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Oct 11

Watching a (failed?) inoculation (updated!)

Went to the Bastusang Pambansa to see the action but most of it took place not on the floor, where Romulo Neri was sitting in a panel defending the CHED budget as members of congressmen took turns asking pointed questions to beef up the budgets for their districts. It was a very nerve-wracking three hours for all concerned.

Had a chance to prowl the galleries and the floor and get scuttlebutt from members of the House.

One account of this morning’s meeting at the Palace was that the main bone of contention was the upcoming baranggay elections. Congressmen were very anxious that the polls not be postponed, as it was an opportunity for them to spread goodies around. Demands were supposed to be 50,000 per kagawad or a total of 5 million for each congressman to dole out. The President had given assurances but had even been pursued with calls while she was in China, to assure that the written assurances that the polls would push through, were genuine. The badgering continued this morning, with congressmen supposedly in a foul mood and threatening mischief if the President didn’t do the doling out right there and then.

Another account was simpler, which was a Palace guarantee of 45 35 million per congressman, 25 million in “soft” pork and 10 milion in “hard” pork, whatever that means in congressional terms. In exchange, the congressmen pledged cooperation with the President in terms of pursuing her agenda.

But the figures discussed are impossible to verify (and every congressman could have been lying). The main topic of interest was, what was the Speaker going to do, and what were his options? Opinions among members of the House varied. They ranged from the Speaker had the numbers, to the President had the numbers, to the problem that Friday, it turns out, is a holiday which is why the President wanted matters settled by tonight.

The problem was that the Speaker was not inclined to refer the impeachment complaint prior to the recess. The question then was whether this would precipitate a showdown in the House, and who, exactly, had the numbers; also, there was the very real problem that if the complaint wasn’t referred prior to the break, the October 25 Senate hearing would take place, and if anything ended up revealed in that hearing, the revelations could lead to the complaint being amended and possibly fortified.

The Speaker’s options, as discussed by various sources, ranged from his having pulled a fast one last night by checking himself into the hospital for whatever reason (gastritis, LBM, etc.) and told the House to go on recess early, to his suddenly fainting in his office this afternoon and being rushed from the House in an ambulance, thus causing pandemonium, to the Mace either disappearing or being grabbed by his loyalists, thereby disrupting the session, to someone questioning the quorum, suddenly ending the session. But then the entire budget would have been imperiled.

Or the Speaker could publicly state he would not refer the complaint until the maximum period allowed, November 11.

Or the Speaker could decide that he faced an ethical dilemma, and announce he was inhibiting himself from the whole matter. This was the solution, apparently, put forward by the Palace as a face-saving gesture but involved its own risks. The Speaker’s lawyer, Raul Lambino of Sigaw ng Bayan fame, gave the Speaker similar advice, couched in terms of his right not to participate in forwarding a document obviously aimed more at the Speaker and his son than the President. The Speaker, by taking himself out of the game, would then pass the ball to Deputy Speaker Raul del Mar.

Del Mar could then easily say that it being his call, he would hold the ball until after the recess. Or, del Mar could then send the complaint immediately to the Committee on Rules, which could then sit on it; or the Committee on Rules could instantly send it to the Committee on Justice…

For an hour, from around 3:30 to 4:30 talk centered on whether the Speaker would take himself out of the game or force a showdown. Then at around that time came word there would be a press conference at the Speaker’s office. Up to that time there were still members of the House proposing that the Speaker should pass the ball to del Mar but that del Mar shouldn’t do the Palace any favors.

Like war, members of the press spend a lot of time just waiting then suddenly heaving into action. By 5 pm the media was huddled outside the door of the Speaker’s office as various congressmen trickled out and basically refused to say anything. Finally the doors opened. Mad stampede as everyone rushed in.

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The Speaker looked remarkably calm and relaxed. Arrayed around him were various House members and the Speaker’s people, including Atty. Lambino.

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At one point, the Speaker got up and disappeared; call of nature, I asked a reporter? Probably a phone call from the Palace, someone else said.

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The Speaker reemerged, the press conference formally began. It played out pretty much as everyone had expected:
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De Venecia inhibits self from Arroyo impeach rap; Arroyo impeach case referred to panel; JDV inhibits himself; JDV inhibits self from impeach rap.

