It’s official (2:30 pm): the Supreme Court is expected due to formally announce at 2 pm 4 pm that it has denied, with finality, the motion for reconsideration for the so-called “people’s intiative.” My understanding, though, is that the Supreme Court also reversed its previous decision that the initiative and referendum law is insufficient.
“Acting on the motions for reconsideration of the decision of October 25, 2006, the Court resolves by the same vote of 8-7 to deny with finality the said motion for reconsideration, as the basic issues raised therein have been duly passed upon by this court and no substantial arguments were presented to warrant the reversal of the questioned decision,” the three-page resolution said.
The division of the justices’ vote was the same as when they ruled on the original petition.
In a separate vote, 10 justices ruled… that Republic Act 6735 or Initiative Referendum Act is sufficient to amend the Constitution through a people’s initiative.
But the high court stood firm on its position that the signature campaign conducted by the Sigaw ng Bayan could not be passed off as a people’s initiative to institute constitutional reforms because of the questionable procedures that the group had used.
This means that the law is fully in force, and no one has any excuse not to undertake a proper people’s initiative in the future -within the parameters described by the court. For example, the public could propose two 4-year terms for the presidency, or run-off elections for the presidency; still, future debates might be, could an initiative propose, a unicameral legislature? What is clear, though, is that initiative cannot propose the parliamentary system. But for the short term, the meaning of the decision is: the Legion can try again. Fair enough.
Looks like the Palace may be beating a strategic retreat after the Ebdane trial balloon inspired a critical reaction. Today’s trial balloon is the idea of a unity ticket for the senate (RG Cruz says Palace is giving up on Plans A and B and is thinking along campaign-related lines). What’s the purpose of the trial balloon? To determine if a presidential endorsement will be a political kiss of death or not. You have to tie in these trial balloons with other news. Such as this: new survey comes out, which seems to validate my observations. If you notice, the President’s core supporters amount to about a quarter of the population.
Look at the survey figures. In broad strokes, it shows a country divided, and the administration’s strongest suit, its economic performance, seems viewed by the public along the partisan lines I pointed out: the president’s hard-core constituency, 25%, thinks she’s doing great; the hard-core opposition refuses to see her achievements, and they’re at 39% (more or less the Estrada constituency holding firm); a huge percentage, 36%, is undecided and is the segment that the opposition and administration are battling for, but which to my mind, is more inclined to support the status quo.
Time Magazine has Andrew Marshall commenting on the political killings in the Philippines:
In August, in response to international concern, Arroyo set up the six-member Melo Commission, led by a retired Supreme Court judge, to probe the killings. Some bereaved families doubt its independence and have refused to testify. This distrust is symptomatic of a profound loss of faith in Arroyo herself. She is an unpopular President, plagued by corruption scandals and slammed for her failure to improve living standards. Arroyo has condemned the killings, but she will not implicate the military – even as it implicates itself. Col. Eduardo del Rosario, head of a military antiterrorist unit called Task Force Davao, admitted to TIME earlier this year that “individual commanders” might be responsible for the killings.
Investigations into these deaths yield hardly any results. Of 114 political murders recorded since 2001 by a special police task force, arrests have been made in just three cases, with no reported convictions. The President’s apologists will be hard-pressed on this one, since they’ve enjoyed trumpeting Time’s other stories about the Philippines in the past.
The figure of 114 murders is interesting. Using it in the report implicitly rejects the figure of 700++ murdered put forward by some human rights groups and which is used as the authoritative figure by the National Democrats.
USA considers playing a larger role in Mindanao peace process.
Tomas Osmeña asks Palace to release his brother’s pork barrel, and says it’s a misconception to think Cebu is rich.
On an earlier Osmeña, the historical document of the day is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s last press conference was almost entirely about the Philippines. In my never-ending Roxas biography project, Osmeña’s greatest political misfortune was having someone knowledgeable and sympathetic to Philippine concerns drop dead, just as the crushing burden of the presidency was at its greatest. A certain momentum survived in the new Truman administration, but the relationship would never be the same.
In the punditocracy, Anding Roces (a former Secretary of Education) examines the origins of the decline of the educational system. Tony Abaya says the Palace’s real worries are over Joseph Estrada and Panfilo Lacson. Luis Teodoro wonders if it makes political sense for the President to keep cozying up to Dubya.
The Business Mirror editorial says a new “economic story line” is required. Dr. Michael Alba, head of the Economics Department of De La Salle University, begins a series: The Philippine Economy from the Perspective of Growth Economics (Part I). (During meetings for a book to be released by the AIM Policy Center in which we participated, I recall Dr. Alba making the interesting observation that 1983 marked a watershed year in Philippine history: the year, he says can be proven with data, that corruption became endemic in our society).
Naima Bouteldja argues the ban of Muslim headscarves in Europe didn’t originate with the public, but the politicians instead.
In the blogosphere, The Unlawyer ponders conflicting news of no DND appointments before January, 2007 and other news of an appointment by December.
A Hundred Years Hence thinks a new national capital is a bad idea, and prefers a more integrated and fresh look at Manila and Quezon City.
baratillo@cubao noticed how boxing trumped Mass and offers some thoughts on heroes and heroism (and how’s this for a Memento Mori! Gotta love the picture). The Warrior Lawyer weighs in on Honasan as Sarcasm Aside weighs in on Pacquiao.
Carlos Celdran meets Imeldific. Brilliant.
As a fan of Delicious Library and a Mac user, it’s interesting to me that a debate’s taking place over pretty applications. Rogue Amoeba (makers of an app. I really like, Audio Hijack Pro) wrote the essay contended over; see responses by Dustin MacDonald and MK&C on the fine balance between pretty, and actually useful, software.
Call Me Fishmeal offers up a reflection on the nature of fighting, by way of a failed pissing contest with Nicholas Negroponte.