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Supreme Court slaps Gonzalez
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on June 4, 2007 97 Comments 16 min read
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The Supreme Court dismisses charges against congressmen of the Left, and hands down a stinging rebuke of the Secretary of (in)Justice:

The obvious involvement of political considerations in the actuations of respondent Secretary of Justice and respondent prosecutors brings to mind an observation we made in another equally politically charged case. We reiterate what we stated then, if only to emphasize the importance of maintaining the integrity of criminal prosecutions in general and preliminary investigations in particular, thus:

[W]e cannot emphasize too strongly that prosecutors should not allow, and should avoid, giving the impression that their noble office is being used or prostituted, wittingly or unwittingly, for political ends, or other purposes alien to, or subversive of, the basic and fundamental objective of observing the interest of justice evenhandedly, without fear or favor to any and all litigants alike, whether rich or poor, weak or strong, powerless or mighty. Only by strict adherence to the established procedure may be public’s perception of the impartiality of the prosecutor be enhanced.

John Nery in Inquirer Current says the Supreme Court’s sent Gonzalez a pretty clear warning:

Reading the Carpio decision, and remembering Gonzalez’s recent string of defeats in Supreme Court cases (his legal philosophy these days, it seems to me, is based on an untenable assertion of the executive’s privileges), I cannot help but think that, however subtly, the high court is sending him, not merely a message, but a warning.

The Inquirer editorial seems to think so, too. But it’s not all’s well that ends well: Rep. Crispin Beltran faces the irony of being unable to pay for the hospital arrest to which he was subjected by the government.
Namfrel curls up and dies: Namfrel ends parallel count with 88% coverage; it’s 8-2-2. The Palace embraces Justice Cruz’s proposal to proclaim a 13th senator-elect. In his column, Fel Maragay goes into the pros and cons of the idea. Meanwhile, Nene Pimentel’s 2 votes shy of toppling Manny Villar for Senate President.

It’s interesting that Lito Gagni points to the candidacy of Rep. Pablo Garcia as something businessmen are moderately bullish about:

Speaker de Venecia is now battling a pernicious perception of the House as an institution that initiated the emotional-driven Charter change that resulted in deep division in the country. That division is something that the business groups do not want to happen as it takes out the entrepreneurial drive.

Because of the proposed changes in the Constitution, many businessmen had to forego their expansion plans and even their projections in view of the possible repercussions from the emotionally charged atmosphere brought about by the proposed Charter amendments.

In fact, some businessmen are again wary of another de Venecia speakership as they fear that the proposed changes could again come about.

The opinions of the businessmen does point to a way forward, if stability is indeed something desirable in terms of economic growth. Garcia was a proponent of a constitutional convention to achieve Charter Change; electing him Speaker would send the signal that Charter Change with the possibility of extending the President’s term of office or allowing her to become prime minister is dead; the assurance that the President has no choice but to step down in 2010 will help clear the political air; and with all side focused on a fresh start under a new administration, there would, indeed, be a greater likelihood of a modus vivendi until 2010.

On the economic front, further: Radstock deal OK’d by the counrts.

Bloomberg reports inflation has probably accelerated for a second month: Associated Press reports further rise in stock market driven in part by China’s decision to increase its tax on stock purchases; in the Business Mirror, details on the winners and gainers with the 1st Quarter numbers:

The agriculture, fishery and forestry sector grew 4.2 percent; industry at 5.3 percent and services at 9.1 percent - the latter growth being the highest since 1983, prompting economic officials to describe it as the linchpin in the economy.

Services contributed 4.4 percentage points to overall GDP growth, followed by industry with 1.7 percentage points and agriculture fishery and forestry with 0.8 percentage point.

Among other production side indicators in the first quarter, manufacturing gross value added slowed to 4.6 percent from 5 percent during the same period last year; construction went down to an 8.6-percent growth from 10.7 percent; trade up to 9.1 percent from 5.3 percent; private services increased pace to 8.9 percent from 7.7 percent, and government services posted a 7.1-percent growth from 3.7 percent.

“There are some indications that some manufacturing establishments are increasingly engaging in other economic activities, particularly, trading,” Romulo A. Virola, secretary-general of the National Statistical Coordination Board, said of the sector’s continued major contribution to industry despite a seeming slowdown.

On the expenditure side, personal consumption expenditure picked up to 5.9 percent from 5.3 percent; government consumption to 13.1 percent from 7.6 percent; capital formation nudged up 0.6 percent versus 0.3 percent before and exports posted a 9.1-percent growth against a faster 13-percent expansion during the first quarter last year…

The Philippines’ first-quarter growth is third highest in the region, next to China and Vietnam.

The Inquirer editorial for June 2 says that the markets have learned to take political developments in stride, pointing to Texas Instrument’s decision to boost its local exposure:

Even more important, investors are putting more money into the economy. The Mall of Asia, an expensive gamble by Henry Sy, is a retail and tourism success story rolled into one. A Saudi prince is investing over $100 million in upscale projects.

