On March 17, 1957, President Ramon Magsaysay was killed in a plane crash, the third president to die in office.
The Philippines Free Press blog traces the trajectory of Magsaysay’s career with three articles:
Ramon Magsaysay, Man of the Year, 1951
The “dictatorship” of Ramon Magsaysay, 1955
Nestor Mata’s Story, 1957 (still active today, Nestor Mata was the lone survivor of the plane crash).
The papers report 65% of Filipinos want the President out: although the Palace ignores low survey rating of GMA. As is his wont, Newsstand dissects the survey. Significant findings, if one looks at the details: there is no consensus on how the President should go; her Visayas bailiwick is shrinking; but her upper and middle class support has grown (and those in favor of the President are more cohesive than those arrayed against her).
Remember 168, the shopping mall supposedly made possible by officially-protected smuggling? News is, Smugglers’ haven raided. After fat holiday profits have been made all around, of course.
Building owner slain in Ortigas: the fellow allegedly had a run-in with Luis “Chavit” Singson some time ago.
Newsbreak Magazine finally has its own site online. Read their cover story on the events of February 23-24: Failed rebellion, focusing on the soldiers; and the story of the administration’s response, Yes to Emergency; and that of other groups in Romancing the Military; and their report on the Sunday Standoff.
The other day, in a media forum, former National Telecommunications Commission head Josie Lichauco said she’s been trying to tell the public (in vain, it seems) that Executive Order 454, which placed the NTC directly under the supervision and control of the President of the Philippines, was dangerous. She said in the past, the NTC has been under the Office of the President only nominally, which is as it should be, since the NTC is meant to be independent.
In the same forum, I was struck by what one lady said. She was from one of our tribal minorities (Aeta, I believe). Her appeal: people in Metro Manila should hold firm about exercising their right to protest peacefully. She said that only in the National Capital Region can people expect to properly exercise their rights; the control of local officials and warlords in the provinces are so thorough that any kind of dissent there is a dangerous proposition. My own reaction was to think to myself, of course. In a provincial setting, a protester does not enjoy either safety in numbers or the relative anonymity afforded by protesting in a metropolis. (Read PinoyPress’s account of the forum, complete with recordings of some of the talks; listen in particular to Vergel Santos’ analysis -indeed, it’s brilliant.)
No wonder Fr. Romeo Intengan says Davao and Compostela Valley are danger zones for the administration: as are Batangas, Palawan, the Bicol region and the Cordilleras. So much for the claim that only Metro-Manila is hostile to the President.
In Thailand, the Nation proclaims A great victory for freedom of speech. A commentary in the same paper, Hanuman’s monkeys are coming for the PM’s heart, paints the battle against Thaksin in mythic terms:
Since February 4 the black flags of Hanuman, the Monkey God, have been flying everywhere among the troops of Sondhi Limthongkul. The media tycoon has fully assumed the role of Rama’s valiant soldier, with his supporters wearing black T-shirts sporting the picture of Hanuman. As one of the five leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy, Sondhi has launched his campaign under the slogan “We’ll Fight for the King”. He has been calling for a royally appointed prime minister to succeed Thaksin and preside over a second round of political reform.
Thaksin has been seen as the enemy of justice, virtue and democracy. He may not like it, but in this battle he has inevitably been painted as Dasakantha, the 10-headed, 10-faced and 20-handed demon. Dasakantha is a paradoxical character. In some eyes, he is bold, ruthless and fearsome. But at other times, he is a very elegant, gentle and romantic character with a sense of humour. He has flesh. He is full of life. He is very smart and very stupid at the same time.
In the punditocracy, Mindanews columnist Patricio Diaz makes what he calls disturbing observations, including what he suggests is a concentration camp being built, and the Supreme Court’s overly-relaxed attitude towards resolving crucial cases.
Amando Doronila says the country is getting closer to being a police state.
Dan Mariano explains why media has reason to be nervous:
Going by Gonzalez’s standards, Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein and their Washington Post bosses, were guilty of inciting to sedition and other crimes when they ran a series of investigative pieces on the Watergate break-in. The expose eventually led to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon – a precedent that probably has got Gonzalez et al nervous.
JB Baylon says the point is, people are still searching for answers.
Fel Maragay says the Big Push is on to “inform” the public on Constitutional changes the administration wants, and that there’s a schedule:
Based on its timetable, all the necessary Charter amendments should be approved before Congress adjourns in mid-June. The plebiscite will be held before the end of the year. The election of members of the unicameral parliamentary should be held in early 2007. And the officials of the new parliamentary government will be ready to assume office and function by the middle of 2007….
At the House of Representatives, De Venecia and company claim they have already solicited at least 150 signatures for the ChaCha resolution. But whether the required 195 signatures will be reached is uncertain because the minority bloc has launched its own signature campaign opposing ChaCha. De Venecia and his allies subscribe to the belief that once the 195 signatures are obtained for the resolution, the House can go it alone and it doesn’t matter anymore whether the senators will participate in the process. The senators, however, insist that the Senate and House should vote separately on the resolution as well as on every proposed amendment to the Constitution.
Clearly, the stalemate between the two chambers of Congress over ChaCha has become sharper. To put it more graphically, the administration is groping in the dark in pursuing this objective.
In the blogosphere, the Sassy Lawyer damns the media with faint praise, and proceeds to stuff everyone with a contrary opinion on the “Hello, Garci” tapes in four compartments:
Way I see it, every person who propagated those tapes by copying and disseminating is either 1) a part of the ploy; 2) a business opportunist who intended and/or actually made money from the tapes, directly or indirectly; 3) a political opportunist who sought visibility with the hope that with the downfall of one administration, he could hold a lucrative post in the next; or 4) simply and plainly gullible.
No exceptions, ladies and germs.
After All muses on Romulo Neri striking a discordant note with regards to the Palace Hallelujah Chorus on the strengthening peso.
New blog on the block: WWF Philippines joins the blogosphere. Bravo!
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