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Dec 22

Judicial pickle

My column for today is Peace, and quiet.

A brouhaha over the President’s selection of Artemio Panganiban as Chief Justice hogs the headlines. The Inquirer (as well it might, since Panganiban was once upon a time, President of the Inquirer) says Appointment of Panganiban draws praise; the Daily Tribune grumbles that Puno disappointed, may opt for early retirement: Carpio, Santiago tapped for CJ post after Panganiban; ABS-CBN says Palace: Panganiban best choice;

Connie Veneracion weighs in with her view on the Chief Justice; Fel Maragay is all praises.

(It’s useless to link to the Star, because their articles’ links don’t last, but the way Max Soliven has been crowing and gloating about just how wise and wonderful the President was in following his advice to appoint Panganiban, and just how utterly swell Panganiban is, inspires me to rebaptize him Gloateus Maximus).

Shameless plug: Korina Sanchez has a special one on one interview with the new Chief Justice tonight on ANC (I help write the “weaves” for her show).

For a profile of the chief justices of yore, read the Philippines Free Press profile of Chief Justice Ramon Avanceña, circa 1939.

Other news:

Govt plans to open Naia-3 in early ’06

GMA thanks AFP for being loyal

Palace anticipates Cojuangcos’ appeal on Luisita decision

Palace: Arroyo is not afraid of Lopezes

Malacañang goes ballistic over freedom downgrade

America’s boy: Tony Abaya pulls a mean one by discussing the latest conspiracy connect-the-dots on why Uncle Sam may be out to get Mrs. Arroyo -and promptly says he’ll let in his readers on who America’s Anointed One is, after the Holidays!

The Business Mirror has an interesting editorial pointing out something we often forget:

…after the “people power revolt” at Edsa, the government of Corazon Aquino found itself staring at a real GDP growth of negative 7.31 percent the year before. What to do…?

Backed by one of the best-albeit perennially quarreling-economic teams, the Aquino administration went on a deliberate “pump-priming” strategy, authorizing the disbursement of millions of pesos for projects, especially in the countryside, that allowed vital but simple infrastructure (schools, markets, roads) to be built, creating jobs along the way.

This priming strategy, initiated by Solita Monsod, one of the best chiefs ever of the National Economic and Development Authority, went on for at least two years, enough to stimulate economic activity where it mattered and where it was most doable. It created a momentum that, mixed with new private investments and the planned use of official development assistance (ODA)-then coming out of government ears, because the restored democracy had so much international goodwill-eventually generated real GDP growth steadily climbing to 3.42 percent in 1986, 4.31 percent in 1987 and peaking at 6.75 in 1988, and then 6.21 percent in 1989. Before the Honasan-led foiled coup of late 1989 sent the economy on a tailspin to 3.04 percent.

I remember how everyone was brimming with enthusiasm at the time; and how it all came crashing down because of RAM’s failed putsch. The editorial says the government’s decided to embark on a similar policy of “pump-priming,” which sounds well and good. It offers the President great political benefits: having starved the bureaucracy for months now, a cascade of checks can only help keep people on her side.

Read John Mangun on how good governance is in a crisis here, because good governance can also be equated with economic achievement:

In personal economic terms, the drop from 55.4 in 1996 to 32.4 in 2004 means that the wealth of the Philippines has fallen dramatically. In personal terms, that means each citizen has lost US$2,300 or about P125,000 in wealth. Of course, that may not necessarily be money out of your pocket. Think of it this way. Every coral reef destroyed or every hectare of virgin forest burned down decreases the nation’s wealth and therefore your personal wealth. In the same way, a nation not following the rules destroys its wealth. It is true for the rich countries as well as for places like the Philippines .

And in a tart year-end wrap up, Ernesto Hilario asks, What if they started a revolution and nobody came? What indeed. As someone remarked over dinner last night: “in no other country but our own, would a national leader have survived such a scandal.”

A curious rant by Amirah Ali Lidasan: the problems of Muslim Filipinos seems to have everything to do with everyone except the poor leadership of Muslim leaders themselves. Not to mention the long history of Moro collaboration with the Americans Lidasan so detests.

The Philippines Free Press’s Man of the Year is Archbishop Oscar Cruz.

Slate Magazine on the benefits of sycophancy.

Will the usual holy rollers permit Brokeback Mountain to be shown in Manila?

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  1. cvj

    Abaya’s column sounds too crazy not to be true. Neocons sure have an offbeat way of spreading democracy. I just hope there’s no one in President Cheney’s cabal that is as brilliant as Ferdinand Marcos or else we’d all be toast.

  2. joey legarda

    seems like the inq. article is nanggagatong.

  3. joey legarda

    I think land reforming hacinda Luisita is not the answer & neither will it be a form of justice to the farmers.
    When it comes to agricultural activities, economics of scale is very important.
    What is the point of giving land to the farmers when the very children of farmes abandon the fields for city life.
    It’s not a surprise that Hacienda Luisita could have mismanaged causing it to fail.
    Incompitence is not a monopoly only of goverment.The private sector too has it’s share.
    Problem is as if incompitence is not enough.That there is trade lib to deal w/ also.where western countries subsidize their farmers that bury our competetivness in the sugar industry for one.
    I think, rather then landreforming Luisita.Moves must be done to save it & make it work for the farmers specialy.

  4. cvj

    It’s true that scale is important when it comes to sugar (and a lot of other agricultural products.) This is something the farmers, as the new owners, should consider when they take over. If the farmer’s children eventually leave, this would be a positive development as there is a limit to dividing up farm land. Anyway, hope for the future is traditionally found in the cities. Land Reform over here may be a success like in South Korea or Taiwan or it can go the way of Zimbabwe. This law is one of the few that government can positively implement to help in moving away from the paternalistic relations that hold back so many of our people.

  5. Karl

    I am sure some will dis agree
    but the farmers who availed of land reform ended up selling back thieir properties back

    yes UPLB sent agri and agri business experts to train farmers, but after that the farmers are on their own…

    I have a cousin in agri business who is now asking (even jokingly and out of frustration only) for my help in my contacts in the academe.. because he is so disappointed in the way things are going in agri business
    maybe it is time for a seminar about new ways..

    bout hacienda luisita
    am afraid the results would be the same
    farmers would be thought a few basic agri 101 , then left to their elements….and with the scams like fertilizer scams going around
    how can land reforming Luisita help?

    and another, how can we run full blast in bio Fuels with land reform around have everyone with small lands go into it…

    Yeah,Right!

  6. Karl

    many questioned the New chief justice as only continuing what davide has started because he only has one year to deliver an some even said he had a bad predecessor…
    Throwing all the clouds in the waste basket for the time being…

    I agree with continuity and I believe he will hopefully make use of his remaining months to have a succession plan
    for continuity and reform’s sake.

  1. Hi there

    Are you there?…

    All the darkness in the world cannot put out the smallest candle. The darker it is, more brightly shines the candle. instead of complaining about the dark search for your candle. Believe me; It exists…

  2. Hi there

    Are you there?…

    Cool….

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