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Like a bad case of the Clap, it keeps coming back
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on August 23, 2007 102 Comments 7 min read
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There’s an extremely interesting article in Slate titled The Heart of Queens: Can Nancy Pelosi single-handedly take impeachment off the table? Which castigates the first female Speaker of the US House of Representatives, for saying something along the lines of our local politicians: no impeachment, not now, not before the next elections, which means, not ever (see Opposition not rushing to file new impeach case vs Arroyo).

There’s this great passage from the article, which looks not only at American public opinion at present, but which also explains why public opinion is crucial when it comes to proposals for impeachment:

According to public opinion polling, the percentage of voters supporting the impeachments of both President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are now approximately 45 and 54 percent, respectively. Most Americans instinctively feel the president is an untrustworthy steward of the Constitution’s checks and balances because, among other things, he flouts laws, prohibits White House aides from testifying before Congress, consistently defends an attorney general who is an inveterate liar, and detains citizens and noncitizens indefinitely as enemy combatants on his say-so alone. The prevailing barometer of acute public dissatisfaction with the White House surpasses the corresponding disaffection with President Richard M. Nixon when the Senate Watergate hearings began in May 1973. And Mr. Nixon had recently trounced Sen. George McGovern in the 1972 elections, winning 49 states.

Sounds familiar? The principles remain the same, just as there have been those who’ve pointed out the at times uncanny similarity between the administration’s take-no-prisoners approach and the Republic playbook in the States. As the article goes on to explain,

The prospect of an impeachment inquiry by the House judiciary committee would concentrate the minds of the president and vice president wonderfully on obeying rather than sabotaging the Constitution. But Speaker Pelosi has at least figuratively joined hands with the White House in opposition. Emulating the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland, she has threatened the removal of Michigan Rep. John Conyers from his chairmanship of the House judiciary committee if an impeachment inquiry were even opened, according to reliable congressional chatter.

The writer says it’s unproductive for the Speaker to undermine the Judiciary Committee chairman:

With more than four decades of service in the House, Chairman Conyers is a veteran of constitutional battles between the branches. The speaker, in contrast, is a novice on such matters. Unlike Conyers, she never experienced the Nixon impeachment travails that sobered and toughened the chairman against executive abuses and secrecy. If she had, she never would have emboldened President Bush and Vice President Cheney to intensify their assaults on congressional power by pronouncing that “impeachment is off the table.”

If you still don’t get it, here’s the clincher, the similarity that’s so relevant:

Not surprisingly, after receiving that reassurance that there would be no consequences for their misconduct, the White House swiftly choked off the authority of Congress to expose executive lawlessness or maladministration by instructing current or former White House officials, including Karl Rove, Harriet Miers, and Joshua Bolton, to refuse to appear for testimony. And despite the recent enactment of the Protect America Act of 2007 – which amended the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 for the ninth time since 9/11 to suit the administration’s fancy – President Bush continues to claim constitutional authority to ignore the law at will and in secret.

Now the President, herself, of course has come out swinging, as Jove Francisco recounts:

She was even wearing a powder blue number, her color of choice during the biggest political storm that hit her administration ever. Gloriagate. (So that’s why she’s back to wearing blue lately…)

A revival of sorts…amidst the sudden revival of the Hello Garci Controversy.

This time though… Mrs Arroyo also threw punches at her opponents.

Mrs. Arroyo, reading the teleprompter in front of her, said: “I have a country to run, I have terrorists to fight, I have a peace to win and a bright future to secure for these children. I embrace work and will just leave the titans of hate to have a monopoly on the politics of destruction.”
(On cue -some say “as rehearsed”, as soon as she uttered the word children, she slightly turned to touch one of the babies at the back. What registered in the faces of Bingbong Cirologo and Sonny Belmonte were precious. They were even reading with her. Not much choice really, napatayo na sila nung tumayo ang Pangulo.)

(BTW, there was even a debate whether PGMA said “PYTHONS OF HATE” or “TITANS OF HATE”… official OPS transcript stated for the record that she said “will just leg a title of hate”. That confused all of us more, so we had to playback our tapes and realized that she actually said TITANS of hate.)