The biggest vote of confidence in the Philippines, however, is Texas Instruments’ decision to invest all of its expansion money in new Philippine plants (including a site inside the Clark economic zone). This decision is particularly gratifying, not simply because the alternative the company considered but ultimately dismissed was Thailand, the regional hub for many multinationals in Southeast Asia, but also because Texas Instruments is no stranger to the Philippines.

Unlike some of the businessmen surveyed by the Hong Kong-based Political and Economic Risk Consultancy in its annual corruption report, Texas Instruments has been in the country for decades. Thus, the company, one of the country’s largest exporters, knows the Philippine business environment very well indeed.

The editorial also points out when, precisely, election spending’s effects on the economy will be noticed:

We can expect the election spending factor to continue to have an impact in the second quarter, since April and May are right smack in the center of election season.

But the editorial also believes believes the kind of news that can have a (to borrow a Palace phrase) have a destabilizing effect on investor emotions, is human-rights-related news:

Political risk is the main uncertainty facing the economy. But we have a slightly different take on what constitutes political risk.

The intramurals between the Lakas-CMD and Kampi parties for control of the House of Representatives, the final cast of winners in the Senate elections, the resumption or the scuttling of Charter-change initiatives, the possibility of yet another impeachment campaign against the President — these are not especially risk-laden concerns. The business community has learned to discount some of the political turmoil crowding the front pages and the TV screens.

It is the still unresolved issue of the political killings, however, that is the real sword of Damocles hanging over the economy. Already, the foreign chambers of commerce in the country have warned Malacañang about the costs of inaction. The United Nations and the European Union have expressed alarm over the possibility that the government may be complicit. If the killings continue, it is only a matter of time before the scandal cancels out any goodwill the country enjoys from the good news on the economy.

While the Business Mirror editorial argues that,

Now that we have praised ourselves with this new growth figure, we need to ask whether or not the service-driven economy is the most desirable growth path for us. Growth per se is good; an expanding pie somehow means that more and more people got the crumbs. But crumbs are crumbs and they are not going to create adequate nourishment for the broader sectors of the economy.

Consider these facts: interest rates are low (read: capital is cheap) and the peso has been “strong” (read: imported machines, technology, packaging products and equipment are cheap). And yet, durable equipment has not been rising. That could be interpreted to mean that business organizations are not investing in new machines and are not refurbishing their offices. Isn’t that a sign of a wait-and-see attitude? If it is, investor confidence, therefore, is not yet fully restored.

The real reason probably lies in the structure of the economy, i.e. its being a service-driven one. Service companies, business-process outsourcing (BPOs) for instance, usually don’t import huge machines, nor do they build factories. That means they are not likely to hire workers en masse the way a factory, requiring thousands of skilled and unskilled workers, would. Do we ever wonder why despite all the decent growth we achieved in the last three years, we can’t seem to address joblessness? That’s the reason.

The counterpoint seems to be that the services economy actually creates jobs fast, since setting up a service company like a BPO doesn’t require so much capital infusion. All that is required is a nice building with reliable broadband Internet connection and voilà! hundreds of call-center agents or software programmers are hired.

That’s true in the case of the country’s cyberservices industry. But the one thing that is ignored in this debate is the fact that the services sector has the tendency to hire call-center agents, accountants, medical transcribers, lawyers and software engineers first before they get janitors, street sweepers and errand boys. The ideal thing to do is to provide jobs for both accountants and the like, as well as janitors, street sweepers, farmers and factory workers.

India should provide a clear example to us. India is far ahead of the Philippines in terms of service-driven growth. Bangalore, Chennai and Delhi are full of information-technology campuses that glittered like urban utopias.

A few blocks from these campuses are stark manifestations of the continuing poverty, inequality and the perennial failure of the public sector to provide much-needed social services and urban infrastructure. Indians are aware of this and are actually looking at China’s manufacturing-driven growth with great envy.

The point here is that our service-driven growth is good, but we should start looking beyond that to spread the benefits of an expanding economy beyond the upper strata of society.

Romulo Neri, director general of the National Economic and Development Authority, actually acknowledged these limitations and has outlined crucial reforms and expenditure programs to boost both the farms and factories.

We wonder whether or not government has actually done something to address the bureaucracy’s absorptive capacity, as well as its tendency to waste public money to graft and corruption. It’s something that mass media and the general public should watch for as we approach the second half of 2007.

To wrap up these views, Solita Monsod tries to point out that critics and skeptics and Palace boosters are both off tangent:

Of course, the critics are not the only ones who can be faulted for showing their pessimism. The government, too, has a tendency to get carried away — on the other end of the spectrum. President Arroyo and some of her economic team are now claiming that this is a portent of things to come, and that the current targets and projections are too low and should be increased. This has happened before, and it will happen again: they usually fall flat on their collective faces. The moral of the story is that the public should not believe the propaganda of either side so readily.

