and was booed by the pro-President crowd. “Chavit” Singson also present. Pro-impeachment colors are peach, black, and white. Pro-GMA have blue ribbons. Ricky Carandang reports the crowd is overwhelmingly “in blue.” Many brought in by mayors and governors.

4:11 Chiz Escudero walking out with other pro-impeachment congressmen, Gilbert Remulla, prepared to speak at the rostrum, also walking out; no one knows why…

4:15 RG Cruz clarifies it’s not a walkout, just a huddle (or as politicians call it, a caucus).

4:20 Jesus is Lord people praying in the lobby; Bill Luz of Makati Business Club stuck in the Batasan parking lot.

4:26 Salacnib Baternia explains session’s suspended pending the achievement of a quorum.

5:06 Prospero Nograles says session remains suspended because they’re having a hard time sorting out the number and sequence of people wanting to make privilege speeches. Video of vigorous applause from Cory and Susan but no explanation why; Nograles thundering “this is not a rally.” Nograles says the Privilege Hour may extend “3,4,5 hours.”

5:08 Session apparently resumed but Nograles yammering while congressman at podium isn’t being covered. Susan Roces rose to receive plaudits from gallery.

5:10 Rep. Marcoleta apparently making a speech, as covered on DZBB…

5:13 Marcoleta is upset and hurt. (Thank God RG Cruz has shut up and wound up his interview with Nograles!)

OK, I’m extremely upset with ANC. Who cares about news updates? There’s a historic event going on!!!

5:19 Atty. Macalintal has invaded ANC, obviously to dominate the news and drown out whatever privilege speeches are being made… I’m looking for an AM radio as online AM radio seems swamped…

5:21 Marcoleta ended, to the applause of the gallery. Paras is making an ass of himself as usual. Is red in the face and asking why Marcoleta (apparently said in his speech) said he was insulted and hurt. Anyway, Gilbert Remulla is next..

5:23 Remulla: Reports to the House “A-1, unimpeachable information” that Garcillano arrived in Singapore on a Lear jet last August 14. This verifies media reports of Garcillano’s escape. The same plane the ATO and airline said had no Garcillano; Customs, AVSECOM, NAIA, Immigration, Quarantine, all said the plane only had its crew. Remulla says the Singaporean Foreign Ministry confirmed this last week; but the Department of Foreign Affairs refuses to give the information to the House. “Does it have to take foreigners to help us get the truth?”

5:26 “This whole situation smells of coverup and conspiracy,” says Remulla… He reminds the House that it has held Garcillano in contempt and ordered his arrest: “if this House is to be taken seriously… since the Speaker himself signed the warrant… the House should continue to search for… Garcillano… to give us the truth about the Hello Garci recordings… the heads of concerned agencies should resign… Subic Air should have its Congressional franchise revoked and its owners charged in court… the pilots have their licenses revoked… The conspiracy solidifies the perception that there is truth to the recordings indicating fraud…”

5:30

Rep. Villafuerte: Garci should be arrested. My question is this: it is not only Garci we wanted arrested, we also wanted to deal likewise with Samuel Ong. What has the joint committee done? (laughter from the gallery)

Remulla: We were supposed to meet this afternoon, but alas we weren’t able to tell all the members that we wanted to order the arrest of Ong…

Villafuerte: So the intention is to order the arrest of Ong?

Remulla: As soon as the join committees proceed.

Villafuerte: What of Laarni Enriquez and the motion to have her summoned and if she doesn’t appear, to arrest her? What has the committee done?

Remulla: The five committees… we are discussing a schedule concerning Ms. Enriquez.

Villafuerte: Are we getting a firm commitment that at some time… that Samuel Ong and Enriquez will be summoned and if they don’t appear, ordered arrested?

Remulla: For Ong yes, for Enriquez, she has to defy us three times before we order her arrested…

5:35
Anakpawis Representative: I support Remulla. I greet Remulla. I… (soars into Balagtasan-style rhetoric).

Presiding officer: Get on with it an interpollate.

Anakpawis: Bla bla bla bla Let’s stand for the truth! (applause)

Representative (floor leader?): Mr. Speaker can we remind the gallery not to react or participate in proceedings.

5:37 Clavel Martinez: I had no intention to take the floor (but here I am!) Let me share some information with my peers and countrymen. I belong to majority in the House… I supported the President… I defended the President… The Garci tapes reveal the people of Cebu were cheated of their right to vote… I didn’t know that! In retrospect, I’m sorry I did… Two points I struggled with myself whether to reveal… In last elections… I had a conversation with Sec. Joey Rufino… Now, watching Zuce reminded me… mention was made of an Atty. Garcia… it dawned upon me that we practically had the same experience… I had a conversation with Sec. Rufino … I was instructed (he is dying, but I must say this anyway) by Sec. Rufino… Zuce was telling the truth, they could arrange for lawyers for my election protest for 4 million… Mr. Bong Serrano (who may be here) was sent to Cebu to get the money… I cam to Manila and gave half the amount… There’s another point: (my husband might get mad, but anyway…) My mother in law in the elder sister of the presiding speaker… This has something to do with the murder of the brother of the presiding speaker, Moises Espinosa… The suspected murderer, Gov. Tony Co has been acquitted. I feel strongly that the son of Moises Espinosa has been prevailed upon by the Palace to lie before the Senate… He was called to the Palace, and in the presence of the President and her husband, prevailed upon to lie about being a bagman for jueteng.

