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Nov 17

Garci, front and center

There’s a full page ad in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (p.17) today in which Senator Panfilo Lacson and Bro. Eddie Villanueva revisit the disappearance of former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. The Senate resumes its hearings on the “Hello, Garci” tapes today. The Palace replies in the Philippine Star with a dare: let the opposition and the Senate produce Garcillano. Columnist Dong Puno points out that the issue simply can’t be wished away. Add to this a recent report in ABS-CBN Interactive, in which National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said only Garcillano can provide real closure:

Gonzales, who reported back to work Tuesday after taking a medical leave for nearly a month due to a stroke suffered from the Senate’s intense questioning of his role over the Venable LLP deal, also said that if Garcillano decides to surface and tell the “truth,” the political bickering should stop. He said the government should then focus on more important matters such as reforming the poll body.

If Garcillano decides to surface? One is tempted to think, something is up. Or, are the Palace and the Senate simply second-guessing each other?

Apropos of the controversial tapes, the impending 5-committee report of the House, which slams both the Palace and opposition, is reported by the Inquirer as resulting in a Palace effort to scuttle the report.

A rather titillating but possibly essentially pointless story is trumpeted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as a Special Report:

…President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was reportedly contemplating an exit scenario involving resignation or filing a leave of absence, as well as power-sharing with the opposition, “creeping governance” and a possible “revolt within.”

The President’s supposed state of mind is reflected in the marginal notes on a “political security situationer” prepared by her security advisers and titled “New Threats to Philippine Democracy.” The paper marked “confidential” and dated Sept. 9 is believed to have been presented to the Cabinet in a briefing on Oct. 5.

“It’s clear from the annotations … that for all the signs of madness, she has a clear idea of the situation she’s in,” said former senator Francisco Tatad, who furnished the Inquirer a copy of the document containing the marginal notes.

The problem is, the notes are not in the President’s handwriting, and all we have is the assurance from Tatad (chief propagandist of Ferdinand Marcos before and during the early years of the dictatorship, after all) that the notes must have come from someone close to the President. As a rough guide to how the Palace may be thinking, if genuine, the notes may be useful, and even instructive. But so many caveats make it difficult to consider the report hard news (it would be fine, though, for example in a opinion column or in this blog, labeled as “scuttlebutt.”). Another news of the neither news nor really scuttlebutt kind is the Daily Tribune’s saying the transfer of the Philippine Ambassador to China from his China post to a lower-ranking one in Washington, D.C. may or may not be due to former President Ramos.

Former Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman says I’m sorry for helping the President in the elections. Read RG Cruz’s account.

There’s a curious controversy involving sports (the 23rd Southeast Asian Games to be hosted by the Philippines, to be exact), with the Manila Standard-Today reporting two things: a Vietnamese sports official supposedly claiming the games will be rigged, and basketball has apparently been eliminated from the games.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is Politics most foul. In La Vida Lawyer, there’s the beginning of an interesting series on the Bonifacio trial (the subject, too, of my column).

Alex Magno takes the MacArthur approach and says that in fighting the Abu Sayyaf, there is no substitute for victory. Fel Maragay considers a proposal made by the Justice Secretary: to amend the Constitution through a people’s initiative (as attempted during the Ramos years), after previously considering a tactic adopted by Ferdinand Marcos to prevent the defeat of the ratification of the 1973 Constitution. Instead of a formal plebiscite, Marcos convened “village assemblies” where people, under the supervision of the military, simply resorted to raising their hands to indicate support for the new charter (the joke at the time was, the soldiers would ask, “who wants fried chicken?” Enthusiastic response, credited to ratification. Then the soldiers would ask, “who wants noodles?” The less-than-enthusiastic response after mentioning fried chicken was credited to non-ratification).

Tony Abaya continues his series on why Communism remains a threat in the Philippines, and blames it to American influence on Philippine media, and the resulting infiltration of media by Communists. Geronimo Sy dwells on the presidency. (As always, for the other side of the coin, consult My Favorite “Progressive” Blogger, who opposes charter change. I can imagine Abaya’s reply: “Ah, rifles from North Korea, Si. But factories and jobs owned by Americans or other foreigners, No?”)

In the blogosphere, Philippine Commentary kindly pays attention to the launching of Open Source Media, of which I am a part (another Filipino blogger is Belmont Club, while Philippine-American conservative commentator Michelle Malkin represents, well, Republican Commentators of Pacific Islander ancestry). Belmont Club attended the launch and blogged about it. Wish I could have been there. BuzzMachine is puzzled by the whole endeavor, though. Here’s what the CEO of Open Source Media, Roger L. Simon, says about the aftermath of the event: ’twas a smashing success, apparently with much clinking of Martini glasses.

