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Sidestep but no retreat
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on December 12, 2006 81 Comments 6 min read
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Today’s entry has to be quick.

Last night Prospero Pichay was on Dong Puno live and I gathered from his statements that his (and presumably, his party mates’) attitude is defined by the following options he says are still on the table:

1. He reminded people that the so-called “people’s initiative” is not dead, it’s appeal remains before the Supreme Court; today, news is regardless of that, the Legion is once more on the march:

Lambino said they would offer a simple legislative reform proposal, which is to abolish both chambers of Congress and pave the way for the creation of a national assembly under a presidential unicameral government.

The national assembly was the original setup of the 1935 Constitution as well as the intended proposal of the 1986 constitutional commission.

“A presidential unicameral form of government was originally envisioned under the 1986 Charter but it was narrowly defeated by only one vote,” Lambino noted.

Under the new political game plan, the still unnamed multisectoral group will formally petition the Commission of Elections to set up signature-gathering stations. After getting the necessary three percent voters’ requirement per congressional district and 12 percent nationwide, a referendum will then be scheduled ahead of the May 2007 national and local elections.

“The first election for the members of the national assembly will be on the second Monday of May 2007 together with the local officials. The people can still directly elect the president and vice president in 2010… it is a simple, specific proposal,” Lambino said.

2. Concerning the strategic retreat from Constituent Assembly to Constitutional Convention, his view is the House can force through a Con-Con even without the Senate (the same legal view as the Con-Ass effort).

On Tina Monzon-Palma’s show, I had the chance to ask Rep. Jaraulla whether they had time to pass the legislation required to call for, and fund, a convention. He said it would be easy for them as they will make the qualifications for a Con-Con delegate identical to those for electing a congressman. This will lead to a huge debate as this is not at all what pro-convention groups want (for example, no anti-dynasty rule, no ban on congressional incumbents running, no prohibition against political party candidates, etc.)

I’d asked Jaraulla why continuous criticisms of the House proposals had been ignored by the House for over a year, including the proposal of some groups that a convention would be the best option. He wouldn’t give a straight answer beyond bowing to public opinion.

On the same show, it became clear from various congressmen (administration and opposition) that what’s taken place is more complicated than a simple retreat and substitution of one idea with another. What the majority did Monday night was postpone the Constituent Assembly for a more opportune time:

But Majority Leader Prospero Nograles’ subsequent motion left open the possibility that Con-ass was alive, ostensibly as a face-saving move. He said the scheduled opening today of Con-ass had been put off to allow the House members to deliberate on Con-con.

Nograles said the move was meant to accommodate “sentiments of the various sectors of society.”

Read Nograles’ statement on the floor of the House:

In behalf of the Majority, I now move to CANCEL, SUSPEND AND POSTPONE amendments to or revsions of the Constitution scheduled to be held at the plenary hall of the House of Representatives at 10 a.m. in the morning of Dec. 11, 2006 as provided for in Resolution No. 197 pursuant to House resolution no. 1450 until such time that may be set at a later date by this House to enable the House members to deliberate on the option of a Constitutioal Convention to effect charter change in accordance with the majority consensus to act towards accomodating the various sectors of society.

The mood according to colleagues covering the House, was ugly during the three-hour plus closed-door caucus held by the majority. One reporter’s information was the the Speaker was on a knife’s edge that night, and came perilously close to losing his position. Defeat is truly an orphan. Rep. Nograles was said to be particularly embittered by having to maneuver the resolution superseding the earlier call for a constituent assembly, but as Pichay’s statements show, there may still be divergent views between Kampi and Lakas.

A production assistant later told Tina Palma that they’d received the highest number of text messages from viewers ever; my impression is that the public mood remains angry. Even the Saturday gambit and its latest mutations have failed to defuse the public’s outrage. Even those otherwise sympathetic to the House are chagrined by how it cut and run.

A consensus seems to be emerging: there is no longer time, if the rules will be followed, to adequately debate and propose a convention. The Senate isn’t at fault on this: it’s position was clear months and months ago, it was the House that ignored them. The PCIJ blog gives a backgrounder on proposals and past convention history.

