Freedom’s marching off to prison in Pakistan

In his blog, Jove Francisco gave an account of the situation as the weekend broke: an administration distracted so that it forgot to blow its own trumpets for a change:

I will wait for Secretary of the Cabinet Ric Saludo to once again blame media for the administration’s woes because we only cover political intrigues and conveniently snub good news stories like their economic strides.

Hey sir, there we were, trying hard and “risking our lives” (muntik kami maaksidente eh hehe) covering the good news about the strong peso because we all wanted to get the President’s reaction and official statement about this particular economic development … look at what we got… nothing.

Anyway, no horn-blowing at the Palace because the President was tending to her garden:

But despite her calls for a halt in politicking…palace insiders believe that the administration is doing its own brand of politics again.

Vehicles of local government officials from Pampanga were seen outside the Palace this afternoon.

No palace official would like to explain the presence of these officials, which is unfortunate because the visit came at a time when known pangalatok leaders FVR and JDV are at odds with Mrs. Arroyo.

While Scribbles Etc. points to the activities of the President’s Living nightmare, her predecessor. But was there a deal between the ex-con and the incumbent future con? Randy David, on Saturday, wrote,

The reality is that despite his detention and conviction, Estrada is far from being a spent political force. Ms Arroyo knows this. In detention, the ex-president could continue to sponsor destabilization efforts against her. Pardoned, he could be persuaded not to lend his name to any attempt to oust her.

This is political realism in a society where roughly 60 percent of the population remains under the spell of traditional political patrons and mass media celebrities. Ms Arroyo will pass into political oblivion after 2010, but not Estrada. He will be a force to reckon with, a figure to court for those with presidential ambitions, so long as the majority of our voters are rendered politically vulnerable by extreme poverty.

Realizing its marginal role in Philippine elections, the middle class, the harbinger of modernity, has favored non-electoral modes for effecting transitions — people power, impeachment, coups, calls for resignation, etc. It is this class that gave the country its two women presidents: Cory Aquino and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, both of them the beneficiaries of people power.

But people power is caught in a paradox, which limits its potency. Its spontaneous and unorganized character, driven by a strong moralism, is the source of its vitality. It is also its fundamental weakness. Middle class activism seldom leads to anything sustainable, like the formation of mainstream political parties. Even when, to its own surprise, it scores electoral victories, as in the case of Fr. Ed Panlilio’s successful run for governor o fPampanga province, the engagement tends to stop at the polls. Without a party on which to anchor itself, the middle class espousal of modern governance is quickly drowned out by the pragmatics of political patronage. No wonder, in the end, “trapo” [traditional politicos] like Ms Arroyo and Estrada will always find it easier to deal with one another.

One thing is sure: both the President and her predecessor, don’t care about the lot of most prisoners, which Sunday’s Inquirer editorial tackled.

I attended a meeting over the weekend of various opposition groups, to discuss what to do about the Pulido impeachment and so forth. The lawyers, many of whom stayed home and gave up family time to try to put together a fortified impeachment complaint, were glum over the prospects of their legal labors amounting to anything.

Rep. Ronaldo Zamora discussed the case filed with the Supreme Court some years back, challenging the impeachment restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court when then Chief Justice Hilario Davide was facing an impeachment attempt. According to Zamora, in the case they filed, they predicted what has come to pass, today: that to head off a proper impeachment, potential targets of an impeachment would cause weak or bogus complaints to be filed, to innoculate them against genuine impeachments. Zamora said that while the Constitution grants the Congress supremacy in cases of impeachment, in reality, because of the Francisco case, the Supreme Court intervened, tied the hands of Congress, and along the way, violated a fundamental tenet of law: that no man may be a judge in his own case (the Supreme Court, in this case, intervening in a case involving the potential impeachment of its own Chief Justice).

So he said, their case predicted what has come to pass, but when they asked for oral arguments, the Supreme Court refused, and the case continues to mold away in the dockets of the Supreme Court. Until the previous ruling is overturned, he said, there is no point fussing over impeachment, the moment an official causes a bogus case to be filed. My sense is that he was speaking from the point of view of a pretty thorough lawyer, who is professionally affronted when a half-assed case ends up substituting for a case which can’t be rushed, if completeness is to be achieved.