Ricky Carandang tackles the emergence of Rep. Prospero Pichay as a serious contender for the Speakership, and says two months ago, he was wrong to think that Rep. Ronnie Puno was the Palace’s candidate (this reminds me of some conversations I’ve had on the subject: “What, Ronnie Puno a GMA loyalist? No way. He’s an FVR loyalist,” harrumphed one colleague; another sniffed, “What? An FVR loyalist? Puno is a Puno loyalist.”)

And before I comment on the rape case and the Visiting Forces Agreement (that’s coming up in a podcast), read this article from the Philippines Free Press, circa 1946: “Filipinos keep out.” Read it. Now. It explains a lot.

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  1. acidboy

    mlq3,
    i posted this observation in dawin’s blog:

    in today’s inq article on dinky’s statement, i read the following:

    “former vice president teofisto guingona, head of the ccta 15-member presidium, praised soliman for speaking out about her ‘unwitting cooperation’ in the ‘grand desing’ to make ms arroyo win the 2004 elections.” p.a21

    so to make a long story short, diba tito guingona has several times in the past stated that he being “judge” in the “people’s court” will mean he is IMPARTIAL? he even ridiculed the notion that he will be biased diba?

    mr lacierda mentioned that it is a case of what you would call “lapsus senilus.” hahaha!

  2. DJB

    It is inconceivable to me that Garci will not make some kind of contact with his family this coming Christmas. I’ve been trying to imagine what it would be like to be Garci right now, after six months in hiding. Has he lost weight? Is his morale high? What medicine does he take for the various ailments that men of his age and experience [sic!] are prey to? What does he eat? Does he see the sky. Is he inside all the time? Who washes his clothes? Who pays for his family’s sustenance? Why arent the media hounding them like they should be!? The whole country is going to hell and we play along with this charade? Personally I believe he is in the Philippines, probably hiding under GMA’s bed where the Palace can stuff a sock down his throat if he even yawns. But I think it would be interesting for people to start thinking about how we, as citizens might actually catch him. By figuring out where he has to be, what he will do this Christmas. Maybe people should really start putting pressure on his relatives, friends, anyone who might have anything to do with him now. I bet you the power of citizens galvanized to look for him, I mean really look for him, could flush the little rat out of his hiding hole.

  3. DJB

    I think that political parties, NGOs and private individuals should design and start printing millions of copies of a standardized WANTED POSTER for Garcillano, and that such a thing should be reproduced on cartons, shopping bags, billboards, and plastered endlessly on people’s cars and homes, made ubiquitous throughout the land.

    As a symbol that we may be POOR and PATIENT but we are not stupid.

  4. joselu

    on the contrary, sometimes we really may be stupid when we do not have our praiorities in the right places. when we must be more concerned of improving our economy & attracting more investments that in turn can generate jobs.insted we want to be stuck in things that satisfy more our curiosity. i can hardly beleave that a not stupid person will give more importance to matters that do not have a direct effect to his betterment in life.
    sadly we are just fanaticaly obsessed w/ politics.politics excites us while hard work turns as of.
    i think that garci is almost better off absent from society.there is nothing he can do anyway from minds that are made up.i don’t think he will cherish the thought of being fested over.
    why not insted go for the people who did it & how they did it.but will the characters who did it ever come out in the open to admit to an illegal act? so if no one will ever admit doing the tapes so what is the point in persecuiting the alleged persons in the tape? normaly an investigation starts from the roots and not anywhere else.that is if you really wanna know the truth.

  5. mlq3

    acid, i also mentioned the term “lapsus senilis” on Dong Puno live, because the ex-veep muddled the whole thing by saying it was a “people’s court.” What a mess.

    DJB: The B&W Movement has a Wanted Poster for Garci. The problem people have had is raising funds for poster and flyer printing.

  6. joselu

    anyway, manolo, since this won’t get published anyway, why will people give money for garci wanted posters.only the ones who want to bring down the administration have the money for that.money is hard now a days.leave the people alone na lang to use their money & time to deal w/ life.

  7. Carl

    And as for Dinky Soliman’s crocodile tears, she should be reminded what others said about her former boss when she said “I am sorry”. There has to be retribution. As one columnist said, the Nuremberg principle must be adapted here.