And her factotums have come out swinging, too: Gonzalez uses Aragoncillo case vs Arroyo foes (how can you punish a Filipino for soliciting information on a foreign power? What the Americans punished was one of their own assisting citizens of a foreign power; and what if, as it’s been suggested, the President or her people were reading the same documents that Estrada and Co. supposedly obtained?). The administration bloc flexes its muscles in the Senate, too: Arroyo allies stall Garci probe over concerns of tape legality. And the legal armor’s been dusted off: Palace to invoke EO 464 again (the spiritual armor, too: Arroyo declares Sept 12 Nat’l Day of Prayer, Reconciliation).

In a powerful entry in Philippine Commentary, Dean Jorge Bocobo argues that when the Supreme Court struck down portions of the controversial executive issuance, it actually left intact the bits most precious and useful to the administration. Bocobo also says,

But a potentially explosive new development in the saga of the Garci Recordings is the accusation that a MAJOR TELECOM firm was involved in the alleged illegal wiretapping operation of the Intelligence Services of the AFP. Now here the Senate has a chance, because even Chief Executives like Manny Pangilinan and Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala are NOT covered by EO 464. I think these telecoms could lose local and international licenses and franchises and become the subject of intense Congressional pressure if these accusations of participation in illegal wiretapping operations turn out to be true.

Which goes to the heart of a news item like this: Smart: We don’t have capability to bug phones. Newsbreak asks, Wiretap Scandal: Was there a Basement? Gen. Esperon says, there isn’t one; the reporters say, someone like Doble could easily confuse the ground floor with a basement.

In other news, HSA overlooks $-denominated terror funds, the President’s inlaw says: Iggy Arroyo says solons want DAR abolished (during my past visits to Bacolod, I’d heard the hacenderos were, indeed, looking forward to the Arroyos spearheading the abolition of CARP, and not out of objections to it on grounds of efficiency). Palace submits P1.227-T budget proposal.

Newsbreak also has two articles of note: GRP Backtracks on Self-Determination Offer to MILF and New Marines, Isafp Chiefs in Massive AFP Revamp.

Overseas, Asian stocks rise, looking to the Fed, as Fed chairman signals US interest rate cut. However, even as While the west takes a battering, China weathers the global storm, there’s Subprime hits German state banks. William Pesek warns, Bernanke must avoid Greenspan’s Asia bubble mess. In our neck of the woods, Burma rounds up protest leaders (see Fuelling discontent in Myanmar).

My column for today is Visions in isolation. Also, Connie Veneracion looks at Malu Mania; Tony Abaya investigates Ninoy’s assassination.

In the blogosphere, some, like smoke, aren’t amused by the latest Lacson bombshell; Patsada Karajaw is delighted; Philippine Politics 04 says it brings up unresolved questions over past events.

Mong Palatino defends playing basketball in the streets. Pedestrian Observer on Malu Mania, saying enough with the fat jokes, and Superblessed makes an appeal for sobriety and calm.

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  1. Father Bernas reduced the issue of admissibility to whether the tapped conversations were private or of public interest. Most likely, if this controversy reaches the courts, the SC will again resort to US jurisprudence. This is what google has to offer:

    In New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713:
    • This Court upheld the press’ right to publish information of great public concern obtained from documents stolen by a third party. In so doing, this Court focused on the stolen documents’ character and the consequences of public disclosure, not on the fact that the documents were stolen.

    In Bartnicki v. Vopper, affirming the COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE THIRD CIRCUIT:
    • The court found the statutes invalid because they deterred significantly more speech than necessary to protect the private interests at stake.
    • It would be remarkable to hold that speech by a law-abiding possessor of information can be suppressed in order to deter conduct by a non-law-abiding third party.
    • Privacy of communication is an important interest. However, in this suit, privacy concerns give way when balanced against the interest in publishing matters of public importance. One of the costs associated with participation in public affairs is an attendant loss of privacy.

    LAWYERS, where art thou? Enlighten us please

  2. cvj,
    past present and future are EXPLICIT in Section 3 of the law:
    Sec. 3. Nothing contained in this Act, however, shall render it unlawful or punishable for any peace officer, who is authorized by a written order of the Court, to execute any of the acts declared to be unlawful in the two preceding Sec.s in cases involving the crimes of treason, espionage, provoking war and disloyalty in case of war, piracy, mutiny in the high seas, rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, inciting to sedition, kidnapping as defined by the Revised Penal Code, and violations of Commonwealth Act No. 616, punishing espionage and other offenses against national security: Provided, That such written order shall only be issued or granted upon written application and the examination under oath or affirmation of the applicant and the witnesses he may produce and a showing: (1) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that any of the crimes enumerated hereinabove has been committed or is being committed or is about to be committed: Provided, however, That in cases involving the offenses of rebellion, conspiracy and proposal to commit rebellion, inciting to rebellion, sedition, conspiracy to commit sedition, and inciting to sedition, such authority shall be granted only upon prior proof that a rebellion or acts of sedition, as the case may be, have actually been or are being committed; (2) that there are reasonable grounds to believe that evidence will be obtained essential to the conviction of any person for, or to the solution of, or to the prevention of, any such crimes; and (3) that there are no other means readily available for obtaining such evidence.