He also had some pretty interesting things to say about how political math works in the lower house, the magic number being 60. With 60, an impeachment is in play; anything below that, and don’t even bother. He was also prescient in suggesting that the President would refrain from trying to oust the Speaker, at least until the impeachment complaint was formally junked, and not earlier than January. But in the meantime, he said (to comfort the lawyers, I think) he said it was a good exercise to put together a meaty impeachment complaint, and draft articles of impeachment.

Anyway, he told the group, and as it emerged in the discussion (animated, even heated, at times), we would see what happens when amendments or supplements or what have you are filed. But he and other opposition congressmen like Roilo Golez are of the opinion that at the very least, the moment the administration-controlled Committee on Justice shows no inclination to even consider amendments to the complaint or supplements to it, then the opposition should simply boycott the proceedings.

Why dignify a farce? Why legitimize a mockery of the process? A wise tactic and one I hope the opposition will stick to. I’d love to see the administration coalition reduced to arguing among themselves about a bogus case of their own making.

On the sidelines of the meeting, a congressman went up to me and made an observation I found particularly intriguing. He said, one should not over-plan things, but rather, work out a scenario for every eventuality, including a sudden, unexpected favor from Lady Luck. Such as what, I asked. The congressman replied, well, it makes sense for the President to hold her fire with regards to the Speaker, but if she decides to topple him, the Speaker has one last master-stroke left.

And what would that be, I inquired.

The Speaker, according to the congressman, upon seeing one of the President’s men taking to the floor to make a motion to declare the leadership vacant, and knowing at that instant, that it was now war to the death, could then suspend the session indefinitely. Chaos would ensue, the congressman said. I asked, suspend the session, as in, simply end the session, for ever? Not for ever, the congressman replied; the Constitution actually imposes a limit to such moves of three days. But imagine that, the congressman said. Three days of furious jockeying and wheeling, and dealing, of confusion and recriminations.

Why so, I asked. Because, the congressman said, the moment the President makes it known she wants a new Speaker, do you know how many candidates would arise? You would have to make each one happy. And if you topple the Speaker, you must replace all the senior leaders of the House, that’s 20 instant allies turned disgruntled enemies. In such a situation, things could change very fast and suddenly, a suitable number for impeachment could possibly be within reach.

But, the congressman remarked, while we should be prepared for such moments of divine intervention, one shouldn’t actively work for it, or even expect it.
What the President and her people, were up to, is covered by Uniffors and who kindly adds the blog’s voice to the call I and other made in my column for today, Save the day. We’re going to get together on Friday, at lunchtime, to walk together to the Makati Central Post Office to send the President a postcard.

Here’s the postcard design (click on the front and back design to enlarge and save to your desktop).
Or, if you want to save postage, you can email the President.

For information, see The Black and Whire Movement blog for additional details, including simultaneous protests in Riyadh, San Francisco, Seoul, Tokyo, Cambodia, and Hong Kong.

But of course over the weekend the really big news took place overseas: ‘Desperate’ Musharraf declares martial law. Or was it? A “state of emergency,” he said, and as his own prime minister said, “definitely extraconstitutional.” Global Voices Online has a roundup of online reactions; the blog Teeth Maestro, established by a Pakistani gentleman I met in the regional blogger’s conference held a couple of years back in Manila, has a blow-by-blow account of the creeping martial law in that country. It is, as commentator Ali Eteraz puts it, Musharraf’s mini-martial law.