  8. Gray

    the question is what kind of a relationship garcilliano has with the president. because if their relationship isnt one where he is as close enough for her to coddle, then he might already have been, well, “taken care of”. they were both businessmen, and they had a business deal. what to do when one no longer needs the other? someone could have well stuffed that sock in his mouth already, stifling more than just his yawns.

    his family’s silence is creepy though. but then again, this is all speculation

  9. mlq3

    Carl, the Nuremberg principle is fine and dandy but it required Hitler committing suicide and the defeat of Nazism first.

  10. mlq3

    Gray, true. Everyone’s been looking to the family for clues. No dice. Then again, perhaps to the credit of the President, she doesn’t feel she has to do to people what Marcos did to, say, people like Primitivo Mijares.

  11. a de brux

    MLQ3,

    Who is/was Primitivo Mijares?

    Thanks.

  12. Carl

    mlq3, I didn’t mean it literally. But the principle applies wherein Dinky Soliman is just as guilty as the former boss she accuses of wrongdoing. Saying she was just following orders, or that she was deluded into doing so, is not adequate. Should her boss be found guilty, Dinky Soliman should be proclaimed just as guilty, with the corresponding retribution.

  13. ricelander

    I agree with DJB, let’s bear down on the family, friends, and relatives of Garci. Then GMA will have trouble hiding them too and feeding them he he.

  14. joselu

    i disagree ricelander, in getting to the bottom of things lets not also look like a disperate mob. if someone was not fair & respectful, we must not do the same or we won’t be any different from those we are accusing.
    personaly, let the garci thing slide. it was a corrupted act from the start that is so muddled up now.my point is if until today we do not know who did it & under whoes orders & i doubt if anyone will ever step forward to admit to an illegal act.garci, will forever be in hell wheather he appears or not.
    personaly, his not worth the attention.
    it’s better that we work on plugging the lopholes that has caused this disaster.

  15. Jojo

    Hi Manolo: A slight correction if you don’t mind. The best paired response to your favorite “progresssive” (sic — the more appropriate term is “Stalinist”; it’s not communist in the Marxian sense, but appropriate for the kind of politics she prefers) blogger may not be the antiquated Antonio Abaya (the more I read him, the more I realize he has stopped reading since he broke ties with his leftist past). The apt yin to your “progressive” (sic) blogger’s yang is Alex Magno. Both represent fascinating political extremes (or extremities, if you are impish about it), which claim to represent “the people” and, in public, draw black-and-white-portraits of people, movements and life in general. In reality, however, both do not hesitate to engage in backroom deals: witness the Tienamien-admirer Crispin Beltran marching kapit-bisig with the Cory Aquino of the landed elite and Ping Lacson of the Kuratong Baleleng-PMA Class of 1971 fame. Note also how Alex Magno waxes about the free market even as he enjoys a sinecure at the state-owned Development Bank of the Philippines.

    Sigh….Life’s complexities forced to be made simple by ideological dogmatism.

  16. jonas

    joselu
    #4 – Why do you call people who want to know what truth is stupid? Are you one of those who are afraid that if Garcillano is found the secrets of Gloria will be revealed? Don’t worry about the economy and investments there are people and institutions that handle those. First, we have to make sure that we don’t have an impostor as a leader. Having a fake and a squatter in Malacanang will not improve our life. Having one who leads a syndicate as a leader will not better our lives. You are wrong – the search for Garcillano is not a product of satisfying one’s curiosity. It is actually the desire of the people to know whether they were duped or not in the last elections. The people wants to know whether or not the one in Malacanang is a cheat and a liar. Actually, it is those who swallow hook, line and sinker everything the government tells them are the ones stupid.

    What’s “fanatically obsessed with politics” are you talking about? Is finding one who is guilty of cheating and lying and stealing elections “fanatically obsessed”? I don’t think so.

    It is very obvious that you are afraid of the bad news Garci will bring once found. It is very obvious that you fear the likelihood of Gloria’s doom once Garci resurfaced and tells all. And that’s the reason why you don’t want people to look for Garci anymore.

    Since you already know that the guilty ones will not come out in the open and admit their crime why are you still suggesting them to come out in the open? That’s a waste time. Might as well look for Garci than to waste time.

  17. Arma

    Stupore! ho una sensibilità molto buona circa il vostro luogo!!!!

  1. rg cruz » The Resurgence of Hello Garci

    […] Before Mrs. Garci came out, Manolo said the stage was being set up for something. Lets recall the rhetoric back then: […]

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