She has a relevant word for those whom she believes are skeptical of official figures because they seem different from what people actually experience, economy-wise:

Finally, to those who are wont to scoff that these figures cannot be correct because they see no improvement in their living standards or their well-being, the following must be repeated or emphasized:

First of all, the 6.9 percent GDP growth in the economy does not mean that every single sector and sub-sector in the economy has grown at that rate. There are huge disparities that are hidden by that average. For example, the real growth rate in nickel mining was 120 percent while the real growth in tobacco manufacturing was negative (it contracted by 34 percent). The growth rate for beverages manufacturing was also negative at -5 percent. (I call attention to the “contraction” in beverages and manufacturing because these figures are belied by the 8 percent and 7 percent growth in consumption expenditures on these two products respectively. The inconsistency suggests underreporting of production on the part of some firms, which calls for action on the part of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.)

Second, while growth is a necessary condition for the increase in well-being of the people, it is not sufficient. That is why there is a distinction between economic growth and human development. The quality of that growth is important. The UNDP Human Development Report warns about jobless, ruthless, voiceless, rootless and futureless growth. The acid test is whether the growth we are experiencing is the right kind.

That was the point of the Business Mirror editorial above, by the way. Is the current growth the right kind?

Financial woes of Manny Pacquio affects the banking system: Manny’s millions shake banks.

Overseas: Indonesia’s president faces allegations of having used campaign slush funds.

In the punditocracy, my column for today is A history of the House.

Oscar Lagman in his BusinessWorld column (unavailable online), compares Fr. Panlilio’s victory to similar revolts by the middle and upper classes in the 1950s and 1960s:

In 1959, the residents of Quezon City, exasperated at the poor performance of those running the city government, organized the Citizens League for Good Government which subsequently fielded a full slate of candidates, from mayor to councilors, in the elections of that year. The standard bearer of that ticket was a former Philippine Navy officer, Captain [Charlie] Albert and the nominees for the city council included former Supreme Court justices and an ex-president of the University of the Philippines. All the League’s candidates were swept into office.

Inspired by the success of the Quezon City citizens movement, the people of Pasay City, much more aggravated than the Quezon City residents, also formed their own Citizens League for Good Government. And like its counterpart in Quezon City, the league scored a resounding victory in 1963.

But the old politicians of the two cities would not allow a new breed of public officials to run their respective fiefdoms. They resorted to their old tricks and methodically worked their way back to power. Never again did a citizens league emerge.

Incidentally, in addition to the above, and ask asked in a comment by Gus Lagman, the QC citizen’s league was also composed of veteran politicians like former Senator Proceso Sebastian; but they were up against the machinery of mayor Amoranto, who had introduced the squatter vote into Quezon City -the squatter vote serves as an antidote to whatever votes middle class reformists can put together; not to mention the fact that the candidates of the league were generally elderly individuals while Charlie Albert died young.

He also urges Randy David to provide counsel to the new Pampanga governor:

Among Ed first urged Randy David to run for governor of Pampanga. Unlike the President, David is a full-blooded Pampango. He was born there and he grew up there. He speaks Pampango fluently. He goes back to Pampanga regularly, not for political show but to be with his cabalens.

But David parried Among Ed’s prodding, telling the good priest that public service is not his calling. Among Ed next asked Ping de Jesus, Cory’s one-time Secretary of Public Works and Highways, and recently retired Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban. It was only when both declined that Among Ed decided to run himself.

Now that Ed Panlilio will be governor of Pampanga in the next three years, maybe David can at least act as counsel to Governor Panlilio just like Apolinario Mabini was to President Emilio Aguinaldo and Loenzo Tanada to President Cory Aquino. With his profound understanding of Philippine politics and intimate knowledge of the Pampangos’ psychology, David can help Governor Panlilio do all the things he says in his column to bring down the politics of patronage and bring about a new brand of governance.

In the blogosphere, The Journal of the Jester-in-Exile on the kind of improvements our navy really needs. Iloilo City Boy returns to the blogosphere with an election post-mortem:

So I guess the message of the people to their leaders is this: “We don’t want GMA removed, but we want her every action closely guarded and scrutinized.”

And Torn and Frayed points out the kinds of foreign ownership allowed by the government -which might surprise Filipino readers (and he also asks, why keep the professions closed to foreigners?).

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  1. Gonzalez has not learned his lesson of 20 years ago with the Tatad case, thus he was rebuked, but still remains defiant.. Oh what a fool…

    Torn and Frayed may also want to point out that The Philippines is not alone with regards to foreign ownership. The United States, probably in a few decades, will not own a majority of itself… Globalization?

    With respect to the kind of news that will have a destabilizing effect, let’s watch for the new “anti-terrorism” bill, and see if Malacañang is setting up for a self-fulfilling prophecy…

  2. Why stop with Gonzales (or all of GMA’s cabinet secretaries for that matter) when he is merely the alter ego of the President? Are not his actions the actions of the President? When it comes to his actions as the Justice Secretary, Gonzales is a non-entity; he is the President. His actions, unless countermanded by the president, are the actions of the president and should rightfully be attributed to her even if there is acloud of legitimacy hanging over her head. That is one thing wrong with the media in this country: being unwittingly (?) used as a shield by the administration in attributing presidential actions to her henchmen rather than directly to her because the news sell better when the attention is focused on the clowns and fools in the halls of power. That is also why when “accomplishments” of the government surface, like the “economic boom”, credit seems to be automatically attributed to GMA. MLQ3, being part of the media, is that intentional or what?