5:49 Some congressman debunks Martinez. There was never cheating in Cebu. Martinez rebuts the rebuttal.

5:50 Session suspended…

6:05 Rep. Cayetano asks for permission to use visual aids and launches in some good ole fashioned Bible quoting… Blah blah blah… corruption… If we eliminate or reduce corrupton, we can pay the foreign debt (Shazam!)… We must eliminate the “padrino” system.. repeats the Gloria lied, stole, and cheated line… 80 million Filipinos are watching for one reason alone, to find a solution to the political crisis… (digresses into American constitution, quotes Tom Paine )… We are tired… but we must persevere… we cannot turn a blind eye to things and then say that’s the solution… We must end the political crisis by delving into the evidence… Let us look at the evidence… (quite a rambling and confused speech)

6:17 starts doing presentation on evidence: video with music, etc.

6:25 Video enters Part II (kidnapping and cover-up). I must say, reminding -and making people hear- about the Garci tapes is a good idea.

6:34 Video enters Part III (election returns).

6:36 Chair orders the video stopped; says Privilege Hour is over; motion made to extend hour; hour is extended (applause).

6:37 Presentation on electoral fraud resumes.

6:45
Cayetano finally ends his speech with some good ole fashioned Bible quotin’.

Rep. from Bohol reacts to allegations of cheating in his province (by golly, nothin’ happened! I swear!)

(6:50 Coverage suspended for a bit because I have to rush my Arab News column.)

Jaworski made a short and snappy speech: president cheated in Pasig.

6:56 Rep. Roman says he has the committee report, which he hasn’t signed; reads conclusions of report; Feb.12, 1986, history has turned full circle; the presiding officer was there; Roman was there; we canvassed election of Marcos vs. Aquino; gest misty-eyed recalling the proliferation of Marcos wins statistics then; reminds that the people could not believe Marcos won; 10 days later, “everyone knows what happened.” He says, he’s never joined People Power; but God intervenes in many ways; quotes Santayana: those who do not learn from the lessons of history are condemned to repeat it. Says democracy only works through institutions; but who knows how God moves the hearts of men… We owe it to one another to give an example to the world… And so what happened in this committee on justice meeting? Quotes constitution… delves into question of prohibition on proceedings (long Sssssssss to accentuate the plural) more than once a year… Insists all the complaints filed on the same date, and so constitute one proceeding… In 30 hours and 52 minutes of debate… only prejudicial questions were discussed, but the real question ignored was, how many proceedings? What do the people know in the streets? Goes into homespun explanation of the process as a train with the complaints hopping on to the train at various times but before the train left the station. (Great speech, complete with sound effects “chug chug chug chug chug…”) We must do our jobs and contribute to stability… After 30 hours and 52 minutes of talk, it then took 2 hours to dispose of the case…. “I walked out slowly, it seemed to be a farce.” We can ignore the facts, but we can’t change them. What’s the hurry? Why not give it elegance and grace? Precisely because the majority has the numbers, all the more it’s duty bound to show that it’s not just because of numbers that the conclusion has been predetermined. I would have been against admission of Garci tapes, but House wasn’t even given chance to determine…

7:21 Privilege Hour is ended. Minority leader: I move to extend one hour. Presiding Officer: What? One Hour? Roman: Well, 15 minutes is ok… Session suspended.

7:27 (Session resumed but ANC is interviewing Reps. Libanan and Angara)

7:28 ANC finally goes back to Roman. Quotes an OFW texting him, and his talking to her. OFW in Jeddah: “No cover up, please, we OFW’s need the truth!” Quotes similar messages from OFW’s in Hong Kong. “Please bring out the best in this institution.”

7:30 Former Speaker Noli Fuentebella: Says the presiding officer, Rep. Macias, reminds him of the time of his father. Say’s it’s his daddy’s birthday. Says his daddy served with Macias from 1952 to Martial Law. Recalls their serving with Diosdado Macapagal, etc. His daddy used to say, Congress had integrity in the old days. Does the same still apply? Says the crisis has to be resolved now. Says the President insisted and appealed that people institute impeachment proceedings. Instead, Congress has only served to validate the doubts of radicals that Congress can resolve the issue. Quotes Avelino’s “what are we in power for?” Questions Committee on Justice… calls it a “masquerade.” Proclaims it railroading and a violation of the rule of law. Says at least Estrada was willing to face impeachment. Recounts that as Speaker, Estrada told him not to recall the articles of impeachment. Points to Lozano having filed an impeachment complaint against then Vice-President Arroyo. The Vice-President answered six days later. Suggests the President has undertaken the same trick now. Says Estrada told Fuentebella not to pursue the impeachment case against VP Arroyo to prevent problems for the country. Suggests people should carefully consider Dinky Soliman’s statements… Resigns position as vice-chairman of committee on justice. Praises young congressmen. He will sign the impeachment complaint!

