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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    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    “Trillanes is a gutless and spinless yellow.”

    It’s easier to post blogs in the comforts of our homes on a beautiful Sunday evening than to stand up for your convictions(right or wrong) and stay in a lonely prison cell away from the family.

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    Tililing,

    I know you don’t just despise Trillanes, you curse him to the ends of the earth.

    C’mon, you can say more than “i despise Trillanes”.

    Hahahahahaha

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    “i despise trillanes, period.”

    Stay free!

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    “It’s easier to post blogs in the comforts of our homes on a beautiful Sunday evening than to stand up for your convictions(right or wrong) and stay in a lonely prison cell away from the family.”

    Poor Trillanes, he was just trying to give the government a shot in the arm, in the legs and in the head… hahahahahahahahhahahahaha

    He got exactly what he deserve. Traitors don’t deserve any decent treatment.

    • qwert on October 14, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    Is this asking too much from a President?” – MAV

    I think the question ought to be: Is this asking too much from the present political system?

    p.s. I’m expecting a double blog, manolo is still reading the first one.

    • rego on October 14, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    Tililing,

    Im curious, who are you considering to be the next president?

    In my case I prefer peopel like Sonny Belmonte and Solita Monsod.

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    I LOVE GMA…. MUAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH

    I hate Trillanes… TSEH !!

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 10:09 pm

    How many of us “anonymous bloggers”(including myself)are willing to be imprisoned because of our strong convictions (right or wrong)?I know at least three:Ninoy in Laur,Mandela at Robben Island Prison and Trillanes in Fort Bonifacio?

    Very easy to be a blogger than a prisoner with conviction.You are free to make fun of him in the comfort of your homes on a beautiful Sunday evening.

    • rego on October 14, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    “We need a president who is TRUSTED by the people”.

    If you mean 100% of the people, it would be unrealistic and improbable. People have different values and they trust and distrust candidates in different ways.

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 10:15 pm

    “Im curious, who are you considering to be the next president?

    In my case I prefer peopel like Sonny Belmonte and Solita Monsod.” rego

    belmonte is a good choice. i was thinking oscar orbos but he’s out of politics these days. used to be for miriam but can’t trust the country in the hands of an unstable fellow but she’s got what it takes – a strongwoman of the philippines. (only if she’s more psychologicall stable)

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 10:16 pm

    Did somebody say we need a leader the likes of Sonny Belmonte.

    Well, I can’t agree with you more.

    Sonny Belmonte have been working SILENTLY but EFFECTIVELY during his tenure. Quezon City has overtaken Makati when it comes to income.

    We need the likes of him to turn our country around.

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    “I prefer a country run like hell by Filipinos to a country run like heaven by Americans. Because, however bad a Filipino government might be, we can always change it.” MLQ

    was this quote a prediction by the late MLQ? it’s obvious that we’re in a country run like hell in the past decades.

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 10:19 pm

    REGO:
    I did not say trusted by “100% of the people”.

    The difference between someone who has true integrity and someone who is simply a loyalist is that everyone trusts the person with integrity.

    Those that AGREE and those that DISAGREE with a person with integrity both know that they will be told the truth.

    They also know that a lesser person would likely not be straight with them if they were not on the same side.

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    “Very easy to be a blogger than a prisoner with conviction.You are free to make fun of him in the comfort of your homes on a beautiful Sunday evening.”

    So I am supposed to feel sympathy for Trillanes?

    The 3rd law of motion in physics also applies to everyday life. For every action, there is an equal and opposite conviction…..hahahahahahahaha

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    belmonte is a good choice. i was thinking oscar orbos but he’s out of politics these days. used to be for miriam but can’t trust the country in the hands of an unstable fellow but she’s got what it takes – a strongwoman of the philippines. (only if she’s more psychologicall stable)

    Tililing,

    Its fortunate you and Mirriam did not meet at UP. The carnage would have been unimaginable… hahahahahaha

    Mirriam might not be the most stable, but she can stabilize anybody… hahahahahaha

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 10:26 pm

    “it’s obvious that we’re in a country run like hell in the past decades.”

    DiosdadoMacapagal stands out as one of the great, respected, highly esteemed and loved presidents of the Philippines. During his time, the Philippines enjoyed prosperity and was the second most developed country in the Asian region, next only to Japan and ahead of the new tigers of Asia like Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, etc.

    It has been downhill since then!(no thanks to MARCOS,CORY,RAMOS,ERAP , GMA).

    “I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware.”Diosdado Macapagal

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    “Tililing,

    Its fortunate you and Mirriam did not meet at UP. The carnage would have been unimaginable… hahahahahaha

    Mirriam might not be the most stable, but she can stabilize anybody… hahahahahaha” engeng

    miriam has the talent of stabilizing and destabilizing people’s minds. this is due to the fact that she’s shuttled back and forth in the realm of the sane and the insane. it’s a good thing she was born before me.