For Americans, concerned over their own economy (see Asia Sentinel’s report on window-dressing by the US Federal Reserve) as Prarie Weather points out, the Pakistani president’s declaration left Washington looking impotent. As for everyone else, as Rising Hegemon eloquently put it, instead of a new dawn of democracy in the Islamic world thanks to Uncle Sam, George W. Bush’s legacy is the opposite: it “Looks like Freedom’s Marching off to Prison.” Instead of a brave new world, it’s more apocalyptic by the day. As History Unfolding points out,

When the Democrats regained control of Congress in 2006, many of us, I think, thought tha the Bush era was over and a change would begin. The voters in particular had clearly rejected the Iraq war–as had Washington’s traditional establishment, embodied in the Baker-Hamilton commission–and we now expected de-escalation to begin. The resignation of Don Rumsfeld (who was actually fired, we can now see, because he opposed escalation in Iraq) encouraged this illusion. But that was not what happened. Nearly a year after the election we have more troops (but less casualties) in Iraq than ever. More importantly, it seems that the course that the Bush Administration set us on five or six years ago–a futile attempt to rule the Middle East, if not the whole world, by force–may be so firmly entrenched that even another election will not reverse it.

I am glad that I managed in 2002 to recognize how revolutionary the new foreign policy was, and to reject it on fundamental grounds. (Anyone who is interested can find what I had to say on the H-Diplo internet list archives for the fall of that year.) Our new National Security Strategy had proclaimed that we had the right and the duty to overthrow any unfriendly regime that was trying to acquire weapons of mass destruction, and that we would do so alone if necessary. Meanwhile, President Bush announced that Israel would (in effect) keep whatever land it had settled and wanted to keep in any peace with a new Palestinian state. Each of those stands, in different ways, repudiated critical provisions of international law and flung the door open to international anarchy. Both were far, far more important than the President’s attempts to promote democracy. Indeed, it is partly because the President has proclaimed that both the United States and Israel will take, and keep, whatever they want, that elections in the Middle East have turned out so badly for us.

One blogger, Naeem, is so discouraged about the whole thing that the views of the blogger sound eerily familiar.

Incidentally, my column today quoted a phrase from The Economist editorial, which bears reading in its entirety.

A synopsis of a Newsbreak report on the ill-fated NAIA3 Terminal, by Torn and Frayed. Oddly enough, the President’s two predecessors came across better than the incumbent:

However, since NAIA 3 is a major public works project, history will also judge the three presidents who oversaw the project: Ramos, Estrada, and Arroyo.

The building of the terminal did not start to unravel until after Ramos’s term and he escapes relatively unscathed. Ramos had the foresight to realize that the country needed a new international terminal, invited the six taipans who constitute AEDC to bid for it, and, when a better bid was proposed by Piatco, oversaw its acceptance.

Perhaps surprisingly, Erap also comes out of the story quite well. Concerned that the AEDC suit against Piatco would derail the project, in his best Don Corleone fashion Estrada tried to reconcile the warring parties: “Among the new president’s moves within two months of assuming power was to call AEDC and Piatco to a meeting in Malacañang. In that meeting held September 3, Estrada made an extraordinary request: for AEDC to drop the civil suit pending before the Pasig RTC against the award of the Naia 3 contract to the Paircargo group, now Piatco.” There’s a time for Don Corleone and I think this was it–AEDC did indeed drop its civil suits and for a while the project proceeded, shakily, but it did move forward…

The president who comes out dreadfully from the debacle is Gloria. Admittedly, the airport was already a problem when she assumed office, but through her characteristic indecisiveness and lack of political will she made it into a catastrophe. The strap line of one of the Newsbreak articles sums it up perfectly: “Incoherent policies and failed quick fixes mark Arroyo’s response to NAIA 3″. Here is one example. The Office of the Solicitor General filed an expropriation suit (meaning that the government would attempt to take the new terminal into public ownership) before the Pasay regional trial court on 21 December 2004. As Newsbreak points out, the timing was “unfortunate”, since “just a day before the Philippine government’s lawyers in the ICSID arbitration proceedings in Washington, DC, had made a filing stating that Manila had not taken acts amounting to expropriation.”

Speaking of the President, Stella Arnaldo’s Blogspot says her former professors are, well, embarrassed.

