The Press reports on the approval of a charter change resolution by the House of Representatives: see the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the Manila Standard-Today version of events. RG Cruz was surprised at how expeditiously things were done.
Meanwhile, the debate is set at the Supreme Court concerning the so-called “people’s initiative.”
What’s going on in the Department of Foreign Affairs? Was Romulo out of the loop?
The Department of Foreign Affairs yesterday reversed its statement that Secretary Alberto Romulo had been informed of the decision to abstain in the voting in Switzerland on a UN Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel’s gross human rights violation in attacking civilian targets in Lebanon.
“The secretary was not consulted on the vote,” DFA spokesman Gilbert Asuque said.
Asuque on Monday said Romulo, who was in Myanmar when the voting took place on Aug. 11, knew of the abstention which sources have said disappointed Lebanon and prompted Ambassador Francis Bichara to consider resigning from his post.
Asuque declined to explain the circumstances on why Romulo was kept in the dark.
He also refused to identify who issued the instruction to abstain, which sources on Sunday said came from Malacañang.
The same paper, Malaya, in its editorial, opines that Romulo’s been jerked around. The editorial bluntly suggests the Secretary, if he’s an honorable man, should quit.
What’s the big deal? The question seems to revolve around the process followed to decide on what the Philippine representative in the UN Human Rights Council should do. As I understand it, the process should go something like this: the UN desk in Manila instructs the Philippine representative in the locality to vote a certain way. Manila does not explain to the foreign service officer(s) concerned why they should vote a certain way.
How did the UN desk, in turn, decide on what instructions to give? Presumably, on the basis of a directive, whether written or oral, from the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, who in turns gets his authority from the President of the Philippines. The voting of the Philippines is generally determined by policy (set by the President with or without the approval of the DFA). And policy can either be upheld, or reversed, on the basis of voting patterns on those issues.
I’ve heard it suggested by DFA observers, that the Philippines’ abstention was pleasing to American interests but represented a reversal of our policy up to that point. It seems unlikely the UN office would have issued any instructions without clearance from above. Which means, the whole brouhaha concerning Sec. Romulo could be an attempt to wiggle out of consequences of the country reversing its previous policy.
President goes to Guimaras for the third time. Coast Guard had rough sailing in the House: there was news last night the President’s issued a gag order preventing more Coast Guard statements, but I haven’t seen any news reports on that yet, if true (update: well, there’s manila needs dextrose). What the President is saying is that she intends to spend trillions on infrastructure (considering our crumbling infrastructure, that’s not a moment too soon!)
Pasay City Mayor says his suspension’s meant to eliminate him from next year’s polls. Speaking of elections, see Slate’s Election Scorecard in the run-up to the November American elections. Hopefully Philippine media outfits or concerned political organizations will organize something similar.
Winner proclaimed in Mexico’s contested presidential election -but is it all over? Thai retailers protest huge supermarkets.
In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is Filipinos Losing Out in Job Market Because of Inability to Express Themselves. (on a slightly related note, see this letter to the editor in a Korean paper, which defends “Konglish,” or Korean English. Would we be better off abandoning our pretensions about being an English-speaking nation, and start teaching it as a foreign language?).
Hilarious send-up of the Legion: Manuel Buencamino on political zombies.
The Inquirer editorial seems a veiled “I told you so,” concerning Elmer Reyes Jacinto. When the paper criticized him for deciding to leave the country, it ignited a firestorm of protest from similarly-minded people.
The Nation of Thailand editorial ponders mass transit and political patronage-based meddling in its planning.
Tulsathit Taptim has ten questions for Thaksin.
Hizahiko Okasaki says concerns over Japanese prime ministers paying their respects at the Yasukuni Shrine shouldn’t be confused with anti-Japanese sentiments stirred up for economic reasons by other countries.
John Mueller asks if there is still a terrorist threat.
In the blogosphere, Mamutong (pointing to Percolation, who is less harsh on the PDI) says the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s been caught lying, and tried to cover it up with an editorial. He wonders just how much more hammering the paper’s reputation can take.
Red’s Herring issues an appeal to the Supreme Court regarding the “people’s initiative.”
Journal explains why oil prices are going down, and incidentally points to the Venezuela-People’s Republic of China’s cozy, oil-lubricated relationship.
Tambayan ni Paeng returns to blogging.