As the news reports, Congress resumes session today, and the priorities of the House, at least, is clear and must be accomplished very soon: abolish the present Congress by July. The new Constitution, after all, is ready (compare the new with the present Charter, courtesy of the PCIJ); the ruling party has seven specific revisions in mind. With the ruling party all revved up to steamroll its way to a New Order, the President wins, whatever happens. If the new Constitution is approved by July, impeachment becomes academic; if the effort is defeated, her allies would still have been placated, there would have been oodles of opportunities to dispense patronage (for the campaign for Charter change), the public would have been kept busy and distracted by debates and the referendum, and the President would still be in office until 2010.
Journalists (and bloggers) Jove Francisco and RG Cruz wrote remarkable coverage of the Lakas directorate meeting in the presidential palace. Jove’s coverage, in particular, reflects his development into being a professional media blogger as well asd TV journalist, what with his attempt to poke around the meeting in his capacity as a blogger. RG Cruz, too, managed to convey the atmosphere both among the politicos as well as the media covering them, quite well. His views on who gained the most from the meeting, reflects the sport du jour in the papers today, as the headlines telegraph it:
The consensus on the Lakas meeting seems to be, Lakas turns down Ramos ultimatum (Manila Times) although the other view is FVR seen as winner in Lakas “struggle” (Malaya).
As for the former president, the consensus also seems to be: FVR backtracks before leaving (Standard-Today) or put another way, Ramos now says he’s flexible on Arroyo term limit (Inquirer).
Gloria forms “brat packs” against new destab threat (Daily Tribune), which the Manila Times echoes in President creates “brat pack” : the purpose of these articles is to point out who’s in or out in the present dispensation:
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Arroyo’s brother, Diosdado Macapagal will work together in addressing the political issue and will be assisted by outgoing Environment Secretary Mike Defensor, Rep. Ronaldo Puno of Antipolo City and Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez.
Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz will head the second group and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales would take charge of the security aspect along with Armed Forces Chief of Staff Generoso Senga and the Philippine National Police chief, Director General Arturo Lomibao.
The economic concerns will be the area of Trade Secretary Peter Favila’s group.
In the punditocracy, my column for today (the first in a series) is Behind our Constitutions, past and present. Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ tackles The future of Charter change, while yesterday Randy David insisted on the necessity of Protecting the Constitution from politicians (Solita Monsod a few days ago pointed out that there’s the Same public opinion on parliamentary system -meaning, negative). Jarius Bondoc asks, should seven senators be able to derail charter change? Silly question. Of course! The Constitution was designed that way, and it’s precisely why we have a Senate: to prevent Lakas-style stampedes. The senators are correct when they say, Senators to Arroyo: Don’t dictate to us; Joker: Senate won’t write own obituary.
Other pundits, however, focused on the Twilight of Fidel V. Ramos: Jojo Robles gleefully observes that Hurricane Fidel blows over; while Dan Mariano talks about self-preservation; Conrado de Quiros denounces Ramos and says his party is indulging in mob rule; the Inquirer editorial tartly described the Lakas meeting at the Palace a “coronation,” saying it was in Awful taste.
Other views: Fel Maragay on the selling-off of sequestered TV stations; John Mangun on ending corruption; Ernesto Hilario on cleaning up the courts; David Llorito cheekily asks if wiretapping should be legalized.
Other tid-bits: Smithsonian launches Fil Am Centennial, and a controversial macaroni and cheese recipe in the New York Times.
Cartoon below by Philip Gilmore (at Uniffors):
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