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Nov 23

Garci news hits the fan

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(Philippines poised for takeoff? No, just a malfunctioning F-16. From Inq7.net.)

Almost all the papers banner the expected resurfacing of missing former Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano. The Philippine Dally Inquirer: Garcillano is back, says wife; Ex-poll exec ‘slipped’ into Palawan from Sabah. The Manila Times: Garcillano back, willing to tell all. The Daily Tribune: Garci back, wife says BUT UNDER GLORIA CUSTODY WHILE ‘TUTORED’ BY PALACE AIDES. Malaya: Garcillano is back; Ping’s boys on the hunt. The Philippine Star: Garci back, ready to tell all. ABS-CBN Interactive, which together with DZMM and ANC, broke the news yesterday, reports the fallout in the House of Representatives, which began yesterday, continues: Garci return revives House wiretap probe.
This is actually one of the best examples in recent memory, of how headlines for the same story reveal the editorial line of the papers concerned. The inquirer views it as a thrilling whodunnit; the Times and the Star, both frankly pro-administration papers, trumpet the Palace party line (“Garci” is gunna spill the beans on everyone!); the Tribune, pro-Estrada, sees it as a new chapter in a dark plot masterminded by the President; Malaya, pro-Lacson, sounds the charge for the vigilante crowd. Incidentally, the shadowy Uniffors says, We told you so:

Like the famous Watergate break-in, the Hello Garci cover-up is worse than the crime that was originally committed. It perverted our law-enforcement system, from the Justice Department and the NBI all the way to the DFA and the Immigration Bureau. It debased our law-makers even more with millions in bribes to kill the impeachment complaint. It continues to divide the country. It has caused immeasurable damage to the country’s morals, morale and reputation.

Read Philippine Commentary’s take on the development.

Anywho, government workers have been assured of their 13th month pay.

Parliamentary notes. So much for parliamentary government fostering party loyalty. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon leaves the Likud Party, forms his own, and seems set to win elections -and a new term as PM- next year. So much for parliamentary government resulting in the swift replacement of governments. After months of bickering, Germany has its first female Chancellor, stuck with a “Grand Coalition.”

In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is The Untold Influence of Ex-Presidents in the Post-Marcos Era.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial is titled Final Solution, denouncing the systematic murder of Communists (for more, read Dan Mariano’s column). This reminds me of a commentary by Ralf Dahrendorf on the three pillars of a liberal democratic order (the first: democracies must not tolerate those who set out to destroy democracy, an idea Dean Jorge Bocobo would heartily agree with; the second is authentic rule of law; the third, a vibrant civil society).

Carmen Guerrero Nakpil tackles the present crisis from the point of view of linguistics (speaking of language, Greg Macabenta suggests some sort of peace corps solution to the disappearance of English in the Philippines). Jarius Bondoc tackles the Pork Barrel and strongly hints Justice Reynato Puno will be the next Chief Justice. Amando Doronila tackles the Citizen’s Congress and judges it as having usurped state functions.

Ellen Tordesillas reviews a new book on journalism ethics by one of my favorite columnists, Vergel Santos (who writes for Business World which has locked away its online content for op-ed, alas). She summarizes Santos’s advice for people dealing with the media.

Marichu Villanueva mourns the lost chance of the Philippines to have a Disneyland. Ambeth Ocampo writes about a Catholic priest active in the Philippine Revolution. Jojo Robles says the arrival of Vietnam’s team for the SEA Games tomorrow indicates a show down with the team leader is nigh (his paper had an exclusive regarding a statement by the head of the Vietnamese Olympic Committee, that the games in Manila will be rigged). Ting Tiongco reminisces about studying in UP Manila in the late 1960s (and meeting his first feminist).

Finally, last Sunday’s column by Randy David reminds me of the points I raised in my pieces in ; David argues now, what I’ve been saying all along: the President is leading a rear-guard action to save a system that’s failing (the larger thesis is in my essay, Circle to Circle).

The blogosphere has Jove Francisco reporting on an unusual (though perhaps expected) modification to the Palace: the elimination of the Mabini Gate (formerly known as Gate 7). The gate was the attacked on May 1, 2001. It has been basically closed since (among other reasons, because the gate was considered to have bad Feng Shui). Incidentally, apparently my official history of the Palace is available on line.

2nd link to Philippine Commentary: his eloquent defense of the War on Terror (my mixed feelings on that war have to do with Dubya and his Deputy President, Cheney, and their views on an absolutist control over America abroad). Accompanying reading comes from Belmont Club’s dissection of Australian intelligence and low-intensity conflict as a necessary adjunct of the war.

PCIJ inaugurates its podcasts with a podcast on the “Hello, Garci” tapes and another podcast, on how Filipinos are born mimics.

Big Mango continues his series dissecting the Philippines’ Medium Term Development Plan. ExpectoRANTS is miffed with those dispensing “the truth”; Another Hundred Years Hence bats for the integration of ticketing for the various light rail lines in Metro Manila (a colleague claims there are I Love the MRT websites, but I haven’t found them).

Kottke.org has been touring South East Asia and reports Thais don’t like Tuk-tuks (their version of the jeepney). They tolerate them because tourists like them, that’s it.

The Daily Nightly mourns the death of Hugh Sidey, who covered every US president from Eisenhower to Dubya.

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