7:51 Comedic moment when sargeant-at-arms took away Mace and was hollered at to return it by Rep. Macias.

Rep. Escudero speaks: Is angry at Marcoleta for accusing Dinky Soliman of being discourteous; reminds that the House of Representatives is the “house of the people” and not just that of the congressmen… Explains minority walked out because they couldn’t stomach the proceedings… The walk out was led by the young congressmen who had high hopes and great faith… They regret the throwing of papers but explains it as an understandable reaction to their being thwarted; points out the majority proceeded with the meeting… He condemns the attitude of congressmen who said if the cheating wasn’t caught, too bad… complaints were supposed to be made in Congress… but ignored… “It bears noting that ‘noted’ is not a denial”…After Congress, they brought the complaint to the Supreme Court, the President made a motion to dismiss, the vote being 15-0… They have followed the process to the letter and the letter of the law… The walkout was no lapse of judgment… Dura lex, sed lex? What of the President? Dura lex, pyrex! The law may be the law, but it is breakable! Where does the constitution prevent the amending of a complaint? What is forbidden is different from what the majority does not want… They slaughtered and butchered the impeachment process… The issue is not the evidence, the issue is the refusal of the President to face questions and give her counter-evidence… The President not only has rights, she has obligations… The President’s silence is deafening… Anyone accused of lying, cheating, and stealing wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to reply… But the President keeps silent… She asked for her day in court, but she doesn’t want that day to ever come… The truth has no side, color, or religion… The younger generation in this chamber has turned its back on the President and faced the need for the truth… The youth do not have to wait… we can lead… we are prepared to make a stand… If the President has nothing to hide, what does she fear from an impeachment complaint?

8:17 Move for a 15 minute extension to allow Satur Ocampo to speak. Satur describes the methodical liquidation of his comrades throughout the country.

Some other guy talks…

8:39 Rep. Zamora talks… Let me present evidence, since it may never otherwise see the light of day: Culpable violations of the Constitution. Violating the independence of the Comelec. We did not need, and will not use, the Garci tapes. We have witnesses. We have testimony. We do not need the tapes. More and other witnesses than were presented in the Senate. Comelec officials, supervisors, superintendents, school principals were given bribes right in the President’s Quezon City home by her campaign staff. Threats and intimidation were also used. We have witnesses that will say Cabinet officials were ordered, and authorized, to commission Comelec officials to doctor election returns in Mindanao and at least one province in Luzon. Where were the election returns manufactured? At the Mandarin Apartelle, Banawe St., QC on the fifth floor, from October to November, 2004. Printing of serial numbers was done in Paranaque. The machine was borrowed from the official printer of the Comelec, from Dec. 23, 2004 up to the New Year. Congressional custody was violated. Election returns were switched at the ballot boxes in Congress. Palace officials sought to discredit the Garci tapes by presenting fabricated evidence to thwart investigations. (Mentions also murders of journalists and human rights violations). The President’s complicity will be proven in graft-ridden contracts: North Rail; billions of pesos in public trust funds from Pagcor, PhilHealth, etc. were used illegally in the elections of 2004. The political question: should the President forfeit her position because of what she has done, or failed to do? Discusses the elephant in the living room: why doesn’t the President answer the charges?

8:57 Herminio Teves makes a manifestation.Says the Committee on Justice is accused of being biased. Disagrees with accusations. Doubts ability of Senate to be fair and just.

9:00 Question hour extended. Etta Rosales makes a speech. She denounces violent dispersal of Laban ng Masa protesters. Denounces Marcoleta.

9:15 Privilege hour extended. Marcoleta wants to speak but being blocked. Marcoleta complains. Says Dinky hiding from him.

9:22 Suspension because Rep. Paras jumped in out of exasperation.

9:26 Teddyboy Locsin telling his colleagues “I told you” about the rushed proclamation. Says inconceivable that framers of Constitution considered there would be many complaints; says in a crisis they should all be consolidated; if complaints are all patently worthless, then it would kick them all out; but to do what the committee did is to present the question in piddling terms instead of helping to resolve the crisis; the committee is supposed to be an inquisitorial body; the plenary is not meant to give the president her day in court; the task of plenary to ask and answer the question: given a perfected complaint, does the plenary believe the President can continue to govern and retain support, or is so bereft of support that only a trial can and should determine her fate? In presenting plenary with this choice, the committee has failed and presented the plenary with nothing, which makes impossible a closure either for the president or her enemies. He will not sign the committee report. (A hint he will vote against the report?)

9:34 Crispin Remulla: are we independent of the Executive? Questions the writing of the committee report. Why the rush to approve report? Asks deferment; says he will not sign report.

9:44 Floor leader asks to extend privilege hour for 3 minutes for Rep. Villanueva. Villanueva says he was Grade 1 during Edsa 1. The youth are cool. Rizal says they’re cool. That’s so cool!

