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Nov 04

He did it her way

The fact that media reports and scuttlebutt have been quiet on the question of potential mischief by military elements, at least for a couple of weeks, suggests that the military threat (of a coup)has been neutralized. But if so, why is the Palace still paranoid? Well here you have it: Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago has been sounding the alarm once more. She says the plan may be for December; the armed forces tries to pooh-pooh the senator’s statements as diplomatically as it can. Expect those who specialize in the military to start zeroing in on whether those suspected as potential coup ringleaders are still in a position to mount mischief, or not. (Update: Jove Francisco blogs on the Palace reaction; on another note: strange to think that December 30, 2005, marks the 40th anniversary of Diosdado Macapagal’s last day in office…)

And here’s an interesting clarification I missed from this post by Jove Francisco: in a press release the other day, the Speaker clarified that what was agreed upon between himself, the President, and former President Ramos was:

The party leadership, he said further, would recommend that the President’s term of office “shall continue and will not be disturbed” under a French-style parliamentary system where a Prime Minister would be elected to run the government as its operating officer…

Reports came out in the Sun-Star, in the Philippine Star, and in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Which brings up the interesting point that the French model is what the Speaker of the House has wanted all along: he was very publicly for Constitutional amendments to establish the French system prior to July, 2005, and I recall asking colleagues why all of a sudden JDV was for a purely parliamentary system when prior to the President’s woes, he’d preferred the French system. Well, it seems the Speaker has won out (and the President has won out, in a sense, too): the Speaker can be Prime Minister, the President remains President, and Ramos gets to take credit for whatever happens, at least while the presidency remains somewhat powerful up to 2010, after which, presumably, the country would go purely parliamentary. So it’s still His way, or the highway, with a twist: it’s all partially her way: in other words, he and he (FVR and JDV are the “they”) did it her (GMA’s) way. Here’s the Speaker’s official press release, which includes his timeline for Constitutional change. Columnist JB Baylon calls the whole endeavor a house of sand.

Other items to note: the short list for the next Chief Justice of the Philippines is revealed: smart money is on Justices Reynato Puno or Artemio Panganiban. The Standard-Today reports the House speakership fight isn’t exactly over; and Jarius Bondoc has this great passage:

Tribal wisdom of the Dakota Indians, passed on from generation to generation, says that when you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best option is to dismount. In government, however, a whole range of far more advanced strategies have evolved …These include: (1) change riders, (2) buy a stronger whip, (3) do nothing (“This is the way we have always ridden dead horses”), (4) visit other countries to see how they ride dead horses, (5) run a productivity study to see if lighter riders improve the dead horse’s performance, (6) hire a contractor/consultant to ride the dead horse, (7) provide more funding and/or training to increase the dead horse’s performance, (8) harness several dead horses together in an attempt to increase the speed, (9) appoint a committee to study the horse and assess how dead it actually is, (10) reclassify the dead horse as “living impaired”, (11) develop a Strategic Plan for the management of dead horses, (12) rewrite the expected performance requirements for all horses, (13) modify existing standards to include dead horses, (14) declare that, as the dead horse does not have to be fed, it is less costly, carries lower overheads, and therefore contributes substantially more to the bottom line than many other horses, (15) promote the dead horse to supervisor (although competition for such position is fierce).

Mother of All Conspiracy Theories Department: Reader Wolfgang Struck sent me an email with a four-part saga titled What they don’t teach you at La Salle. I don’t buy it, but the odds are high his Unified Theory on Marcos as the Hero and Solution to Everything will find lots of people willing to buy into the delusion. Speaking of conspiracy theories, here’s Emil Jurado’s:

The fact that there’s a pattern to all these makes me have a sneaking suspicion that the Central Intelligence Agency is coming out with scenarios to make GMA dependent on American protection for her political survival. It was the same pattern the CIA did when they thought that Marcos was distancing himself from Washington. And the rest is history, as they say.

Good reads over at Slate: Tim Naftali on Vice President Dick Cheney’s Superiority Complex:

In the Constitution, the vice president is the nation’s understudy. He is not supposed to be in the chain of command. Cheney knows this better than most: In 1989, when he was George H.W. Bush’s secretary of defense, Cheney slapped down Vice President Dan Quayle for calling a meeting of the National Security Council about a coup attempt in the Philippines while the president was out of the country.