Administration reiterates ban on government workers attending rallies. Tony Abaya sums up the challenge and opportunity best:

This looks like People Power Revisited, and President Arroyo and JdV and their band of salivating trapos can ignore it only at their own peril. This promises to be bigger and more sustained than the anti-GMA demos of July 2005 and February 2006, which failed to excite the middle-class because they were clearly orchestrated by the trapos of Joseph Estrada and the Communist movement, whom the middle-class have neither sympathy with nor affinity for.

If Mike Velarde’s El Shaddai, Bishop Lagdameo’s CBCP, Villanueva’s JIL, the Protestants’ NCCP, and the other participating organizations can keep their protest action essentially non-trapo and non-Communist, the prospects of attracting the middle-class to join would be better than good, and with it the possibility of rejuvenating this country with a much-needed moral and social revolution.

Philippine Commentary examines the flaws in the unicameralist position. I’ll be writing more about that in the future.

Promdi’s take on brewing debate: the debate isn’t about to go away. No thanks to over talkative senators.

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  1. When a bishop boldly calls for the soldiers to march in protest we may be close to the point of no return. We can only hope that if PP III succeeds again, the people take control to see that what they have long aspired for come to fruition.

  2. “Those who win battles are not really skillful — those who render others’ armies helpless without fighting are the best of all. Strike while schemes are being laid. Then the next best: attack their alliances. Then the next best: attack their forces.” end of quote…It was not a miracle, not original either; my paraphrase of a translation of Sun Tzu. (you know, Art of War).

  3. Well Manolo, the gnomes have found the Instruction Manual for the stateship and I fear they shall never tire of the part that says you can change anything you can get a majority of the passengers to agree to.

    But like the Ark of the Covenant perhaps these raiders do not see the mysterious design because of the plain markings. They would toy with it as a kid might with a gun, or a chemistry set full of mercury and polonium, after having deciphered but a fragment of it.

    They think they are Dr. Frankenstein who can rearrange the guts to make a Golem that will surely save us, with three-fourths of this and two-thirds of that. Again not realizing, it isn’t that sort of magic at all, but more like the design of an airplane or a helicopter. It would be just as foolish and suicidal to be rearranging and even removing and recombining parts on these in the middle of the night and in a big rush.

    But like I said, they’ve found the Instruction Manual. This is how CONSERVATISM is born.

  4. I dont read Tony Abaya but it seems everytime MLQ3 quotes him in this blog, Mr. Abaya is mentioning the communists. Is he always like that? 😀

  5. Jeg, yes he’s always like that. i think it’s about old dogs not being able to change spots. he’s a product of his generation.

  6. SUPPORT PEOPLE POWER 3 !!! Let’s SHOW the MAJORITY of CONGRESSMEN that they will be OUTNUMBERED and their TIME will soon END. We DONT NEED REPRESENTATIVE OF GMA, what we NEED is a TRUE REPRESENTATIVE of the PEOPLE !!!

    No to CHA CHA … NOT NOW !!!!

  7. re: public opinion

    public opinion was the reason for the con-ass retreat of the house of representative?

    I dont think so. The key voice here was the religious leaders. The supposed outrage was not a public opinion driven issue. It was the best indication of the influence of religion in our political society. What is unfortunate is that no true proponent of charter change is willing to attack these unelected power brokers whose impact on national elections would be greatly diminished when no national candidates are in play. It is indeed ironic that the criticism of charter change directed towards the self interest of congressmen will forever allow the religious leaders their anti-chacha stance without reavealing own corrupt self serving interests. Do you honestly think that the likes of the cbcp, el shaddai, jil, inc, leaders consulted with their flock before they took their antichacha stance? The religous leaders are drunk with the power they yield when national electionsare held. It is sad that the gutless pro-chacha proponents are unwilling to call a spade a spade even if it means offending their religious leaders. Our national hero, Jose Rizal, must be spinning in his grave in disgust

  8. when a bishop openly called for the armed forces to rebel against the government, he is in fact calling for a bloody civil war. now the bishop wants to run the government. a religious war maybe the end of their quest for power.

