What the public thinks of the Supreme Court is bannered by the Inquirer and the Business Mirror: six out of ten Filipinos, according to the Social Weather Stations, are “unsure” whether the supremes will rule fairly on the so-called “people’s initiative.” See the actual survey results here and elaborated, with background, in the PCIJ blog. Among the results:
Majority across all areas are unsure whether the Supreme Court will be fair in its decision: 69% in Metro Manila, 64% in Mindanao, 61% in the rest of Luzon, and 58% in the Visayas.
All socio-economic classes are likewise largely unsure: 60% in classes ABC, 62% in class D, and 63% in class E.
Two out of five (41%) Filipinos follow the news on the “citizen’s initiative” or signature campaign in favor of certain amendments in the Constitution, either very closely (14%) or somewhat closely (27%). About half 48% pay little attention, while 11% heard of the news only during the poll [Table 2].
Half (51%) in Metro Manila keep close track of the news on the people’s initiative, 43% in the rest of Luzon, 41% in Mindanao, and 29% in the Visayas.
More of the class ABC (47%) and class D (42%) closely follow the reports on the people’s initiative compared to class E (35%).
Residents farther from the metro tend to be unaware of the news: 21% in Visayas and 14% in Mindanao heard of it only during the survey, compared to 8% in the balance of Luzon and 2% in Metro Manila.
The Inquirer editorial speaks up for the supremes and tells everyone to shut up.
To town have streamed 1,500 members of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines who are poised to present a well-rehearsed “spontaneous manifestation” of support for Charter change (official conventions of this sort reminds me of a recent entry in A Nagueño in the Blogosphere on happy barangay chairmen and their allowances). The article on the Manila Hotel cheerleader festival also presents the latest twist in the a rehash of the Palace’s legal thinking:
Thus, Villanueva and Castillo said, the case of Santiago vs. Commission on Elections, which stated that RA 6735 was inadequate as an enabling law to cover the people’s initiative to amend the Constitution, cannot be considered a judicial doctrine because no majority vote was reached by the justices in their final voting on the issue.
Villanueva noted that in the reconsideration and final ruling on the case, the court was deadlocked, with six justices agreeing that RA 6735 was inadequate as a standard to cover a people’s initiative on constitutional amendments; six others voting otherwise; one abstaining; and two inhibiting themselves from the proceedings.
Moreover, Castillo said that Section 2, Article XVII of the Constitution, which covers the people’s initiative, is “essentially self-executory, save for the budget and other procedural election matters.”
No implementing statute and rules and regulations are required to create the right of initiative, they added.
Speaking of legal thinking, Newsbreak summarizes the views concerning whether a distinction between amendments and revisions of the Constitution exists. The whole problem, I think, is that the administration has proposals joined at the hip, if not at the head: parliament-unicameral. Parliament is a revision, as it totally and drastically changes the entire form of government; unicameral would have been an amendment.
The Palace insists there will be elections next year, sniping from the bleachers to the contrary, but if you read the official statements closely, the stage is already being set for what Dong Puno’s laying the groundwork for in his column: at the very least, electoral postponement from May to November (personally I’ve always preferred November elections as used to be traditional, with terms to begin on Rizal Day, but anyway….) A group of public school teachers threatens to boycott participating in a plebiscite.
Newsbreak also takes a look at the President and the role of religion in her politics.
Here’s some interesting news and views on the economy. We’re running out of IT professionals: there’s a shortage of 1,300 this year, and it may go up to 2,400 by 2009. The government’s due to sell its remaining stake in Philippine Airlines. Raul Valino discusses how Ford Philippines is actually exporting cars and wonders why other car firms aren’t following suit. John Mangun says the economy’s coming up roses. He’s particularly bullish on the stock market:
Let me say for the thousandth time, stock-market prices do not reflect an opinion on administration actions. Yes, you might see some reaction to government in very short-term movements. However, long-term money flows into investments directed by a profit motive based on dozens of other more important factors than government.
In spite of political chaos at times, high oil prices and a variety of other negatives, stock prices are up 30 percent in the last 12 months. Half of that increase is the reaction to ongoing corporate profits of listed companies. The other half is the firm belief that the trend of corporate moneymaking is going to continue well into the future.
Foreign investment in the stock market is strong and rising. That tells us that this very unpredictable and, sometimes, unreliable investment money believes there is financial, not necessarily political, stability in the Philippines. That means a stable currency, stable interest rates and stable corporate profitability.
