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Jan 30

Another happy ending for the Palace

My Arab News column for this week is The Same Mistakes Eventually. A further reflection on this past entry.

The Inquirer editorial takes a look at Suharto’s legacy. In his column, William Pesek does the same in Suharto’s corrupt legacy lives on in Indonesia, and says a lack of enthusiasm for investing in Indonesia is one of them. See Orde Baru for a timeline of the Suharto years.

Oh: and my gosh, he’s lost! Where in the world is Mike Arroyo? Maybe Austria? Lichtenstein?

A few days ago, Ricky Carandang, in his blog, said that the testimony of a new witness regarding the ZTE affair, would be used as an excuse to declare the leadership of the House vacant, and thus pave the way for a new Speaker. He predicted that the consensus candidate would be Mandaluyong Rep. Neptali Gonzales, Jr.:

When Congress resumes sessions at the end of the month, the Senate is expected to quickly resume hearings on the ZTE Broadband deal. A former associate of Romulo Neri, Jun Lozada, who was brought in by Neri as a consultant on technical matters, will provide more details based on first hand knowledge, about how the ZTE deal was clinched.

The ZTE hearings will be used by members of the House majority as a trigger to the call for a change in the House leadership. It will be recalled that it was the Speaker’s son, Joey, who accused presidential husband Mike Arroyo of intervening in the ZTE deal, thus opening a rift between Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and JDV that never really healed.

Sources tell me that sometime after the resumption of the Senate hearings, a member of the House coalition will take the floor to ask that the speakership be declared vacant. He will supposedly have the numbers.

I’m told further that backroom talks have nearly settled the matter of who takes over from JDV.

In a response to a readers’ comment, Carandang predicted,

He’s in a position to corroborate previous testimony. He has first hand knowledge. I’m not sure what his agenda is, if any.

But whatever he has the Palace is trying its best to keep him from talking.

as I mentioned the other day, scuttlebutt was that if Speaker de Venecia’s removal is in the cards, it’s scheduled for the end, and not the start, of this year. But there are those who’d like to accelerate the transfer of power: Mindanao solons uncloak selves, bare oust-JDV plot. Or do they? It could simply be posturing to extract concessions, or as a rear-guard action to save face.

After all, the Palace could be working at cross-purposes when it comes to congressmen who want to topple the Speaker sooner rather than later. But, as the next portion of this entry suggests, if the pretext for the toppling’s removed, then people have to sound the retreat while still banging the drums.
De Venecia, Nograles draw up battle lines for speakership. Maybe. But what if, as Carandang says, neither one will be the winner?

The news today began with the breaking news, New witness backs off NBN deal probe. This, despite Senate offers witness protection to Lozada. The Philippine Star has to have absolutely the worst -because utterly useless- system for online articles, you can never link anything! So I’ll have to quote from Jarius Bondoc’s column today, without providing a link.

His column, “Lozada was in Palace meetings on NBN,” accuses Sen. Cayetano (Allan Peter) of turning Lozada, who was supposed to be a surprise witness, into a non-surprise and thus, giving the Palace time to put pressure on him. This what Bondoc wrote today:

It’s all the fault of Blue-Ribbon Committee head Alan Peter Cayetano, according to Sen. Panfilo Lacson. Lozada allegedly had wanted to tell all he knows about the deal from which kickbackers would have got $200 million, three-fifths of the contracted price. But then, Malacañang operatives got to Lozada and convinced him to shut up with a combination of death threats and blandishments, Lacson lamented. And how did Palace men find out about Lozada? Well, by Cayetano’s own admission, he revealed the name of the secret witness last weekend. He had to, he said, for transparency, since the subpoena he issued Lozada last month was a public document signed not only by him but also Senate President Manny Villar, and Mar Roxas and Rodolfo Biazon of the two other committees investigating the fraud. Cayetano nonetheless acknowledged to being the leak. He told reporters he purposely had avoided them during the Christmas break so that they wouldn’t force him to break secrecy – until days ago. And so was redefined the meaning of secret witness.