    Nick, that thing about the Philippines not being alone in foreign ownership and a possible foreign majority ownership of the US, you may want to look closely on that again. It may appear that perhaps, there are many foreigners owning in the US. But that is disputable. What is certain though is that the controlling interest at the helm of the American dream government would not allow effective control by foreigners of industries, properties and businesses that would pose security risks, real or imagined, to the north american people. In the Philippines, money and business are the only considerations of the government and foreigners may well manage to blackmail government by threats of immediate pull-out of investments if it finds some offensive government actions. The Philippines and the US are thus different bananas on this respect.

  3. Just to clarify, I don’t have a problem with a developing country like the Philippines protecting its growing industries. Most of the Asian tigers went through an import substitution phase, during which they protected and nurtured their industrial base.

    My point was just that the list of industries where foreigners are allowed 40% equity is so bizarre. How come I can own 40% of a business selling “dangerous drugs”? How come *anyone* can own a business selling dangerous drugs?!

    And isn’t a bit strange that foreigners are completely prohibited from owning restaurants yet they they can own 40% of “sauna and steam bathhouses, massage clinics and other like activities”? (I do like “other like activities” by the way.)

    As for the professions, I can’t help feeling it is a bit odd that the world’s largest exporter of nurses will not allow foreign-qualified doctors and and nurses to practice here.

  4. “[W]e cannot emphasize too strongly that prosecutors should not allow, and should avoid, giving the impression that their noble office is being used or prostituted, wittingly or unwittingly, for political ends.”

    putang mabayaran. ouch.

  5. It’s the economic model stupid!!!! The largest agrarian society the world has ever seen is moving rapidly to become the greatest industrial society on the planet. Nothing like this has ever happened on earth in such a short time. In the next few decades the Chinese government plan to move another 300 million people from the rural areas to new cities. In the last few months the daily trading volume in the stock markets of the PRC surpassed the trading in all of Asia combined.

    While here in the Philippines we still cling to the old economic models imposed by the Americans on us. Classic evolution from agriculture to industrialization was never allowed to happen and was bypassed and we went to the export first paradigm. It was ok for the first few decades when the population stood at over 6M but once we hit over 40M + the paradigm remained. We still insist on it after running into so much BOP problems and now subsidize our consumption with monstrous foreign obligations. We put ourselves in a box. The result is clear. Thank you IMF and World Bank. Maybe Neri would like to get a job there since they are on the lookout for new recruits to their failed model. Pay is good and it is tax free and you get to wine and dine only in five star hotels and how to figure out how to screw poor countries.

    Canada, Australia, HK, Singapore, Malaysia the countries of the Middle East all have small populations. They survive on resource exports and export processing zones.

    For the Philippine islands with 85 million souls it is either follow the same developmental model as the PRC, S. Korea, Japan or break up and join up with Greater China in the North and Indonesia in the South. Eventually the Filipino will join up with predominantly Malay Indonesia. Greater China will have a hard time integrating the huge population of Indonesia. Washington Sycip and Lee Kwan Yew do not have long to live.

    Patting ourselves on our backs is stupid most especially on the issue of Texas Instruments when most experts know that the reluctance of TI to go China is primarily because their sophisticated chips which they use for modern communication will be copied in no time by their Chinese counterparts. Taiwan also bans the more sophisticated companies from moving their operations to the mainland for that reason. The Chinese are hungry for modern technology. That is the battleground between the West and the PRC. The Americans are very cautious about their high tech companies.

    Point of fact is that even India is having a hard time getting the final OK for U.S. companies to transfer their high tech nuclear capability for building nuclear power plants. The U.S. is insisting on strict safeguards while the Indians are saying that they will never agree on these safeguards to infringe on Indian sovereignty. While we are trying to get our bananas, mangoes and nurses into Australia, Japan and the U.S.

    From the Philippine Star more on Moody’s analysis.

    “Moody’s said yesterday that although economic growth had been impressive in the last year, the growth was not broad-based and mainly due to the large and rapidly growing remittances from overseas Filipino workers. (OFWs)”

    “The seemingly unending surge in overseas workers remittances has boosted private consumption as well as exports on the demand side and services on the supply side.”

    “The seemingly unending surge in overseas workers remittances has boosted private consumption.” Moody’s said. “In contrast, investments remained weak.”

    “In 2006, the credit rating agency said real fixed capital formation grew only one percent in real terms.”

    “At 14.8 percent of gross investment in the Philippines continued to decline and was among the lowest of similarly rated emerging market countries.”

    “Moody’s also warned that revenue generation has slipped this year, growing by only 6.5 percent in the first four months of the year compared with the same period last year.”

    “This meant that revenue growth is now lagging nominal GDP,” Moody’s said. “Tax evasion is still a considerable challenge despite well-publicized, well-targeted special administrative collection measures.”