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I asked a couple of questions, because the Speaker said he was withdrawing from participating in the process, even though he had misgivings because of bribery allegations, etc., etc., but he urged del Mar to attend to his ministerial duty. Del Mar smoothly said he would transmit the complaint to the Committee on Rules. Art Defensor chimed in and said as chairman he was going to calendar the referral before the plenary that very night, for referral, in turn, to the Committee on Justice.
The sending of the paper from Deputy Speaker to Rules Chairman to Justice Committee of course constituting the start of the one-year countdown of the ban on further impeachment complaints.

So my questions focused on asking del Mar why he was rushing to refer the complaint, his answer was, it’s ministerial, and then I asked Defensor if he, as Chairman, could act on behalf of a committee he only chaired but which had more than himself as members; Defensor was offended and said the whole procedure is normally concluded as he said it would be, that he was confident in speaking for the committee, etc.

Questions from the reporters present concentrated on this rush to start the Constitutional countdown while others focused on relations between the Speaker and the President.

But I had to keep asking myself, why is the Speaker, who, depending on whom you asked earlier that afternoon, had been browbeaten by the President, or threatened with being deposed, or otherwise facing a momentous event in his political life, so relaxed, so calm -and what did he have to gain from surrendering to the Palace?

Fine, he actually did the ethical thing, but I have to wonder if his inhibiting himself was the best legal advice. Fine, he gets to keep the Speakership, if the President did have the numbers. He may even think he did the country a favor by heading off the possibility of an impeachment, and the President maybe, owes him another favor.

But what does he have to gain, politically, from caving in like this?

He has to have something up his sleeve, I kept telling myself as I left the press conference.

But I have to figure out what that could be.

Update 7:58 pm and 9:08 pm Got a report that on radio it was pointed out that there’s a problem with what the Speaker did. The Constitution, according to some lawyers (and Rep. Rufus Rodriguez is apparently already raising hell about it on the floor of the House as I write this), does not give the Speaker any discretion.

The Speaker, and only the Speaker, must do the referral. He cannot delegate it, he cannot inhibit himself, it can only be the Speaker and no one else. So goes the argument.

I asked some lawyers and they concur: when the Constitution is clear and specific, and cites no exceptions, then it must be done in the manner and by whom the Constitution says. One lawyer gave a Solomonic answer: is the Speaker the only person who can refer the complaint, and if the Speaker didn’t, is there a justiciable case?

Here are their various answers:

Yes, based on the constitution [article XI. section 3.[2] and the rules of the house on impeachment [section 3. Rule 3.]. But note section 14 [h.] of the Rules of the House. authorizing the speaker to designate a member as tempo presiding officer. after informing the deputy speakers in case he/she temporarily unable to do so.

Yes the supreme court can resolve it. Note Francisco vs. House of Rep case in 2003, supreme court ruled that the power of judicial review includes power of review over justiciable issues in impeachment proceedings.

Yes. Its really a subject of justiciable review, based on Francisco decision. In this case any person may initiate it as a taxpayer suit or have a congressman question it in SC…

I think it is a jusiticable controversy but i doubt referral can be described as defective [cuz] SC will look at the House Rules in addition to the constitution. SC will try to harmonize house rules and charter and i think if they do so, they will rule this referral valid.

Because the constitution does not envision situations where speaker is unable to perform and so SC will take a look at house rules and see if speaker did the right thing. if under house rules, speaker did the right procedure, then SC will rule referral valid.Nature abhors a vacuum, the house rules filled up that vacuum.

Better question is: Can a constitutional duty be delegated? Its like the prez asking somebody to deliver SONA.

But you know justice committee can also order amendment of complaint but that’s a stretch.

So those are the contending views. But if it’s true that a legal wrinkle exists….

It’s a possibility too delicious for words.

JDV: “But Madam President, I did what you told me…”

del Mar: “But Madam, I did what you and the Speaker told me…”

Defensor: “But Madam, I did what you and the Speaker and del Mar told me….”

Everyone’s ass is covered except the one who was supposed to benefit from the inoculation!

More from Uniffors and from Ellen Tordesillas.

