If anyone had any doubts where the President’s feelings lie, here’s your answer: General Palparan gets seat in National Security Council.
The Senate seems to be at a loss as to what to do (or what might happen), if the House calls its bluff. Not once, but twice.
A commenter says an upset Teddy Locsin says the armed forces should be appealed to intervene; but he also told me that there is also a strong case for the House argument concerning amendments. As Alvin Capino points out, even Alan Paguia can be trotted out in defense of the argument:
We asked Paguia about the argument of former Comelec Chairman Christian Monsod, who like Fr. Bernas was a member of the Constitutional Commission that drafted the 1987 Constitution, that the lack of specific wording for the two chambers of Congress to vote separately was just an oversight.
He said …: “If there is an oversight then the hands of the Supreme Court would be tied because the remedy would no longer be judicial construction but amendment to the Constitution. So, on that point they are construing something that is already clear. You are not allowed to do it… The question is: is there room for construction? There is none.”…
He said there is nothing that the Supreme Court can do since what is written in the 1987 Constitution is very clear. He cited the 1933 Tanada versus Yulo case where the Court was convinced, by reason of extraneous circumstances, that the legislature actually meant something else. The Court, however, ruled that the wording of the law should be followed, since it is fundamental that if the law is clear, there is no room for construction.
See Philippine Commentary’s constitutional sleuthing on these questions. the Citizen on Mars is willing to take a risk with the House getting its way.
In the International Herald Tribune, Donald Greenlees describes Philippine democracy as “shambolic,” and tells the story of someone campaigning for constitutional amendments:
Masajo’s parents had marched on the streets in the “people power” revolution that rid the Philippines of Marcos, after 21 years in office. They also attended the funeral of Benigno (Ninoy) Aquino, Marcos’s assassinated rival.
Yet none of this prevented Masajo, a journalism student and head of a national youth organization, from arriving at his own conclusion about the allegations of plunder and extrajudicial killings leveled against Marcos by his many critics.
“History has been quite unfair to President Marcos, primarily because we have only been looking at the bad side of his presidency,” Masajo said. “He did a number of substantial things for the country.”
For a generation of activists like Masajo, too young to have witnessed Marcos’s abuses of power, it is possible to see virtue in a period marked by colossal corruption, yet also relative political stability, when it is contrasted with the disorderly democracy that followed.
This is precisely the mentality that’s keeping the President in power, and which reduces every question to a “let’s be objective about this” defense of the administration -and its allies. For some reason, this argument’s considered a guaranteed way to lose, but really, it’s valid: would a German plead for history to be fairer to the Nazi party, because they gave Germany the autobahn and the Volkswagen?
A report from the Philippine Daily Inquirer indicates demoralization in the Department of Finance:
Thus, the shock waves were felt most keenly at the finance department…
Interviewed about the President’s controversial Executive Order No. 558, Finance Secretary Margarito G. Teves was hard pressed to justify the policy, stressing that the full implications of the order have yet to be digested.
“I still have to talk to the President about it,” he said.
Teves, who also heads the National Credit Council in his capacity as finance secretary, served as secretary general of the Economic Coordinating Council during the Estrada administration — the body that formulated the ban on cheap and behest loans, as a counterweight to some of the former President’s perceived cronies….
“Maybe something can still be done about it,” Teves said, or at the very least, safeguards can be imposed to prevent a repeat of past state-subsidized loan programs which, according to some estimates, cost the government around P40 billion in unrecoverable loans over the last 20 years.
According to sources in the National Credit Council (NCC), Teves’ unease over the policy shift is due, in part, to the fact that he was not consulted over the decision to revive state loan subsidies.
“In fact, he wasn’t even here when the [executive order] was signed,” said an official familiar with the NCC’s workings. “He was totally left out of the decision process here, perhaps because [Palace officials] knew that he would oppose it.”
The NCC, as a whole, was also left out of the loop.
Upon learning of the repeal of President Estrada’s landmark EO 138, its members promptly prepared a briefing paper outlining their concerns.