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    • Bencard on November 6, 2007 at 2:05 am

    mlq3, even as one holding the title “chief justice” davide was not the supreme court. correct me if i’m wrong, but did not davide participate in the hearing and adjudication of the francisco case? i should think not since that would be unethical, if not illegal. wouldn’t it?

    regardless of whether davide participated or not, i would think that the required majority of the justices would “vote” in violation of the constitution to favor one of its own. i don’t think i’m prepared to question the integrity of each of the members of the davide court.

    btw, impeachment, like any other prosecution, is addressed to the personal act of the impeachable officer, not as a vicarious liability for the illicit act of another. even if the pulido complaint can be amended to include the zte deal and the alleged “bribery” in malacanang, i doubt it can prosper without a showing of personal culpability of the president.

    • Bencard on November 6, 2007 at 2:35 am

    in interpreting the spirit and intent of the consitution, the sc is upholding the constitution pursuant to its provisions. it is not a naked exercise of power, rather it is a recognition and affirmation of the supremacy of the consitution under our system of government.

    • baycas on November 6, 2007 at 3:26 am

    hmmm, still no post on macarambon…

    the guy recently sworn into comelec office as commish…

    the guy quoted as saying:

    I am a judge. You should accommodate me first.
    – Moslemen T. Macarambon, Sr. (G.R. No. 138143. Nov 24, 1999)

    the guy who, as RTC judge, handled his son’s lawsuit…

    talk about favoring one of (its) own…this sure is one hell of an example…and to think he’s now a comelec commissioner!

    • BrianB on November 6, 2007 at 3:42 am

    Musharraf is an example of a good man being overwhelmed by the times.

    • David on November 6, 2007 at 7:20 am

    “A synopsis of a Newsbreak report on the ill-fated NAIA3 Terminal, by Torn and Frayed. Oddly enough, the President’s two predecessors came across better than the incumbent:”


    Isn’t this spin or propaganda? If one reads the Supreme Court decision nullifying the NAIA-3 contract, one would find that the contract was modified a number of times making it grossly disadvantageous to the government (not to mention to the commuting public, i.e. exorbitant terminal fees) under Estrada’s watch. And guess who in Estrada’s cabinet approved the modifications.

    • sparks on November 6, 2007 at 7:30 am

    About Pakistan, bizarre as it may sound, Musharraf, by holding on to power, may actually be the only force strong enough to keep Pakistan secular. The legitimate opposition groups (at least in the eyes of the underclasses) are hard core Islamists. But then, there’s always Benazir Bhutto.

    • BrianB on November 6, 2007 at 8:08 am

    Yep, a good man in a tough situation. Benzir bhutto sucks her own you-know-what. Why can’t they all be like thatcher and hillary… I mean, manly.

    • BrianB on November 6, 2007 at 8:14 am


    about the quote in your blog. Totally correct. The monetary system should be eliminated by 2050. The market system ended by 2020. What are they waiting for, another depression? Technologically, we can already feed all the hungry, educate all, etc. It’s superstition to think that people only work because they have to survive. Work will change somewhat. There definitely would be less sales people and marketing people. More of what we now consider “hobbies” and science can focus on the betterment of mankind, instead of helping tobacco companies sell more tobacco. The capitalist class effectively eliminated. Many would retain their old power and influence but they will have a hard time passing it on to their stupid children.

    • leah on November 6, 2007 at 8:49 am

    postage is not required when writing to the President or Members of Congress

  1. mlq:

    I am delighted to read the game plan of the Speaker in case, a move to oust him is initiated. But in writing it, are you not giving comfort to the enemy considering they will now know how to react in such a scenario?

  2. The prevailing culture of impunity gives a wrong sense of power or creates a situation conducive to the abuse of power without any legal consequences. The prevailing feeling within the GMA administration is that they “can get away with anything” by simply issuing denials, making cover-ups or creating distractions ( example: the new “Cha-Cha” move) , distortions by the usual spin doctors and ,of course, bribery attempts.

    • Jon Mariano on November 6, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Musharraf took a leaf from Gloria’s book in declaring a state of emergency. What was it that Gloria used?

