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May 31

Palace: don’t destabilize emotions (!)

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?

Michael Defensor concedes defeat (charming account of the press conference, courtesy of The Nosy Intern). His concession statement has sparked some controversy:

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.

Sweden opens a virtual embassy. A health saga: Man with dangerous form of TB held in isolation.

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.”

Fellow Latin American’s aren’t pleased with Chavez, and neither is a big chunk of the Venezuelan population.See Gateway Pundit for a roundup.See the Pajamas Media roundup, too.

inkblots on NGO’s having to be self-supporting. Whispers in the Loggia on the Saturday canonization of Marie-Eugenie Milleret, which droves of graduates of the Assumption are attending in Rome.

Many thanks to The Philippine Experience and to Arbet Loggins @ Multiply for the birthday greetings -and to all the kind readers who greeted me, too.

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67 comments

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  1. baycas

    This guy is a DUMB ASS and a lawyer on top of that…

    no, not one of us here…that’s what a blogger said when the globe-trotting xdr-tb man was identified. the man’s father-in-law even works at the CDC.

    the incident created quite a scare and the irony of it all is that the man is a personal injury lawyer. will infliction of an affliction to another be part of personal injuries?

  2. Jeg

    MB, like you, I know diddley squat about Venezuela. I dont know if that TV station was telling the truth or hurling baseless accusations. Chavez had the law on his side, sure. He had the power to withhold the license. We’re not talking legalism here, but principles that apply to every so-called democracy. That’s why I can categorically say that what Chavez did to the TV station is wrong. No gray areas, no moral relativism, no mitigating circumstances. Chavez was an elected leader, with the majority on his side, and yet he did what he did. That was an act of a bully, closer look or not. The fact that the Americans are after him is irrelevant. All he had to do was label the station an American mouthpiece and the people wouldve probably backed him. From what I know, he’s good at that.

    This happened to be a TV station, but it was an attack on all media, Venezuelan bloggers included. Maybe youll wait til he rounds up reporters before you call it wrong, but Im calling it wrong right now no matter where it happens–here, Caracas, or anywhere that claims to be a democracy.

    Abe N. Margallo: And minus the rhetoric, is Chavism distinguishable from Jeffersonian democracy?

    Youre comparing Hugo to Jefferson, Abe? Really? Would Jefferson had shut down–ok fine, not renew the license of–a TV station that’s been peddling anti-Jefferson propaganda?

    Hugo is Hugo. Whether he’s good for Venezuela or not, I dont know. I hope he is. If he isnt, that’s up to the Venezuelans to decide and act on.

  3. devilsadvc8

    “on another note, it’s so predictable. as far as the Gloria-haters are concerned the avalanche of good economic news are pouring not because, but in spite, of PGMA’s sound economic policies.”

    This is true — except for the sound part. But of course, that is why we DIFFER in OPINION.

    “the biggest mantra is the ofw remittances (which existed even during corazon aquino’s time and growing steadily each year thereafter) that they send to their loved ones (not to the government, you idiot)for their own needs. now, they are speculating if it’s because of the election spending.”

    Well, it is REMITTANCES, and unlike some, I dnt believe election spending drove the peso to hit P46 (wtf!@#!*!@) It is after all, enrollment time. And of course, unlike some, I did give some credit to GMA and her gang. Somewhere on this blog, I cited BPO and mining as an indirect and direct cause of this govt’s policy. BPO, indirectly (oh hooray, let’s all thank GMA for enticing foreigners to start off-shoring here. hmm, wait. even w/o her, they would be enticed. look at all those cheap labor! wow, we cnt get enough of it. and they’re skilled too! and very fluent w/our language! did we jz win the jackpot or what? and degree holders vs degree holders are fighting it out amongst themselves for a job lower than what their qualifications offer, isn’t that neat? and some have Ph D’s too! Wow, all that and we pay these guys a pittance for what we pay their counterparts here in the states. Hmp, and some of those employees haven’t even gone to college) and mining, oh yes, mining, oh so directly.

    “when will they ever give PGMA credit for her sound economic programs, excellent management and political will?”

    Again, I have to disagree w/everything, but most esp abt political will. Oh, she has plenty of it, no doubt. Evidenced by how far she is willing to go to get IT. But to give “credit” to that kind of “political will?” Don’t insult (I was going to say intelligence, but let’s not go there, shall we?) my honor.

    “what about the gains in tourism, job creations, small business ownership, real estate boom, mining, manufacturing, agriculture, business and investors’confidence, etc., etc.?”