    How can tax revenues be on the downswing when the economy is supposedly expanding. There it is. Lagging nominal GDP. You cannot tax an abstract figure. The 6.9% constant rate. You tax the current figures which are slowing down.

    Economist were warned about VAT. The market will simply move underground if this type of sophisticated tax is imposed in a third world economy. Smuggling will increase.

    We all saw the picture of GMA in Divisoria among the informal vendors selling school supplies. That is where the vast majority of households shop. She does not have a clue how the economy works. They implement policy by press release and photo-ops.

    Doesn’t she know the price information principle which is the basis for neo-liberal economic theory.

    Don Vito Corleone said it best, “I’ll make you an offer you cannot refuse.”

    But that principle should not be applied in governance. Big Mike and GMA think otherwise. That is the problem.

  6. The foolishness of following the Japanese and Korean models of development has its roots in the cultural makeup of Pinoy society.

    Whereas Japan, Korea and Greater China have centuries-long track records of innovation, large-scale organisation, and social cohesiveness upon which favours accumulation not only of financial capital but also cultural capital.

    Without cultural capital, there is nothing that underpins economic development, the same way that Japan, Korea, and Greater China (most recently Singapore) created collective identities for themselves over history as they developed. At present, for example, Singapore is already moving from the Operational Excellence “brand” that characterised their rise to 1st World status over the last several decades into one with a more intellectual-added-value brand to meet the challenges of the next several decades.

    Where is the Philippines’ identity? It hasn’t moved beyond being known by the old (and meaningless) brands we inherited from twists of historical fate: ex(failed)-US colony, land of the jeepneys, and “the inventors of PeoplePower”, Asia’s only Catholic country, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Beyond those we are no more than a supplier of labour to the rest of the world. High-quality labour, maybe, but raw labour nonetheless.

    Greater China is a demonstration of the power of cultural capital. Despite a diaspora that spans the globe, its identity remains intact and robust. Compare that to the Philippines — we are a bunch of tribes bound by a written constitution to co-exist as a “nation” yet we hardly ever behave like a nation.

  7. I think what makes the Philippines really special is that its people still chooses to be predominantly Roman Catholic. The Spaniards have come and gone, and the Filipinos still choose to be Catholic. The Americans have come and gone, and Filipinos still choose to be Catholic.

  8. UP n student: If you’re complaining, keep in mind that most Filipinos are really just nominal Catholics. Many of them attend Mass only on Christmas. And due to weak catechesis, very few have a robust understanding of the faith.

    But then, perhaps they also see what is at the core of Christ’s teaching: love for God and love for neighbor. And they recognize it as truth, even if they can’t always remember how to practice it in their lives.

  9. My impression is that the world — the USA, at least — wants the Philippines to be more progressive, to be much “…more than a supplier of labour to the rest of the world”. What the US business-model wants is for the Philippines to be a market —- to be a buyer of US goods and services. What the US business model wants is for the Filipinos to, firstly, have a high enough level of disposable income and to have a high level of consumer- and business-activity, and secondly, for Filipinos to have a preference for US goods.

  10. But damn the US, especially the World Bank and the IMF, because they put restrictions on the money that they give, right? They should just give a blank check and let GMA and her cohorts decide on how to spend the money.

  11. Benign0, i’m constantly amazed at your ability to package together a whole bunch of attribution errors into a few neat paragraphs. Must be the years of practice.

  12. …They should just give a blank check and let GMA and her cohorts decide on how to spend the money.- UPn Student

    Strawman alert!

  13. torn and frayed: I am sure you know now what you have to do in regards your goal to open a vegetarian restaurant in metro-Manila. Don’t! You can’t! You are not allowed. [Let the US embassy do the fighting for you in regards opening up the small-restaurant-business to US investors.]
    But you can do 5-6 lending! Just find yourself a trustworthy 40%-partner (and please, maybe you can charge do 8/9 (plus P25-service charge) when lending to teachers).

  14. Torn,

    It’s matter of law. Should the law to allow them entry to practice here be made; then they can.

    Unfortunately, there are other matters to consider; specifically other provisions of the Constitution.

    There has to be more than just allowing them to practice here while ignoring other pertinent provisions of the Charter.

    BTW, the E.O. would seem to have lapsed already if the effectivity is only 2 years. Maybe another E.O. has been issued.

  15. Was I that obvious, cvj? You are right.. that was a strawman. Instead of to GMA and agencies of Philippine government, choices to the US include:
    (a) not give any checks to no one;
    (b) give blank check to Catholic Charities, no strings attached;
    (c) give blank check to DJB’s favorite group — the Teachers’ Labor Union;
    (d) give blank check to De La Salle;
    (e) give blank check to Mark Jimenez;

    I am not surprised, though, that the US (like Canada, France, Germany, China, Japan, the United Nations) behaves similarly to ManuBuen in terms of spending money. Goal-seeking behavior is the theme.

  16. MLQ,

    “The Palace embraces Justice Cruz’s proposal to proclaim a 13th senator-elect.”

    I think the Palace wants a special election for a 13th senator not a proclamation of the 13th placer in this poll.