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537 comments

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  1. ramrod

    Bencard,

    I really don’t believe the exchanges in this blog is about competition of who is the best debater. You and company can win, you are very good at it, and that is not why I’m here. I am interested though in how we can find solutions or ideas in how we can build this country and make life better for everybody.

    I can’t help it, I can only derive what I deem as relevant practices from my experiences and these practices which I believe are still very much applicable. I don’t believe that you think our leaders can dispense with INTEGRITY, ACCOUNTABILITY, TRANSPARENCY, COMMITMENT TO THE BOTTOMLINE (these are corporate practices but they are universal right)? Maybe you don’t like corporate practices, I can’t change that. But I do believe that LEADERSHIP principles apply to all. Also, I take offense, hurt actually, when people label the Filipino gullible, because like it or not, I care, enough to decline a juicy European posting, citizenship and all. I especially take offense when the military is unjustly belabored because I once belonged to PMA class ’89. But it works both ways, I may have stepped on people’s feet with commnents about GMA and company, perhaps I deserved that.

    Anyway, to cut to the chase, what we were trying to come up with was a framework by which we can base our decisions on choosing future leaders. What should be their priorities, directions, backgrounds, and even track records. There were obstacles that were also uncovered, like the existence of a powerful block that can stifle any changes to the constitution that are not favorable to them. No reforms can be achieved with this block entrenched in the system. Once this framework is clear, we need to come up with names. The end result is basically the list of names we may be looking at to be our next leaders, and help put them in power. As members of the electorate thats about the best we can do aside from paying taxes and doing our jobs to the best of our abilities, and teach our children good values.
    We can look to other countries that achieved considerable success, or look to our history for traits our leaders must have, and most importantly look at our hearts if this is really what we want and not just exchange hot air.
    What I expected was to communicate with people who are serious about these matters as we are talking about the future of our children and their children after that.
    But if you’re not up to it, I won’t take up much of your time. I’ll pack up and look for like-minded people elsewhere as I am probably barking up the wrong tree.
    Maybe a blog is just that, you don’t expect anything achieved, just another “chatroom.” I’m sorry because I have lived my life for results, maybe this is not the order of the day.
    But mark my word, if GMA runs for reelection she will lose, and thats definitely eggs on your face.

  2. eng^2

    Tililing,

    may i have some of those bangkok santol. I just love santol, especially when its ripe just right, rub a little salt and mmmmmmmm.

    JDV3 must have been spreading the wrong news about the ZTE deal.

    There was no millions of dollars involved, chairman abalos actually gave him a chinese made hair grower…..hahahahahahahaha

  3. eng^2

    Tililing,

    JDV has been fooling us all along.

    When Chairman Abalos told JDV 3 “umatras ka”, Mr. Abalos was actually telling JDV3 to back off a little so he could take a better look at his hairline…

    So the plot thickens, so does JDV3’s hair… hahahahahaha

  4. Tililing

    “JDV has been fooling us all along.

    When Chairman Abalos told JDV 3 “umatras ka”, Mr. Abalos was actually telling JDV3 to back off a little so he could take a better look at his hairline…

    So the plot thickens, so does JDV3’s hair… hahahahahaha” engeng

    now i understand. when fg also told jdv3 to back off! it was because jdv3’s baldness is contagious and fg doesn’t want to contract this rare disease (thinhair syndrome).

    when abalos was allegedly bribing 10 million usd, it was actually for jdv3 to have his thinhair syndrome be treated because abalos took pity on him and his really baldening hair.

    makes sense.

  5. Tililing

    😀

  6. Tililing

    mok mok

  7. eng^2

    Tililing,

    The ZTE deal was actually a big misunderstanding. JDV3 and FG was working out seperate deals for a supplier of hair growers.

    Romulo Neri messed it all up when he misquoted the 2 as wanting economic growth, when in fact they only want HAIR GROWTH.