And Daniel Engber in The Explainer explaining The XXI Club: What’s the history of closed sessions in the Senate?; Michael Kinsley’s meditative essay on the concept of “innocent until proven guilty,” which, in Truth, Justice, and the American Way he says is,

...a conceit of the judicial system. That doesn’t make it a bad thing. In fact it is a good thing—one of the ornaments of free and democratic society. The law, and especially the criminal law, is full of conceits that serve justice, although they require participants to make believe various things. The rules of evidence, for example. Anyone who has watched a TV courtroom drama, from Perry Mason to Law & Order, has heard a judge declare that “the jury will disregard” something no one seeking the truth would disregard. That’s because the judicial process has other goals besides seeking the truth.

One of those other goals is protecting the innocent. The law bends over backward to avoid a wrongful conviction. That’s why it excludes certain kinds of evidence, and that’s why the standard for conviction is guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In a civil lawsuit, the standard is generally “more probable than not.” Whatever probably happened, as best as the judge or jury can determine, is taken to have happened. But in a criminal trial there is a whole range of probability that is off limits: It probably happened, but not beyond a reasonable doubt.

Finally, Jacob Weisberg on Karl Rove’s Dying Dream, in which he compares Carl Rove to 19th century American political boss Mark Hanna and George W. Bush to Hannah’s political creature and creation, William McKinley (both rather dim and both behind a bogus war) and argues,

The key to McKinley’s political success was the alliance Hanna forged between industrialists like himself, who provided the cash, and workers, who provided the votes. In Rove’s alliance, the rich provide the cash, and religious conservatives provide the votes. Refuting the conventional wisdom that successful presidential candidates must lay claim to the political center, Bush has governed from the right and won re-election in 2004 with a “base-in,” rather than a “center-out,” strategy.

When Bush was re-elected, everyone hailed Rove’s strategy as a masterstroke. …Less than a year into Bush’s second term, the president’s approval rating is down around 40 percent. Many things have gone wrong for Bush, but the underlying problem is his relationship to the constituency that elected him. Bush’s debt to his big donors and to religious conservatives has boxed him in and pitted him against the national consensus on various issues. His extremism is undermining Rove’s realignment.

11 comments

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  1. Zach Harden

    Not to mention, McKinley and Bush 43 were the targets of actually assiassination plots. While McKinley was killed by a bullet, W dodge a grenade that did not explode while visiting Tbilisi, Georgia and President Sashkavilli.

  2. manuelbuencamino

    Struck is a better conspiracy theorist than Jurado.
    Speaking of assasinations, ken star also tried to assassinate clinton. But the real conspiracy is the Valerie Plame leak. I don’t know how Rove will douse he flames.

  3. Carl

    The reason many people will buy Wolfgang Stuck’s delusional theories is that most Filipinos’ lives have not improved since Ferdinand Marcos. One may argue that we now have more democratic space, but the ordinary folk won’t buy that. People cannot eat democratic space. Almost 30 years after Marcos, and the country hasn’t moved forward. For the people living in the countryside, it has even moved backward.

    Being no fan of Ferdinand Marcos, I am flabbergasted that so many Filipinos consistently rank him as the best President this country ever had. But I must submit that Marcos wins by default, because we’ve had such terrible leadership ever since his ouster in 1986.

  4. DJB

    The more I think about it Rizal Day 2005 has got to be “pass your paper time” for GMA. Dec 30 could be a doubly-ironic anniversary but a chance at the nobility of self-sacrifice.

    We could all BREATHE again by the New Year.

    Of course, she could reason there is always the 41st, 42nd, 43rd, 44th anniversaries to do it on.

    But maybe someone should write her the greatest speech of her life, just to try it on for size, you know…

  5. Roel M.

    I think it will be a mistake to shift to a French-style semi-presidentialism. If we are going to parliamentary gov’t, why go half-way? Such a system risks retaining the problems of the current system while creating new ones. Direct election of the president could be retained but the head of state should be above partisanship and not be involved in policy making and implementation which should be the province of the PM and his gov’t.