    • Jon Mariano on November 6, 2007 at 10:27 am

    If the speaker has a masterstroke, Gloria has many. One of them is declaring the same thing as what Musharraf did, or even Martial Law.

    • j_ag on November 6, 2007 at 10:39 am

    “I will wait for Secretary of the Cabinet Ric Saludo to once again blame media for the administration’s woes because we only cover political intrigues and conveniently snub good news stories like their economic strides.”

    “Hey sir, there we were, trying hard and “risking our lives” (muntik kami maaksidente eh hehe) covering the good news about the strong peso because we all wanted to get the President’s reaction and official statement about this particular economic development … look at what we got… nothing.”

    It is so interesting to note that a large group of pinoys even journalists believe that a storng peso is sign of good economic fundamentals. Meanwhile China and Japan the two notable leading Asian economies who strive hard to keep their currency weak against the dollar as a sign of theirs strong economic fundamentls.

    If one trumpets the strong dollar regime as a fundamental government policy then that means we should strive for Php 25 to 1 soon. But that would be a disaster for the economy since the economy is based primarily on earning more dollars.

    So should we celebrate or not the economic strides (success) of GMA in sending more people abroad?

    I am lost in all these seeming paradoxes.

  3. Until the previous ruling is overturned, (Rep. Zamora) said, there is no point fussing over impeachment. – mlq3

    Zamora and company have to take a bolder stand. If the required number to impeach Arroyo is not insuperable to attain, they may just forget about Francisco for it is not even a settled doctrine yet; on the contrary, it is also constitutionally grounded that the Supreme Court may be denied “judicial supremacy” when broad constitutional principles involving major political controversies are at stake, and in such cases, a decision is final only for the immediate parties involved in the case.

    Additionally, even Fr. Bernas whose opinion had been relied upon by the SC in Francisco wrote in his PDI column post-Francisco the following:

    “(The Constitution) prohibits the initiation of more than one ‘impeachment proceeding.’ It does not necessarily prohibit more than one complaint. More than one complaint would be prohibited only if the multiple complaints would require more than ‘one proceeding.’ But if they can be logically and conveniently combined into one proceeding, there would be no violation of the Constitution.”

    In the end, it’s a numbers game. The opposition should do the “political math” first and then ignore Francisco altogether. If the requisite number is present, it would “tie the hands” of the Supreme Court instead, not the other way around; after all, the ruling in Francisco is a culpable violation of the Constitution (for it has the effect of rendering the impeachment process inoperative) and therefore an impeachable offense on the part of the current justices who participated in it.

    • mlq3 on November 6, 2007 at 11:52 am

    david, spin or propaganda implies a partisan position. you can determine if there’s a partisan position coloring thihngs by going over torn and frayed’s blog in general. i think you are confusing spin and propaganda with interpretation and opinion, which everyone should undertake, and which the blogger in question provided (interpretation and opinion).

    note that the two predecessors according to torn, aren’t saints, but still come across better than the incumbent. and these are background events not necessarily covered by, or interepreted according to the law, by the supreme court.

    • j_ag on November 6, 2007 at 11:57 am

    A good link for an intervew with Jim Rogers on the fact that the U.S. government is deliberately debasing the value of the U.S. dollar. His advice — Everyone should short the dollar. Sell the dollar………..

    He actually wants to froce the Chinese to revalue the renminbi upward faster as he has gone long on the Chinese currency.

    He is a smart SOB

    • mlq3 on November 6, 2007 at 12:06 pm

    patsada, that is, assuming the speaker would be toppled and he would fight. it’s a legislative trick (the suspension) every congressman who knows the rules knows, so i don’t think we’re aiding and abetting the palace, because it’s an exclusive power of the speaker. so there’s absolutely nothing anyone else can do, if he decides to suspend the session indefinitely.

    • mlq3 on November 6, 2007 at 12:15 pm

    abe, then the math simply isn’t there. the opposition can count on 30. with an additional 2 that are iffy.

    in case of a sudden jdv-oppo alliance, the speaker’s true numbers are estimated from 15-30.