    “Peace officers” can include ordinary citizens, as in “citizen’s arrest.” The impt point is that the law has to provide a mechanism for when crimes against national security and kidnapping are accidentally discovered. Tanada was brilliant, without Sec. 3 RA4200 would fall into the absurdity urged upon us all from the beginning.

    In other words, you only get the “poison fruits” dilemma of what our moral and legal obligation is when we come upon apparently illegally wiretapped material IF you ignore Section 3 of the Law.

    that is what the wiretappers in this case have been able to convince the Public and bloggers of for years!

  3. If you are for a strong, honorable Armed Forces of the Philippines, for a secure Presidency and Government, for the prevention of the prostitution to partisan political purposes of the military by politicians and other officials, and if you are a civil libertarian who wants to preserve democracy and its private rights and freedoms, then the Anti-wiretapping Law is your friend, not your enemy.

  4. The civil libertarian Sen. Lorenzo Tanada who authored RA4200 wanted to protect ordinary civilians from govt eavesdropping. But he also protected the govt and its officials from eavesdropping and illegal wiretapping by govt itself, by civilians and by foreign powers.

    The wiretapping of ANYBODY without their permission is illegal without Court orders.

    That should’ve been obvious from the beginning. But the content of the Garci tapes was so tantalizing and mesmerizing, that the Garci tapes were being used to prove electoral fraud before settling the issue of their legal status under the law.

  5. CVJ,
    On “peace officers”–you are quite right only peace officers can petition for Court Orders in national security and kidnapping cases. That means any policeman or even barangay tanod!

    I think it just means that as in any serious crime, if you are just an ordinary citizen, or even Publisher Broadcaster of the biggest paper/tv/radio network, you have to go to the police to help you bring the case to court.

  6. Think practical guys,

    Our courts have too many backlogs,some cases are even passed to the barangays.

    Our jails are full,because there are not enough boy’s and girl’s town around ad the dswd’s budget can no longer accomodate them.

    Continuous vicious cycles.

    Until we solve our systemic issues,that I don’t think even the Get real and Solutions framework of Benign0 has even any clue to what the true issues are.

  7. It’s nice to have discussions like these,but on recommendations hanngaang sa atin na lang ba ito?

    What could be a way to let it reach the higher ups.

    Ako, my contribution would be since I am working for the senate defence committe is to gather enough knowledge that pertains to what I am doing, depending on project. But,I tell you controvresial issues like these,I will just get a bawl out from my dad,like before and he would to tell me not to get involved and huwag makialam.Pero minsan sumisimple ako at nagkokoment,di naman siguro ako ipapadampot,pero konting ingat na din.

    As to the other stuff like military professionalism,it has been a work in progress way even before the first edsa revolution,don’t worry jaxius.(I am assisting my dad on that).Besides the senate,I also assist him on the so called SSG.

  8. cvj,
    The Telecomm (Smart) is the key to this caper because its records would prove that every single one of the conversations actually occurred!

  9. In fact it is already a sign of guilt on their part that they have not either said they have cross checked the phone records and no PAIRS of conversations between cell phones as alleged by the Garci Tapes ever occurred. Or yes, it looks like those numbers were there. Remember Doble and the others carefully recorded the date and time of the recordings. Phone company records, just like in the perry mason movies, could solve this case!

  10. Devilsadvoc8

    It’s a long way up but I wish to respond.

    Try if you could. Imagine the unthinkable: Marcos has nothing to do with the assassination, the soldiers were innocent.

    Now clear up your mind. What could be the most logical implication?

    Tell you what. The saints of EDSA fingered the wrong person. The saints of EDSA have sent innocent man to jail for a most horrible crime! What worse evil can you do to your fellow man? In the name of democracy haha?