    Secondly, such a shift would have the severe disadvantage of retaining for GMA considerable executive power. Such a deal threatens to contaminate a good idea (parliamentary gov’t) with the poison of GMA’s political illegitimacy and criminality.

    As for the American system of court proceedings, some observers have noted that it places an inordinately low priority on what should be the fundamental purpose of judicial procedure: the truth. There are too many exclusionary rules of evidence which may have to do with other policy purposes but not with the attainment of substantive truth as such. A trial is often regarded as a contest between two parties, a game determined by procedural technicalities.

  6. R. H. Vaswani

    On Quezon, governance, civil society and the Philippine scene.

    Does the social contract exist in the Philippine context? What civil society has existed then and now?

    John Locke (1632-1704):
    “The Philosopher of Freedom.”
    “Good and evil, reward and punishment, are the only motives to a rational creature: these are the spur and reins whereby all mankind are set on work, and guided.” (Locke.)

    From John Locke:

    Two Treatises of Government

    “In Two Treatises of Government he has two purposes in view: to refute the doctrine of the divine and absolute right of the Monarch, as it had been put forward by Robert Filmer’s Patriarcha, and to establish a theory which would reconcile the liberty of the citizen with political order. The criticism of Filmer in the first Treatise is complete. His theory of the absolute sovereignty of Adam, and so of kings as Adam’s heirs, has lost all interest; and Locke’s argument has been only too effective: his exhaustive reply to so absurd a thesis becomes itself wearisome. Although there is little direct reference to Hobbes, Locke seems to have had Hobbes in mind when he argued that the doctrine of absolute monarchy leaves sovereign and subjects in the state of nature towards one another. The constructive doctrines which are elaborated in the second treatise became the basis of social and political philosophy for generations. Labor is the origin and justification of property; contract or consent is the ground of government and fixes its limits. Behind both doctrines lies the idea of the independence of the individual person. The state of nature knows no government; but in it, as in political society, men are subject to the moral law, which is the law of God. Men are born free and equal in rights. Whatever a man “mixes his labour with” is his to use. Or, at least, this was so in the primitive condition of human life in which there was enough for all and “the whole earth was America.” Locke sees that, when men have multiplied and land has become scarce, rules are needed beyond those which the moral law or law of nature supplies. But the origin of government is traced not to this economic necessity, but to another cause. The moral law is always valid, but it is not always kept. In the state of nature all men equally have the right to punish transgressors: civil society originates when, for the better administration of the law, men agree to delegate this function to certain officers. Thus government is instituted by a “social contract”; its powers are limited, and they involve reciprocal obligations; moreover, they can be modified or rescinded by the authority which conferred them. Locke’s theory is thus no more historical than Hobbes’s. It is a rendering of the facts of constitutional government in terms of thought, and it served its purpose as a justification of the Revolution settlement in accordance with the ideas of the time.”

    “Country Assistance Strategy (CAS)”

    “Supporting Islands of Good Governance: The World Bank Group’s Strategy for the Philippines”

    “This Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) seeks to help the government improve public institutions and services to deliver on its social contract with its citizens and thus help the country achieve the virtuous cycle noted above. Within this objective, we will aim to support recognized and replicable successes in delivering public services. The strategy applies key lessons that have emerged from our past engagement and from what we have heard through in-depth stakeholder consultations: the need for less complex and more achievable reforms and closer alignment between Bank Group support and national budget priorities. This implies a shift away from financing discrete projects toward more programmatic engagement with selected key agencies and sectors.”

    That social contract presupposes the consent of the governed.

    Final question is simple. When has the Philippines ever had a government that was formed by the consent of those who are governed? It was Quezon who once said that he would prefer to have a country run like hell by Filipinos than a country run like heaven by the Americans. Isn’t it time we had a country run by Filipinos after more than a hundred years of a country run like hell by the Americans?

  7. Karl M. Garcia

    Re: Form of government

    If JDV really wants a parliamentary cum federal government, then why is he looking on the french model he must have the Cnadian model in mind. Another self inflicted confusing point…If he really is not interested in being prime minister why is he consolidating the forces (LAKAS)is this not a preparation for a JDV parliament.

    I really want to see what will happen with this CHACHA since there still is an immovable force called the senate.With Ed Angara and Enrile who favors cha cha via con ass with the rest against . I wonder what will the great JDV move will be? Will he dare bypass senate and use the 2/3 congress vote trump card or will we sweet talk his way as always.

