In Thailand, the Nation tackles yesterday’s snap elections and looks at Post-election, Thaksin’s grand exit and entry strategies. The paper also asks a relevant question: Do we allow a leader to use the democratic process to destroy the democratic process itself?
Constitutional change remains the first order of business, and it will remain so until the plebiscite in June. The Commission on Elections is happy to be chugging along on the amendments railroad. The headlines tell the story of a defiant Comelec which is possibly daring to do so because the Palace is behind it all the way:
Govt to defend Comelec on ChaCha (Manila Standard-Today)
GMA orders Solgen to save Comelec from contempt raps (Daily Tribune)
Meanwhile, Mayors told: Do an Atienza, dance to tune of the Cha-cha. But bikoy,net says there are pockets of opposition:
In our town in Bulacan, where the administration is not very popular, our barangay leaders have received papers and propaganda materials for the signature campaign to change the constitution but are unwilling to open the packages up for distribution even if DILG officials are expected to observe the baranggay assembly on Wednesday.
An interesting article is in the Manila Standard-Today: 72 lawmakers fail to stop ChaCha train. The language here is very interesting:
Lambino declared as successful the signature campaign through the people’s initiative in the districts of those who vigorously opposed the process such as House Minority Leader Francis Escudero of Sorsogon, Deputy Minority Leaders Alan Peter Cayetano of Taguig-Pateros, Gilbert Remulla of Cavite and Roilo Golez of Parañaque, Senior Deputy Minority Leader Rolex Suplico of Iloilo, Reps. Jacinto Paras of Negros Occidental, Darlene Antonino-Custodio of South Cotabato and General Santos City, Rodolfo Plaza of Agusan del Sur and Imee Marcos of Ilocos Norte, Teofisto Guingona III of Bukidnon, Rozzano Rufino Biazon, Benigno Aquino III of Tarlac and J.R. Nereus Acosta, among others.
“The overwhelming support from even the opposition bailiwicks despite the noise made by the 21 senators and 51 congressmen only shows that majority of our people expressed the people power through their signatures,” Lambino said.
But what did Lambino really say? Victory has been achieved -but victory is 3% in the various districts, particularly opposition districts. That wasn’t a victory; it was a probability. In every district you will find at least 3% willing to support something; what would have been a political upset would be large pluralities or even minorities achieved in opposition areas, but the administration’s clever enough not to claim that now.
2. The idea is to tar and feather those opposed by saying they all aspire to be either senator or president (you know, just like the President and the Speaker -and members of the cabinet who continue to pore over surveys on their chances to be elected to the Senate, “just in case”). At the same time, studiously ignoring what motivates their supporters:
“Most of those who quietly helped us are second- and third-termers maybe because of the proposal to lift the term limits,” Lambino said. “But it doesn’t follow that the people would reelect them again in the same position.”
House records show that of the 236 incumbent congressmen, 63 are in their last term or whose term will end in 2007, 83 are second- termers and 90 are first-termers. With the term limit scrapped, they can seek reelection.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula, chairman of the committee on constitutional amendments and among the most active in pushing for ChaCha, is on his last term.
Besides Jaraula, most of the third- and second-termers chaired major committees in the House. Among them are Reps. Joey Sarte Salceda of Albay, committee on appropriations; Jesli Lapus of Tarlac, ways and means; Almario Mayo of Davao Oriental, games and amusements; Josefina Joson of Nueva Ecija, women; Juan Miguel Zubiri of Bukidnon, legislative franchises; Roseller Barinaga of Zamboanga del Norte, labor and employment, to name a few.
Surigao del Sur Rep. Prospero Pichay, chairman of the House contingent to the influential Commission on Appointments, is also on his last term. De Venecia is on his second term.
And also, in the House of Representatives, business as usual: Redistricting costs government millions.
Cabinet reshuffle in offing? Romulo offered Washington post. Scuttlebutt is, the President is exasperated with him.
In the punditocracy, my column for today is Assassination with a smile. The Speaker’s next in line for a hatchet job but doesn’t realize it.
Joaquin Bernas, SJ further explains the differences between constitutional revision and amendments.
Conrado de Quiros has a modest proposal: a four-question national referendum.
Patricio Diaz objects to what he calls the “politics of God.” This reminds me of a story, which a fellow journalist told a friend, who then told me, which I then confirmed with someone close to the person in the story. Recently, a prominent Fil-Am supporter of the President wanted to engage in a business opportunity here in the Philippines. The opportunity fell by the wayside because the President’s husband took advantage of the opportunity first. The Fil-Am concerned, upset over the First Gentleman’s alleged intervention, went directly to the President to complain to her that it was behavior like her husband’s that was reflecting badly on the administration. The President icily replied, “those criticizing my husband are destabilizers,” or words to that effect. The Fil-Am was shocked, and infuriated, and instead of accompanying the President on a provincial sortie, went back to the USA. A relative of the Fil-Am confirmed that something along the lines of the story did happen, but not in such a sensational manner.
After All is exasperated by some pro-amendments propaganda. big mango tackles the argument that irks After All: amendments are the cure! No, big mango says. A more methodical and intellectually-honest effort’s the only cure.A similar reluctance to get sucked into political assumptions is what makes My Liberal Times so uneasy with those grumbling about the “ignorance of the electorate.”
baratillo books cinema@cubao on the President dictating the political tempo and some intriguing political what ifs. The Citizen on Mars compares the ongoing amendments effort to a countdown. Lapu-Lapu Times wonders how millions of signatures have been authenticated when the “Jose Pidal” signature still hasn’t after some years.
Four Eyed Journal echoes Sassy Lawyer’s outrage over the Associated Press refusing to credit bloggers; and Now What, Cat takes up the cudgels for Sassy and says her critics are motivated by envy (and politically-incorrect, too, for criticizing her for being Rubenesque). I still don’t understand Cat’s attitude concerning entries that deserve criticism but do not deserve, to her mind, links (“they just might get traffic,” she explains). Seems to me that goes against a Cardinal rule of blogging, which is as much as possible, link to what you discuss or find worthy of comment.
Jove Francisco (see the end of his entry) explains blogging from a journalist’s personal point of view.
Go Figure tackles immigration and how the only way to address it is to improve the local economy. But growth required to do so has to be quite brisk: to match where Thailand is now, we’d take 20 years if we grow at current levels! But even if we grow at 7% it will take the same amount of time for us to catch up with where Malaysia is now.
Measly Meanderings on why people like pilots want to work abroad: not just for a better salary, but to thrive in a meritocracy.
Tales from Disiniland on self-censorship online as a tool for future employment.