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May 05

Waiting for verdicts

Will the Palace appeal the Supreme Court’s verdict on Proclamation 1017? Amando Doronila and Fr. Joaquin Bernas weigh in on what the verdict, and previous ones, really mean.

The Inquirer editorial is concerned about the length of time Supreme Court decisions take, and the manner such judicial delays can result in injustice. Newsstand suggests that those who feel impatience with regards to the time it takes decisions to be handed down, aren’t taking into account the time required to arrive at collegial decisions. On the other hand, Philippine Commentary praises the prose of the Justices of the Supreme Court. Dan Mariano makes distinctions between proclamations and declarations.

Ex-US marine Aragoncillo admits he helped plot to unseat Arroyo: question is, when will Uncle Sam ask for Senator Lacson’s and former President Estrada’s heads on silver platters?

When Fidel Castro became leader of Cuba, he proclaimed land reform and the first estate broken up was his family’s. His mother never forgave him. That, in essence, is the other side of the coin, with the decision of the government to begin breaking up Hacienda Luisita, of which former President Cory Aquino is part owner. If the “Mendiola Massacre” cost Cory Aquino the Nobel Peace Prize, the exemption of Hacienda Luisita from land reform has become a historical albatross around Aquino’s post-presidential neck, and reproach on her administration, representing the lost opportunities of that era. Sassy Lawyer says the subdividing of the estate is overdue. Indeed. But as I’ve pointed out before, those outraged over Hacienda Luisita’s exempt status should turn their eyes to the Arroyo haciendas, because those properties didn’t even bother with a stock-sharing plan. They are old-fashioned haciendas, pure and simple, and with the expiration of the CARP in a few years, will survive intact, even as Hacienda Luisita passes into history. If a case of presidential weakness towards relatives (Aquino) is wrong, what of presidential aggressiveness in protecting their lands (Arroyo)?

Good news, in fact, as presented by the editorial of the Business Mirror, points to a problem that’s going to start occupying people sooner, rather than later. Ethanol production could substantially revive the fortunes of the sugar industry -at least of planters, since millers have mixed feelings about ethanol (it might divert supply to ethanol plants instead of their mills). And again there are some voices pointing out that subdividing sugar lands makes economies of scale impossible: an argument for the preservation of sugar estates. So would land reform be the price of ethanol production? Should it?

I’d go further and suggest that a much more aggressive attitude toward smaller landholdings carefully built-up by the old middle class, mainly doctors, lawyers, teachers and other professionals, whose lands were placed under land reform in the late 1980s and early to mid 1990s, resulted in a blow to middle-class prestige and pride that hastened the extinction of the old middle class and the flight of its remnants abroad. Together with them, other Filipinos were emigrating or working abroad, and they have become the new middle class. But as for the old middle class, the lesson of Edsa was: the guy in the middle loses to the masses and the political class (urban equivalents complain to this day of the Lina Law, which they say privileges squatters).

The President and the Press: Row with US Senate over media killings says the Manila Times. Davao Today and PinoyPress weigh in. From a broader point of view, Nicolas Stenzer says media on the whole is helping to kill the critical thinking good citizenship and effective political participation require.

Blurry Brain thinks the country’s missed the bus because of short-sighted attitudes towards free trade. Heinz (my favorite ketchup) sells its Philippine holdings. One less foreign investment.

The public thing thinks that the rise in kidnappings means preparations for elections are underway.

baratillo books [email protected] takes a sensible look at political heckling.

The Philippines Free Press blog looks back at the debates over the law requiring Rizal’s novels to be taught in schools.

Titopao on what reading too many emails can do to you: ignore fire alarms, among other things!

Gail Ilagan on parental supervision and controls over kids playing video games.

Wily Filipino and Ambeth Ocampo on skin whitening -centuries apart.

Slate says it’s impossible to sing the American national anthem.

And finally, a little cultural advocacy: Mike Tan on why docents are like columnists.

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  1. rego

    A very interesting dicussion about economics. Guys, I m very impressed and very proud of all of you, (yes including you cvj)! Ang gagaling nyo!

    But then I am very confused too! An daming magagaling na pinoy pero yung bansa natin kulelat eh….

  2. pinoy

    “But then I am very confused too! An daming magagaling na pinoy pero yung bansa natin kulelat eh…. ”

    Nakakalungkot ngang isipin. Sana hindi lang tayo sa internet mahusay makipagbalitaktakan. Sana may magawa pa tayo para sa bayan natin maliban sa pagpapalitan ng kuro kuro sa mundo ng internet. Sana . . . . . .

  3. Emil

    Nice piece!

    Many of our political leaders have used class warfare to divide the affluent from the lesser affluent in Philippine society as smokescreen for their plunder.

    Poor peasants and sincere capitalists have been used and abused by incompetent, scheming, and corrupt politicians for too long and the noble Agrarian Reform is one of the latter’s many vehicles for plunder.

    Now with the Hacienda Luisita issue we cannot help wonder whether this is but another political smokescreen to divide, rule and rob us even more.

    Why doesn’t Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo include Eduardo ‘Danding’ Cojuanco’s vast tracks of lands and haciendas in Negros and why do other sugar and cassava plantations escape the same kind of scrutiny?

    We have to be more discerning and united as a people regardless of social class. Let us keep a watchful eye on our political leaders and representatives so that they may adhere to the genuine intention and noble spirit of our Agrarian Reform Program.

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