    On Marcos, CIA and Senator Lugar….

    Senator lugar was the one said to have told Marcos to cut it clean or something like that and the following day or so Marcos is Hawaii bound..

    I watch 24 , I saw power brokers and the way they work, they use blackmail just to get what they want.

    I see a powerful senate defense committee who even funded an assasination of a leader in Kosovo ….

    If that is really happenning in the US senate then I could see how a strongman like Marcos agree to a US senator just like that.
    Senator Lugar has been there for more than three US presidents and now I believe he declared his strong support for the GMA government. Should we be happy or should we be scared?

    CIA

    I rememeber my PhilGov instructor named John Avila he thought in DLSU but was a UP graduate…He said that president Ramon Magsaysay was a CIA agent and the CIA was the one who killed him(I just did not want to believe him)

    Conspiracy theory
    I loved the movie like the idea that the Vietnam war was a bet between Aristotle Onassis and Howard Hughes(I wonder who were the two player in the gulf war?)

    On another note……
    Re: Wage increase

    The partylist leaders are reminding the house leadership of their sweet promise of wage hikes. I should no longer wonder why. I should know by now that everything is quid pro quo or at least that’s what they will do so that the other party will shut up.
    If GMA again will make this a populist decision to appease the so called masses(or is it really only the partylist calling themselves marginalzed)For sure at the beginning she will say that the 125 wage hike will push through .

    Waht will happen? More unemployment,more closed businesses and the like so in the end another flip flopping will happen and not just flip flopping complete denial of the quid quo pro may even happen.

  8. Karl M. Garcia

    Re: Form of government

    If JDV really wants a parliamentary cum federal government, then why is he looking on the french model he must have the Cnadian model in mind. Another self inflicted confusing point…If he really is not interested in being prime minister why is he consolidating the forces Is this not a preparation for a JDV parliament.

    I really want to see what will happen with this CHACHA since there still is an immovable force called the senate.With Ed Angara and Enrile who favors cha cha via con ass with the rest against . I wonder what will the great JDV move will be? Will he dare bypass senate and use the 2/3 congress vote trump card or will we sweet talk his way as always.

    On Marcos, CIA and Senator Lugar….

    Senator lugar was the one said to have told Marcos to cut it clean or something like that and the following day or so Marcos is Hawaii bound..

    I watch 24 , I saw power brokers and the way they work, they use blackmail just to get what they want.

    I see a powerful senate defense committee who even funded an assasination of a leader in Kosovo ….

    If that is really happenning in the US senate then I could see how a strongman like Marcos agree to a US senator just like that.
    Senator Lugar has been there for more than three US presidents and now I believe he declared his strong support for the GMA government. Should we be happy or should we be scared?

    CIA

    I rememeber my PhilGov instructor named John Avila he thought in DLSU but was a UP graduate…He said that president Ramon Magsaysay was a CIA agent and the CIA was the one who killed him

    Conspiracy theory
    I loved the movie like the idea that the Vietnam war was a bet between Aristotle Onassis and Howard Hughes.I wonder who were the two player in the gulf war?

    On another note……
    Re: Wage increase

    The partylist leaders are reminding the house leadership of their sweet promise of wage hikes. I should no longer wonder why. I should know by now that everything is quid pro quo or at least that’s what they will do so that the other party will shut up.
    If GMA again will make this a populist decision to appease the so called masses. For sure at the beginning she will say that the 125 wage hike will push through .

    Waht will happen? More unemployment,more closed businesses and the like so in the end another flip flopping will happen and not just flip flopping complete denial of the quid quo pro may even happen.

  9. Karl M. Garcia

    To MLQ3…. my apologies for the doulble submission.
    I should not have viewed the error message which said an error on the parenthesis or something…so I made a boo oo in editing then resubmitting.
    That was my first time to have sent a comment and I should know by now.

  10. Karl

    Althouh my comment about the wage increase was no way related to the blog above….
    Todays Philstar news on president backtracking on the wage increase seems to prove my point. It is expected anyways

  11. Abiti da sposa

    Leggo ed imparo sul vostro luogo. grazie!

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