  9. re: public opinion
    Public opinion was the reason for the retreat of con-ass. Did you not hear the public asking the religious leaders to voice their concern. Lets look at the facts; the professional way in which the television companies covered the events being unveiled by the congressmen allied to the president, these congressmen had become brazen and arrogant thinking they had the numbers. The public were very concerned and angry to watch these allies of the president blatently rape the people’s Constitution. The damage has been done. The speaker can make all the promises to the people but the people don’t trust these members in this congress period. My goodness, they still don’t listen to the people do they. The people are now left with only the street parliment, so don’t blame religious leaders, blame the allies of the president because they have discovered that in playing the numbers game the public have the majority of numbers. All this talk from the speaker is just talk, because nobody believes him, period.

  10. I dont know what drugs PeeDee is taking but i want to him/her to share naman. The public asking religious leaders to voice their concern? Did not the people elect these congressmen that you say they dont trust? In essence your comments really attack the electorate who are resposible for putting the people in the congress. I dont understand how people dont see the clear agenda of the religious groups to preserve their influence in philippine politics by not having a unicameral parliamentary government. When you make sweeping statements that NOBODY believes in the speaker you basically shows your ignorance and lack of capacity for lucid analysis. I and many others are part of the same public you claim and we were hopeful and not digusted by the con-ass resolution. Unfortunately charter change will affect the many religious and business interests who have tremendous clout. Had the public been truly outrages they would have instantly turned to the streets like edsa 2…so wake up to reality my friend there was no such outpouring of outrage only the voices of those religious fascists, political oppositionists, and business interests who had to move to protect their interesrs

  11. the present charter was created by fr. joaquin bernas and the CBCP thru the concom appointed by cory aquino and approved under the dictatorial government. the CBCP will never allow revision or amendment of its prochurch provisions.

  12. “Had the public been truely outraged they would have instantly turned to the streets like edsa 2” I seem to remember that GMA admitted that she and her generals had been planning edza all the previous year. Nothing instant about that!

  13. You can bet on that, Pepe!

    I hope the Church always defends especially the following provision pro-church provision from the Bill of Rights:Article III – Bill of Rights – Section 5.No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

    Indeed,

  14. Pepe,
    May I suggest that perhaps you’ve mistaken what appears to be religious authority being exercised for a mere exercise of civil and political rights. We should make no religious test of whether they may do so, nor complain that some of them, though male, wear skirts and funny-looking robes, trinkets and icons of their deities, or some such religious or cultural artifact. And by such nonsense somehow command the respect and belief of masses of the citizens. In fact, they are merely exercising the freedom of thought and expression that is also in the Bill of Rights given to them as citizens. And churches are nothing more than the freedom of assembly that gathers together people who share
    the same beliefs and opinion about supernatural things to be sure. But it’s a free country right? A Church is an NGO, nothing more, nothing less, or newspaper, or my favorite analogy–a theatre company that puts on high art and tragedy every Sunday for free.

    But it bears repeating, Pepe, for you said it yourself through Padre Florentino at the end of the El Filibusterismo: No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil and political rights.

    (Except I cried when you said it.)

  15. Brother Ely says : “SUPPORT PEOPLE POWER 3 !!! Let’s SHOW the MAJORITY of CONGRESSMEN that they will be OUTNUMBERED and their TIME will soon END.”
    My expectation is (a) the May-2007 elections will go on schedule… and (b) majority of the congressmen who have joined JDV/et-al for con-Ass will be re-elected.