9:54 “Mr. Speaker, I move to terminate the longest privilege hour in the history of the Congress of the Philippines.””Any objections? Hearing none, so moved.””I move for a brief suspension.””Session is suspended.””This… is ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is … ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC… This… is… ANC…. This… is… ANC… This…”

10:29 RG Cruz reports Simeon Datumanong will deliver sponsorship speech for committee report when the House resumes its session.

10:38 RG Cruz reports Lupita Kashiwahara went out for dinner but will be back; Hyatt 10 went for dinner but will be back; Cory Aquino’s gone home to rest for the march. Speaker de Venecia has made an appearance on the session floor.

10:45 Session resumes. Secretary General directed to read title of Committee on Justice report.

10:46 Cayetano requests to ask jurisdictional questions. Wants to ask sponsors questions. Majority Floor Leader agrees. Rep. Datumanong to be recognized.

10:47 Rep. Suplico mentions an emergency meeting of Comittee on Rules; questions some of the rules.

10:49 Session suspended… (President’s brother in law, Iggy Arroyo visible in his seat)

10:54 Session resumed. Rep. Nograles explaining the rules. Rep. Suplico still unhappy. Majority Floor Leader committed to let Rep. Cayetano ask some questions. Rep. Datumanong asking if he still has to make his sponsorship speech.

10:57 Rep. Nograles: we’ll let Cayetano ask then Datumanong can make his speech. Datumanong wonders why questions should come before speeches. Session suspended.

11:04 Session resumed. Rep. Edcel Lagman will answer Rep. Cayetano’s questions. Rep. Paras characteristically butts in to ask if Lagman is Vice-Chairman or not of the Committee; Lagman says he is a member by virtue of his position as Deputy Majority Floor Leader; so it’s clarified that Lagman is a member and not vice-chairman.

11:06

Rep. Cayetano begins his questioning: “a prejudicial question to the father of prejudicial questions…” What time was the committee report finished?

Lagman: Thank you for institutionalizing prejudicial questions. Report was submitted to the office of the Secretary-General at about 2:40 pm.

Cayetano: Was that today and when submitted did it already contain signatures.

Lagman: Yes.

Cayetano: When was it circulated?

Lagman: This morning…. I’m not sure what time, I didn’t personally circulate it, that is not my work…

Cayetano: Was this discussed in committee or approved by the committee?

Lagman: Report says it contains an approval in principle of the report…(quotes “these dispositions confirm… etc.”)

11:12 -slight tussle as Lagman hits Cayetano for asking questions when the minority had walked out- “A walkout should not paralyze the workings of a committee.” Applause.

11:13 Escudero objects to Lagman’s objection to the minority leader’s view that the walkout should have held up the meeting; Escudero says he said no such thing…

11:15 Lagman: “let us not indulge in verbal gymnastics.” Counters Escudero.

11:18 Cayetano: the question is, why weren’t the minority congressmen asked to sign the report? (applause) What kind of animal is a report approved in principle? Reports should be signed with the majority of members present in a committee hearing. (long disquisition on how the report must have been whisked from rep. to rep.)

11:21 Cayetano moves to send the report back. Villanueva seconds the motion. Session suspended.

11:23

Session resumed. Chair asks to dispose on the motion. Cayetano refuses to yield.

Majority Floor Leader explains parliamentary situation. There’s a motion; seconded; objected to; divide the House. Rep. Chipeco moves to amend the motion; Chipeco explains why they walked out (Barber’s motion regarding Dinky Soliman); his amendment: to send back report, and have Dinky and Gabby Claudio report to committee on justice. Maj. Floor Leader can’t understand amendment. Chipeco: Motion is to send back report and ask Soliman and Claudio to testify to committee.

11:27 Rep. Antonino (Kampi, and wearing a blue ribbon) says they’ve been there for 7 1/2 hours, explains his objection to the motion. Says the opposition has had too much time to talk and waste. Accuses the minority of using technicalities. Chair interrupts: does Cayetano accept the amendment? Cayetano wants 5 minutes to explain (invokes rules). Chair’s impatient; Cayetano explains further. Majority Floor Leader says the rule invoked is only for proponents who decline amendments; if he accepts amendment, no 5 minutes; Cayetano says he objects. So he invokes the 5 minutes. Maj. Floor Leader then says it’s Chipeco who can invoke the 5 minutes. Chipeco: Asks Cayetano if he accepts the amendment to the motion…. More wrangling… Chipeco reads Soliman’s statement about the President talking to Sec. Claudio to have the Lozano complaint endorsed… Anyway question disposed of viva voce…

11:358… Suspension going on. Very interesting huddles… Speaker making emphatic gestures. Serious opposition huddle…

If I were opposition congressmen, I’d do one of two things: move to adjourn (non-debatable) or call the admin’s bluff and proclaim, “we lack the numbers, but you do. so kill it now. the rallies won’t stop. the trouble won’t stop. but you have the numbers. so kill it now. go ahead, we dare you, and may you be willing to live with consequences!”

But I guess they’re not that brave.

12:02 am Congressmen have been served popcorn at their desks. Speaker on his cellphone looking agitated.

