People are poring over various bits of news to see if they will fit in the puzzling political picture at present. Is there, or is there not, a deal between the President and the Estradas? Estrada says, no. Why did Danding Cojuangco’s sons not vote, and the NPC, the pet party of Cojuangco, not actively join the fray? Could it be the threat of legal action? And what of the Marcoses? Ricky Carandang reports on conflicting messages in the media. And what do the protest numbers really mean? Will there be political retribution for those who rebeled against the Speaker? House whip Prospero Nograles says, yes. And the bishops, where do they stand? Recent revelations, by the government, that many prelates have been receiving donations from the State can help mute whatever critical statement some of them may try to push.
The President has issued an Executive Order beginning the process of reorganizing the Executive Department which has been held up by first, the fiscal crisis, then the impeachment crisis. This is extremely helpful in promoting loyalty to the chief executive.
How baboy naman they are is my column for today. And just so no one gets confused, the last thing in the world I’m worried about are wrinkles (oh, and here’s a new one: some of the “Top 600 Women in Civil Society” apparently claim they were just playing mahjong when a piece of paper was circulated around for them to sign, and the next thing they knew, it was in an ad!). A humorous piece on aging appears in Juan Marcado’s column today.
Bel Cunanan demands that the country abide by the House’s decision; Conrado de Quiros thunders that the end, for the President, is nigh; Syke Garcia proclaims the presidency enjoys a majority of one; Julius Fortuna says the United States hasn’t cared to intervene in the impeachment issue (a colleague says a political analyst of the US Embassy who has worked here for a long time told the BBC that the President’s days are numbered, 8:30 pm Manila Time Tuesday, but I didn’t see it). Alfred Rosario examines the importance of the President’s UN trip (apropos of the trip, Max Soliven says the President is cutting her trip short; Federico Pascual is agog over the world leaders the President will get to schmooze with). Connie Veneracion noticed, as I did, that in his interpellation, Chiz Escudero laid down the basis for an appeal to the Supreme Court -she thinks the effort is doomed (I disagree with her that it raises political questions and so won’t merit Supreme Court intervention, since the present Constitution deliberately removed such an obstacle to judicial review). Lito Banayo uses his mordant wit to describe the proceedings at the House:
I had planned on leaving just after midnight, knowing that Tuesday was to be quite grueling. Marching in the streets under the harsh sun was easy a generation ago, but now it was not like a walk in the park. I needed to recharge, but then I saw Mike Defensor sneaking in, along with a company of what looked like QC istambays, in basketball shorts and sandos even, filling the galleries. The minions of MalacaÃƒÂ±ang left nothing to chance. There were governors and city mayors, undoubtedly spending their IRAÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s in expensive Manila to make sipsip to their lying queen. There were emaciated women in the gallery, hustled from Payatas perhaps or Pampanga even, who hardly understood the verbal jousts on the floor. In an hour or so, they were fast asleep. MikeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s istambays never even bothered to listen. As soon as they were in air-conditioned comfort, they covered their faces with Good Morning towels and snoozed. Their physical presence may have been paid, but their mental presence was not. Smart guys.
Dong Puno apportions blame evenly, saying the House proceedings are a snafu because the rules are defective. Fel Maragay says not since Marcos as a President demonstrated such total control over the legislature. Ole time politico Ernie Maceda indicates the weaknesses the President’s camp will be suffering now. Alex Magno has no reservations in proclaiming the whole thing a triumph of democracy. Tony Abaya has an extremely interesting column detailing the proposed junta and why it’s membership has taken to denouncing each other.
The battle of the editorials continues with the Inquirer editorial taking the President to task for her overjoyed reaction to the House vote; Malaya says sub rosa deals between the President and the Marcoses have helped the opposition. the Star condemns rallies for tying up traffic; the Manila Times editorializes that the opposition put up a good fight but it’s over.
In the blogosphere, Newsstand has an ambitious and important series of entries reflecting his observations of the goings-on in the House during its marathon vote: here, and here, and here. Here’s a genuine problem: entries like these are crucial for the historian of the future; yet how can we be sure they will be preserved? Take this extract from entry No. 4:
Session was suspended, and then I saw (according to my notes) “Suplico giving Marcoleta the evil eye.”
What I meant, what I saw, was Rep. Rolex Suplico, the other endorser, stalk down the aisle to get as close as possible to Marcoleta, looking at him threateningly. The scene was happening right across the hall from me, but I do remember seeing Suplico walking down the aisle to Marcoleta, saying a few words, moving back to his desk while looking sideways at Marcoleta (a sequence familiar to anyone who has ever been shoved in a crowded bar or insulted in a public place), then walking back again in Marcoleta’s direction, as though to threaten him, then finally, after some time, returning to his seat.
It reminds me of one detail I encountered while researching the life of President Roxas. As Speaker, during a heated session, a fellow congressman went up to him and kicked him in the shin; another time, congressmen took to waving their guns around in the Session Hall (that was 1920’s Manila). Were anyone to write a history of the Arroyo presidency, details such as the ones in the entry help provide context and add color.
Punzi gets satirical (satire seems the blogospheric literary style of the moment) with two entries, one on the legal novelties spawned by impeachment and a shopping list of laws for Congress to enact.
And good news! Hoorah, Newsboy is back! With a bitchy entry on rallies. Anonymous Sources is back, too, from a long hiatus, with a hate-list of congressmen he can’t stand hearing. Check out the NBC news blog, to see how American TV journalists are blogging.
Another Hundred Years Hence gets technical on how to fix the system; Edwin Lacierda asks, where are the Jesuits? Finally, kottke.org has a link to an article about one of my pet peeves in life: Powerpoint presentations. Ban Powerpoint! Restore thinking to the People!