  16. and did you notice that they first decided on a unicameral congrress but later changed their mind?….very revealing move of the religious manipulators who saw they would not be so influential in a non national candidate election scenario…if you want to look for the culprits who make eraps, fpjs, and the other buffoons in the senate possible look no further….unfortunately many do nor see the connection

  17. aw cmon peedee…do you honestly believe that edsa2 was planned by gma and the generals?…edsa2 was the spontaneous outrage of the people after the impeachment senators voted against opening the envelope tht would have supposedly shown evidence of erap’s crimes. I know cause i was part of the many who spilled out to the streets…for you to think that it was all orchestrated by gma and the genrals would be an insult to the true sensibilities of those involved..sorry peedee this one you definitely got way wrong

  18. THe Congressmen still don’t want to admit that the best move is to ask the electorate if they want Charter Change.

    But not necessarily the best move for them.

  19. and a comment on those who say that now is not the right time for chacha…it is really a cop out on thier actual agenda that they dont want chacha by any way or by any means….most suggest that this issue would be better taken up after the may elections next year…what a joke…yeah right just wait for those 12 senators who just spent millions on getting elected to consider the possibility of the senate being eliminated…and the current crop in the senate will always assert thei rights in any attempt to make them extinct with what would be their natural stance of self preservation…all you legal luminaries who defend the senate’s rights to the chacha process do your country a great disservice when you fail to look at the contributions this senate had made..teddy locsin said it best when interviewed by dong puno “when it comes to the function of legislation there is no doubt the house has exibited more professionalism than the senate”….isnt this more than enough reason to give the senate less respect when it comes to at least serving their constitutional function of legislation?…this is one instance where what matters is not what is legal but what is right

  20. Constitutional change is to remedy the “roger-navarro” sentence that “….what matters is not what is legal but what is right.” The question, of course, is right-for-whom?

  21. Roger Navarro wants to know what drugs PeeDee is taking, but I think Roger is smoking stronger stuff.

    “I and many others are part of the same public you claim and we were hopeful and not digusted by the con-ass resolution.” You mean, you, Carmen Pedrosa, and Victor Agustin, and perhaps the (now) less than 195 pro-Chacha congressmen left. Come on, Roger, either wake up or fess up: everyone knows totally revolted most people were to see congressmen desperately struggling to advance their personal interests. Don’t go blaming religious leaders for something the congressmen brought upon themselves. After all, religious leaders have been ignored lots of times before. But why do you think GMA & JDV backpedalled this time? This time, they went too far: the prospect of People Power is REAL. And we all know why that is.

  22. “Had the public been truly outrages they would have instantly turned to the streets like edsa 2…so wake up to reality my friend there was no such outpouring of outrage only the voices of those religious fascists, political oppositionists, and business interests who had to move to protect their interesrs”

    roger navarro said this on December 12th, 2006 at 8:46 pm

    I total agree! Roger.

    I remember very well EDSA 2, I went home early from the office to watch the Erap Impeachment… The admin senators refus eteh opening of teh second envelop. Then there was a call to gather in EDSA and peopel just went there. THen When I went back to work teh next day. Everyone is already planing how to go shift to EDSA. And since we we were just so close( Intel in Bangkal, Makati) to EDSA it was very easy to

    PeeDee, How could Glorai planned it all in when she doesn’t have control of the admin senators then?

    I just can anot realy buy the line that MLQ3 is saying that there was a tremendous outrage. It did even bother much teh Pinoy here in New York City, at least to the habitue of “Barrio Fiesta”. Of teh so many corwds that went ther Sat and Sunday. I did even here anything about outtrage.

    I talk to my family in the Phils, And there is really nothing about outrage in them….One of neice who is a die hard GMA said it did not affect his faith in GMA at all….

  23. and PeeDee , if want to make another EDSA2. You just have to do it. Taking EDSA2 from us who really treasured it will not help you at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Did not the people elect these congressmen that you say they don’t trust? In essence your comments really attack the electorate who are responsible for putting the people in the congress.” – Roger Navarro at 8:46pm

    Unfortunately, the people are only able to elect their representatives every three years after which the latter are pretty much free to follow or ignore their constituent’s opinions. That is why an active public sphere is needed to engage these representatives and keep them from becoming too out of touch (and self-serving). In the Philippine setting, a major component of the public sphere are the Church leaders (CBCP, INC, El Shaddai etc.) who both shape and follow the opinions of their members.

    and did you notice that they first decided on a unicameral congress but later changed their mind?….very revealing move of the religious manipulators who saw they would not be so influential in a non national candidate election scenario…” – Roger Navarro at 11:38pm

    Roger, i think you’re mixing up the issue of unicameral vs. bicameral legislature, which was a contentious issue during the 1987 Constitutional Commission deliberations, with that of direct vs. indirect voting of national leaders, which was never a matter of debate. The consensus at that time was for directly electing national leaders.