12:07 am Session resumes. Cayetano says they have the numbers to force nominal voting. But they will dispense with that. They simply want to give the committee chairmen a chance to explain, and makes a request for short-cuts on committee reports to be avoided in the future.

12:09 Rep. Casino asks for a clarification on the lack of proper procedures being followed for the committee report.

12:10 Lagman gives a lecture on parliamentary practice. Lagman says let’s finish this now!

12:24 After more wrangling, Session suspended. Then resumed. Lagman continues his impressions of an angry bull moose.

12:25 Reps. Maza and Rosales to be recognized. Maza is massively filled with fear over Lagman’s wanting to finish things now; she asks of the presiding officer, the same questions that Casino asked…Maza is mad that the minority was ignored… Lagman responds:he appeals to the record, saying he was quoted out of context.

12:30 am Etta Rosales weighs in on the question of the committee report not being circulated among the minority because, perhaps, the secretariat thought it might be an exercise in futility….Lagman replies by pointing to a previous exchange answering Rosales’s question…

12:35 After getting Lagman to explain that the committee agreed on points for incorporation in a report yet to be written, then what happened in Room 1405 of the Shangri-La Hotel Sunday night? Is that where the report was drafted? Majority Floor Leader interrupts and says the parliamentary inquiry is being abused (applause). Rosales takes exception to the Majority Floor Leader’s move; Rosales argues no report could have been agreed upon on August 31, if drafted only Sunday night!

12:38 Majority Floor Leader moves for Datumanong, committee chairman, to make his sponsorship speech. Minority Floor Leader objects because there was no motion to approve report, and read report. Majority Floor Leader says the motion and reading of title was made.

12:39 Datumanong: the Vice-Chairman, Marcelino Libanan will also make a sponsorship speech. Asks interpellation be made after sponsorship speeches are made. Datumanong drones on….

12:49 Libanan makes his speech.

12:57 (pretty good speech) Libanan ends and moves to approve the report.

Escudero says there must be a period of debate first. Says motion is premature. Session suspended. Meanwhile, Ces Drilon says Reps. Villafuerte, Cagas and Baterina were also supposed to make sponsorship speeches, but they seem to have dispensed with those.

1:02 am Session resumed. Minority Leader allowed to interpellate. Villafuerte says he will withdraw his seconding the motion provided the Minority Floor Leader limits his remarks to 30 minutes. Escudero says its not a privilege, but a right. Not a request but a point of order (applause). Explains further…Villafuerte says the motion has priority… Majority Floor Leader, says the presiding officer, set aside that motion. Interpellation now proceeds.

Datumanong and Libanan to be questioned by Escudero (sponsors who didn’t speak will have their speeches inserted in the record)…

Escudero: 2 procedural questions. “Approved in principle,” does that mean it was voted on by committee, but done so without reading? Datumanong: those present constituted a majority who said they approved the parameters for the report; final consent and approval to be known by affixing their signatures to the report. Escudero: but the members must meet to approve before report is distributed. Datumanong: At the time they didn’t know (when they voted) since no report was written, but the parameters were laid out, and they’d know the full report when they signed. Escudero: It was approved at 9am Monday, is that true? Datumanong: If Lagman says so, it must be so. Escudero: So it was approved only at 9am? Datumanong: Confirmed. Escudero: Rep. Maza raised questions about minority members not being given copies; I was in Congress at 9:30 am and called committee, asking if a report was prepared; the response, the report wasn’t finished and wouldn’t be finished until after lunch. We were therefore not given a chance to read and dissent. Was there an instruction to the staff not to give the minority a copy of the report, even if finished, and further, an instruction not to show the report to any impeachment endorser before distribution? Datumanong: maybe, the secretariat don’t know the details; instruction of chairman was to circulate for perusal and signature, without distinctions being made as to majority or minority; there must have been a boo-boo somewhere… Escudero: Well, I was in office in the morning, I asked for a copy, they didn’t give me a copy, or an opportunity to sign -coincidence that no endorser of impeachment received a copy of the report? Datumanong: I dunno. I told them, pass it around. Must’ve been a boo-boo. Escudero: for the record, my staff called Marge and Sonny, and if there was no deliberate effort to bypass us, I demand an explanation, since we didn’t even have a copy at 4pm. Datumanong: Marge and Sonny will have to explain their boo-boo.

1:17 nit-picking on citations… (suspension of Session to look up citation)

1:21 More wrangling about sources for citations….

1:23 After disposing with the first citation, Escudero questions another portion and what the citation is… Villafuerte: the same Supreme Court decision (Francisco)… Escudero explains that in committee reports, and citing cases, the citations have to be exact and thorough. And says, if something shows such sloppiness, it must have been done hastily… Villafuerte, we can paraphrase… Escudero: we’ve both written termpapers, whether verbatim or summarized, you have to have accurate citations. Things shouldn’t be so haphazardly done… Villafuerte claims Escudero’s style shouldn’t be dictated upon the writer of the report (perhaps Villafuerte? Tee hee). More wrangling. Escudero pleads for consistency of style. Villafuerte if you say pretty please, ok. Escudero: pretty please. Villafuerte: okidoki. Escudero moves on to more nit-picking… Now the question is, were the complaints sent simultaneously (points to Congressional Record). Villafuerte: Lemme see it. (Suspension of Session).