    • rego on October 14, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Yes Tililing, Orbos I like Orbos too.

    • qwert on October 14, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    “In my case I prefer peopel like Sonny Belmonte and Solita Monsod” – rego

    If I may add, people like Jesse Robredo (mayor of Naga City), the Magsaysay awardee guy.

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 10:33 pm

    qwert:I like Jesse Robredo too.Sayang,he needs NATIONAL exposure before 2010.

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    “DiosdadoMacapagal stands out as one of the great, respected, highly esteemed and loved presidents of the Philippines. During his time, the Philippines enjoyed prosperity and was the second most developed country in the Asian region, next only to Japan and ahead of the new tigers of Asia like Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, etc.

    It has been downhill since then!(no thanks to MARCOS,CORY,RAMOS,ERAP , GMA).

    “I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware.”Diosdado Macapagal” mav

    don’t forget magsaysay as well. i would agree that the late pres. macapagal was dubbed the incorruptible. these were two presidents who were born poor yet strove to better themselves surmounting all the odds. eventually, they became great leaders.

    • qwert on October 14, 2007 at 10:35 pm

    “Yes Tililing, Orbos I like Orbos too” – rego

    Oca Orbos is ok.

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    “Yes Tililing, Orbos I like Orbos too.” rego

    i wonder why oca quit politics. maybe he can’t take the heat anymore. is a man of integrity and honesty.

    • qwert on October 14, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    Why is it that the good guys need national exposure and the bad guys are overexposed?

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 10:39 pm

    Downhill or you mean uphill?

    And having a president other than GMA could suddenly make it a downhill?

    To gain prosperity, we need to give up many things, including some of our freedoms. There’s no such thing as a free lunch when it come sto politics and economy.

    Leftist groups should be silenced or exterminated.

    Persons who have been charged with corruption should not be allowed to run or join any political party.

    Party list should be flushed down the toilet.

    SK and Barangay officials should be scrapped totally.

    Journalists and media outlets should be held fully responsible for any onfounded expose or news. Even entertaining bogus expose or allegations should have stiff penalties.

    There you have it, my recipe for a peaceful, progressive and stable nation…. hahahahahahaha

    • Bencard on October 14, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    rego, thanks for the kind words. you have been keeping me company during those lonely days, along with a few others open-minded enough to go beyond personalities in search of “truth”. tilliling and engeng are two formidable voices that cannot be ignored. now if only karah and bibeth could reappear.

    cvj & ramrod, i guess your high-fiving each other is a little premature. but then again, what else is new. you people are fond of celebrating before victory, so you have to wipe eggs on your faces a little too often.

    ramrod, you are always equating government with your employer. a government cannot replace its leaders without following the due process of the law. your highest officer can be kicked out anytime, contract or no contract, cause or no cause. even the “people” cannot change its government without election except unlawfully by destroying it through revolution. the stockholders of your company can remove all your officers, and entire personnel, simply by corporate action or scuttling it through merger or dissolution.

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 10:41 pm

    “don’t forget magsaysay as well. i would agree that the late pres. macapagal was dubbed the incorruptible. these were two presidents who were born poor yet strove to better themselves surmounting all the odds. eventually, they became great leaders.”

    HIJA:Sayang,somebody is not living up to her illustrous father’s great name!

    don’t forget magsaysay as well. i would agree that the late pres. macapagal was dubbed the incorruptible. these were two presidents who were born poor yet strove to better themselves surmounting all the odds. eventually, they became great leaders.

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    “i wonder why oca quit politics. maybe he can’t take the heat anymore. is a man of integrity and honesty.” Tililing

    Well, Philippine politics is hotter then the surface of the sun, scorching even the most seasoned veterans.

    But then again, there’s always the cooler dirty opposition…. hahahahahahahaha

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    “To gain prosperity, we need to give up many things, including some of our freedoms. There’s no such thing as a free lunch when it come sto politics and economy.”

    Stay free sister!

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 10:47 pm

    A Pleasant evening Bencard

    I belive you were hoping bibeth and karah would resurface…

    Just between the 2 of us, its me BIBETH!

    Don’t wanna use bibeth anymore, i have been called bibith by manolo all the time….hahahahahahaha

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    “cvj & ramrod, i guess your high-fiving each other is a little premature. but then again, what else is new. you people are fond of celebrating before victory, so you have to wipe eggs on your faces a little too often.” bencard

    this is the most hilarious if not the best paragraph i have read today. what i like the most is the wiping of eggs in their faces part. i salute you.

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    “You have been keeping me company during those lonely days, along with a few others open-minded enough to go beyond personalities in search of “truth”.”

    Very easy to do Monday morning quarterbacking from the
    “land of the free”.

