The focus of the news is the afterglow of the Asean Summit, the Palace pump-priming local governments for the elections (on the crude premise, I suppose, that whatever the temporary fallout, it’s better to have an opponent out of office come election day than in office to influence the outcome), and the jockeying for the Senate race, interspersed with news of the latest contribution by the New People’s Army to economic development, and continuing environmental trouble.
Edu Manzano makes two confirmed administration candidates. A report by Newbreak focuses on the faction-ridden negotiations within the opposition, and says the Palace strategy, with regards to slates, is “well show you ours when you show us yours.”
It’s been seven years and yet the Free Press’ two men of the year for 2000 still hog the headlines: Singson and Estrada.
And just when you thought the military had said it wanted nothing to do with ex-cops ruling the roost in Defense: Ebdane, after all, may be the next Defense chief. Meanwhile, the National Security Adviser chimes in and says being in the Reserve Officer Training Corps should be a requirement for college graduation once more.
Supreme Court session hall goes up in smoke on the same day the man responsible for its redecoration, Hilario Davide, begins doing victory laps for his representative to the United Nations position.
There’s this charmingly-written article on columnist Vic Agustin leaving the Inquirer and moving to the Manila Standard-Today:
In a letter to MST publisher Teodoro Locsin Jr., Inquirer publisher Isagani Yambot said his newspaper had a certificate of registration issued by the Philippine Intellectual Property Office for the “Cocktales” name and the cocktail glasses graphic that used to appear on top of Agustin’s column when he was still wroting there.
Overseas, it seems a kind of Federalism in the United Kingdom threatens dissolution of the union; a grisly hanging in Iraq; New Zealand supports a Security Council seat for Japan. And problems with democratizing the drafting of Thailand’s new constitution.
Tony Abaya in his column suggests the prosecution of former cabinet member Nani Perez is a sham:
A clue as to why our judicial system is dysfunctional may have been provided by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita. One day after Ombudsman Gutierrez announced that Perez would be charged with graft and extortion, Secretary Ermita publicly expressed his “belief” that Perez is innocent, just because Perez was “one of our allies.” (Inquirer, Jan. 10)
“Nani is one of our allies, and deep inside me, I know what he is telling me is the truth,” Ermita is quoted by the Inquirer.
,,,Not that it surprised anyone. It merely puts in black and white what many observers have long noted about the Philippine judicial system: the intrinsic merits of your case do not matter as much as whom you know. And it explains the inexplicable.
The Ermita Doctrine explains why Virgilio Garcillano cannot be summoned to a congressional investigation of the “Hello Garci” tape. Garci is innocent of any wrongdoing because he is “one of our allies,” even if he claims he never left the country when he was being sought by congressional investigators, while the Government of Singapore, in its note verbale to the our Department of Foreign Affairs, stated that Garci arrived in Singapore on July 14 on board a Learjet and left the next day on board a commercial airliner.
The Ermita Doctrine also explains why Joc Joc Bolante cannot be summoned by the Senate to shed light on P738 million worth of fertilizer funds that were dispersed by him just before the 2004 elections, even to congressional districts that had no agriculture to fertilize. Joc Joc is innocent of any wrongdoing because he is “one of our allies.”
The Ermita Doctrine also explains why Imelda Marcos and her children, and Joseph Estrada and his son, continue to float in a judicial limbo, neither guilty nor innocent, – 20 years and five years, respectively, after cases were filed against them. There are untiring efforts to make them “one of our allies,” through “reconciliation,” if they would only agree to share their loot.
The Ermita Doctrine is probably also at work in the plunder cases pending, for three years now, against Gen. Carlos Garcia, Gen. Jacinto Ligot and Col. George Rabusa. The fear seems to be that if these cases were pursued with any vigor, the resulting revelations would entangle “one of our allies” or “several of our allies” in their web of military corruption.
In his column, Alex Magno claims the following:
The economist Noel de Dios pointed out something the other day that I hadn’t realized: for the first time in its recorded economic history, the Philippines has posted a 3% per capita growth for five continuous years.
Might economics-minded readers weigh in on this score? Is this true, or a selective reading of the statistics?
In the blogosphere, History Unfolding, who presciently warned of a looming political and constitutional crisis in the USA, has seen his prediction come close to fruition. He dissects the escalation in Iraq announced by the US President and says a re-ordering of American politics will be necessary on the scale achieved by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Ernest Wilson looks at Martin Luther King in retrospect.
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