1:30 Session resumed. More arguing on chronologies. Are complaints referred by motion, Escudero asks. Villafuerte waffles. (I suspect Escudero, for the record, is laying the case for a Supreme Court appeal)…

1:39 Session resumes. Escudero concedes transcript without prejudice to the video (whole point? to lay the basis for a Supreme Court challenge). Escudero argues: it’s the bang of the gavel that determines an action; if only one bang, then only one action of sending the three complaints… Villafuerte says he’s on to Escudero’s game… More nitpicking…

1:54 Escudero running circles around Villafuerte who is getting exasperated to the amusement of the gallery.

1:58 Discussion involves Garci tapes and admissibility…

2:03 Escudero: It’s obvious the report was hastily prepared. We weren’t even given a chance to affix our dissenting signatures. Villafuerte: I disagree.

2:05 Escudero, well, let’s just look up the citations… I yield… Villafuerte, well, I can’t yield because it’s a committee thing… (Session suspended) ANC says three more to ask questions: Zamora, Paras, etc. Then amendments!

2:10 RG Cruz reports a huddle with Prospero Nograles. Perhaps the congressmen are getting droopy. RG Cruz says scuttlebutt from audience is that delays are signs 79 signatures haven’t been reached… Ces Drilon naughtily asks, why the insistence on finishing it in the wee hours of the morning? RG Cruz carefully answers that the congressmen are well, eager to finish it….

2:18 Session resumed. Cayetano will interpellate. Villafuerte once more on the spot.

2:30 Cayetano has fun running circles around Villafuerte…. Banter is rather good-natured. Cayetano is laying down the basis of grave abuse of discretion on the part of the majority (a basis for raising the majority actions for review to the Supreme Court).

2:34 Discussion now dwells on whether Estrada resigned or not. Talk of majority rule. Cayetano mentions well, if a majority want to rally, why is it stopped? Seven wanted to light candles at the Edsa Shrine, they were stopped (Yipee!! That’s us, Citizens for TRUTH!). Villafuerte though can sometimes give as good as he gets: Cayetano asks, what if tomorrow we rally, will we be stopped? Villafuerte replies: Why are you asking me? (applause).

2:40 Arguments are back to definitions of when an impeachment proceeding begins… (someone, by the way texts me: it’s raining heavily, ain’t it poetic? indeed -let justice be done, though the heavens fall! is the maxim)… Cayetano asks if the law is clear, must it be interpreted? Villafuerte gets sucked into the old argument on seconds, minutes, and the question of acts being simultaneous or not (using Villafuerte’s favorite horse race analogy)….

2:43 Dinky statement brought up by Cayetano. Villafuerte replies depends on the credibility of witness (clapping from pro-GMA crowd). Villafuerte points out origins of Gerrymandering. Says Dinkification is taking place. Cayetano replies, what of Nixon -there’s Gloriafication taking place. Crowd lapping up barbs from both sides. Cayetano arguing about horses, Villafuerte talks about horses.

2:49 Which kind of legal procedure was used in disposing of the amended complaint, asks Cayetano… Villafuerte seems halting and fatigued….Villafuerte -uh, perception and understanding of impeachment…. Cayetano: so chop suey law? Attack, attack, attack…(waves thick books at Villafuerte)… Villafuerte: impeachment is sui generis. Cayetano keeps up the attack while Villafuerte starts getting tutoring from colleagues.

2:56 Villafuerte beginning to wilt under the machine-gun style rapid fire delivery of Cayetano…

3:05 Comment from colleague: “TV is cruel. Old fat traditional politician versus young whippet.” Tee hee. Villafuerte livid; presiding officer intervened; move for suspension…

3:08 Session resumes… Both start ending their sentences with “over” to signify the end of the sentence. General hilarity from audience.

3:16 Long discussion, with reference to Supreme Court decision (Villafuerte) and a law book (Cayetano) if a lawyer can basically attest to his own document…

3:18 interesting exchange -Cayetano suggests if he sits down and discusses all these questions with Villafuerte, will voting be postponed to tomorrow (or later), Villafuerte alert enough to decline, saying after “the longest privilege hour in the history of the country and perhaps even in the Guinness Book of World Records,” enough time has been given the minority. So Cayetano resumes nit-picking. This is an extended filibuster disguised as an interpellation, folks!

3:22 Cayetano asks why report mentions that Piatco deal was undertaken under Ramos and Estrada and not the President; but what of Zamora’s evidence that the President’s family received millions of dollars in bribes… the committee is absolving the President of accusations contained in the amended complaint, which it refused to examine! Villafuerte replies why don’t you take the President’s family to court? Clever way for Cayetano to sneak in allegations… Villafuerte says offenses allegedly committed during the President’s previous term can’t be covered by impeachment for present term. Cayetano says Villafuerte evading the real question….