  4. mlq3, in that case, GMA has a better hold to power than Musharaf, unless the people do their own math by the principle of the “last say.” But then per David “their engagement tends to stop at the polls” or, as I have also noted, even at the exercise of people power for in the latter case there’s that process of re-entrusting too – to those who, they think, are better equipped to govern.

    • j_ag on November 6, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    PetroChina just breached the $1 trillion mark for market capitalization in China’ stock exchanges. That means today on paper it is worth more than Exxon Mobile and General Electric put together.

    But both companies are making more money than the Chinese company in dollar terms. Petro China is majority owned by the state.

    Which is make believe and which is real?

    • qwert on November 6, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    “so there’s absolutely nothing anyone else can do, if he decides to suspend the session indefinitely.”-MLQ3

    I think GMA is smarter than that possibility. She will not “rock the boat” unless all the “bases are covered”(plantsado na).It is now too late for JDV to make any move, he should have moved with dispatch at the height of the ZTE-NBN deal controversy.Once the committee on justice officially throws the Pulido complaint in the “thrash can”, that’s it.

    The “sudden jdv-oppo alliance” must happen before the committee on justice decides with finality the rejection of the Pulido complaint.The projected “15-30 true numbers of the speaker” will become moot and academic and no congressman will throw his support to the speaker if there is no impeachment to be voted upon and no congressman will wait for one year to make his vote politically relevant, he would rather vote for the Malacanang endorsed speaker now than wait for one more year and besides not withstanding the “perk and the pork” that the congressmen will enjoy from GMA,leaders want their leader to be smart,astute,decisive and knows “how to use the sword”.They can’t see it in JDV.

    The opposition calls GMA a “lame duck” President, now the administration can call JDV a “sitting duck” speaker. Sayang na sayang ang pagkakataon!JDV sometimes is referred to as “sunshine Joe” but if he will look at the political clock it says:”5:59 p.m.”(time for the sun to set).

    The Speaker can suspend/adjourn the session of the lower house but only for three days (unless the Senate gives its consent to extend it)and for what reason? I cannot think of any except to delay the inevitably inevitable.

    “Neither House during the sessions of the Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.” – Article VI Section 16 paragraph(5)of the Constitution

    Sayang, Sayang talaga!

    • mlq3 on November 6, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    qwert, i agree with you, his time was before the president opened the door and showed him she had 180 plus congressmen in her pocket. but then if he was a fighter, he would have fought it out, but he’s not a fighter. so, he’s a decoration and worse (for him) powerless, moneyless, and only a decoration so long as the president finds him useful.

  5. I’m 100% convinced that Gloria will do a Musharraf and declare martial law to perpetuate herself in power for the following reasons:

    1)George W. Bush will not disagree.Therefore she must do it while he still in power.(The next President may be a Democrat and may not tolerate her move).

    2)The Neocons and ex-generals dominate the cabinet (Gonzalez, Puno, Ermita,Mendoza,Ebdane,Reyes,etc.).

    3)The “Genuine Opposition” AND Erap have been co-opted.

    4)$100/ barrel cost of oil will have very adverse economic consequences.

    5)She will use the “threat of terrorism” as a pretext.

    • mlq3 on November 6, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    bencard, my understanding is in the estrada resignation case and in the impeachment attempt vs. davide, in both cases he himself inhibited himself.

    my understanding of the criticisms of the francisco decision are basically two important ones:

    1. was the decision an usurpation of what should be congress’ exclusive powers re: impeachment?

    2. since a chief justice was being impeached, could the high court in any way serve as an objective judge in a case where one of their own was before the bar and where any of them, all of the sc justices being impeachable officials, had a potential conflict of interest?

    add to this, if its true, that in their pleading before the sc the lawyers precisely predicted what has come to pass: that if some damned fool files a superficial impeachment complaint, it basically nullifies the prospects of a solid case being filed.

    i’ve sat in a couple of meetings of the lawyers for the various impeachment complaints and the latest seems pretty solid, but the current rules makes it improbable the house will give its proponents the time of day.