  17. We can work in your country, but stay out of ours
    …That doesn’t seem quite right to me.
    – torn and frayed

    …because the recently released dr. jack kevorkian could set up practice here. maybe there’s room for euth in Asia?

  18. Justice League, whatever law that you referred to when you told Torn:

    It’s matter of law.

  19. UPn Student, and the recipients of these loans should similarly be goal-centric and ask themselves what’s in it for the lenders. They also have to ask themselves why those countries who followed IMF-WB prescriptions fared worse than those who did not do so.

  20. I don’t know justice league is referring to but this is the Constitutional provision:
    Section 14. The sustained development of a reservoir of national talents consisting of Filipino scientists, entrepreneurs, professionals, managers, high-level technical manpower and skilled workers and craftsmen in all fields shall be promoted by the State. The State shall encourage appropriate technology and regulate its transfer for the national benefit.

    The practice of all professions in the Philippines shall be limited to Filipino citizens, save in cases prescribed by law.

    As prescribed by law? There’s a lot of them but this is useful to retiring Filipinos


  21. mlq

    SC slaps gonzales..


    “(though I still maintain that she did not “steal” her position since she would have won anyway, based on the polls, so this “illegitimacy” issue is HOGWASH.

    With respect to those who cannot believe that the Philippines is capable of reaching a growth path that at the very least used to be the norm for its Asean neighbors, one can only suggest that they seek PSYCHIATRIC HELP.”

  22. james,

    sc slaps as the final arbiter. solita is entitled to her hogwash opinion, which does not make gma more legitimate.

  23. As for whether foreigners can invest in restaurants, I don’t really have a gripe with the law. There may well be similar provisions in other countries and of course there are ways around it. It seems a bit odd that I can sell sticks of dynamite but not a salad, but there you go.

    As for my separate post on the constitutional prohibition on the professions I had a couple of points.

    First, the prohibition seems to have little to do with “the national interest” and everything to do with protecting the cozy little oligopolies of narrow elites (the law society, accountancy bodies, etc).

    Second, the world’s largest exporter of labor might want to consider practicing a little reciprocity—for reasons of self interest, if nothing else.

    The Philippines is not alone in this of course. The professions in all countries are very good at protecting their wellbeing and by definition they have access to the corridors of power. In the end, if these barriers are to be broken down, it will probably be on the basis of “mutual recognition agreements” between national professional bodies (subsequently codified in national legislation, as pointed out by __). I think this is the approach being promoted by the WTO.

    That’s going to take a loooong time.

  24. Sorry, meant to fill in the __. It was Supremo who noted that the constitution allows “cases prescribed by law”.

  25. Cvj,

    Then, with regards to the pertinent portion of the Charter and the Medical Act; I’d rather say I agree than it is correct.

    But I haven’t seen the law regulating Nursing yet though.


    Reciprocity is part of the issue.

  26. inodoro

    between the economic analysis of mlq and Monsod, its very clear who is authoritative.

    so SC is the final arbiter..did it not recognized GMA’s presidency?

    go look for psychiatrist.

  27. james,

    wrong context. sc slaps gonzales, remember.

    solita slapping manolo are matters of opinion.

    “go look for psychiatrist.” corni.

  28. “…though I still maintain that she did not “steal” her position since she would have won anyway, based on the polls, so this “illegitimacy” issue is HOGWASH.”

    Winning is everything, eh?

    It is quite plausible that she wouldve won even without Garci, but the fact is she used Garci. That in itself is a huge legitimacy issue. And we’re not even talking about the use of government funds to, not steal, but to BUY her position. And she used our money to do so. If youre directly quoting Monsod, James, then she’s bonkers.

  29. solita and i have traded barbs before, vive le difference:

    now regarding your second point, she points to an argument and an opinion i don’t hold, so… what’s she’s saying is, you’d be crazy not to think we lack the potential to do really well. of course we do.

    anyway… go back and read monsod’s column and you’ll see she slapped everyone -including the president- and argued that government statisticians can redefine data but at least they footnote their doing.

    unfortunately, the internet archive’s gone, so here’s the full article:

    The soft underbelly of the argument
    November 2, 2005 PDI

    ACCORDING to Winnie Monsod, the surveys indicated that the President’s margin of victory was anywhere from from 2 to 2.5 million votes (based on the surveys), 1.1 million votes (based on Congress’s official tally), or 700,000 votes (based on the incomplete Namfrel Quick Count). Let’s add the conventional wisdom at the time, which did, indeed, predict the President winning, but by a whisker, ranging from 200,000 to 400,000 votes. Therefore you have a spread of 2 million votes, ranging from the high figures the surveys suggested, to the much more slender figures those with practical political experience on the ground expected.

    Several factors, at the time, were expected to affect the final outcome. The first was whether the President’s machinery would deliver votes, at the expense of Poe’s support: the leading opposition candidate was popular, but his support was, as they say, soft –too many of his voters were susceptible to bribery, intimidation, or some other influences resulting in their trading in their votes for Poe for votes for the President; the opposition machinery was creaky, under-funded, and hopelessly divided. The second factor, as it turned out, was the weather, which again would give those with logistical abilities an edge in mobilizing the voters. The third was a widely held suspicion that a rather extensive purging of the electoral rolls had taken place, preventing people from voting in opposition bailiwicks (SWS estimated the number unable to vote at 900,000).