3:36 Motion made to close debate and vote on report. Motion seconded. Majority Floor Leader reiterates the length of time given to privilege hour. “I think we have exhausted everything and traversed all issues…” It is now “indubitable that we have exhausted reasonable debate. think it’s high time we close period for debate…” Objection to voting made by Rep. Suplico. Viva voce vote taken. Vote will proceed…. 1 minute suspension…

Congressmen waddling around to stretch their legs….

3:48 Rep. Nograles counts 30-40 oppositionists on the floor; he thinks it’s a sign that the opposition’s gone home while the majority has stayed on the floor. Thinks administration has 140 votes.

3:50 Chiz Escudero doesn’t sound too hopeful. Voting has begun… It’s a roll call vote.

(A colleague asks me, is 3 o’clock a Feng Shui hour for the President? She was proclaimed at 3am, she’s being let off the hook at 3am. And that’s a witching hour)

Some are explaining their votes…Rep. Abad (wife of Butch Abad) denounces the manner in which the President has used fear, intimidation and incentives to quash the impeachment. (No vote = pro impeachment; yes vote = anti impeachment)
Abad: No. (applause)
Abalos: Yes. (applause)
Abante: Yes. (fire, brimstone, threatens damnation on pro-impeachment)
(ANC TV coverage cut off!!!!!!!!!)
Whee Channel 7 is on…
4:03
Abaya, Jun: No
Abaya, (Harlene?):

73 comments

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  1. james

    and our intrepid live-blogger finally succumbed to the soporific speeches of our worthy congressman. (as did i)

  2. Alex

    The take-away here is that democary lives and can thrive in our country, despite our own reckless attempts to thwart it when things don’t go our away. The Constitution must be upheld and our democratic institutions must be strengthened through our belief and commitment in their processes. At this point, taking the fight to the streets is barbaric and is an abuse of democracy. Folks who like to continue their fight should prepare for the next elections. That’s how democracy is played.

  3. MitaMS

    Kent,
    The truth is something we cannot be certain of. We will never know for sure what the truth is where politics is concerned. So much for truth…whatever happened to the Marcos billions and human rights abuses..or even Ninoy’s killing? We still do not know who killed Ninoy Aquino.

    Our politicians are not the only problem. It’s also the system and it’s us and how we think or refuse to think. Instead of thinking of how to improve the way government serves the people, we succumb to the dark and hopeless. We have to work and demand better from our government: the justice system, the lawmakers and the executive instead of entertaining ourselves like we were watching the Sic O’Clock News or the hottest soap opera everytime something political happens.

    Like Alex said, democracy lives and thrives in our country. We just have to make it work for us. We also have to be patient and be very certain the next step made is one that will bring our country to a better place. Hindi yung “tira por la casa” as my lola used to say…

  4. Michelle

    wow, tiyaga mo manolo to blog about the proceedings! bilib ako, galing! thanks for this 🙂

  5. jay ermitano

    as of the moment (12:06pm tuesday – sept. 6)

    the score of the political ballgame (venue is batasan astrodome with REPeri tenga presiding)

    YES – 115
    NO – 38
    INDECISIVE – doesnt matter

    hope this helps

  6. crisanto

    i’ve been out of the philippines for quite sometime now…and then suddenly when I watched star wars reminds me of somebody who so popular supporter of ramos and arroyo and that is jose de venecia…because he looks like YODA….hehehehe!

  7. jay ermitano

    i find it very amusing that people under the guiles of the administration (or in
    this case ARROYO sympathizers) are easily mistaking a lot of us as being
    opposition underlings (being pro-impeachment and all)…this is not a question
    of partisan politics nor is it about who gets to pick a lot of “boogers” more
    (pardon to those who are currently enjoying their meals hehehe)…this is a
    stand…dont accuse people of being lazy (or bums for that matter) just because
    they chose to go against the current government – they have the right to do
    so…malinaw naman yung mga pangyayari ngayon, kung sino ba ang may nagagawa at
    sino ang dapat managot (as oppposed to sino ang dapat”sisihin”) sa mga problema
    ng pilipinas…sa mga taong masyadong “defensive” sana maisip nyo na hindi kami
    namimili ng kung sino ang kakampihan namin, labanan ito ng prinsipyo – na gumawa
    ng tama at isaayos ang kailangang irepera…by the way – name-calling and racist
    comments are signs of people who have inferiority complex and anarchic thinking
    (ask a psychologist)…we were the first ones in EDSA, sana po wag nyo namang
    sayangin yung ginawa namin (at oo umalis yung mga “totoong” nagprotesta sa EDSA
    2001 nung nanumpa si GMA dahil alam po namin na kahit kailan ay hindi siya talagang
    leadership material – wala po siyang decision-making abilities…which is
    definitely comparable to her anteccessor)

  8. Kent

    Wait until the next elections???

    While our honorable politicians dishonor our Constitution and make our kind of Democracy a crazy state of political circus???

    The only way we can strengthen our democratic institution is by enforcing the law that purges Public Servants who cheats and lies and corrupts, out of its Political System.