    I have to concede we do need to give credit to tourism and SMEs. Gov’t did play a role in doing the tourism industry some good. Nice job Mr. Tourism Secretary. SME’s, i still have some reserve. As many of them failed as had succeeded. The measure was how many that succeeded was bec of the gov’t? Micro-credit financing drove the growth, if GMA’s hand was in that, fine let’s give her, umm 1 star. But unless she does something abt the red tape encountered by starting entrepreneurs, and unless she gives them some SLACK when it comes to taxes during their first 2 years, I will reserve judgment on whether she knows common sense economics.

    But real-estate is still OFW-driven. Ask the RE agents and they would know who the large number of buyers are. As for raising taxes, that is all fine by me, IF ONLY it went were it’s supposed to go (and no, I dnt mean the usual suspects) SOCIAL REFORMS! As it is, taxes keep increasing, yet the budgets of DepEd and DOH keeps decreasing! They’re asking the people to sacrifice, not so that the nation can grow, but so that their bellies can! They keep raising taxes yet they keep stealing all the money that it raises. I am ok with the govt getting my hard-earned money, but before u ask me to tighten my belt AGAIN, tighten yours! BIR and CUSTOMS have holes large enough that when plugged, wouldn’t entail me shelling out more for taxes. And dnt get me started on the GOCCs and fucking NAPOCOR. If I had a DEATHNOTE, I would list them all.

    So thanks, but no thanks. I will hold my “thanks” when I get what I have to thank for.

  4. Bencard

    devilsadvoc8, suit yourself. in a perfect world, we may not differ in opinion. but this is not a perfect world we live in, so here we are.

    just one question for you: economically speaking, is the country better off now than when cory or erap left the presidency or not?

  5. cvj

    Nothing like a simplistic question full of hidden and unwarranted assumptions.

  6. Bencard

    judge cvj, will you please let devilsadvoc8 speak for himself? i know you know “everything”, but give him a little courtesy will you? who appointed you judge, anyway, mlq3?

  7. cvj

    Bencard, don’t mind me, i’m just thinking out loud.

  8. devilsadvc8

    “just one question for you: economically speaking, is the country better off now than when cory or erap left the presidency or not?”

    Gee, jeopardy is it? Answer: What is selective reasoning?
    We seem to be missing one president, as if we skipped a timeline…

    Ok, I’ll indulge you (sigh)..

    A: Better off than Cory’s time, worser than Erap’s.
    (only one explanation for this. MY purchasing power was greater in Erap’s time than today)

    And that, is economically speaking. Let’s go on to the other facets of society shall we? Like peace and order, or peace and order, or — where are our KIDS goddamit! wtf do parents care abt stock exchange when majority of Filipinos aren’t even stock players? a rosy economy is worth sh*t when you’ve got your citizens disappearing like people in the “Left Behind” series. And as for that trickledown, I’m still waiting for it. So why don’t you solicit your “thank-yous” from Donald Dee and elsewhere ‘coz I surely aint giving it.

  9. Bencard

    devil, so the country’s economy is personal to you, huh? as long as you’re o.k., to hell with everybody else, right?
    what was that profound-sounding analysis for? you could have fooled me.

    anyway, thanks for the bonus answer. I did’nt need it because i didn’t care for “b.s” (as mlq3 would put it) even though it has some amusement value.

  10. devilsadvc8

    “devil, so the country’s economy is personal to you, huh? as long as you’re o.k., to hell with everybody else, right?

    Well, how else could I make the comparative analysis except from my POV, drawn from my memories? I said that there was an explanation why I thought today was worser than Erap’s. And that was bec. of that. Assuming I am part of the regular Juans out there, and not of the MBC or corporate owners out there…

    “what was that profound-sounding analysis for? you could have fooled me”

    Which one are you talking about?

    “anyway, thanks for the bonus answer. I did’nt need it because i didn’t care for “b.s” (as mlq3 would put it) even though it has some amusement value.”

    Your welcome, and I’m glad I amused you. If my reasoning or opinions are wrong, let them rise or fall on their own merits. I know you disagree with everything I said, but why? You could correct me point by point you know. I am after all, just sounding wise but really very foolish inside. I know it would please you a lot to make me such a fool to everyone here. *sigh* indulge me please..

    If I am mistaken, then I am.

  11. UP n student

    Bencard: I think that you, Abe Margallo and Ana de France share one thing in common, which is that your net worth really won’t be affected much if things go hell in a handbasket in the Philippines.

    devilsadvoc8 leaves me the impression that he will hurt, and badly, which may explain why he personalizes the economic metrics.

  12. Bencard

    UPN student, i really hope and pray that some bright, competent man or woman will emerge as the country’s top leader after PGMA’s exit in 2010. but before that, i wish she continues to maintain our economic growth, if not improve on what is currently being accomplished. i know the naysayers would not like that because they would rather win an argument than see the country avoid going “to hell in a handbasket” economically.

    having said that, i don’t fault devilsadvoc8 for using personal circumstance as a gauge to measure the country’s economy, but i have a feeling most, if not all, the naysayers that i’m referring to have as much, or better, net worth than mine.