    • rego on October 14, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    “To gain prosperity, we need to give up many things, including some of our freedoms. There’s no such thing as a free lunch when it come sto politics and economy.”

    Hala eng eng, lagot kay Manuel beuncamino at CVJ dito sa sinabi mo.

    But heck I dont we dissect thier hatred of this “line” once more…

    • rego on October 14, 2007 at 10:51 pm

    I mean ” why dont we dissect this line once more?

    • rego on October 14, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    You’re welcome Bencard.

    How s the weather there. its starting to get cold here . BRRRRRR. I hate it!

    Mostly likly I will be in spending more and more time in this blog now.

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 14, 2007 at 10:56 pm

    Rego,

    Running a country like a corporation won’t work. I once worked with a multinational company here in the Philippines whose parent company’s president was a former US congressman. In running his office, he applied corporate management principles and practices, but he made many enemies in the process. He didn’t get reelected.

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    “Leftist groups should be silenced or exterminated.”

    Bibith: Easy to come up with frivolous statements in front of our PCs.Understand the ramifications of what you say.
    Relax langs hija.Let’s debate. Make love not war.

    stay free sister!

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 10:58 pm

    engeng, either you’ll be dead meet or they’ll be dead meat with you. it’s time to grab me some santol.

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    “There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust.” Demosthenes

    Good night folks!STAY FREE!

    To Monday morning quarterbacking bloggers:Have a nice day!

    • rego on October 14, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    Yes Shaman, Thats what Im telling ramrod too. It would really be very difficult.

    On the other hand, I was looking at Mayor Bloomberg here. He made it. Well ther are few adjustment in his first term. His survey ratings was even very low then.

    Now is satifaction rating is running at 60 to 70 even near 80 percent. There is even a glrowing number of people here including me who wants him to be the next president.

    But then NYC is a city not a country.

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 11:09 pm

    MAV

    “Bibith: Easy to come up with frivolous statements in front of our PCs.Understand the ramifications of what you say.
    Relax langs hija.Let’s debate. Make love not war”

    Bring some leftist infront of me and I will show them what I mean.

    Frivolous? Countries who have succeded in keeping insurgents at bay are gaining economic prosperity.

    You don’t use peace with a group that wants war.

    I don’t suppose you fall for the crap that the leftists are not NPA’s.

    Now where did I put that good old M-14 of mine…. hahahahahahaha

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 14, 2007 at 11:13 pm

    “Pero, Shaman, pwede ring sabihing, ‘There will be no bribe giver if there is no bribe taker’ di ba?”

    But, rego, the giving comes first before the taking.

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 11:16 pm

    I don’t expect anybody to agree with my positions and views.

    Our country is neck deep in a quagmire. A quagmire of corruption, instability and politcal unrest.

    You don’t get out of a quagmire by wiggling around. You just sink deeper. You need to exert sheer brute force to pull out somebody or something trapped in a quagmire. If it means a brief moment of pain and suffering, so be it, as long as its final result is freedom and liberation.

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 11:19 pm

    “Bring some leftist infront of me and I will show them what I mean.

    Frivolous? Countries who have succeded in keeping insurgents at bay are gaining economic prosperity.

    You don’t use peace with a group that wants war.

    I don’t suppose you fall for the crap that the leftists are not NPA’s.

    Now where did I put that good old M-14 of mine…. hahahahahahaha.”

    i have reliable information who told me that you’re afraid of firecrackers? m-14 is long gone. bushmaster is the in-thing these days. check it out.

    • MAV on October 14, 2007 at 11:22 pm

    “Bring some leftist infront of me and I will show them what I mean.”

    Bibith:We are ALL FILIPINOS.We have only one country.We have decided to stay here(unlike some Monday morning quarterbacking bloggers).

    Relaxs lang.It’s a beautiful Sunday evening.Listen to Il Divo (particularly “Regresa Ami”).

    Good night now! Stay free Bibith.

    Reflect on this beautiful saying by a great but humble leader:“I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have not run away with the silverware.”Diosdado Macapagal

    • Shaman of Malilipot on October 14, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    “But then NYC is a city not a country.”

    You’re quite right, rego. Bloomberg might find it hard running for president as an independent. If I remember right, he left the Republican Party.

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 11:26 pm

    MAV,

    We only have one country, but it ain’t big enough for both freedom lovers and communists.

    “I have sat at the sumptuous tables of power, but I have stabbed the communists with the silverware.” – ENG^2

    • eng^2 on October 14, 2007 at 11:35 pm

    Tililing,

    where were you when I needed you most? (sad and crying)

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 11:37 pm

    “where were you when I needed you most? (sad and crying)” engeng

    quite busy eating bangkok santol.

    • Tililing on October 14, 2007 at 11:51 pm

    engeng, what can you say about the hair of jdv3. used to be thin now it became thick. i know your quite an expert on hair matters.

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