  11. “The civil libertarian Sen. Lorenzo Tanada who authored RA4200 wanted to protect ordinary civilians from govt eavesdropping. ”

    Libertarianism is a funny concept in the Philippines. Aren’t all rich and powerful people libertarians already and all poor communists (i.e. sharing of wealth, bayanihan, etc.)

  12. DJB,

    let me just clarify. Were you suggesting that RA 4200 provides the cure to the defect of an illegally procured wire-tapped conversation if it is to be used in the context of national security?

    That seems an overstretch to me. The “past, present and future” you were referring to in Section 3 does not pertain to the act of wiretapping but to the enumerated crimes where wiretapping may be authorized.

    However, I agree with you that the discs and recording materials can still be received as evidence against the wiretapper,albeit different in basis. My basis is that such is not covered by the prohibition under Section 1. The intent of RA 4200 was to protect those who were wiretapped, not the wiretapper.

  13. Karl,

    you’re welcome.

    Did you say you’re working in the defense committee of the Senate?

    I wonder what happened to the stupid idea to have a fixed term for the chief of staff of the armed forces.

  14. Jaxius, i suppose you mean that while DJB’s approach of pursuing the wiretappers is on the right track, he should be using Section 1 and not Section 3 as the basis. And does that also mean that the intent of Section 3 is *not* to, as DJB says, “…also [protect] the govt and its officials from eavesdropping and illegal wiretapping by govt itself, by civilians and by foreign powers.“?

    DJB, you’re right that the billing records (or the raw data from where it comes from) of the telco can show whether a call was made from Arroyo to Garci during the election period. I hope SMART has not purged the data yet.

  15. cvj,

    the clear intent of the law is to protect EVERYONE except the one doing the wiretapping.

    the import of section 3 is that it allows as an exception to the prohibition on wiretapping, i.e., based on the enumerated grounds and only upon order of the court. evidence acquired in violation of this is “deemed fruit of the poisonous tree.”

    it would be absurd to criminalize something then prohibit the introduction of evidence to prove that such act has been violated. Unfortunately, that was not clearly addressed in RA 4200.

  16. Jaxius, thanks. Regarding the ‘fruit of the poisonous tree’, i understand that to mean that even if you establish, for the purpose of prosecuting the wiretappers, that it was indeed Gloria Arroyo and Virgilio Garcillano engaging in a conversation, the content of their conversation is inadmissible as evidence in court of anything.

    So in the former case, the Court is allowed to admit reality [of the conversation], while in the latter case, it is required to suspend belief in an aspect of reality[the contents of such conversation] that is clearly integral to the one it admitted. I suppose to the legal profession that has some internal logic, but if you step back a little (and go through Deviladvc8’s chain of reasoning above), don’t you think that there’s something absurd about this predicament or are you willing to accept such absurdity in the name of Order?

  17. “it would be absurd to criminalize something then prohibit the introduction of evidence to prove that such act has been violated. Unfortunately, that was not clearly addressed in RA 4200.” – jaxius

    If that’s the case, what’s the remedy to sucessfully prosecute a case of illegal wiretapping? Do we have a law
    that can’t send its violator to jail because the “corpse”, so to speak, (or is it “res”?) of the crime cannot be admitted as evidence?

  18. Lawyers and constitutionalists, please bear with me.

    Isn’t there a sort of hierarchy of interests in which the abomination of an unelected President usurping power (which, to my mind, is a threat to national security) trumps the crime of illegal wiretapping, so that the “poisoned fruit” of the latter can be used against the former? Similar to what bogchimash pointed out in American jurisprudence where the Court allowed the publication of the contents of a purloined document because it is vested with public interest?

  19. cvj,

    there are a lot of rules that would seem absurd if we don’t delve on the the reasons behind it.

    Why are spouses prohibited from ratting out their husband/wives? Why are lawyers prohibited from revealing secrets acquired from their clients? why proscribe evidence acquired from illegal searches? why prohibit torture?

    When you get down to it, the search for truth must give way to something that is more precious.

  20. Sorry that question was too general. I can appreciate that the legal system’s viability requires lawyer-client confidentiality. I can also understand why human rights prevent torture to extract confessions. However, in the context of Garci and Gloria, doesn’t the legal system allow for Shaman’s hierarchy of interests?

  21. “When you get down to it, the search for truth must give way to something that is more precious.”