A friend in the motorcycle industry, though, tells me sales are down for the fourth quarter in a row, nation-wide and industry-wide. It seems what’s scary for the motorcycle industry is the possibility that the market’s reached it’s limit, which doesn’t speak well of the size of our economy.
Overseas, Gwynn Dyer says there’s no longer any good exit strategy from Iraq. Former president Choi Kyu-hah of South Korea dies, having maintained a firm silence on his official actions. The Nation of Thailand says Thaksin’s scheming for a comeback. The Panama Canal is to be widened at long last.
In the blogosphere, RG Cruz recounts the President welcoming the Thai Prime Minister. The Bunker Chronicles explains his objections to the parliamentary system. An OFW in Hong Kong is outraged over the thought of cancelled elections.
The Warrior Lawyer on Pfizer’s bullying of the Philippine government; and Confessions at 7:00 PM on the Judicial and Bar Council.
A gaggle of cultural observations, beginning with Coconuter who made it to a TV show. He also penned a fragmentary essay full of astute observations, from which here are some snippets:
I said earlier that I was feeding 8 mouths (including myself) during my first month here. These were some of my Filipino relatives. Some Filipinos base their liking of you depending upon your “nakikisama” qualities or how well you get along or mix in with them. Unfortunately this can sometimes be affected by money, especially if you live with them. In my case, it was difficult for my relatives to accept that despite coming from the US, I am not rich nor am I being supported by my parents. And once I stopped providing money for my relatives, “hindi na ako marunong makisama,” or in other words I no longer knew how to get along or mix in. And so this convinced me to live off on my own…
…This leads me to the “sakit ng mga Pilipino” or the sickness of the Filipino. It happens all over the world but is quite prominent in the Philippines. I am talking about theft. Any Filipino can attest to how rampant this crime is here. I once heard a 7 year old Filipino boy chant “Ang lahi ng mga Pilipino ay magnanakaw,” or the bloodline of Filipinos are thieves. I’ve also overheard a policeman talking about killing a certain thief to end his bloodline so he cannot reproduce and pass it on. My first experience was when the house was broken into by three thieves who ate and bagged a week’s worth of my food… Even my dog, which I got to battle theft, was stolen. People will even use the faucets outside to gather jugs of water if I am gone for very long. Fortunately, now-a-days my two dogs are pretty alert and do a good job of keeping passerby’s away.
…The harsh socioeconomic circumstances has everyone looking out only for their own interests and creating two categories for individuals. An old Filipino man once told me that there are only two types of Filipinos, “ang manloloko at ang naloloko” or the ones who fool and the ones who are fooled. One could say that in any transaction there is no such thing as a fair deal; someone is always going to be better off after a trade. In the Philippines, however, (also in other parts of the world) many people are hunting to take advantage of another. Vendors try to fool me everytime I go to the “palengke” or wet market. Fortunately, I now know the fair prices for most of the goods I purchase. It seems it has become second nature to utilizing deception, the ignorance of the customer, and psychology to gain the upper hand. Ironically, that same old man talked me in to buying his over-priced dog.
….Increased liberty is also something I gained here in provincial Philippines. In the U.S., and other modernized areas you cannot escape the “tracking device” of the government, things like taxes and other bills are always on your tail, and your job eats up the majority of your life. In provincial Philippines (and perhaps other provincial areas), there is no “tracking device” and you only need to pay for your own necessities. It’s also cheaper to live in the Philippines compared in other countries, but wages are also lower in the Philippines. There also exists a lack of job opportunities. But for the lower jobs that are available, there is a work concept that is quite appealing and is commonly found in provincial Philippines. It is the “work when you need money” and “relax when you want to” concept. It is more like doing temporary contract or project-type work and is done in spurts. The pressure of a continuous job is taken away in this concept. Many others of course wish for this continuous money-job and go into the city or abroad to find that opportunity…
Peryodistang Pinay weighs in with something I sympathize with, heartily: irritation over noise pollution. ExpectoRants wonders if copper is the new gold and aluminum the new silver. Witness Lane eloquently explains why he’s not going to be doing any writing for some time. i’m a devil in haste is rather despondent over writing critiques from friends. Fabulous and You Know It is disillusioned with her school’s championship-winning basketball team.
And here’s a blog to add to your links: Nostalgia Manila.
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