    Yes, the Constitution should religiously be followed (obeyed if you will); however, when politicians tamper with their mandate and make a mockery out of it, what would the sovereign people do? Wait until the next elections?

    In fact, I can’t fathom why JDV argued that there’s no alternative for PGMA if she’s impeached. Looks like he does not approve of the duly elected vice president taking the helm of governance in lieu of PGMA? Why?

    In a democracy, we just have to follow the law. And when it says that the vice-president assumes the presidency when the president vacates the office, so be it.

    Unless, of course, if there are other agenda which dictate why the impeachment process must be strangled and the Cha cha takes the dance floor.

  9. Ed

    So long impeachment. Hello Street Protest. Some of the congressmen will join the protest rallies. This might get interesting and Ill be there to look and listen and will shout my voice for the 3rd time that justice in this country is not what is it supposed to be.

  10. pj aranda

    Oh c’mon! cge mag rally na mga gusto mga rally pero d na kayo kakagatin. Check nyuo muna mga leaders nyan? Politically spent woman, palenkerang widow at mga neo-communist. Sama na rin mga leader ng opposition. Sino ba sila! Natanggal nga mga yan diba?

    Like it or hate it d sila magtatagumpay kasi di sila ang mga itinadhana na magdadala ng pagbabago.

    bago tayo lumabas at “makibaka” ayusin muna nating mga buhay natin!

  11. benign0

    As early as 2001, someone already prophesied this situation:

    “What will happen if Aroyo fails to do better? Another revolution to throw her out without even considering if the possible successors will do better? Just throw her out! ano ‘to, trial and error? Do you know the latest buzzword in the streets after Aroyo had taken her oath as the new President and after Erap resigned? Well the latest buzzword is “now we’ll have to wait for HER impeachment or the next revolution to throw her out.” YES, believe it or not. You wanted to know the inside story, well, that’s what people are talking about right now. Even my bosses, my officemates who were there in EDSA in support of the opposition. They’re the ones who are now saying, “Next to be overthrown—AROYO!” Imagine that! And last year, in October/November, everytime I get an email/text message from people urging me to join them, whenever i ask them, if Erap steps down, who do you think would be the better replacement and believe it or not 100% of them answered, ‘none’.”

    Check out the full article here:
    http://www.geocities.com/benign0/agr-disagr/12-1-letter1.html

    TAKE NOTE: The above was written in 2001! How easy it is to foresee the fortunes of a nation utterly lacking in substance..

  12. timmy6000

    All these congressmen tackling the impeachment are just wasting the money and time of the Filipinos (yawn). The so called “taong bayan” already knew the fate of these impeachment complaints. The congressmen only wanted a venue for their grandstanding and rhetorics.

  13. Carl Cid S.M. Inting

    Kent said: “Perhaps, it’s better for us to wish that the ghost of Napoleon Bonaparte be reincarnated in our military or risen from his grave to help save our beloved Phippines.” – Be careful what you wish for. It will be granted one of these days.

  14. KULAS PIRO

    the weather will be a big factor here

    luzon is just entering the peak of the rainy season – there will be more rains in manila this month all the way to october. trying to form massive crowds for the street demonstrations will be difficult under squall and flooded streets

    the 2 previous sucessful people power movements couldn’t have happened in better climate conditions – the first one was on february, the second on january – the weather was tropical cool, crisp, no rains and it was even quite comfortable to be out in the streets during high noon. so it was easy to gather the people – masarap, malamig

    but with the monsoon rains coming in, it might not be strategic to bring out the people – marami lang ang magkaksakit

    this whole thing is really out of timing, out of synch

  15. Felix

    Just like GMA, way kurat is another mockery.

  16. Choy

    STAYED UP ALL NIGHT AND INTO THE MORNING JUST LIKE SO MANY OTHERS. AMUSED AT THE TACTICS OF CONGRESSMEN OF BOTH PERSUASIONS IN TRYING TO BELITTLE THE OTHER SIDE. JUST PROVES ONE THING: THESE ARE PEOPLE OF THE SAME ILK. THEY ALL TALK WITH FORKED TONGUES. PITY ESPECIALLY THE YOUNG ONES WHO HAVE SO EARLY LEARNED TO LIE THROUGH THEIR TEETH REGARDING THEIR MOTIVES.

    A QUICK LOOK AT THEIR FAMILY NAMES WILL TELL YOU THEY ARE FROM DYNASTIES WHO HAVE MADE A FAMILY BUSINESS OUT OF POLITICS.

    NO WONDER THE PEOPLE CONTINUE TO STAY IN.

  17. noid

    Those who want this issue to go away are dreaming. Gloria and his pack of rats have played their last gambit, calculating that the people will do nothing. But at best, they have divided the nation.

    For now, there’s no rest and sleep for our country. This crisis will either be decided in the streets or, God forbid, in the battlefields.

  18. fencesitter

    No matter how many names we call Gloria, rat,pigmy… it will not change the fact that this rat is grinning from ear to ear.

    With impeachment now dead. How else can Gloria prove her innocence.

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