Metro Manila breaths a sigh of relief; but the typhoon has claimed its share of lives.
President made an unscheduled trip to St. Luke’s hospital in the last hour (12:57 pm Manila time). Media colleagues report it’s because “she wants to be with her husband during his scheduled check up”. She doesn’t have more important things to do? Here’s the news story, 1 pm.
The administration says there was a momentary blip in economic news, but that Christmas spending plus remittances will make everything hunky-dory.
A colleague explained that what was troubling about the recent news of a slowdown in quarterly growth, is that the economy grew only at 0.3 percent when it was expected to grow at 1.1 percent. The growth was the slowest in 5 Quarters.
The drumbeating continues: less than half of Mindanao’s political leadership trumpets support for a Constituent Assembly. The House leadership says it’s all in the bag, regardless of what the usual suspects in business grumble.
The schedule, insofar as I’ve been able to cobble it together, seems along the these lines:
Dec. 04: House attempts to swiftly amend rules. Sessions on Thursdays for the duration announced.
Dec. 06: Chief Justice Paganiban retires. House of Representatives amends its rules allowing swift passage of a resolution.
Dec. 08: Associate Justice Puno widely expected to be named Chief Justice.
Dec. 13: The Supreme Court goes on Christmas vacation. The debate is whether the Chief Justice has to call his fellow justices to an en banc session to hear any challenges to the House, or whether the Supreme Court might go into hibernation and dither over hearing the case.
Dec. 16: House of Representatives approves a resolution proposing Constitutional amendments. Perhaps five senators materialize during the voting, to signify their participation. This gives the appearance of (token) Senate participation in the process. Commission on Elections receives House Resolution and schedules plebiscite in 60 days.
Dec. 22: Congress goes on holiday recess.
Jan. 16: Comelec announces it will pilot poll automation in Metro Manila and other selected areas.
Feb. 16: Plebiscite Day.
Feb. 17-19: Plebiscite results proclaimed.
Feb. 25: Edsa Anniversary marked with inauguration of Interim National Assembly.
This schedule is based on what I’ve heard from some lawyers and reading between the headlines. Some people I’ve presented it to, think that the Supreme Court will not turn a blind eye to any challenges raised, and that the Comelec won’t necessarily presume that a House Resolution will trigger preparations for a plebiscite. And many other observers think the schedule’s simply too tight. Let’s see.
In the punditocracy, JB Baylon dissects the pros and cons of investigating the President’s husband.
Billy Esposo bids farewell to his Inq7.net readers. He will be taking over Max Soliven’s slot as columnist for the Philippine Star.
John Lewis reargues the MacArthur dictum that “there is no substitute for victory” -in Iraq.
Historical footnote: the Supreme Court decision exonerating Ferdinand Marcos for the murder of his father’s political rival.