    • hvrds on November 6, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    This analysis of Pakistan is so so close to home relative to the Philippines. The Philippines though more a construct of empire with a very short history of people coming in from the neighboring areas with a relatively small number of indigenous tribes very much somewhere between the stone age and the bronze age.

    Pakistan a part of Central Asia the crossroad between Europe and Asia.

    “Pakistan is a relic set up as a counterweight to India — and its tendency to tilt towards the Eastern Block. I think it is high time to revisit the old composite structure of five provinces combined into one artificial country. A redrawing of borders might serve useful and to cut through the farce. Let each province mature and declare independence. Some will eventually join their long-time tribal allies, leaving two or three independent lands and a more transparent political agenda.” Ali Ettefagh

    • broadbandido on November 6, 2007 at 3:12 pm

    What can we expect from Yoda de Venecia? Nothing, nada, zilch.

    He will sell his mother and his children just to fulfill his life-long ambition to be the leader of this country, which will not happen since he will never, ever be elected on a national level.

    Did he learn anything from the death of his daughter, or somehow think that it is karma as payment for his sins to the citizens of our country? No, he didn’t.

    • ronin on November 6, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    Musharraf’s ace-in-the-hole comes with a bonus: He can shout ‘Islamic militants!” and Bush won’t think twice to support him. What about Arroyo? What would compel Uncle Sam to back an imposition of emergency rule/martial law? The Reds haven’t been that threatening lately, the ASG bandits are getting gunned down, the putschists are either in jail or coopted, and only a handful of anti-GMA rallyists are going out on the streets. That is, unless Arroyo resorts to a wag-the-dog scenario and imitate Marcos’ tactic of orchestrating bombing campaigns to justify emergency rule. On the other hand, would a showdown with JDV precipitate Martial Law? That would be the funniest excuse Gloria would ever have.

  6. ronin: we are just a “fake ambush” away from Martial law.Remember Enrile?

    Gloria has to do it before a Democrat President takes over in 2008.

    At least she still has Bush,as partner in crime,until the U.S.elections.

  7. “Did he learn anything from the death of his daughter, or somehow think that it is karma as payment for his sins to the citizens of our country? No, he didn’t.broad bandido”

    That also happened to to Abalos(the death of his grandaughter)and to Gloria(the near-death experience of Mike.)

    Did they learn? MANHID?

    • ronin on November 6, 2007 at 3:43 pm

    equalizer: I think so too, especially now that Erap apparently has reneged on his word (if the two had a deal), Arroyo is getting cornered. Enrile said Gloria is more cunning than Marcos. Perhaps, instead of a fake ambush, she’ll conduct a live-fire exercise, with lots of casualties to boot, hehe.

  8. Ronin:

    American elections will held on November 8,2008.

    1)So the exact window of opportunity for Gloria to declare it is just 12 months.

    2)I don’t think she will do it right now(November/December 2007).She will look like a cheap copycat of Musharaff.

    3)Oil is expected to hit $100/barrel by December.

    4)I think the most logical timing for a martial law declaration will be around March 2008 when summer vacation begins(so the activist youth will not be in school).

    I hope I am absolutely wrong!

    BUT,the most compelling reason is that the departure of Bush will force her hand.It will be difficult for her to do it with a President Hillary or Obama.

    • cvj on November 6, 2007 at 4:05 pm

    Equalizer, i don’t think a Democrat in the White House would result in a policy change towards Gloria and/or the Philippines.

  9. CVJ: Republican Presidents have generally been more lenient to Philippine autocrats.

    Remember VP George HW Bush’s infamous quote to Marcos “we admire your adherence to democratic principles and practices. … “

    • cvj on November 6, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Equalizer, actually the Republicans have both been good and bad for our democracy. True, Reagan tolerated Marcos because he was anti-communist. However, then Vice-President Dan Quayle (of all people) was the one who authorized the F-4 overflights that saved Cory Aquino when the outcome of the 1990 Coup was still in doubt. My speculation is that action saved us from a Honasan/Danding Cojuangco-led junta.