    And all the while, I thought our legal system is all about uncovering the truth. Hindi pala. No wonder, we have a Justice Secretary whose main job is to hide the truth. And no wonder, we won’t hear the last of benignO.

  22. shaman,

    a legal system that is all about uncovering the truth is usually found in an authoritative government. search for truth usually done by the government for the sake of the state. say, like north korea.

    wanna live there?

  23. Shaman, from what i observe in these blog discussions, i think it has been ingrained in practitioners of the Law that Order, rather than Truth or Justice is the goal. This is because the latter two lend itself to multiple conflicting interpretations so i think they’ve given up on pursuing this. If you get to the truth, or achieve justice along the way, that’s a bonus.

  24. Jaxius, as Randy David (i suppose he got this from Niklas Luhmann) said, a basic feature of modern society is that multiple systems exist side by side, structurally coupled but independent of each other. The legal system is just one of them (alongside the political, economic and social systems etc. etc.). Because of this, the North Korea example does not apply. I don’t know if it’s possible for you to step outside your being a lawyer first and observe things from a different standpoint.

  25. Shaman,

    “it would be absurd to criminalize something then prohibit the introduction of evidence to prove that such act has been violated. Unfortunately, that was not clearly addressed in RA 4200.” – jaxius

    If that’s the case, what’s the remedy to sucessfully prosecute a case of illegal wiretapping? Do we have a law that can’t send its violator to jail because the “corpse”, so to speak, (or is it “res”?) of the crime cannot be admitted as evidence?”

    MISMO!

    Yan na yan ang ang gusto ko sanang sagutin nung mga abogado dito!

  26. “and according to polls, most Filipinos actually wanted arroyo impeached (if that’s possible) or resign, but they know too that it’s not going to happen under the admin controlled House and Senate”

    Well, isn’t that a bit ironic now, considering that the House and Senate consists of officers who were duly elected by POPULAR VOTE by the very people who you describe as “wanting arroyo impeached”.

    What’s really bizarre is how we make the whole issue to be around the failure of Congress to “do the right thing” yet fail to step back further and understand how those officers of the legislature earned their posts IN THE FIRST PLACE.

    Pinoy nga naman talaga.

  27. cvj,

    you are painting the practitioners of the legal profession in a way quite too unkindly.

    as i have tried to point out, we should be able to differentiate between legal and political advocacy.

    legal advocacy is what a lawyer practices before the courts. a lawyer is subscribed by the law and the rules. when he argues a case before the court, the first question that comes up is “what does the law and the rules say?” He cannot argue his case based on justice and equity when the law is clear and unequivocal.

    political advocacy is that which we do here. we argue ideas and concepts, what is right and what is wrong, what laws are needed and what rules need to be changed.

    my legal advocacy says an illegal wiretapped conversation cannot be used as evidence against the person whose right was violated.

    my political advocacy says a law should be crafted authorizing the use of illegally wiretapped conversation to prosecute erring government officials. however, those who conducted the wiretap should not be awarded. they violated the law, they go to jail. they want to stick to their high principles, then they should take it to jail with them.

    I hope i made myself clear.

  28. Benign0, just like you and me the politicians are autonomous agents who, just like you and me, have a will of their own. If they decide to betray or ignore their constituency, then that’s their choice, and their lookout. If we are to build a culture of accountability, it is our duty to demand that our representatives “do the right thing”.

    I think our representatives got into the habit of ignoring the people’s mandate because once they get elected, the system is such that they can afford to ignore the people who elected them. That goes for both sides of our society (belonging to EDSA Dos and EDSA Tres) which have both been experiencing a crisis of representation.

  29. cvj,

    if the people really wanted GMA impeached, then they should have compelled the congressional candidates to make that issue an integral part of their respective campaign platforms.

    even then, it is not yet too late. they can always threaten them with recall if the representative does not bow to the people’s demand.

    the people’s silence against their representatives means only one thing. consent.

  30. Jaxius, i’ve painted the legal profession in the terms that you have expressed it if you go back to our exchanges in your blog. I precisely used you as a reference because if i used Bencard, our differing politics would just get in the way. I know we’re usually more or less on the same side so i would take our differences in approach to the fact that you are too embedded within the legal system, with its strengths along with its weaknesses (as deftly exploited by Gloria Arroyo and her allies).

    I also appreciate that you are more than just a lawyer so you can, in your capacity as a citizen, take up a political advocacy (which is a good thing) so i know that cannot make a moral judgement just on the basis of your legal persona.

