WTF statement of the day: Palace to GO: Stop destabilizing emotions . OK I just love it. I am now thinking of 101 uses for the new phrase, “destabilized emotions.” Will Human Resources managers accept it as a medical condition? An occupational hazard? A justification for Viagra prescriptions?
I concede to ease the tension on the ground and to dismiss [a] notion that there may be illegal acts committed to attain my victory. I concede so as to enjoin my allies and friends who may want, in their desire to have me win, commit acts inimical to the essence of democracy and fair play in an electoral battle…My defeat is not the President’s loss. Her role is to ensure that democracy is respected and that she has accomplished. The market is up and the peso is strongest. That is the applause of appreciation…
Class act, or taking one for the team? Vincula says, it’s a class act. Alleba Politics thinks so, too. Bunker Chronicles says its a timely signal. Some commenters in Ellen Tordesillas’ blog say he took one for the team -or derailed the chances of other TU members. Team Unity won’t budge: it will continue to object, your honor. NCR Command wants troops back in Metro slums: this is known as insurance.
Namfrel says there are only a million votes left to count, and it will be a tight race indeed for the 11th to 14th slots:
Most of the votes would come from Mindanao region particularly in the Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) comprise of Basilan, Lanao del Sur, Maguindanao, Shariff Kabunsuan, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi.
Other provinces are Tarlac, Bohol, Camiguin, Surigao del Norte, Surigao del Norte, Pasig City, Mandaluyong and Caloocan.
If you take a look at Inquirer.net’s listing of vote tallies, you’ll notice a new, fourth column, “Comelec (Reporter’s Tally)”. Apparently, the Comelec’s official, audited canvass reports leads to a total that is two days behind what the press reports.
Meanwhile, Maguindanao’s votes yet again fail to make the cut, even as more revelations are made about the conduct of the voting. The Comelec’s embattled Commissioner Rene Sarmiento says he won’t quit (while fellow commissioner Borra basically called him a wimp). He’s embattled over his staking his reputation in backing Comelec officers in Lanao. He has made a good proposal: why not hold MRMM elections ahead of the rest of the country in the future?
Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing does his bit to fan the smoldering embers of the Speakership fight; but the interesting wrinkle here is the decision of the Liberal Party to set aside its internal differences and vote as a united bloc -in support of Rep. Garcia of Cebu. Whether the Inquirer report supersedes the Manila Times report that opposition members saying the Kampi challenge to Lakas in the House is a ploy, I don’t know: the Times says the whole thing’s a means to obtain dominant minority party status for Kampi, shutting out the opposition. The Malaya editorial maintains it’s still a shadow play to exact concessions:
There is no love lost between Kampi and Lakas of De Venecia. Last month’s election saw the open break between the two administration parties. In the local contests, where the incumbent was Lakas, the challenger allied himself with Kampi. And vice versa.
Arroyo, by allowing Kampi to challenge Lakas, was seen as consolidating her political base and, in effect, putting De Venecia in his place as the junior partner in the administration coalition.
There were also speculations that Arroyo was displeased when De Venecia pressed for Charter change despite a clear overwhelming public opposition to it. It was Arroyo’s dwindling political capital which was being frittered on the unpopular initiative when the intended beneficiary was De Venecia, with his ambition to become prime minister under a parliamentary form of government.
So is it Garcia then as the next Speaker? We would not bet on it. Joe the Venetian has an ace up his sleeve. He could threaten to throw the support of Lakas congressmen loyal to him behind a new impeachment campaign expected to be mounted by the opposition. And Kampi would fold.
But Kampi could exact concessions in the form of chairmanships of powerful House committees. Everybody would be happy, which is what we suspect all this talk about ousting De Venecia is all about.
The Magnificent Atty. Perez has his own take on the ruling coalition’s intramurals, and places his bets on Speaker de Venecia. But from those who scrutinize the House landscape, the hard-core support of de Venecia’s usually estimated at only 20 congressmen. Not a big block. But the effort continues, with administration insiders attempting media leaks to pressure the President to step in publicly.
There’s a timely reflection on the May elections and past elections, too, penned by Steve Rood in In Asia.
Economy posts best performance, on a quarterly basis, in 17 years. Election spending had nothing to do with it? Banko Sentral says the growth in remittances from overseas will slow. One reason may be: Filipino domestic workers face difficulties in finding jobs due to new wage policy. Businessmen say they want the economic provisions of the Constitution amended, or at least, some of their pet laws passed. If Congress convenes as a constituent assembly, that’s one opening for Charter Change, isn’t it? How helpful.
Marina’s offices destroyed in Manila’s Port Area. The end for investigations into disasters like the M/V Solar sinking.
Overseas, Thaksin’s Thai Rak Thai guilty of election fraud and Thailand’s Thai Rak Thai party dissolved, executives banned. A very interesting article on the expected demise of Malaysia’s auto industry: Bailout Alert in Malaysia. An excerpt:
Certainly the country is far different today than when Mahathir first became prime minister, to a large extent because of his vision. The highway system has transformed travel. Kuala Lumpur is a gleaming, modern Asian capital, crisscrossed by excellent expressways, its people far more prosperous than anyone would have dreamed 25 years ago. But huge amounts of money also have simply been wasted or lost to corruption, raising profound questions over whether Mahathir took the right development path.