    What was not factored in at the time, and which has become the root of the President’s problems today, was that the fanatical insistence of the administration to secure a margin of victory on the high, instead of the low, side. Her obsession with a seven-figure margin would engage the President on a level so personal as to prevent any possible conclusion other than that she became intimately involved in producing that mandate. So high was her involvement, in fact, that she took to making phone calls that political prudence should have otherwise dictated as being unwise.

    There was a palpable sense of insecurity about the President’s victory at the time. Recall what I wrote on May 24, 2004 in this space: “From election day, I have always maintained that the administration needed to maintain the plausibility-a credible believability-of its victory. Beyond the pre-election survey, which indicated such a victory, the administration could count on the fact that the opposition’s ranks were fractured by disunity and ill-feelings. But somewhere along the way… the opposition has been able to turn the tables on the administration… This happened because enough people have become convinced of the plausibility of an administration defeat instead of victory.”

    Recall at the time, the Palace retreated into its tried-and-tested siege mentality, lashed out at media such as ABC-5 and The Daily Tribune; but despite its increasing nervousness about the Congressional canvassing, it finally eked out a proclamation but not after leaving a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. As I wrote on June 21, 2004: “The problem is that Congress faces the problem of declaring a winner within less than a month and a half after election day, or a power vacuum, which can only be partially filled by an acting president, could ensue. There is the problem then of being obligated to do two contradictory things: to move with deliberate speed in what has traditionally been a largely ceremonial duty; while at the same time attempting to go beyond giving mere lip service to a constitutional injunction to be the front line against electoral fraud…” Congress chose to do its ceremonial duty, gave lip service to a disunited and inept (in terms of tactics) opposition. And, as I observed at the time, “Then there are the allegations of fraud being beyond the grasp of most people, at least as a means to provoke real outrage and protest. Unlike in 1986, there weren’t ballot box snatchings and goons waving machine guns: thus, no tangible electoral abuse to get upset over on a personal level.”

    Which brings us to one Virgilio Garcillano, the recordings, the President’s reaction, and where we are now. “Garci”, the tapes, and the President’s apology made everything that came before, “immaterial and irrelevant.” For even granting, for the sake of argument, that the President, at the very least, won why a whisker, and that anything over and above that is electoral gravy, and granting, in turn, the opposition, despite what I argued at the time must have been gains due to the last minute ad blitz by Poe, was outgunned in the logistics department, hobbled by the disenfranchisement of voters, and outmaneuvered in Congress, you still have the question of intent. The President says her intent in calling Garci was to “protect” her votes: which leaves Garci as the only one who can answer whether the interpretation of “protection” was to prevent fraud when it came to the President’s votes, or perpetrate fraud in the case of Poe’s votes and those of the other candidates. As it stands, no one will ever really know, and there lies the problem.

    For in the end, those who supported the President must take stock of the fact that the President trusted neither her own supporters, or the system over which she presided, to protect not only hers, but everyone’s, votes; that furthermore, her initial inclination was never to be forthcoming with her people, but to retreat back into the siege mentality that has perpetually hobbled her governance; that when she did, for a brief time, decide to try to respond to public opinion, the task was so unpalatable to her, that at the first possible pretext, she junked the effort, preferring a conspiracy to dilute and deflect the issues at hand. If she was no better than any other candidate in the days leading to, and immediately after, the election, then the cover up since has put her beyond the pale: disqualifying her from exercising whatever mandate she may have actually received last May.

  30. With regard to Winnie Monsod’s article on Saturday, to be fair to her you have read the whole sentence.

    She *did* say:

    I still maintain that she did not “steal” her position since she would have won anyway, based on the polls, so this “illegitimacy” issue is hogwash, …

    But she carried on:

    but I agree that any cheating, whether to win or to increase a margin of victory, is an impeachable offense

    To quote only the first part of the sentence is rather misleading.

  31. makes me wonder why she has to quote “steal”, because she indeed did not steal THE position; she cheated her way in!

    steal, you see james, is what she did to erap, who was the sitting president. cheating was what she did to fpj.

    now do look for webster.

  32. …and you call that authoritative?

    Authorities seek to strengthen not encourage vagueness and confusion.

  33. That is why there is a distinction between economic growth and human development.

    A big slap to some of wannabe economists in this forum.

  34. The inconsistency suggests underreporting of production on the part of some firms, which calls for action on the part of the Bureau of Internal Revenue.)

    Once I wrote a similar observation and one commenter who seemed to be clueless in data gathering made some stupid rebuttals.

  35. That is why there is a distinction between economic growth and human development.

    A big slap to some of wannabe economists in this forum.

    So C at, is it your position that the present administration is a success as far as economic growth is concerned, and is a failure as far as human development is concerned?