    The way in which you want to emasculate the religious leaders’ voice is by localizing the scope of elections. That could only happen if the locally elected representatives would in effect substitute their own preference for national leader (e.g. JDV), in place of the choices of the public (e.g. Erap, Lacson). While you may prefer the former outcome, the process still reflects a distortion and even a reversal of the people’s will.

  25. Don’t get lost discussing the devices to promote cha-cha. Just keep in mind that if cha-cha goes through gma stays in power for a long long time. Perhaps, longer than marcos.

  26. cvj,

    Furthermore, the house majority behave as locally elected national dictators, like a gang of feudal warlords, who kings in their districts

  27. cvj,

    The house majority behave as locally elected national dictators — a gang of feudal warlords, jueteng lords, scions of trapo dynasties, etc. — who can disregard the voice of sectors and organizations with national advocacy.

    Unilateralism plus unicameralim is clearly trapo dictatorship like what we are witnessing the lower house majority are doing.

  28. as has always been my position: edsa 2 was a stupid revolution. a text message campaign initiated by the middle class who has dull appreciation of the process of law (i.e., the impeachment). and of course, we all now know who the scheming power grabber was behind this. that was the start of all these subsequent disrepect for democratic principles.

  29. rego said:

    “PeeDee, How could Glorai planned it all in when she doesn’t have control of the admin senators then?”

    there was this interview by newsbreak with the fatso. the admission was there. just couldn’t find the link. and no, it was not with the admin senators. they’re not the only players to contend or toy with.

  30. Mlq3,

    Malaya reports “Militant, lawyer shot dead in Sorsogon”

    The report says:

    A MEMBER of a militant peasant group and a lawyer of Bayan Muna party-list group were killed Monday afternoon and yesterday morning in Sorsogon.

    Militants listed Cris Frivaldo, who was shot in Irosin, as the 793rd, and lawyer Gil Gojol, who was shot in Gubat, as 794th victims of political killings since President Arroyo assumed office in 2001.

    To read the rest of the story: http://www.malaya.com.ph/dec13/news5.htm

    It is deeply sickening to hear of the continuing killings and extremely saddening to think that these two killings occurred yesterday even while almost almost a thousand European and Filipno demonstrators from all walks of life calling for a Stop to the Killings in the Philippines were preparing to march and troop to the Philippine Embassy in Brussels braving the rain and the cold.

    This government is despicable!

  31. “Religious groups or whoever else have the right to free expression,” reportedly warned by PNP-National Capital Region Police Office chief, Director Reynaldo Varilla, “as long as they don’t incite (people) to sedition or rebellion. If they break the law, you know what we will do, we will arrest them.” (Tribune.net.ph)

    But are the anti-sedition laws still found in Revised Penal Code of the Philippines still operative?

    On this website, I made reference to what I had advanced on the same subject before:

    . . . the penchant nowadays of the Arroyo government (is) to throw the criminal law book on sedition and cognate crimes at political dissenters and detractors. But the thinking of …mlq3 is to the effect that certain provisions of Revised Penal Code of the Philippines such as seditious libel (or “inciting to sedition”) are both colonial and anachronistic. My own view, which assumes mlq3’s observations as valid, is that the crime of inciting to sedition as defined under Article 142 of the Code is now extinct by force of the provisions of the Constitution.

