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Feb 13

Obnoxious reality

My column for today is Obnoxious reality, which refers to the dangers inherent in the President’s Executive Order 464. My column also mentions assertions by President Elpidio Quirino in the late 1940’s that he retained emergency powers enacted on the eve of World War II. The issue was discussed by the late Teodoro M. Locsin in Emergency Powers, an article in the Philippines Free Press from 1949. What’s curious is why the Supreme Court seems to be dragging things out. There’s a report that Senate President Drilon presses hold-order for EO 464 (see also Senate to Palace: Scrap EO 464 and Palace conditions on EO 464 rejected). Not everyone is sympathetic about the Senate’s problems, of course: Efren Danao, for one, suggests it’s tit for tat. Edwin Lacierda, on the other hand, is upset the Senate seems to have gone to the dogs.

Last night rumors of a coup attempt again disturbed journalists, but obviously, nothing happened. News like Fitch’s improving the ratings for the Philippines (that leaves Moody’s as the sole spoilsport), possibly serves to keep derailing putschist plots. Interesting too is Credit Suisse saying Charter change seen crucial to ratings upgrade. Apropos of charter change, Dan Mariano in his column warns that charter change is probable, because all politics is local:

Thus, when mayors and governors — along with their councilors, board members and village leaders — say that the time has come to rewrite the 1987 Constitution, the lawmakers and executives in Manila must sit up and listen. It is not even important that the local officials are speaking truthfully when they claim that the sentiment for Charter change (Cha-cha) in their areas is growing. It is enough that they say so…

Those who oppose constitutional amendments would be foolish to ignore the local governments that have made common cause with and in revising the Constitution. National politicians who dismiss the bid of, say, the Union of Local Authorities of the Philippines (ULAP) to get Cha-cha deliberations going via people’s initiative are setting themselves up for a rude awakening.

Mariano is of a similar opinion to one congressman (who is against Cha-Cha) who said it was wrong to think the argument that the House could outvote the Senate on amendments was an interpretation that wouldn’t fly. Still, Fr. Joaquin Bernas reiterates his opinion that the argument can’t fly. Whether it’s clearing the decks for action, or arrainging deck chairs on the Titanic, the House is rousing itself to move: House posts shuffled: 5 leaders ousted in major revamp. Oh, and Random Jottings has a maliciously funny column on the “French Model” for parliament.

Yet another Palace trial balloon: Palace wants Erap freed, says the Manila Standard-Today; from the opposite side of the political divide is the Daily Tribune’s GMA mulls temporary freedom for Estrada.

An Inq7.net Infotech report focuses on GILAS, an ambitious project to have all 5,500 Philippine public high schools connected to the internet by 2010. World Famous in the Philippines has more on this laudable -and essential- undertaking.

Other news:

Arroyo certifies ecozone bills “urgent“: the privileges granted Subic, it seems, by Supreme Court fiat, can’t be extended to other places like Clark; this imperils foreign investments, so Congress has to pass a remedial law.

Jollibee scouts for new buys in China , India this year

Jojo Robles on the retreat of Philippine Airlines from the Middle East, and a critique of the aggressive expansion of Middle Eastern airlines.

Opposition “careful” in new impeach raps, says Escudero

In the blogosphere, let’s start by asking, what’s the hubbub, bub? In case you were wondering what’s gotten Yuga and CaT’s goat, it seems it’s whoever is behind Pinoy Blog Press, and a galaxy of other sites, including Pinoy Spy, Pinoy Big Brother Exposed!, Filipino Sex, and Da Pilipin Daily Oinkquirer. Read Yuga and CaT’s entries, then follow through on the links to see what they mean. Sassy Lawyer’s conclusion is tart and damning: the guy’s too frustrated. Manuel Viloria (one of the first bloggers I came to respect online) has a sober but devastating analysis, too. I’ve linked to the fellow, because wile I agree with the points raised by Yuga et al., I do think you have to link to the sites you decide to write about and object to.

The Unlawyer on a curious freebie: WiFi access in a barbershop. ExpectoRants muses on the evolution of love. Pulsar recounts a close call with fate. Eche… blah… blah…. recounts ten pet peeve persons justifying a Knuckle Sandwich with Cheese Pimiento and also has a part 2 to wrap up the list.

Concerns of a bystander reprints a thought-provoking essay by the late Renato Constantino on the meaning of dissent.

Mediashift on how advertising for podcasts is being auctioned off on eBay: a threat to ad agencies, one day?

Remarkable new website: Flags and symbols of the Royal Sultanate of Sulu.