Perwaja Steel, designed to spearhead Malaysia’s industrialization, lost US$800 million and its chairman was arrested. The Petronas Towers have been superseded as the world’s tallest buildings after contributing to a real estate glut in KL. Petronas, the national oil company and perennial cash cow for bailouts, occupies one entire 88-storey tower. The super corridor has fallen far short of its goal of turning Malaysia into an IT powerhouse as the tech boom has bypassed the country and largely gone to India. The Bakun Dam, considered a major white elephant because there is nowhere to sell the power it would generate, has yet to be built.
My column today is Islamic democracy. It makes reference to these articles: Abp Quevedo: is there another way of choosing leaders in the ARMM? and Islam and Liberal Democracy: Two Visions Of Reformation. These Wikipedia articles are also useful: Islamic Democracy, the Caliphate, and Sunni and Shia Islam. Also, take a look at an interesting map of the geographical distribution of traditions of Islam. In Mindanews, Patricio Diaz has a two part series titled “Unacceptable Justifications”: read Part 1 and Part 2.
In the blogosphere, Anthologies wonders why government just doesn’t take a strong approach to provinces that fail to conduct elections properly:
It is all too clear that the supposedly elected officials in Maguindanao are there because of cheating. The election was a sham. Why not place the entire province for the department of interior and local government to supervise. Do away with the elected offices. The more radical way is for the legislature to dissolve the province and the local government units in it, and apportion it to the adjacent provinces.
I asked a similar question in Inquirer Current not so long ago.
Supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez try to defend his efforts to bring Venezuela one step closer to the Castro style of totalitarianism. Or so says NewsBusters, which points to an Associated Press reporter defending Chavez’s decision not to renew the franchise of a critical TV station. culturekitchen does a roundup of manifestations for support for Chavezismo, and points to Venezuela Analysis whose roundup rebuts the NewsBusters type of criticism; the analyst asked human rights advocates whether non-renewal of a franchise was a free speech issue or not:
Jose Miguel Vivanco of Human Rights Watch clarified for me that “broadcasting companies in any country in the world, especially in democratic countries, are not entitled to renewal of their licenses. The lack of renewal of the contract, per se, is not a free speech issue. Just per se.” A free speech issue arises if the non-renewal is to punish a certain editorial line.
Still, Benoît Hervieu of Reporters Without Borders in Paris said that, while he could not be certain, he thought US and European governments would stop short of non-renewal despite RCTV’s “support for the coup.”
“I think that there would be pressure to make a replacement at the head of the channel. But I don’t think that they would not renew the concession. There is a risk in that story. There are 3000 employees at RCTV. So I don’t think that even in a country like [the United States or France], a government would risk putting 3000 people in the streets,” he said.
Could it be that governments like Venezuela have the theoretical right not to renew a broadcast license, but that no responsible government would ever do it? In the United States, this may seem plausible, since broadcast licenses here seem to be forever…
[For] Carlos Laura of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)… non-renewal itself is not the problem. His concern is the process by which the decision was reached. “I assume in the US there would be a process. The FCC would follow protocol. This is what hasn’t happened in Venezuela. We’re not arguing that the concession should be renewed, should be given to RCTV. We’re just saying that there’s no process to evaluate if it should be.”…
On process, they have a legitimate point. The government seems to have made the decision without any administrative or judicial hearings. Unfortunately, this is what the law, first enacted in 1987, long before Chavez entered the political scene, allows. It charges the executive branch with decisions about license renewal, but does not seem to require any administrative hearing. The law should be changed, but at the current moment when broadcast licenses are up for renewal, it is the prevailing law and thus lays out the framework in which decisions are made…
But is support for the violent overthrow of an elected government really protected political speech? Vivanco acknowledges that RCTV “obviously probably sympathized with the coup.” But, he says, “it is a matter of free speech.”…
If RCTV were the only major source of opposition to the government, the loss of its voice would be troubling. It would also be disturbing if the RCTV case forced others to tone down legitimate opposition. But Greg Wilpert, a sociologist living in Venezuela, declares, “It is the height of absurdity to say that there’s a lack of freedom of press in Venezuela.”
Of the top four private TV stations, three air mostly entertainment and one, Globovisión, is a 24-hours news channel. On Globovisión, Wilpert says, “the opposition is very present. They pretty much dominate it. And in the others, they certainly are very present in the news segments.”
Regarding the print media, Wilpert told me, “There are three main newspapers. Of those three, two are definitely very opposition. The other one is pretty neutral. I would say, [the opposition] certainly dominates the print media by far. There’s no doubt about that.”
“I think some of the TV stations have slightly moderated [their opposition to the government] not because of intimidation, but because they were losing audience share. Over half of the population is supportive of Châvez . They’ve reduced the number of anti-Châvez programs that they used to have. But those that continue to exist are just as anti-Châvez as they were before.”