  31. “a legal system that is all about uncovering the truth is usually found in an authoritative (you mean “authoritarian”; there’s a big difference) government. search for truth usually done by the government for the sake of the state. say, like north korea.”

    Really? I always had the impression that Pravda really meant Lie. So, what do you call a legal system that is all about hiding the truth? Democratic? No wonder, transparency is as scarce as snow in the Sahara in this “democratic” government of Gloria, as in the “democratic” regime of Marcos.

    So, all together now: “The LIE shall set us free!”

  32. jaxius, I actually admire your political advocacy. But can you make it part of your legal advocacy to strike down laws that constrain your ability to argue a case based on justice and equity? For what good is a justice system that obstructs justice?

  33. jaxius,

    “Why are spouses prohibited from ratting out their husband/wives? ”

    Hindi naman yata pinagbabawal. Binibigyan lang ng option ang asawa.

    However yun lawyer/client privelege etc. bawal talaga.

  34. manuelbuencamino,

    sino namang asawa ang papayag na i-waive yan at maging witness laban sa kanya ang asawa nya?

    same din sa lawyer. pwede nya sabihin sa korte yung sinabi sa kanya ng kliyente basta pumayag yung kliyente.

  35. “I think our representatives got into the habit of ignoring the people’s mandate because once they get elected, the system is such that they can afford to ignore the people who elected them”

    Maybe they are able to “ignore the people who elected them” because the people who elected them elected them on the basis of their proverbial ability to dance the ocho-ocho. 😉

    As I said before, on what basis do the people vote for their politicians when personalities (rather than issues) dominate political discussion in Pinoy society every campaign period? How do Pinoys hold their “elected” politicians accountable when the political parties they are members of don’t even stand for anything substantial? How is it that after 20 years of experience in “elections” Pinoys still fail to grasp the plain reality that there is no ideological or philosophical substance behind the politicians they elect?

    Given the above, it seems hardly surprising that, as you observed, politicians clearly make a mockery of the offices they hold and couldn’t care less about the people they “represent”.

  36. Mike, no. it may only mean that the higher ups Doble obeys may have their strings pulled by the CIA.

    ricelander, i’ve already imagined the unthinkable. that maybe Ninoy’s assassination was planned by his own side with his own permission. can u imagine the implications of that? read Teodoro Locsin’s accounts of Ninoy’s last conversations with him and you may get an idea of how Ninoy thought the future would develop if he was killed or if Marcos stayed on for 5 more years.

    And those soldiers imprisoned were not as innocent as you might think. remember, just a few days ago, one of them was interviewed on TV, and he candidly admit full knowledge of the order to assassinate Ninoy. that he was supposed to be the next in line to shoot Ninoy if ever the 1st gunman failed. remember that what these guys are asking for is clemency. they contend they’ve done enough time to serve the sentence of their wrongdoing.

  37. Jaxius,re: fixed term CS AFP
    Personally, I can say na may kumontra o may pumipigil.

    It was approved in the Bicam and the senate plenary,I wonder why it was not discussed in the house plenary.

  38. Jaxius, i don’t think that at the level of Philippine Society, silence (if you can call it that) necessarily means consent. It can mean a number of things but i expect that it is in the interest of those who value Order to treat it as such.

    Benign0, i do agree that because of the prevailing apathy after electoral exercises, the people do share the blame for the quality of their representatives. However, just like Manolo, i don’t subscribe to your strict dichotomy between personalities and issues. I also do not share your confusion between lack of accountability and lack of political ideology as the presence (or absence) of the former is not tied to the presence (or absence) of the latter. Even the most pragmatic political party or candidate is expected to abide by a given standard of ethics and integrity (regardless of his/her ideology).

    Nevertheless, if you insist in using your issue/personality yardstick, at the Senatorial level at least, the results of the elections was significantly influenced by issues which is why, for example, Tito Sotto could no longer carry over his appeal when he moved over to the Administration camp.

    So in the case of the people voting for the Genuine Opposition (GO) candidates, those who advertised themselves as part of the opposition but are now consorting with the Administration are guilty of misrepresentation on the basis of a clear cut issue. You cannot blame the Ocho-ocho or any sort of personality (at the expense of issues)-bias for that.

  39. Karl,

    I asked about that because the proponents of that law failed to introduce an integral component,i.e., taking out the CSAFP and the major service commanders from the chain of command and relegating them to advisory positions (the major service commanders shall also have the primary duty of training and equipage of their units).