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11 comments

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  1. Nick Nichols

    Manolo you’re aboslutely right about linking to Pinoy Blog Press et al. By refusing to link, Yuga and Sassy, bless their hearts, kicked the legs right out from under their own opinions by blinding us to the source of the hubbub.

  2. joey

    Manolo, I guess for you only the bicameral system has a check & balance system.
    Is it like saying that the Parlamentary system has no checks & balance & therefore it’s not good for the country?
    I’m obviously not as well read as you in the mechanisims & their roles in a democratic proces.
    I’m certainly not aware of all the theories & supposed to be of how the systems must work.
    I make my judgments from what I see & from results.
    It seems to me the legitimacy issue on PGMA has been created not because those interested in her post sincerly want to do great things for this country.
    PGMA is not clean just as those wanting her position are not any cleaner then she is.
    It’s really more about thieves quarelling among themselves.
    I agree w/ you Manolo. PGMA has afirmed her power once again over the Senate.
    The Senators just like hungry lions will surely not take it lightly & will be more vicious.
    Manolo, pls. help me to understand how a Senate lead by Drilon who is basicaly a loser since he miscalculated his move last year.
    Manolo, lets face it. We do not have a Senate of Statesman.
    Although they are nationaly elected.It also boils down to having LOTS of money.How can you explain certain charcters in the Senate?
    What has the Senate really done? The endless “witch hunts in aid of legislations”.What results have they given us?
    I’m sure they have provided lots of excitment, entertainment,grandstanding & ruining reputations.Other then that what else is new?
    I think 464 is a good diterent that those accusing better have proof & are not just witch hunting.
    Every stupid selfish moves brings down our economy.
    Let’s face it.Our politics is dirty.It thrives on confussion & illussions.
    If we are really serious of wanting a better world I find it strange that we in a way defend those who use the system for their own agendas.

  3. The Ca t

    Manolo,
    He erased/revised all his original entries.

    His comment in yuga’s blog however, is an admission
    of his “crime”.

    I haven’t checked if he is still splogging Sassy’s
    recipe book.

    His justification of his adhominems is sense of humor.
    Twisted sense of humor!!!

    We did not link him because that is actually his objective.
    To have blog wars that will make his “network popular.

    Now, as Sassy has said, he impresses that he is the victim.
    Wawa naman.

  4. mlq3

    CaT, we’re all writers and we know what we write can either gain us good will or lose it. I don’t think you, yuga, sassy, or anyone has anything to fear from that fellow -give him the attention he wants, but that doesn’t mean he will gain the readership he desires. I’m glad you guys are documenting all his antics.

  5. Geo

    mlq3,

    You are defending the status quo of a failed political system, especially the most unproductive Senate in the Philippines (and the world’s?) history. Really? Pretty arch-conservative of you, no?

    Those who think the country can benefit by eliminating the Senate also want to eliminate the Presidency. They are not defenders of the presidential office; they also think that it is much too personality and big money oriented. Both the goose and the gander should be cooked, eaten and buried in the sands of time.

    “Checks and balances” between rotating members of a centralized elite which has produced diminishing returns for the nation’s population…is a good thing? Decentralizing power, greatly reducing the costs of running for office, and making politicians intrinsically accountable to both their party (and its platform) and their local electorate…is a bad thing?

    The arguments you have repeatedly used almost always revolve around the notion that the President surely cheated her way into office. Any impartial observer would point out that there is no solid evidence which supports your contention (which you have admitted). I suggest that you strip away your contention from the rest of your arguments and see what these arguments look like on their own merits.

    It seems that your hatred for this President has disabled your ability to rationally search for a systematic solution to the ills which have existed since long before GMA ever hit the political scene. Gloria didn’t invent any of this mess…and she is arguably doing a solid job in lifting the country out of it by changing the economic and political dynamics which are at the root of the problem.

    Meanwhile, the Senators certainly need to find something to aid them in legislation. How about some hard work for the common good — maybe that would help them actually legislate? At a cost of P12 billion per month (or is it more now?), how much more “aid” do they need to pass more than the 5 laws they passed last year?

    Look — if you were working from dawn to dusk to balance your own budget and your free-spending wife just nagged at you incessantly…would you give her the EO464, too?

  6. cvj

    Capitalists see the web as just an extension of free enterprise with its push for ‘e-business’, ‘e-commerce’ and the like. The web’s original creators see more – a means for self-expression and productive exchange, an emerging gift economy where Marx’s ideal of ‘from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs’ will eventually be realized…

  7. Gerry Bhoy

    For a change, a post that’s statemanly.

    They say the writers write best when they’re frustrated.

    Happy V. Day, Manolo

    Yours,

    Gerry Bhoy
    Webmastah of PBP (the soon to be closed blog, thank you)

  8. Karl

    happy Valentines to all icluding you mr webmastah….