“Government line agencies may now directly undertake subsidized credit programs that will result in huge fiscal losses,” the paper said. It said GFIs, like the Development Bank of the Philippines and the Land Bank of the Philippines “may no longer concentrate on wholesale lending but instead do retail, [directly competing] with private financial
It also warned that private sector involvement in “credit delivery” might dwindle, worsening the problem or credit access.
So what’s the big deal?
The executive issuance that’s been scrapped represented a policy reform lasting close to a decade. If you take a look at the 2000 Annual Report of the Department of Finance, you’ll see that at the time, the government spoke glowingly of Executive Order 138 (dated August 10, 1999). The report described, in detail, the effort that went into setting up this pretty reasonable policy (see the section on the National Credit Council). Newsstand, in two entries here and here, delves into what’s worrisome about the President’s decision.
President: if you’re a doctor why not be a transcriptionist instead of leaving? Oh boy. Originally, medical transcription was viewed as a means for medical students to earn income while in school. It wasn’t supposed to be a substitute for a medical career. Oh, and it wasn’t exactly a gag order.
Don’t get delirious just yet about government’s news it has large reserves of foreign currency.
Interesting survey released by ACNielsen: people more optimistic, but unsure if jobs will last; also, Filipinos are next to Thais in having a high savings rate (defying the conventional wisdom that Filipinos don’t save; see this story on OFW’s and a UN report on how they’re unable to save, at least at the start).
Singapore enforces blacklist on NGOs. The World Bank and IMF unhappy. In Thailand, universities get rated, and a debate ensues. The Brits want Blair to go, but will his party boot him out?
See The People’s Daily Online takes a naughty look at a controversial BBC documentary that speculates on the consequences of assassinating George Bush, Jr. -and simulates it. Slate on the continuing fallout from Ann Coulter being fired from her job as a columnist -five years ago. Also, a splendid article in The Economist on modern-day gerrymandering in America.
Seriously, Slate’s Election Scorecard for the Senate, for the House, and for Governors is breathtaking. Imagine the tantalizing possibilities if the same could be done here. I’d like to see something like this map, from Wikipedia, but re-colored in terms of mid-term elections or a national referendum’s projected results!
In the punditocracy, mention of Mindanao by a 911 ringleader, continuing fighting there, plus official mention of Al Qaida, and confusion concerning a so-called terrorism expert, refocuses attention on terrorism. Fahmi Howaidy says, apropos of the War on Terror,
People don’t really need to do much investigating in order to see that the campaign carried out in the name of war on terrorism has been a colossal failure. The campaign was used to enlarge and generalize the terrorism circle. This is a very important point to highlight. It’s actually very puzzling how decision makers in countries which initiated the war in Iraq won’t admit this truth. They insist on pursuing the same policies that have made things worse.
Foreign Affairs has a roundtable on the War on Terror and whether it’s been effective.: read what James Fallows, Jessica Stern, Fawaz Gerges, and Paul Pillar have to say.
Take a look at Marvin Tort’s column on elections and the factors that erode their credibility. He wants “technicalities” set aside, because the country needs a clean election. Like the administration cares?
Mike Tan on how we lack an ethics-oriented culture. Speaking of ethics, JB Baylon reminds us of another Macapagal, another Secretary of Justice, and a now-forgotten cause celebre, the Stonehill case.
Also, are British and Thai parliamentary politics on parallel tracks?
A very -and I mean very- interesting rant in Poormojo’s Almanac(k) on YouTube, GoogleVideo, and where Web 2.0 seems headed.
In the blogopshere, big mango on the “terror expert” brouhaha -it doesn’t help, he says, to punish people for making a fool out of you.
OFW in Hong Kong on the travails of Filipino nurses in New York City (our consul in New York hails the nurses’ case). Meanwhile. caffeine sparks reflects on the Filipino-for-export phenomenon. As I said in a comment in her blog, look at Ireland. We are experiencing our Great Potato Famine. But a renaissance will come. It might take 100 years, but it will come.
[email protected] on the many kinds of outsourcing there is.
debatisa on why a two party system won’t work (my bias is against political parties, period: all political parties are, by their nature, tyrants-in-waiting).
Hat tip to Fool for Five for the Official Seal generator!
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