    Chairman Abalos went to china and played golf with china’s hair mogul. But forgot to bring home extra botles for JDV3, who’s hair loss is worse than FG….hahahahahahahaha

    The press also joined the confusion, saying broadband deal.. when in fact it was a HAIRBAND DEAL. There was no fiber optics, only fibers for TOUPEES.

    hahahahahahahaha

  8. Tililing

    some lessons we can all learn,

    don’t judge the hair by its hairstylist. judge it by its hair growing solution.
    (fg: back off jdv3! i don’t want you near me because of your thinhair syndrome. i will have your hairstylist thrown into jail
    jdv3: but fg, it’s not the hairstylist sir, it’s the hair grower chairman abalos gave me in china – it has lead)

    don’t judge the millions by its peso equivalent. judge it by the millions of hairs in a person.
    (abalos: sec. may 200 ka dito
    neri: (in his mind – how will i respond. is this a bribe? is this something else?)
    abalos: sec. may 200 bottles of hair grower ka dito. for your retirement)

    don’t judge a company by its website. judge it by what it sells underground. zte is not really a telecoms company, it’s a hair growing manufacturer. just look at zte:
    z = zuper
    t = taas
    e = eerrr mo
    the project is not actually broadband but broadhair. they got it all wrong.

  9. eng^2

    tililing,

    yes they got it all wrong. It even went to the extent of accusing each other of bribery.

    “May 200 ka dito” – actually means number of bottles (but abalos secretly gave away 50 bottles to FG)

    zuper talagaaaa!

    hahahahahahahaha

  10. tililing

    “yes they got it all wrong. It even went to the extent of accusing each other of bribery.

    “May 200 ka dito” – actually means number of bottles (but abalos secretly gave away 50 bottles to FG)

    zuper talagaaaa!

    hahahahahahahaha” engeng

    there was bribery alright but no money exhanged hands. it was a bribery of hair growers that transpired.

  11. eng^2

    tililing,

    the public was scalped by that bogus ZTE story

    hahahahahahahahaha

  12. tililing

    “tililing,

    the public was scalped by that bogus ZTE story

    hahahahahahahahaha” engeng

    the public went hairless over the scandal.

  13. tililing

    engeng, i’ll go ahead and sleep now. i need to wake up early because i’ll go to a buddhist temple and pray. you know, each day i go to a place of prayer with my multiple religion.

  14. eng^2

    tililing,

    A buddhist temple would be a great sanctuary for JDV3 and FG.

    Their balding heads would given more credence

    hahahahahahaaha

  15. tililing

    “A buddhist temple would be a great sanctuary for JDV3 and FG.

    Their balding heads would given more credence

    hahahahahahaaha” engneg

    shaolin fg & shaolin jdv3.

  16. tililing

    engeng, let’s think of a medicine we can give gma so that she’ll grow taller and won’t be ridiculed as a midget no more. i’ll sleep over that thought.

  17. eng^2

    tililing,

    shaolin FG & shaolin JDV3

    They could use that shaolin training to get back at their detractors though.

    They’d be raising some hairs when they show up in their shaolin outfits.

    hahahahahahahaha

  18. eng^2

    tililing,

    GMA’s case is not that bad as many thinks.

    Carbon fiber elevator shoes can now be precision made to fit every countour of her legs. And synthetic skin could give the illusion of long feet.

    Hahahahahaha

  19. eng^2

    tililing,

    Ok, you better go to bed now. You have been here all day long.

    My suggestion on how to make GMA taller is pending moderation. Waiting for the big boss to allow it.

    hahahahahahaha

    I LOVE GMA… MUAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!

  20. Bencard

    “the public went hairless over that scandal”, tililing.

    except aquilino pimentel. a full black hair on a face that has seen better days (lol-can’t make that laughing face, til.)

  21. watchful eye

    The mice are playing while the cats are away…hmmm

  22. justice in waiting

    MAV and others, Good leaders are sometimes molded by their followers and most of the time by the people that surrounds them, their advisers.

    There were many examples of them, some were born leaders, the likes of Abe Lincoln, Dwight Eisenhower, Ramon Magsaysay, but there were others that were made good by their good advisers, Ronald Reagan had very good advisers guiding him, George W. have a not so good in Karl Rove, plus the Special Interests influence of his vice President, that he ended making blunders after blunders. He may declare that he is his own man, but he does have enough knowledge of the world affairs that he still rely on his advisers.

    For GMA she was smart enough with Money not a problem, to hire the best there is, and with the help of unprincipled and for sale politicians from every level, she was able to stay in power and may leave the Country with another Very Dark Mark as her legacy…

  23. Bencard

    something is seriously wrong with your vision, sore eyes. or is it hallucination. when you see mice while actually staring at cats, it must be something you have taken, as far as i’m concerned, the only other real cat around here, the biggest of them all, is the Ca’t.