What would Lozada have revealed had he not been put in jeopardy? The answer lies in part in the testimony of Joey de Venecia III, who blew the lid off the $330-million cheating. Roxas had asked him in a hearing in Sept. if he knew a certain Jun Lozada. De Venecia said yes, and that Lozada was present in some meetings with ZTE executives, presidential spouse Mike Arroyo, and then-Comelec chief Benjamin Abalos.

Lozada was no longer mentioned after that. But Lacson and Roxas apparently continued to receive more info. Word reached them that Lozada was conscience-stricken seeing Joey and other whistleblowers lay their lives on the line while he who knew more about the high crime was comfortably silent. And so Lozada decided to talk.

The first senator Lozada approached to tell his story was not of any help. If at all, it only proved to him that some opposition figures have been co-opted, although it’s not readily seen through their pretentious posturing. That senator allegedly told Lozada to not bother testifying because the tri-committee already was wrapping up the probe and drafting a report. (Cayetano said Monday he definitely will set more hearings if new evidence turns up.)

Lozada reportedly then prepared an affidavit of what he knows. The most telling segment allegedly is about a meeting in Malacañang on Apr. 19, 2007, two days before Arroyo witnessed the signing of the DOTC-ZTE deal in China. (That’s also the day then-Economic Secretary Romy Neri told me he nearly resigned due to unconscionable terms of the telecom supply.) Luzon’s main water source would have been sacrificed, along with soldiers’ housing, just to accommodate the overpriced deal.

What else is in the affidavit, the few remaining truly opposition senators prefer that Lozada himself say under oath. They’d rather not jump the gun. Too often have witnesses recanted testimonies freely given, because Palace fixers also got to them.

This is all very tantalizing, but now moot and academic -as it has been, since Cayetano gave the Palace a free pass by wrapping up the hearings before the holidays. We shall have to see if Senate to order arrest of Lozada, Neri has any effect, and how many in the Senate will stand by their institution or cave in to the Palace.

The Business Mirror editorial points out that Congress has abandoned trying to hold the budget hostage, because it only enabled the executive department to spend without congressional oversight by doing so:

Time was, not too long ago, when lawmakers tried to put the squeeze on the Executive branch by prolonging their budgetary deliberations. Opposition senators, in particular, made the debates and discussions drag on–if only to press the point that the legislature possesses the power of the purse. Unfortunately for them, the dilatory tactic tended to backfire.

Instead of being intimidated by Congress’s authority to withhold funds, Malacañang simply resorted to realigning the previous year’s appropriations. The Executive prerogative to adopt “reenacted” budgets merely gave the Palace a free hand to dig into the national coffers–then spend billions of taxpayer pesos as it saw fit, with members of Congress unable to do anything about it save for rant and rave before the media.

As one pundit pointed out, a reenacted budget is nothing more than a huge pork barrel that Congress–intentionally or otherwise–gifts to the incumbent administration. During an election year, in particular, congressional dereliction of its duty to produce a budget often left the Palace crying all the way to the bank.

This time, Congress has managed to pass the national budget pretty much on time. Along the way, the editorial points out that one tangible benefit of the appreciation of the Peso was freeing up 16 billion that would otherwise have gone to foreign debt payments. It also praises Senators Trillanes and Lacson for saving the government 300 million pesos, the amount of the pork barrel they gave up.

But there remain some causes for concern, as these stories indicate: Budget OK ‘pleases’ Palace, but realignment veto looms. From the same article, a glimpse into the revenue-raising problems the government faces:

[S]enators put the burden on the government to boost revenue collection in order to bankroll the recently-ratified P1.23-trillion budget for 2008.

Senators cautioned that the P1.226-trillion national budget bill ratified by both chambers of Congress Monday night relies heavily on the state’s ability to finance the annual spending measure through more efficient revenue collection.

Stressing that a key element of this is “the capture of tax lost to smuggling,” Sen. Francis Escudero, Senate ways and means committee chairman, noted that “budget funds can only flow if the tax leaks are plugged.”

In order to finance the spending measure, Escudero said government must raise the corresponding amount in tax, plus P10 billion more, as the total cash budget of the government for the year is actually P1.236 billion.

