Today’s news of course continues to focus on the Ombudsman’s decision not to do anything. Newsbreak gives a brisk digest not only of the issues, but of reactions, including those of former Senate President Jovito Salonga and Gus Lagman (a co-member of the Black & White Movement, by way of full disclosure to readers). The PCIJ Blog also breaks down the issues and why the Ombudsman’s report has raised hackles.
See the Supreme Court’s decision in Information Technology Foundation of the Philippines vs. Comelec etc.:
Once again, the Court finds itself at the crossroads of our nation’s history. At stake in this controversy is not just the business of a computer supplier, or a questionable proclamation by Comelec of one or more public officials. Neither is it about whether this country should switch from the manual to the automated system of counting and canvassing votes. At its core is the ability and capacity of the Commission on Elections to perform properly, legally and prudently its legal mandate to implement the transition from manual to automated elections.
And the Supremes’ resolution instructing the Ombudsman to do something and report every three months, the first deadline having been September 30, followed by December 31, etc.
As for the Ombudsman’s report to meet the first (September 30) deadline, which has caused all the buzz, I haven’t been able to download the report, but apparenty reader CJV has, and weighs in with his thoughts; jamesjimenez at the Comelec begins to dissect the report.
In an email, Leah Navarro reminded friends of the implications of the funds involved:
As a couple of friends have asked – what can Php2.3B buy you? Here’s a little help – at least 20,000 two classroom schools (Fe Hidalgo would be DepEd Sec now), 800000 mobile phones (cheapest go for Php2500), over 200000 Gawad Kalinga Homes.
In other news, the nursing exam controversy is proving difficult for non-nurses to digest. I asked a colleague last night why there was such a fuss. Most anyone who’s gone to school knows that when an exam is marred by cheating, the only recourse is for everyone to retake it. My colleague said that the nursing graduates affected by the order are adamant, emotional, and unrelenting in their opposition. All of them, I asked? A vocal minority, at least, my colleague replied. But why, I inquired. Because, speculated my colleague, some are afraid they’d fail a retake, others are already working and don’t feel a retake’s necessary, and anyway, foreign employers don’t look at that particular exam.
The ferocity of commentary by those affected is really surprising to me, but is it just me who can’t get the nurses’ point of view? My colleague assures me opinion is firmly divided between nurses and non-nurses, with non-nurses favoring a retake (see An OFW in Hong Kong, for example) and the nurses having the opposite view.
Also, President acts to head off a poultry emergency.
Business Processing Outsourcing industry unaffected by the typhoon.
In the punditocracy, news that opponents of the so-called “people’s initative” have a limited time to question the documentation (though not the actual verification of signatures, as Toots Ople points out in a comment) has Dan Mariano focusing on the case. Supreme Court says it will hand down a decision in 30 days.
De Venecia is not the only one who changes parliamentary models at the drop of a hat. Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo displayed a similar tendency during her visit to Belgium last month. Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye reported that Mrs. Arroyo told the Belgian parliament “there could be no better model than the Belgian parliament where the House and the Senate share equal footing.”
All along I thought Mrs. Arroyo organized and funded the Abueva Commission and the Advocacy group because she was committed to a unicameral parliamentary system. I never imagined the Belgian model could make her waffle.
But seriously, unlike de Venecia, Mrs. Arroyo does not care what form of government her constituent assembly will create as long as they give her a constitution that will allow her to do what she’s not allowed to do under the present one-rule by decree.
Bong Austero points out thievery helped extend the misery caused by the recent typhoon.
Christopher Hitchens on an ongoing debate in American political and military circles on chaplains and public prayers. Olbermann blasts the Republican propaganda line that Bill Clinton is responsible for 9-11. Brilliant.
In the blogosphere, Susan Ople explains what will be done as critics set out to probe the Legion’s labors:
Within the 15 day-period, we were given the chance by the Supreme Court to look at documents submitted by Sigaw ng Bayan. From Wednesday to Friday, the legal team will be at the Comelec premises to examine some of these documents and question the procedures behind this entire process,” Monsod explained.
One Voice said the legal panel, composed of lawyers representing the different groups opposing the Sigaw ng Bayan petition, would give special attention to certain documents submitted by Sigaw ng Bayan, particularly those covering some 6 districts where the signature drive failed to meet the 3% requirement.
The legal counsels opposing the petition pointed out that the Comelec did not notify the public and all interested parties about the verification process undertaken by election registrars at the local levels.
Blurry Brain, one of the blogs I respect most, has had two extremely troubling entries: Trade and the elite and Back to work. With regards to the former, his repudiation of the oligarchy is a condemnation of the past, but does not see how that oligarchy has changed, and the achievements limited as they were, were able to achieve. Around that oligarchy was built a modern professional and entrepreneurial class. By the 1950s and 1960s the more forward-thinking had diversified into machinery, manufacturing, navigation, communications, and armaments. By the 70s they were squeezed out, and whatever their achievements subordinated to the prestige of the dictatorship. Whether or not it made any rational sense.What the war didn’t wipe out, martial law did, in terms of their influence or even wealth.
In his other piece, he says,
I still refer readers to my entry below on Trade and the Elite regarding this matter. In addition, I am getting more and more convinced that the Marcos/Ninoy, Erap/GMA thing was simply a case of relatively “newer old money” versus really “old money”. It’s a perverse political rigodon. If it were really about democracy how come after all the People Powers that came and went we’re still in this muck of corruption and ineptness? You can’t blame the masses for this. Blame the people in power. And the people in power are all essentially cut from the same clothe.
The seductiveness of this kind of relativism born of resentment and despair improperly channeled, is, ironically enough, exactly the propaganda line of the administration married to that of the New Society and its ilk: they are all the same, so why respect the niceties of democracy? throw it to the people, but all at once without evolutionary change -thus, revolution. The result of revolution isn’t rebuilding, it’s destruction, whether creative or not merely the luck of the draw, the roll of the dice. It’s end result is nihilism.
True enough, the country has faced a crossroads on several occasions since the end of the war; it picked the right path in 1946 and 1953, making the transition from the senior to junior prewar leadership, then from the prewar leadership to the wartime generation. In 1969-72 it made a wrong turn to dictatorship and achieved neither evolution, nor revolution -only the squandering of whatever moral and intellectual capital had been built up. There was another chance after 1986, but putsches killed the economy, a restored premartial law leadership alienated the middle class, and the masses restored the New Society in 1998. The old society and the middle kicked it out in 2001 but achieved neither efficiency nor growth -certainly not stability. The crossroads in 2004 was trudged along opposing paths until it was alleged that one path was wider, safer, shorter than the other. So we have she who rules us now -because the thick, gooey, tentacles of relativism from the “tet’s move on” brigade.
Whether leaders or the led, they only change -or can hope to change- if the environment is conducive to experimentation and the boldness that only comes with a genuine mandate. No mandate means paralysis and reactionary policies at their ugliest.