    Going now to EO 464

    The fertilizer inquiry was a noble move by sen jun Magsaysay…..as to the defense committee which is closer to my veins(literally)…I wish the good senator and the rest of his advisers (dad icluded)the best of luck!All I can give is moral support!

  9. mlq3

    Geo, the vestibule of Hell in the Divine Comedy was reserved for the undecided, for neutrals, and opportunists. From there, it is nine circles of damnation culminating in those who are traitors to their kin, cause, party, or country.

    It would not matter to me if the Senate didn’t pass a single law in a single year, if the laws were uncalled for, or if it filed ten thousand bills on ten thousand trivial subjects as the House by nature, does.

    Your characterization of those seeking to eliminate both presidency and senate would be fine, if only it were related to what those actually plotting to do will actually establish: an executive with far greater power, far less limitations, and no basis for its legitimacy beyond whatever is needed to elect one piddling local representative possessing the funds and guile to become prime minister -in a parliamentary system that owes more to Mussolini’s Italy and Hitler’s Germany than any genuinely democratic parliamentary system you can imagine. Read the proposals from the House. That is what will happen, because there will be no debate. It is the system you consider failed and flawed, the much more reprehensible system being proposed by the President and her lackeys, or a period of confusion and violence when the failed system you dislike is overthrown as a last measure to prevent the institutionalization of the Lakas-CMD blueprint for a one-party state.

    The elite you despise will not go away, at least not if the ruling party has its way, and it is all set to have its way preciselyt because it is playing the local versus the national, in order to eliminate the national characteristics of our politics and restore a kind of hacienda-centric rule in its place.

    In the end, I do not believe this is a time for impartiality. The President and her people have pushed things to the point that one must decide for or against her, and act accordingly. In my book, the neutral are really partisans of the President, will be responsible for what she and her people undertake, but will not even deign to disclose that.

    The obnoxiousness of this government can be measured by the fact that it is making the Communists and the Estrada loyalists seem like not so terrible people, in comparison to the government. In many ways, it is just like the time of Marcos, who kept pushing things forward, and forward, until he was a dictator and people had to recover their sense of what mattered and finally kick him out. The same arguments to defend Marcos are being made to defend Arroyo now.

    There is no justification at all for EO 464. Absolutely none. Not once has this President submitted a budget when she ought to, during the State of the Nation address. And in the end, with all their flaws, and there are many, if all that stands in the way between this President and her people instituting their brand of Charter change which is no change at all, then the Senate must be embraced as the last bulwark of democracy. Because it is. Just as it was against Marcos. People clapped then, when Marcos closed Senate and House down. I’m sure people would do so again. But it got them where it got them -where we are.

  10. Jon Mariano

    We(bloggers) might not agree on all issues, but there will come a time when all must make a stand. As have been pointed out many times, blogging helps us mold our opinions and I’m confident those opinions will lead to actions. It will not be surprising to find ourselves on the same side of the fence, with others also on the opposite. So far, we’re just using words in our duels. I hope it stays at that.

  11. joey

    Manolo, seems like your concept of “ploting” is one sided.how about those who “ploted” to discredit the exsecutive?
    how about those who continously “plot” to bring down our institutions.
    how about those who want to see results from senators of finaly doing something for the country & show some Statesmanship?
    manolo, i know very well that you are a great lover of the checks & balance system.
    in this country checks & balance is just another word for “gridlock”
    who checkes those who check & balance?
    how is it possible that the power of 24 or less senators determine the direction of this country?
    when we all very well know that firstly, they are anything but statesman!
    when we all know that politics in this country is first of all determind by personal interest!
    we are at a crossroads of our history.
    defending the status quo is not showing strenght.
    infact, it’s even disturbing.
    because it’s equivalent to defending people who have become experts in making the system work for them & their interest.
    the issue of changing to a parlamentary system also economics. it’s about making our country more responsive to the times.
    manolo, defending the staus quo is like condeming our nation to leave in gridlock & non development not to mention to carry the weight of a rutten political culture!
    i would not gamble in a system that is soffocating us.
    the parlamentary system is giving us an alternative.unless it is us & so many individuals just thinking of the politics of it all as if politics will determine the life & death of a person.
    we all very well know that the good comes w/ the bad.
    we all know every system has it’s imperfection.it’s even futher magnified in our culture due to many hang ups & our distoted cultural ways.
    if we want to move on, we have to think of what we can gain as a nation.
    we can’t be forever highlighting all that is negative & judmental.
    i would like to beleave that even in the world of blogging. we must continue to communicate positive values & clear unioversal ideas.
    don’t we all like a better world?
    then what are we doing to deserve it?

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