    This is interesting because the government is seen as having a responsibility for both the proper atmosphere for both economic growth and human development.

  36. One example of human development without growth is Kerala, which i blogged about a few weeks back. I suspect though that they are able to get away with this because the neighboring Indian states who pursued a policy of industrialization are able to absorb their labor force.

  37. Torn,

    Maybe you should ask your Korean friend if Filipinos are allowed to practice Medicine in Korea (I’m guessing South).

    I think the E.O. is just an overview but one needs to get into the specific rules, regulations, and laws that govern each profession to find out if such profession is open to foreigners.

    REPUBLIC ACT NO. 9173 Philippine Nursing Act of 2002 states
    “Sec. 20. Registration by Reciprocity. — A certificate of registration/professional license may be issued without examination to nurses registered under the laws of a foreign state or country: Provided, That the requirements for registration or licensing of nurses in said country are substantially the same as those prescribed under this Act: Provided, further, That the laws of such state or country grant the same privileges to registered nurses of the Philippines on the same basis as the subjects or citizens of such foreign state or country.”

    So the country is indeed open to foreign nurses. THe question then will be is that will foreign nurses be willing to come here to work for a salary that our own nurses find unappealing to begin with.

    I think we actually still have many nurses. The experience of our nurses who man the hospitals is the problem.

    Now as to physicians, the “Medical Act” has been amended at least 2x but I can’t get them all.

    What I did get under REPUBLIC ACT No. 5946 is
    “Sec. 9. Candidates for board examinations. Candidates for Board examinations shall have the following qualifications:

    (1) He shall be a citizen of the Philippines or a citizen of any foreign country who has submitted competent and conclusive documentary evidence, confirmed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, showing that his country’s existing laws permit citizens of the Philippines to practice medicine under the same rules and regulations governing citizens thereof;”

    But when Ex Pres. Estrada was still President, an american Orthopedic surgeon was supposed to come over here and operate on his knees. But as events overtook such operation, he opted to meet the doctor in Hongkong instead.

    If the operation was carried out here, the American surgeon would have ended up practicing Medicine here by operating on him. And I don’t think that surgeon would have needed to take our board exam.

  38. Justice League, you’re welcome. BTW, i took the liberty of quoting you in my blog on this topic. Clarifications and reactions are also welcome.

  39. Cvj,

    No problem.

    I’m re-posting below my response in your blog.

    I think my first statements that you quoted said a lot about the issue.

    I hope you remember that the idea of getting Cuban doctors didn’t come from me and that I discussed this part along with the “medical tourism” attempt.

    You were the one who advocated that as part of Cuba’s humanitarian program; the Philippines should ask Cuba to assign some of their doctors to the Philippines.

    Yes, I have to admit that it was a gut reaction.

    Without bringing up the relevant laws and provisions of the Constitution (except for reciprocity which in the case of a humanitarian effort would hardly be an issue), I immediately stated my reservations of the recommendation.

    Near the end, I stated that it was unfair.

    If Cuba would actually send their doctors, how much would these doctors receive in their “humanitarian effort” in treating the poor?

    I would presume that they would be paid a pittance.

    And as the government gears the Filipino physicians for medical tourism; how much would those Filipino doctors involved in the program be paid?

    I imagine a lot.

    In essence as a dual program, those Filipino physicians could treat a lesser number of foreigners yet be paid much much more while the foreign doctor would definitely treat more Filipino patients but end up being paid much much less.

    Looking at it in its face, I definitely find it “unfair” from the bottom of my gut.

    Yet somehow you found my reaction illogical.

    Very well, I believe that the best way for you to show that it is illogical is to explain why such scenario is “not unfair”.

  40. Justice League, we can accept that the scenario is indeed unfair, but it is illogical not to choose this unfair two-tier scenario over one where you have the complete unavailability of doctors (Filipino, Indian or Cuban). At least in the former case, everyone will be better off, both the poor who will have healthcare available and the Filipino doctors who will earn more without leaving home courtesy of medical tourism. This is not to say that we cannot pass laws to mitigate the unfairness of the situation. Legislation or the Medical profession’s own rules can be geared towards ensuring that there are beneficial spill overs from the first tier going to the second tier.

  41. Castro will probably be unwilling to send Cuban doctors to the Philippines.

    Castro sends Cuban doctors to Venezuela (in fact, about 20% of Cuban doctors are in Venezuela) for “doctors-for-OIL”.

    Clipped from a news report:
    In turn, Venezuela ships Cuba 90,000 barrels of oil a day under preferential terms, a deal giving the island one of its strongest economic boosts since the fall of the Soviet Union. Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says the medical mission is unrelated to the oil deal.

    But so many doctors have gone to Venezuela that some Cubans complain health care on the island is suffering. Castro insists they are mistaken, and that there are enough doctors to go around. Both countries, he says, are reaping the benefits of cooperation.

  42. “That is why there is a distinction between economic growth and human development.”

    A distincion that this government refuses to see.

    The Cerelac does not even make it tp the infant’s bottle. That’s why the parents are fat and the infant is malnourished.