The papers scream about last night’s prepared statement read by Virgilio Garcellano. The Philippine Daily Inquirer: I never left RP, says Garcillano
Denies talk with Arroyo to rig 2004 poll results; the Manila Times: Garcillano clears GMA, Grants ABS-CBN interview; the Philippine Star: Garci: GMA did not cheat; the Daily Tribune: Garci surfaces, clears Gloria; Malaya newspaper: Garci: Yes, I talked with Gloria butÃ¢â‚¬Â¦; and Manila Standard-Today: Garci speaks, denies rigging Ã¢â‚¬â„¢04 elections; and the Arab News, with Missing Garci Shows Up in TV Interview, Denies Cheating for President Arroyo.
Dan Mariano in Garci: Sleepless at Sibugay explains why reporters view former Senator Kit Tatad as a reliable source, and then details what Tatad says about Garci’s hegira. The PCIJ carefully dissects Garci’s statement.
But the bete noir of Garcillano seems to be Senator Panfilo Lacson. ABS-CBN reports it thus: Garci: Lacson one of reasons for hiding, All the attention being paid to Senator Lacson reminds us once more that he is, by default, the leader of the mainstream opposition, as I suggested was already the case last June in Last Senator Standing. The Times says Grillers of Garci impatient. The Philippines Free Press blog reproduces an editorial from 1988: Wanted, A Respectable Opposition. Still true.
Read katataspulong for a bracing once-over of the current crisis: on the opposition (less vicious now than when it was in power); on the self-interest everyone posseses (he dissects the ownership of media, for example); and the future prime ministers of the country.
Constitution revision, reform, or replacement? Not even the Speaker of the House seems sure of his terminology, read JDV: 85% we will have new Charter in the Philippine Star. What’s interesting, though, is this, from the Speaker:
The entire process, he said, will probably take 30 days or more. “If the SC rules that the three-fourths vote requirement is okay, then we have a new Constitution and we will submit it to the Filipino people two months thereafter”…If moves to amend the charter by constituent assembly succeed, De Venecia said there may be a plebiscite …by the first week of May. Alternatively… Charter change proponents may launch the peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s initiative and referendum through which local government units, legislators and civil society leaders nationwide will gather to endorse proposed amendments to the Constitution with the signatures of 12 percent of the countryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s voters.
These votersÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ signatures will be verified by the Commission on Elections (Comelec), he said, then a plebiscite will be called after two months.
The referendum method, he said “is a constitutionally authorized track of initiative, especially when there is a crisis between the Senate and the House. When there is paralysis between the Senate and the House, then you have the peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s initiative and referendum …” The power of the people, he added “is the power of approval or disapproval.” …De Venecia said, “WeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ll have a parliamentary government starting June.”
So the Speaker’s let all his plans, from A to D, out of the bag (Standard-Today says: Congress thumbs down ConCon). Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ tackles what remains a thorny problem for the Speaker: do both houses of Congress tackle amendments separately, or jointly? He says both Houses can arguably treat amendments as it does laws, each house passing its version then rehashing the proposals in the bicameral conference committee. Mindanews reports Federalism favored in Visayas, Mindanao, even Manila, consultations show .
In the punditocracy, my column for today isÃ‚Â Of heroism and hubrisÃ‚Â and Billy Esposo warns, Be ready for more showbiz presidents; Jarius Bondoc writes, Weak middle class, strong rebellion, pointing to a UN study that says insurgency thrives where the middle class is vanishing; and Fel Maragay, in Power schemers after Reyes? goes into the scuttlebutt that there is a whole slew of cabinet firings and resignations due in December to January. He deals specifically with rumors Interior Sec. Angelo Reyes will be posted to Washington, D.C. (other scuttlebutt is that Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita will be relieved, as will political adviser Gabby Claudio; Mike Defensor will be made Presidential Chief of Staff while close presidential confidant Alcantara will be made Executive Secretary; some cabinet members, ranging from the Labor Secretary to the Defense Secretary, depending on who is doing the whispering, may be contemplating resigning in December, having stuck it out with the president through the worst of the crisis). Peter Wallace tackles the President’s assertion that the Economy poised for takeoff and debunks it. Former Palace press corps old hand Marichu Villanueva has no objections to the press area being moved to another location.
In the blogosphere, RG Cruz congratulates his colleagues (but Mindanao Alerts has a bone to pick over some terms used by ABS-CBN reporters). Edwin Lacierda argues the Garci tapes cannot be covered by the present anti-wiretapping law. Philippine Commentary produces an emailed article from an American reviving that hoary old chestnut that their fight in 1899-1901 (and further) was between them and the Tagalogs with some Capangpangans, but not the rest of the country. That’s the kind of thinking that wanted to separate Mindanao from the rest of the country (see my article on Mindanao and old suspicions).
My Favorite “Progressive” Blogger says the government is not her government: which necessarly leads to the question, if not, then how can someone refusing to pay allegiance to the Republic expect protection and liberties and rights guaranteed by that Republic? Anyway her entry is a clear distillation of what “national democracy” stands for. And speaking of Capitalism-hating, Go Figure explains why the Peso is strong.