    • holyfather on November 6, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    I am with you mlq3 and I will be sending a postcard on the 9th.

  10. Agree with Sparks.

    • ronin on November 6, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    Equalizer: Being branded a copycat might not appeal to Gloria (or anyone for that matter) but she would be motivated by her survival instincts. If Erap and the opposition gets its act together, if the rift within the admi gets wider and wider, who knows, she might try her best to find a pretext for wearing that gauntlet sooner. Besides, she must also be wary about the loyalty of her generals. If the rats start sniffing trouble in the ship…

  11. Abe,

    I refuse to compare Gloria to Musharraf (insult to the latter).

    Most of Pakistan’s population still live in the feudal world, half illiterate and virtually caught in the stone age of Islam.

    Musharaf lives and breathes Pakistan whereas Gloria lives and breathes for herself. That’s a huge difference. We may compare her to Bhutto though. They are both corrupt.

    • alas ka dora on November 6, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    “Perhaps, instead of a fake ambush, she’ll conduct a live-fire exercise, with lots of casualties to boot, hehe.”

    Isn’t the Glorieta blast a live-bomb exercise already with lots of casualties?

    • Geo on November 6, 2007 at 5:04 pm

    Still talking of martial law??? How many times does that need to be incorrectly predicted before the notion is dismissed with finality?

    Impeachment? How many times does one need to bang his head against the wall?

    Junta? Carekeeper government? THAT is a solution to the Philippines’ problems??

    Endless Senate investigations? Fact-less fact-finding endless journeys.

    The inanity of the opposition continues to be the single most powerful force in keeping GMA in Malacanang.

    Of course, the opposition tells us non-partisan types that we don’t rush to join them because we are all too stupid, too lazy and/or too cowed.

    A government should never be fully trusted…but, in this case, the opposition is even worse. Both sides are full of BS.

    • ronin on November 6, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    alas ka dora:

    If you’d believe the PNP and Malacanang,the Glorietta blast was nothing more than a gas explosion caused by negligence. 😉

    • Geo on November 6, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    ronin — what was the cause of the blast?

    • ronin on November 6, 2007 at 5:27 pm


    Well, the official (i.e. Malacanang’s) version is that it was a gas explosion. 😉

    • Geo on November 6, 2007 at 5:43 pm

    But I thought people were saying that Malacanang wanted to create a fake attack so that martial law could be invoked…..

    What happened to that analysis?

  12. I have tried to open the postcard design and got the following notice :

    “We apologize the site you are attempting to visit has been blocked due to its content being inconsistent with the religious, cultural, political and moral values of the United Arab Emirates.”

    Is there a way to view this postcard?

  13. The issue about martial is not “IF” but WHEN”.

    That’s Gloria’s last ace.

    But ,unlike the Marcos declaration,the gloria version will not last as long and will eventually FAIL :

    1)We are now an interconnected-global village.There is now more “connection” among concerned people of the world (not among nations).

    2)The power of blogs.(“Free Burma”)

    3)8 million OFWs abroad.

    4)It’s not a monolithic military.


    6)Most importantly,the power of one who will really say “NEVER AGAIN” and mean it.

    • broadbandido on November 6, 2007 at 5:58 pm

    Joselito :

    Just sent you the postcards via e-mail.

  14. AMAZING COINCIDENCES of Two Presidents
    (Gloria and Bushie)!

    * Both are children of former Presidents.

    * Both assumed power in 2001.

    * Both have resorted to lies,deceptions and cover-ups.

    * Both have relied on master spin doctors( Karl Rove,Ronnie Puno)

    * Both have big credibility gaps with their respective people

    * Both have been widely critised in terms personal dishonesty & dishonesty in government.

    * Both have have record low job-approval ratings.

    * Both incumbents will face the harsh judgment of history(worst presidents ever?)

    • Geo on November 6, 2007 at 7:14 pm

    Equalizer — You sure seem to know a lot…and seem very sure of your knowledge.

    Can you pls advise me when this martial law thingie is supposed to happen? I can make a killing on the stock market with that kind of advance info…..

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