(Right: Official OPS photo)
A fire has broken out in one of the Department of Budget and Management’s buildings. This comes at the heels of reports of former Budget chief Emilia Boncodin making a deposition about the release of fertilizer funds in time for the 2004 elections. This is going to be one of those “coincidences” that is impossible to explain away.
Yesterday someone pointed out an Inquirer story I’d overlooked: Good news for holidays, according to Arroyo. It says the President has a December surprise in store for the country:
She said among the things she planned to give the country is a new executive order that would allow front-line government agencies to operate on “emergency” mode and work more effectively…
“This may need amending the objectives of my EO (executive order) on government reengineering and the issuance of an enabling executive order that will allow front-line agencies to operate in an emergency or state of calamity mode.”
The President did not specify the front-line agencies or the extent of their powers, only that it would help lessen the burdens of entrepreneurs in doing business in the country.
…Ms Arroyo said she planned to reorganize the Presidential Commission on Effective Governance, originally established to streamline the bloated Office of the President…
Aside from putting front-line agencies on emergency mode, the President said she would also embark on a massive cleanup of all municipalities and provincial capitols, re-brand the metropolis from Metro Manila to simply Manila, and decongest it.
Of course, inevitably there’s speculation as to what the President exactly has in mind, and what kind of a trial balloon her statements represent.
In the punditocracy today, the Inquirer editorial says the Citizen’s Congress for Truth and Accountability is a predictable outcome of recent events. Patricio Diaz endorses Sen. Edgardo Angara’s proposal that the President put forward a plan of government as the basis for reconciliation, asks if the Citizen’s Congress is “too serious to be dismissed, but can it be taken seriously?”, and wonders
why Dr. Jose Abueva complained about his Charter change commission being branded a rubber stamp body. Ellen Tordesillas says Bobi Tiglao is being sent to Greece as ambassador, but not quite so fast -perhaps sometime next year, but it may mean he’s either lost out in yet another Palace power struggle, or thrown in the towel. Rene Saguisag mentions the Locsins have apparently lost their decades-long case to recover properties and assets Marcos cronies forcibly took at bargain-basement prices, when the dictatorship shut down the Philippines Free Press: he says it’s bad enough the Locsins lost the case (boldly suggesting it may have something to do with Rep. Teddyboy Locsin voting against the House Committee on Justice’s report), but what’s worse is that the Justice tasked with writing the decision was all praises for the craven martial law Supreme Court. The Free Press (for which I write) at the time of martial law had an enormous circulation, and one of the most modern printing plants in the country. After throwing Teodoro M. Locsin, Sr. in jail, and shutting down the magazine, Marcos was said to have engineered the acquisition of its assets by Hans Menzi, publisher of the Manila Bulletin. That’s why today, the former Free Press office and printing press is used by publications of the Bulletin Group, now owned by Emilio Yap. After Edsa in 1986, with his son as Minister of Information, Locsin, Sr. could have simply taken over the Free Press assets, but insisted that the proper thing to do was to go to court. The case now ends some years after his death. Then, Dan Mariano dissects the President’s new TV program and the question of whether or not the press is too hostile to her.
In the blogosphere, Jove Francisco writes about how the Presidential Security Group has detailed a minder to the Palace Press Corps; my favorite Communist blogger writes eloquently of the times she’s spent communing with novelist and publisher F. Sionil Jose; Edwin Lacierda writes about what it was like to attend St. Jude Catholic School, located next door to the Palace, during the days of martial law; apropos of the Palace, Punzi notes that when that press office factotum tore up the “summons” from the Citizen’s Congress, he may have broken the law; Big Mango continues his series of reflections on the Blueprint for a Sustainable Philippines and examines infrastructure; BuzzMachine blogs about how a new way of assessing the readership of blogs has to be put together; and in The Daily Nightly, Albert Oetgen, a senior producer at NBC News discusses the question of leaks and attributing information gained from such leaks. Political Wire comments on George W. Bush withdrawing the nomination of Harriet Miers to the US Supreme Court, according to some upon the instigation of White House Rasputin Carl Rove, rumored to be facing possible indictment for “Plamegate.” Oh, and this is too good to pass up: The Rude Pundit says Michelle Malkin “ought to be caged like a rabid Shitzu.” Ha!