According to him, the P10 billion is the projected cost of the planned 10-percent hike in the basic pay of 1.1 million national government workers that takes effect July. This amount, while factored in this year’s public expenditures, was not included in the budget. “This means that government must raise an average P3.386 billion daily to finance its operations,” he added.

The burden of raising this amount would fall on the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which is targeting to collect P844.9 billion, or 68.3 percent of total requirement, and the Bureau of Customs, whose assigned target of P254.5 billion makes up 20.6 percent of overall, or a combined P1.099 trillion.

And P75-B stimulus plan OK’d in principle; DBM balks. According to the article, Albay Gov. Joey Salceda is the guy behind the President”s stimulus package, meant to help overcome whatever economic challenges will arise from the Subprime contagion (by the way, Manuel Buencamino in his column distills what the whole mess overseas is all about):

The country’s economic managers and Albay Gov. Joey Salceda, the President’s economic adviser who presented the proposal to the President and her Cabinet that day, will meet on Thursday to study the feasibility of such a scheme and to see how it can fit into the administration’s fiscal framework.

This, amid contradictions in principles between the budget secretary and the stimulus-package proponent, Salceda…

…Salceda’s package includes P16 billion in tax rebates for middle-class working families and P8 billion in power rate discounts for those consuming a maximum of 200 kilowatt-hours per month; and increased spending for agriculture (P15 billion), food-for-school projects (P6 billion), education (P6 billion), health (P4 billion), housing (P4 billion) and infrastructure (P16 billion).

He said among the funding sources mentioned were the privatization of the remaining shares of the government in San Miguel Corp., Food Terminal Inc., and other government assets; and, for the power rate discounts, the government royalties from Malampaya…

…The proposed package is suited for a “sharp but short” US recession, he added…

…Salceda said former President Estrada took the same tack to minimize the impact of the Asian crisis on the country by releasing P40 billion for priming activities in 1999; Mrs. Arroyo released P60 billion for the same purpose to help the Philippines cope with a US recession.

“They were very successful in reversing a growth slowdown into an acceleration,” Salceda said. But Andaya said such schemes had also led to the ballooning of the budget deficit beyond what was expected: in 1999, the target deficit was P17 billion but swelled to P114 billion because of pump-priming activities; in 2002, the target was P40 billion but the deficit at year-end was over three times higher at P150 billion.

See also In rare moment, Tetangco cites fiscal concerns.

You might have noticed, above, that Salceda proposes that Malampaya royalties be put on hold. He has backing for this: Competitiveness council wants Malampaya royalties halted. To do so, however, would further endanger the precarious situation local governments are finding themselves in, because of gerrymandering.

In his column today, Quagmire rule, Juan Mercado not only says “I told you so” (he’s been a long-time opponent of creating new provinces and cities motived by gerrymandering) but points to the very real fiscal problem city governments are facing:

Mayor Celestino Martinez prints new letterheads for Bogo City in Cebu. The bill is dumped on others, including next-door Toledo City. Instead of a P307-million IRA check, Mayor Arlene Zambo will get P277 million — a hefty P31-million cut.

From Iloilo to Davao and Jolo, IRAs are being castrated sans anesthesia. Puerto Princesa in Palawan is hemorrhaging from a P144 million cut. Instead of receiving P146 million, Mayor Edward Hagedorn may get only P1.7 million. This is a policy for upheaval.

He asks, how did it happen? By juggling the figures and granting exemptions too freely and too often:

How did we stumble into this quagmire? We, Filipinos, have a nasty habit of meeting high performance standards by lowering them instead, noted Viewpoint (Cebu Daily News & Inquirer, Feb 12, 2007 ). Thus, Congress “exempted” 16 towns from criteria that other cities met.

This wont for self-delusion infects other sectors. Juggling statistics on class sizes “solved” the shortage in classrooms. Flunkers in National Elementary Achievement Tests wrestled the passing mark down to 50 percent. That wasn’t low enough. So, they wangled a “bonus” of 60 points. “This meant the criterion passing score was 37.5 percent,” Philippine Human Development Report notes. “Whom are they kidding?”