    The pertinent history of the Philippine anti-sedition laws was explained also as follows:

    Capitalizing on the French bogey (from Napoleonic France), the elitist Federalist government of President John Adams passed a couple of oppressive laws in the United states designed to gag the pro-French supporters of Adam’s archrival, the populist Thomas Jefferson, many of whom were poor immigrants from Europe. Such laws were the Alien Laws, which authorized the president to deport dangerous and enemy aliens, and the Sedition Act, which was similar to the inciting to sedition article of the Philippines’ penal code. Before the “lockjaw” law, as the Sedition Act was called, pamphleteering of the time were unrestrained, and Adams anti-French policies were often viciously attacked. Many Jeffersonian editors critical of the president were indicted and jailed under the law. Scholars today point out that the Sedition Act was in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution but the Federalist-dominated Supreme Court never ruled on the constitutionality of the law. The auto-limiting law was simply allowed to expire in 1801. Following the conquest of the Philippines by the United States, the Sedition Act that had expired a century ago was passed on to the Philippines during the “pacification” period and was ultimately incorporated into the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines to countervail the Filipino insurrection bogey or “to maintain colonial control in a subject country” as mlq3 correctly has pointed out. The (Revised Penal Code) took effect in January 1932.

    As a student of Constitutional Law, I have always maintained that at least Article 142 of the Revised Penal Code was rendered inoperative ipso facto upon the taking into effect of the 1935 Constitution which provides that “All laws of the Philippines Islands shall continue in force . . . unless inconsistent with this Constitution.”

    I have greater confidence today to say that Article 142 is no longer in force because the (Commonwealth) Constitution of 1935, the (Marcos) Constitution of 1973 and the (People Power) Constitution of 1987 all provide the following provisions: No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, [of expression] or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievance. The clause “freedom of expression” is newly added to the present (1987) Constitution.

    The command of the Constitution is clear and unmistakable . . .

    Anti-Sedition Laws in the Philippines are constitutionally infirm and may only be enforced under pain of criminal and/or civil liability on the part of the enforcers.

  32. Representatives of the House are elected and Religious leaders are not.

    But another main difference is that should anyone be dismayed with religious leaders; the same religious leaders can’t spend your money because you can’t be compelled to give or donate.

    The same cannot be said of the Representatives. Even when should there come a time that they are already in disfavor; they will still continue to spend your money!!!

  33. MLQ3,

    We may as well memorize it…Upon us now is another round of debate on the Separation of Church and State.

    1987Article III – Bill of Rights – Section 5.

    No law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The free exercise and enjoyment of religious profession and worship, without discrimination or preference, shall forever be allowed. No religious test shall be required for the exercise of civil or political rights.

    My take on Bishop Tobias…

    He is unconstrained to make any statement in the exercise of his religious, civil and political rights, including inviting soldiers to a prayer rally. There is no violation on his part.

    BUT, if active Members of the Armed Services arrive with their uniforms or other symbols of State Authority, or otherwise make identification and representation of themselves as Members of the Armed Forces accepting his invitation and attending the prayer rally, then THEY would be in violation of above provision for participating in an exercise of partisan politics that “respects an establishment of religion.” and of their own oaths of offices as Members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines not participate in or be used for partisan political purposes.

    HYPOTHESIS: They can participate as individuals if properly on leave. They may not come with uniforms or in formation. Obviously they must NOT come armed (if they do at all.)

    UNDECIDED: It would be interesting to TEST the solidity and durability of the Supreme Court’s decision in Estrada vs. Arroyo, penned by Reynato Puno in March 2001, that it was perfectly legal and Constitutional for the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and his entire General Staff to “withdraw support” for the Commander in Chief, as Angelo Reyes did in January, 2001.

    I believe that KARMA has put Reynato Puno where he is now. Not GMA, who has her own share.

  34. Questions to the Comment Thread:

    (1) Can a Priest or Imam run for President?

    (2) What civil or political right does the Constitution ban for churches and religious organizations or their members and officials?

    (3) Can you give a real, existing example of a violation of the Principle of Separation of Church and State in the Philippines?

  35. I read the news that Bishop Tobias was calling on the military to do some kind of bidding.

    What does Bishop tobias mean exactly by “they should now show that support to the mass actions being organized by no less than the majority of the Filipinos who oppose Charter change (Cha-cha)?”