  24. Bencard

    ramrod, please rest assured that i’m not here to “win” arguments. i have more than enough of arguments in more than 40 years practice of my profession, both in pinas and in the u.s. i win some and lose some, may be more, a lot more. but i always know it’s not about me or the person i’m debating against. it’s about my cause, my client, and the truth, as God and the law allow me to discover it.

    i’m all with you in a common crusade to improve our political and social life. i think finding solutions to these problems would lead to others such as in the areas of economy, productivity, environment and education, among others.

    rhetorics of hate and prejudice serve no useful purpose. it’s more than divisive, could inflame volatile emotions to violence and brute force. the only thing we have to fear is a general breakdown of law and order. life is like a pendulum. it swings to and from both extremes, from too much freedom (license) to none at all and vice versa, and back to where it begun. we must learn to maintain a balance or we all perish.

  25. Bencard

    rego, it’s getting nippy here and in the rest of new england. but the sun was out all day and we (my wife & I) did our annual ritual this time of year – raking leaves. with my three giant maple trees at the backyard still partially green, we would be doing this at least 2 more weekends – weather permitting. foliage is at its peak and my wife wants a drive to the countryside, maybe to an apple orchard nearby. enjoy the fall and don’t think of winter yet.

  26. inodoro ni emilie

    at the rate the repartees between two gma rarahs ungs are taking place, i say it’s coming from one schizo. stylometrically telling.

  27. Tililing

    “at the rate the repartees between two gma rarahs ungs are taking place, i say it’s coming from one schizo. stylometrically telling.” inidoro

    could you present a mathematical formula to aid this archaic conjecture of yours? or shall we say, another case of a misled and hoodwinked conclusions. if you know the proponent of this blog (i guess you know mlq3), he’s the one who can put to rest all these brouhaha and hullabaloo. it all boils down to, well, tsismis (which is a common as air these days). why don’t we talk something with substance and not more on hearsays (are you a fond patron of the buzz? of boy abunda fame?) mok mok

  28. Tililing

    am neither pro-gma nor anti-gma, my allegiance is to my convictions and what i think is right. i have misgivings and i also have some praises to the present administration.

  29. cvj

    sabi mo eh.

  30. The Ca t

    is the Ca’t.

    Wow, Meow Bencard.

  31. peter norton jr.

    De-bugging tililing,

    Tililing is FUN and wants to have FUN. She’s not a schizoid, crazy or whatever. The alias is a clever camouflage. Tililing is perfectly sane.

    Tililing is MENTALly hyper-active – perky — and hyper-reactive – feisty.

    Tililing is very clever in hiding a ‘bug’ behind technical legalities and aggressive argumentation — behind a seemingly logical proposition is a FUNdaMENTAL ‘bug’.

  32. taxpayer

    justive in waiting,

    “MAV and others, Good leaders are sometimes molded by their followers and most of the time by the people that surrounds them, their advisers”

    Well GMA has to consult other advisers about the others for check and balance among her group.

  33. taxpayer

    The role of the Executive secretary is very important so he has to keep in check others who may be veering out of direction.

  34. newsbeat

    mlq3,

    Ang title mo failed inoculation bid, bakit puwede pa daw ituloy. Papano nanaman ang balita puro impeachment na naman!

    How come hindi naman malinaw ang mga akusasyon pero pinagkakaguluhan pa. Marami na namang diskusyon.

  35. Jingo Manalo

    “Remonde said: “The congressmen are not for sale, and for that matter the entire Congress of the Philippines.”

    Yes Cerge. They aren’t for sale but their souls are. No morale, no values and no cantidad left anymore for most of them.

    You are spinning our heads again…..

  36. HAGEDORN FOR PRESIDENT

    HAGEDORN FOR PRESIDENT!!!

  37. Rose

    Hi, this is not a comment. I am a librarian in a school library in Ala, Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat and I am interested to get the full text of the three speeches of Pres. Manuel L.Quezon entitled: “Grow and be like the molave”.; “Ang Pilipino ngayon at kahapon”. and “Ang katarunganpanlipunan.” The students is asking for these for their oration pieces. Thanks

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