Alan Peter Cayetano is reaping immense political rewards from the persecution launched by the President’s husband: I caught a bit of yesterday’s dialogue, and the Arroyo lawyers may be practicing good law, but were undertaking inferior politics.
Cayetano (to Atty. Arroyo): “Do you bank accounts abroad?”
Lawyer: “That is not relevant to this hearing!”
Cayetano: “Do you have any holdings abroad at all?”
Lawyer: “That is not relevant to this hearing!”
Cayetano: “So you don’t have any money at all in any bank abroad?”
Lawyer: “The existence of banks abroad has not been established, so such banks do not legally exist!”
Chairman: “Yes, the existence of banks or accounts, or even what accounts exist in banks and what the banks have as different kinds of accounts, none of these things have been entered into evidence and so they do not exist, which means, you cannot ask about them-“
Cayetano: “But I am impeaching the credibility of Mr. Arroyo, so I must ask if he denies having any accounts abroad at all, because if he says he doesn’t, and I can prove he does, then he isn’t believable, is he? And-“
Chairman: “We will vote on the objection! You lose! We win!”
Lawyer: “Nothing exists legally because nothing has been introduced as evidence, and no evidence can be introduced because nothing exists to introduce!”
I’m loosely paraphrasing, of course. The news reports are more precise. How this is politically beneficial for Cayetano is demonstrated by this simple headline: President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s trip to Switzerland.
Cory Aquino turns 74 today. Manny Pacquiao got 20 exemptions for firearms for the campaign season, courtesy of the Comelec. That was yesterday’s news. Today, MindaNews asks, is he running? And for what?
If only I knew more about sports, I might have had a better chance of getting the analogy right. I think in some sports there’s a system known as ladders, to determine either the composition of teams, or the manner in which teams compete. Anyway, as it’s turning out, there seem to be different sub-teams in the Us Vs. Them contest known as the Senate race.
I. United Opposition
1. Alan Peter Cayetano
2. Chiz Escudero
3. Koko Pimentel
4. Loren Legarda
5. Panfilo Lacson
6. JV Ejercito*
7. Tito Sotto* (had pitched a “4+1” ticket to Estrada: Gringo Honasan, Tessie Oreta, Tito Sotto, John Osmeña + Loren Legarda)
8. John Osmeña*
Of the UNO slate, Tito Sotto has jumped ship to the administration, bringing Tessie Oreta with him. That means a pretty high probability he will be dropped from the UNO slate. JV Ejercito isn’t too keen on running for the Senate, as his leaving the mayoralty of San Juan might cause political problems for them, and his constituents, ranging from big business, to resident’s groups, etc. are comfortable with him where he is. So he might simply run for re-election in San Juan. The Spoiler: John Osmeña, whom civil society will not support and who the political operators seem to believe won’t make for a strong candidate, anyway. So UNO has a firm 5-person slate (numbers 1-5 above).
II. LP-NP-PDP-Laban Coalition
1. Manny Villar
2. Ralph Recto
3. Joker Arroyo (he is running, after all, the political pros say)
4. Kiko Pangilinan
5. Noynoy Aquino
This was originally known as the “third force,” has since morphed into the “reelectionist bloc,” is more properly an LP-NP-PDP Laban Coalition. The Spoiler: the possible LDP addition: Edgardo Angara, which would ruffle UNO and Civil Society feathers.
III. Civil Society candidates
1. Sonia Roco
2. Adel Tamano
These are basically the names I’ve heard discussed as the ones to be endorsed.
I+II+III = 5+5+2 = 12. A full and pretty formidable slate, which won’t please everyone but won’t be a cause for infighting like some of the original slates mentioned; most of all, it could be put forward as a unified coalition slate. It’s important for all three components to put forward a unified slate, as it will leave no room for the administration to sneak in its candidates.
Of course it ain’t over until all the different groups iron out their respective slates and agree to a unified ticket, but I think the prospects are better than they’ve ever been.
Personally, as my column for today, The Amazing Race points out, I think UNO deserves credit for avoiding some of the more noxious personalities that wanted its endorsement; and a solid, 12-person slate for a tripartite coalition serves as a reassurance to the public that first, unity is possible, second, that it doesn’t mean succumbing to a surrender-to-the-Palace attitude, that third, it’s about much more than what the Palace says the race is about. My sense, though, is that there might be tensions between Ernesto Maceda and Jejomar Binay. Maceda is identified with the NPC, where Sotto and Oreta have moved, while Binay who is looking to the future and not back to the past in terms of what the slate should represent. (Incidentally, in my column I quote Migs Zubiri whom I ran into last Tuesday at ANC says he influenced the Speaker’s about-face in December; now see Newsbreak’s analysis of how it may be premature to think the Speaker is down and out on his political luck).
As for the Palace, rumors of a full slate remain just that, though what seems to be emerging, so far, is is its “Unity Ticket”:
1. Mike Defensor
2. Miguel Zubiri (who officially owns the rights to “Boom Tarat-tarat,” at a lower price than what others offered, because of his friendship with the composer)
3. Edu Manzano
4. Tessie Aquino-Oreta*
5. Tito Sotto*
6. Gilbert Teodoro*
7. Richard Gomez
8. Prospero Pichay
The rest will be for decoration. If it manages to get its six elected by whatever means, the administration wins, because a minimum of 8 new senators will have to be reliable in terms of impeachment, defending the senate, and opposing shenanigans involving the constitution, etc., to keep the administration on its toes (the asterisks for Sotto and Oreta indicate their affiliation with the NPC, whose big chief is you-know-who, and you-know-who’s bottom line is an accomodation with the PCGG, so his people will toe the party line to be sure).
In the punditocracy, the Inquirer editorial looks at concern even among Palace allies, over its Iloilo invasion.
Filomeno Sta. Ana III focuses in more scientific terms, on the exchange rate problem:
Although the adverse effect on exporters is commonly emphasized, it must be pointed out that domestic producers for the local market, whose inputs are mainly local, likewise suffer from a continuing peso appreciation. A peso appreciation makes the prices of competing imports cheaper. Hence, local producers lose market share, grabbed from them by imports. A qualification though is in order: The simulation done for Philexport, using 2002 data obtained by ADB, revealed a slight decline (-0.18 percent) in average sales of net importers.
In fine, the continued appreciation of the peso, leading to its overvaluation, is injurious to the real, productive sector of the economy, negatively affecting employment and income.
Lito Banayo takes a more satirical approach to the same thing.
Newsbreak has pointers on how to view political ads.
Anyone interested in how diplomacy between allies works, and how the United States doesn’t let emotions intrude into its dealings even with its closest allies, should watch Mortgaged to the Yanks. Apparently, it wasn’t until December 31, 2006 that the UK paid off its war debts to the USA. The story of how the United States thwarted John Maynard Keynes’ efforts to secure favorable economic terms at the end of World War II, makes for fascinating viewing.