    How can the soliders help exactly? Or more precisely, how can they support the mass actions being organized?

    Bit tricky of a situation there – there’s bound to be repurcussions if those soldiers come to the rescue either way, i.e., to prop up Gloria or to heed the call of the good Bishop to save the Republic, and as DJB said, if they do come, they shouldn’t come in uniform and armed …

    It would be better if Bishop Tobias left the military to their own devices and refrain further from “tempting the devil or devils.”

  36. Is defending the constitution “for partisan political purposes”?

    DJB, get this over with. EDSA Dos was extra-constititional. Unfortunately, Puno and the gang made it intra-constitutional. The result, Davide and Panganiban became rebels, successsful ones luckily for them.

  37. DJB,

    I think there is actually a statement wherein the SC asked if a priest can run for office while they were hearing a case.

    I’ll try to look it up by I remember that it was allowed.

  38. BTW,

    Sec. Gonzales (some would really appreciate another “o” somewhere in that name) previously issued that to participate in revising the charter should be viewed as non partisan.

    If that should hold, then the reverse should also apply.

  39. Justice i think we are in the same league. One does not cease to be a political sonnamabitch simply because he is wearing a vestment or battledress.

  40. roger – yes its not public opinion that stopped con-ass. its the adverse response of the churchmen who were themselves so afraid to lose their grip to power once constituional reform is done. more so if we change to unicameral system.

    bishops Tobias and Cruz sometimes are quite effective being clowns.cbcp must be a one happy congregation. the more they dwell in politics the more we see their true colors.

    the true public opinion is thru a plebiscite. why not have one so that we can tell the real sentiments of the people and not imperial manila. in fact most legislators, legal experts and businessmen agreed that there is a need for some constitutional reforms. But as to when no one knows.

    so meantime we are stuck to what one voice like- restrictive economic provisions, highly centralized ineffective presidential system, officials that will be submissive to the interests of the bishops.

  41. CVJ, DJB, Justice League, Watchful Eye,

    Actually, I thought the Legion’s singaw, er idea I mean, is not a bad idea, i.e., to abolish both chambers of Congress and pave the way for the creation of a national assembly under a presidential unicameral government, but is it Constitutionally workable?

  42. It wasnt People Power, nor the religious leaders who stalled the house-only chacha. It was their own informants and moles telling them the SC would not stand for the methods they used. And since they “couldnt lose twice,” they did what they did and cut and run. This deprived us of a definite Supreme Court ruling on the issue, which means that this brazen act by the majority congressmen could happen again.

    To DJB’s questions:
    (1) Can a Priest or Imam run for President? Yes

    (2) What civil or political right does the Constitution ban for churches and religious organizations or their members and officials? Nada.

    (3) Can you give a real, existing example of a violation of the Principle of Separation of Church and State in the Philippines? Catholic mass in a government office, under the auspices and approval of, say, a department secretary; the office of Chaplain in the Armed Forces.

  43. James: add to that the multi-party and party list systems that led to the chaotic “transactional” politics with a lot of turncoatism, back-stabbing, treachery, factionalism, and horse-trading, that often result in incredible gridlock in governance.

  44. Abe Margall says : “Anti-Sedition Laws in the Philippines are constitutionally infirm and may only be enforced under pain of criminal and/or civil liability on the part of the enforcers.” I do not know of a case filed before the Philippine Supreme Court to determine the constitutionality of the law. The anti-Sedition law has not yet been struck down so it remains operative. Enforcement ‘under pain of criminal/civil liability’ does not apply yet.

  45. roger navarro: you’re right on target about the “holy men” in politics. I think these erstwhile individuals are living in the Rizalian world of Padre Damaso, ignoring the fact that no less than the present Pope admonishes against the clergy being embroiled in strictly secular controversies.

    In another thread, I voiced out the warning: “Beware of the devil that quotes the scriptures to ensnare the weak. Watch out for the clay-footed impostor who preaches morality while lining his pockets with gold.”

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