The President, through her Executive Secretary, says that while she did agree to parliamentary elections in 2007, it doesn’t necessarily mean she will cut short her term. Everything depends, her Executive Secretary says, on what the President’s Consultative Commission on Charter Change will say. So this early on, she’s squirming again for more wiggle room (read Jove Francisco’s blog for the skinny on the Palace press corps, their questions, and observations: most of all, the Veep seems unhappy about FVR, JDV, and GMA basically declaring him politically redundant; and Jove warns, “Oh and by the way, prepare for the IMELDIFICATION of the metropolis soon. It was the topic in todayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s NAPC/NEDA cabinet meeting.”). Or perhaps she’s trying to kill Ramos by provoking a stroke due to exasperation.
The military question still haunts the Palace: the Daily Tribune says the President fears a military “tipping point” is near, and that the Palace has admitted Sec. Romulo was sent to America to embrace Uncle Sam. Malaya reports perpetual putschist Gregorio Honasan may be up to old tricks.
The perils of “zero tolerance” seems to be similar to the perils of a “preemptive, response”: riots, such as what’s been going on in Paris. Belmont Club has two extended (and interesting) entries on the Paris riots here (complete with maps) and here, complete with Francis Fukoyama quotes.
Forward and back again: Mike Defensor is reversed, the Palace now says he won’t appear before the People’s Congress. Or will he?
In the punditocracy today… My column today is The soft underbelly of the argument, in response to Solita Monsod’s column (in my column I make reference to two past columns, my May 24, 2004 column and then my June 21, 2004 column: Inq7.net columnist Billy Esposo, in response to my column, points to his May 17, 2004 column which argues that the surveys were just flat wrong). Today, Emil Jurado makes essentially the same pre-packaged arguments that Monsod made. There’s a rather good column by Dong Puno who argues that the President’s defenders can’t continue to be ostriches with their heads in the sand, and that the public is more discerning than either the President’s defendors or detractors assume:
Take the cases of Joc-Joc Bolante, Bert Gonzales and, of course, Garci. No amount of spin doctoring can remedy the fatal flaw the administrationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s case suffers from: Not one of the three has come clean with the facts.
While I make no conclusions about whether or not the three are involved in anomalies, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s become increasingly difficult to give them and the administration the benefit of the doubt. If they did nothing wrong Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Garci during the last national elections, Bert in regard to the Venable LLP contract, and Joc-Joc with the fertilizer fundÃ¢â‚¬â€œthen why donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t they just come out and give straightforward explanations.
Citizens as a whole are neither stupid nor naive nor particularly partisan. We can sort out the facts from, to quote FVR, the “cow manure.” Most of us can see the difference between an honest quest for the truth and opposition ploys, the schemes of destabilizers, or desperate and pointless inanities like a “People’s Court.” (As a person whose judgment I trust cogently asks: Who gave them the right to play God?) We can also distinguish between credible defense and mere dissembling and cover up.
Juan Mercado tackles the gulf between the desperately poor and everyone else, and ends with this line:
To succeed, a crippled administration must move beyond surviving to governing. And a feeble opposition must muster faces other than the old crooks.
Conrado de Quiros sums up the dangerous interest in resolving the crisis through military intervention:
What’s wrong with the picture? Well, it is not the veracity of these revelations, or the lack of it. It is the fact that a coup is being talked about openly and its tactics assessed as though it were the most natural thing in the world. Rodolfo Biazon intuits what’s wrong when he says: “This is regrettable. Is this anindication of the kind of trust the President can expect not only from the public but also from the different sectors? This is a sorry state of affairs.”
Fel Maragay says: 1. Executive Secretary received the summons to the People’s Congress and Mike Defensor seems hell-bent on appearing before it to defend the President; 2. How can charter change prosper if the Senate is opposed and only 30% of the public supports constitutional change? 3. The Commission on Human Rights has no teeth; 4. Heherson Alvarez is returning to the cabinet as Presidential Adviser on Land Reform (strongly recommended by de Venecia and Ramos): his main task, resolving the Hacienda Luisita case; the House remains divided on the anti-Terror bill, and in the Senate, even Senator Villar is having misgivings. Syke Garcia wonders if churches shouldn’t be stripped of their tax-exempt status. Connie Veneracion says mother doesn’t always know best; Alex Magno takes potshots at Greenpeace; Julius Fortuna mediates on the woes of Julius Babao; Alfredo del Rosario tackles the question of whether writers make good ambassadors; J.A. dela Cruz reprises Sen. Dick Gordon’s recipe for the President to succeed:
Said Gordon: “PGMA should immediately do the following: a) run after the criminals Ã¢â‚¬â€œ smugglers, kidnappers, drug traffickers -; b) generate jobs Ã¢â‚¬â€œ shift budget to tourism and trade, the two main (immediate) fund (investment) generating departments of the country; c) boost tax collection and tax the “wants, not the needs”; d) close the gap in education and health and e) make (transform) the government into a fast, fair, firm, friendly and forward looking one.” GordonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s point that President Arroyo should focus on these doable measures is shared by most Filipinos.
Will diversity achieve harmony and equality? Only through consent. And that was never — and continues not to be — respectfully sought of us. (Are those Tagalogs marching at Mendiola and Ayala asking us what we want at this time? Do they care about what we want? Have they ever asked or cared? Has the central government ever consulted Mindanao before it declares all-out war in these islands?)
Which tries to slay what Martinez says is the myth of the Filipino nation-state with other myths, such as: that consent has never been obtained (what of plebiscites massively approved, province-per-province, for every constitution since 1935, or the women’s suffrage movement having been most active in the provinces in the 1920s and 1930s, or, finally, that Manila has not been a Tagalog city since after World War II, as any Tagalog Manilan would tell you -Nick Joaquin, for one, wrote often and with a certain exasperation about it; it was no coincidence that the first popularly-elected mayor of Manila, Arsenio Lacson, was Visayan).
In the blogosphere, Ricky Carandang has more on mistrust as a political phenomenon; ExpectoRants joins (in spirit) the Black & White Movement; Sassy Lawyer examines the Julis Babao cause celebre, in one of her exceptionally thorough examinations, and concludes it’s all showbiz (Paeng wonders why people aren’t more interested in Jonathan Tiongco’s being a part of the picture), while Philippine Commentary looks at the same issue, and concludes the problem is the government isn’t serious about fighting terrorism.
The economic nationalist debates a Frenchman about vegetables; The Bangus Supremacy is furious over an internet cafe company’s proposal for stricter censorship of the internet. My favorite Communist blogger has an eloquent entry condemning homophobia, but pointing out Gay members of “The Movement” subsume their efforts into the broader fight against the ruling system. Kottke.org has an extended entry on sports as tidying-up. Leon Kilat reports about online gamers being offered 10,000 pesos a month to play. Technobiography introduces the Pinoy Travel Blog, to which he is a contributor. And finally, Washington Note says George W. Bush is close to matching Richard Nixon’s Watergate unpopularity.