The headlines tell the story:
So: Ramos blinks, and the President’s hatchet men start sharpening their knives. There you have it.
Incidentally, a colleague called me up with a hilarious account of a comment made by Fidel Ramos’s press guy on Rep. Imee Marcos. Apparently, Marcos was wondering on TV why Ramos’s press conference seemed so scatterbrained, to the point that she had to ask if perhaps the old man as going senile. Ramos’s press guy responded by asking why Imee’s mouth didn’t seem to move even when she was talking.
In other news:
Gloria and Comelec bigwigs planned fraud (Tribune)
Davide eyed as country’s United Nations delegate (Standard-Today)
In the punditocracy, My Arab News column for today is Misuari’s Fate Rests in the Hands of Manila Justice (a related story is Misuari has brief taste of freedom).
Emil Jurado sharpens his own knife versus FVR.
Tony Lopez says GMA is the best president since Marcos.
The Inquirer editorial calls the Council of State meeting ill-timed window dressing.
Jarius Bondoc has a curious column today, from which I will reproduce some lengthy extracts because the Star website doesn’t have permanent links:
Perhaps because I was the only fulltime journalist in the Consultative Commission on Constitutional Amendments, I’m the one being asked: why the hell did you guys pass that dangerous proviso in the Bill of Rights?
Huh? What proviso?
The item in question is the insertion of the phrase “the responsible exercise of” to Section 4, to read: “No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
For the life of me, I don’t know how those words got in there. I reluctantly co-chaired a style committee (in charge of spelling, grammar and syntax) and thus was tasked to review the text. I don’t remember coming across it. Yet it’s there — in the penultimate and in the final drafts that were debated on Dec. 15, the heady last plenary day. How I wish again I wasn’t outvoted in intending from the start of Con-Com to not draft a new Constitution, but to simply identify what’s wrong with the system and how amending could remedy them. The Consultative Commission was purely recommendatory anyway, with two-and-a-half months to do its work. We should not attempt to match the feat of the ’86 Constitutional Commission, also called Con-Com, which drafted a fundamental law in four-and-a-half.
So where was I when the Bill of Rights was discussed, I keep juggling my memory now? Was it when I hopped into the washroom while they feverishly were rewriting and approving provisions like a factory assembly line? Or when 20 or so of us members were plotting how to revive our beef against No-El (no election in 2007, plus term extensions of all officials to 2010), which we felt was a killer rider to our work?
What I do recall is that a Bill of Duties was presented to the floor. It spelled out the responsibility of citizens to be loyal to the republic, honor the flag, defend the state, contribute to its welfare, obey the laws, pay taxes, get a job, and so on. There was a feeble attempt to strike it down in full, but only the last was deleted. One argument remains fresh in mind, though not the name of the arguer. He forwarded the line that only a Bill of Rights is necessary in a Charter, to detail the basic liberties of little citizens against a powerful government. A Bill of Duties is something citizens can imbibe from childhood, as in a Panatang Makabayan (Patriotic Pledge), or through posters, as in “A man should stand up for his rights, but not in the middle of a street intersection.” And that is where I begin to oppose, even if belatedly, the insertion of “the responsible exercise of”.
Where did this business of rights and obligations, instead of simply rights, begin? I suspect with the Laurel Constitution of 1943. But I still have to find the full text.
A column related to the above is Ellen Tordesilla’s column, which asks why the word “truth” was deleted from the draft preamble. Then again, I have little sympathy for maintaining the original preamble which was too wordy and rather schmaltzy: like Teodoro M. Locsin, Sr., I admire the preamble to the 1935 Constitution, which Locsin compared to “the ringing of great bells or the opening of the doors of a cathedral”.
Manuel Buencamino comes out swinging for Senator Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. as a possible president for the country.
Dan Mariano muses on the death of a man during the annual Black Nazarene procession in Quiapo, and wonders why the clergy tolerate such things.
Here’s a doozy: Kit Tatad pontificating on political morality.
An article in Slate, on how the US armed forces are lowering their recruitment standards.
In the blogosphere, Rizalist comments that scientific scrutiny of Nick Faeldon’s rebel website indicates manipulation of the visitor counter! Apparently, one hit = 33 or 34 additions to the counter! Tsk, tsk.
Philippine Commentary sounds the alarm over Oliver Lozano filing yet another impeachment complaint -months before the one year ban on new filings lapses!
Big Mango provides a wrap up of what the prospects seem to be for this year.
Leon Kilat warns that singing “My Way” is potentially fatal.