    Making the CSAFP a fixed term position may not be in all fours with the principle of civilian control over the military. Imagine the president disagreeing with the CSAFP whether in a matter of principle or in a matter of strategy?

    As the recent debacles faced by the AFP in Basilan where issues of interoperability between various services and intra-service rivalry have been raised, some sectors have raised whether the so-called area commands are of any use. Having the ground forces answerable to their respective services and the area commands lends to confusion and finger-pointing.

  40. Jaxius,
    Correct,(in my opimion).
    Re:Confusion, there was confusion on National policy and what the ground forces,just an example the forces thought Basilan was not included in the claim of MILF’s territory,while the peacemakers have agreed it was.

    To be honest,my father dared FVR to step don as CSAFP because he ws ovestaying,but it is a good thing it was not taken personally by FVR,and hired him as ASEC in the last months of his presidency.

    In my humble opinion ,I don’t know you are the legal eagle;I think the fixed term is not a deterrent for the president to fire the CSAFP.

    As to the the president and the CSAFP,disagreeing,even if it does happen,will that be a risk for overthrow or kicking out a president ala Thailand/Thakshin?

  41. Civilian control over the military.

    Your example of President vs CSAFP was clear,but is it not stated in the constitution,is it not supposed to be Civilian Authority over the Military?

    Back to Thailand.
    I sense a civilian control through political rivals and king makers,just like home.

    So, the bottomline is; what happened was civilian control not civilian authority control over military,at least during the EDsas 1 and 2.

    We need a Magna Carta for professionalism of the military,if we don’t have one yet.Obviously the constitution was not followed during the the second Edsa after declaring that civilian authoritry over the military. With the goings on,which is top level priority?Lahat priority One.

  42. But again Jaxius,

    I think A fixed term would be beneficial for the AFP, if the CSAFP has a particular program.
    In general ganyan ang nagyayari sa atin kahit san,lalo na sa sports, no continuity.

    Continuity not continuous,iba yon.

    Or would you rather have a micromanaging president?(kahit sa corporate world,it is very dreaded(micromanaging ceos,svps))

  43. “the results of the elections was significantly influenced by issues which is why, for example, Tito Sotto could no longer carry over his appeal when he moved over to the Administration camp”

    Really? You think this move and the subsequent electoral outcome for Sotto was about any sort of principles beyond partisanism?

    What philosophically sets apart the adminstration camp and the “united” opposition then other than this tired old “Arroyo-cheated-therefore-she-should-be-ousted” tagline? MAybe the Pinoy voters changed Sotto’s fortune as a result of his move. But I doubt it was because of any understanding of any issues of national consequence whatsoever.

  44. Benign0, i understand that you have a somewhat narrow view of what constitutes a valid issue and that view the matter of “Arroyo-cheated-therefore-she-should-be-ousted”. For many of those who voted Opposition, the issues of accountability, integrity and fairness are embodied in this ‘tagline’.

  45. “For many of those who voted Opposition, the issues of accountability, integrity and fairness are embodied in this ‘tagline’.”

    And therein lies the tragedy of it all. Imagine the immense cost to society in terms of actual funds spent and disruption to day-to-day life of an election and the issue boiling down only to “Arroyo-cheated-therefore-she-should-be-ousted”.

    On top of that, we make a breathtaking leap of logic by saying that this tagline embodies “the issues of accountability, integrity and fairness”.

    I detect quite a bit of ROI on the investments of politicians on their spin doctors and publicists here. 😉

    What happens when the issue of Arroyo’s “cheating” is resolved? All we get left with is a bunch of morons we elected on the basis of this tagline. And even if it isn’t resolved, step back and regard the bigger picture. There are lots out there doing their job and ACHIEVING regardless of who or what moron is in office anyway. Don’t they deserve to have their issues considered in an election?

  46. Benign0, addressing the issue of Arroyo’s cheating is part of our investment in Social Capital. Looking at things from the standpoint of economic development, we need to build up the level of trust, within and among segments of our society in order to reduce transaction costs as well as the costs of resistance to new initiatives. This is necessary to allow our people to be better able to engage in productive enterprise.

    Cheating degrades social capital both in its execution and its after-effects. Just look at the recent case of the Senate elections in Maguindanao to see how cheating is accomplished, what is destroyed in the process and who are the ones who suffer.

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