Survey sez: anti-amendments opinion has increased; and fewer signed on to “people’s initiative” than claimed. A referendum on amendments would result in a strong majority rejecting them, across all classes, in all parts of the country. Read the SWS release.
I generally don’t feel a very strong antipathy for the President’s gang, but one cabinet member really, really gets my goat. That’s Rick Saludo, secretary to the cabinet. Here’s an example of why, courtesy of a colleague who pointed out the incident.
This morning, Saludo appeared on Ricky Carandang’s morning show on ANC, and came up with this argument (as my colleague explained it): “basically, it’s OK to bribe a bishop as they are incorruptible and cannot be influenced by a bribe anyway… if we follow Saludo’s logic, it’s OK to bribe Saludo because we all know he is an honest public official who will do his job, envelope or not.” Then again, we can also make the tart observation that what’s important, for Saludo’s purposes, is to give the appearance that the bishops were influenced.
Saludo stars, of course, in the latest lurid revelations concerning lobbying with the episcopate (the chief lobbyist, Nena Valdes, is having her family woes gleefully reported in Cocktales). Hence, I guess, for the arguments of Saludo mentioned above.
The arrest of Joc-Joc Bolante continues to create buzz. In his column, Max Soliven asserts Bolante’s visa was cancelled in response to a request by the Philippine Senate (Soliven’s impatient with the whole Bolante thing, pointing out everyone seems to have known Bolante was living it up in a condominium unit near LAX for months). The Daily Tribune says, its money laundering allegations that might have done Bolante in (a commenter points to US policy on the matter). Malaya, on the other hand, focuses on the bail set and what that may indicate.
Discussions seem to center around what the arrest portends: will it facilitate Bolante’s being sent home to face the music? Or is it a clever way to bottle him up in America, keep him away from home, and thus prevent the beans from being spilled? And what’s the deal with the supposed request for political asylum made by Bolante? This is a time when enterprising Filipino-Americans should be poking around the goings-on over there and reporting it to us here.
Let’s not quibble about numbers: it’s either 14,000 troops or 13,000 cops to surround the Batasan Pambansa for the SONA. Whose counting, anyway? Far more interesting are the scuttlebutt:
a) After his election as Senate President in the morning of SONA day, newly-minted Senate President Manuel Villar will go along with a call to be made by the President during the SONA, for Congress to instantly convene as a Constituent Assembly to pass constitutional amendments. The process will be done by viva voce vote, which would drown out all opposition;
b) The President will call for (a) and proclaim Martial Law, which again will be approved with a roar;
c) Neither (a) nor (b) will take place, but one reason a new ambassador is being sent to Washington is to lobby for approval for Martial Law, which the White House supposedly vetoed last January.
Most prudent observers say the scenarios are remote, either because Villar (and the Senate Wednesday group) don’t favor amendments, and that Washington has better things to do than nanny the Philippine government.
Anyway, the President says she only wants to be good, and God will be her judge.
Comelec Chairman defies Ombudsman.
Overseas: Thaksin’s strategy versus his critics (eerily similar to the government’s strategies here at home); and is he losing his grip?
In South Korea, party intramurals.
In the punditocracy, Jojo Robles details his views on Church and State as detailed during his appearance on The Explainer. Archbishop Orlando Quevedo presents his take on why the CBCP said what it said on impeachment (and has some criticism for fellow members of One Voice who support impeachment). Still on One Voice, Emil Jurado pens a rant.
The Inquirer editorial expresses dismay over the appointment of Gen. Esperon as AFP Chief of Staff. Rene Saguisag has some things to say, too.
Raul Pangalanan comments on the Bolante brouhaha. Ellen Tordesillas has tons of questions.
Business Mirror editorializes on the Philippines is happy survey. A commentary on whether the country’s headed in the direction Argentina once went: off a cliff.
The blogosphere has comments on the bombing of Beirut by Israel (Pajamas Media has cleared the decks and decided to focus on this).
Philippine Commentary continues tackling what the bishops said.
Torn & Frayed on the hue and cry over the firing of a Singaporean blogger from his column (for the crime of satire).
Unlawyer says blogger buzz helped pull down controversial Bayantel billboards.
Morofilm on the top 50 most influential Muslims in the Philippines.
Istambay sa Mindanao: Filipinos don’t eat enough vegetables. But good news! Krispy Kreme possibly coming to the Philippines!
The CaT muses on why there may be a gender bias against women in the sciences.
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