  13. devilsadvc8

    “i really hope and pray that some bright, competent man or woman will emerge as the country’s top leader after PGMA’s exit in 2010.”

    That makes two of us. My vote goes to Villar if he runs in 2010. Never to Drilon who’s nothing but an opportunistic 2-timing pig, or to Mar Roxas who was suddenly struck dumb after topping the 2004 senatorial race, or to Legarda, Escudero, or Pangilinan, whose emptiness is masked by crisp talk.

    Villar has the statemanship none from the opposition possess. He isn’t a saint, but neither is he a scoundrel. He is shrewd, but his shrewdness doesn’t border on crassness like GMA and her gang, who thinks they’re being such smart-alecks when they bend the laws to their whims, using loopholes and downright strong-arm tactics.

    “But before that, i wish she continues to maintain our economic growth, if not improve on what is currently being accomplished. i know the naysayers would not like that because they would rather win an argument than see the country avoid going “to hell in a handbasket” economically.”

    Ben, not all of us here who dislike GMA wishes the country ill just so we could see GMA’s downfall. We all have different ideas, but most of us doesn’t criticize GMA just bec we want to “win an argument.” We all criticize her bec there is a genuine reason to do so.

    “having said that, i don’t fault devilsadvoc8 for using personal circumstance as a gauge to measure the country’s economy..”

    Thanks Bencard. We all see life from our own POV. That’s relativity. That is why even though GDP experienced historic growth, only those who directly benefited from it are jumping for joy. I distinctly remember the FVR years. Life felt easy then. Brownouts were solved (increasingly recurring now), businesses boomed, and corruption, didn’t pranced and parade like they were having a great time. Even when Erap took the helm, things didn’t take a turn for the worse as much as everyone perceived it did.

    Maybe I was just too young to remember, but that is how I saw it.

  14. Bencard

    got you, devilsadvoca8. i think villar deserves some credit in giving the senate a new lease in life after the lowest ebb in its usefulness under drilon’s leaderhip or lack of it. however, unless somehow he, or anyone else aspiring to be president for that matter, satisfies all the competing interests in the country when he/she is elected, he/she will be wearing a virtual target sign on his/her front and back and end up employing draconian measures for survival. he/she will then be hated by many and unless the relentless enemies are kept at bay, he/she will be hounded out of power.

    a country where elective office can be bought and sold; where professional dagdag-bawas operators are in control; where false witnesses and fabricated evidence are cheaply available; where a culture of corruption permeates the society at large; where the rule of law takes a backseat to the rule of power, influence and money; is a country that is impossible to govern.

  15. devilsadvc8

    “however, unless somehow he, or anyone else aspiring to be president for that matter, satisfies all the competing interests in the country when he/she is elected, he/she will be wearing a virtual target sign on his/her front and back and end up employing draconian measures for survival. he/she will then be hated by many and unless the relentless enemies are kept at bay, he/she will be hounded out of power.”

    There are competing interests, but unless the next president makes the same mistake GMA did when she stole or “attempted” to steal the elections, he or she wouldn’t have the same hard time GMA is having. It is all abt perceptions, Ben. Bec a large number of people think GMA isn’t the president, how indeed can she rule? When you don’t have a cloud of doubt hanging over your presidency, do you think draconian measures are needed?

    “a country where elective office can be bought and sold; where professional dagdag-bawas operators are in control; where false witnesses and fabricated evidence are cheaply available; where a culture of corruption permeates the society at large; where the rule of law takes a backseat to the rule of power, influence and money; is a country that is impossible to govern.”

    Take your statement for example, with all that you’ve enumerated, it is clear what the next president must do to endear him/her to the masses. impossible to govern? only if the president starts believing that even before they have started their presidency. GMA employed political will on all the wrong reasons. perhaps the next president will find it in him/her to use it correctly.

  16. Bencard

    with all the seemingly unending charges and countercharges of nationwide cheating in every election, how can anyone “elected” for public office enjoy “legitmacy”? even now, all candidates in the last elections, including the top senatorial aspirant, are necessarily implicated whenever a spurious or falsified return or coc is exposed. in philippine politics, no one is immaculate. even the media, far from being the paragon of truth and fairness, can make or unnmake presidents, or lesser officials, in conspiracy with disgruntled sectors of society, while trying to paint a
    holier-than-thou picture of itself.

  17. Bencard

    the “love of the masses” does not make a corrupt leader any less unworthy. perceived criminals and wrongdoers get mobbed by the “masses” and elected by a “landslide” vote in spite of their unsavory public reputation. it seems that the filipinos, in general, are impervious to shame.

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