Many lost count in the frenzy to set up city halls. In 1991, we had 60 cities, many of dubious viability. By 2003, that had ballooned to 114. “National government’s ability to finance such local government units… is strained,” the World Bank and Asian Development Bank cautioned. “The small size of LGUs prevents them from generating their own resources.”

Finally, Mercado points out something long a-borning:

Migrants swap rural penury for urban penury. In 2005, six out of every ten Filipinos lived in urban sprawls. By 2030, urban residents could crest at 85 million.

In the 1980s, Rigoberto Tiglao had already theorized that the “surrounding the cities from the countryside” Maoist strategy of the CPP-NPA was doomed to fail, because even then the majority of Filipinos were urban and not rural dwellers; he ended up leaving the party because of his challenge to its political orthodoxy. I point this out because to my mind, gerrymandering and the atomization of the provinces is a grave problem.

A very curious story in Nonong Guyala’s column, Poetic justice.

And for the record, the gist of the petition various people (including myself) filed before the Supreme Court: Media ask SC to stop gov’t threats, arrests: 70 journalists sign petition vs top gov’t execs. The rationale of the case in Maria Ressa’s statement, “We Have Press Freedom or We Don’t. There is No Middle Ground.”

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147 comments

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  1. anthony scalia

    Bert,

    “So the journalist wants to take a cool picture, that’s his job, and he died of gunshot wounds. That’s bad for him. That also bad for you, sitting comfortably in your high chair blogging and blagging the media for doing their job, and for denouncing police abuse which could one day be your complain, too?”

    My goodness! What police abuse are you talking about? The police are not preventing media from writing and reporting about the event – they just want media out of the site of engagement! Media can still do their job from a safe distance!

    How come media do not complain whenever the PNP or AFP declares a news blackout? Because the blackout simply means the media won’t get any feed from the PNP or AFP. But the media can still write and report about the event in question, they just have to get their sources elsewhere.

  2. nash

    “The gravity of the ‘threats’ is directly proportional to the stubbornness of media.”

    Sorry but I do hope we know the meaning of ‘threat’.

    I thank god you are a blog comments pundit and not a supreme court justice (as your handle) or a government minister. It would be a scary thought. But then again, Gonzalez (the most idiotic justice secretary in the world) is already scary on his own.

  3. vic

    But then again, Gonzalez (the most idiotic justice secretary in the world) is already scary on his own.

    And thanks goodness, his thoughts don’t have much weights the same as his person…

  4. Jeg

    “The gravity of the ‘threats’ is directly proportional to the stubbornness of media.”

    On the whole, I’d rather have a stubborn media than a meek one, anthony scalia. I suspect so do you.

    There is a way out of this Manila-Pen-situation mess and it is through technology. ANC certainly is rich enough to apply the use of cameras and recording devices in the room after they have been ordered to leave. Leave a celfone with the coup plotters for interviews. A videophone even. Then have one reporter embedded with the cops that will storm the place. If I remember correctly, it was the media people (ANC) that rejected the embedded reporter option, which I thought was pretty silly. It would not be silly if they only have one reporter. But they have lots. There would be no danger of a one-sided coverage.

    The media people who covered the Manila Pen did a great job, dont get me wrong. The main criticism I have with media’s position on this is that theyre practically asking the SC for immunity from the law just because theyre the ‘heroic media’. (That’s the way ABS-CBN portrayed them in their ads with the obligatory close-ups of the raised, plastic-shackled fists and dramatic music.)

  5. DevilsAdvc8

    The Philippine press (all forms of media) is more a tabloid type of media. Even in the U.S. it is the same. CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and the network news are essentially tabloids.

    Don’t expect to see real news except on a few business journals, newspapers, public media and on some satirical comedy shows.

    ABS-CBN, ANC and the rest are essentially more tabloids than anything else. The power of the broadcast media today even in its tabloid form put a man like Bush in the White House.

    agree to the dot. (you can check out the link i’ll post below for an article abt this)

    but then Manolo says this

    you take the risks but that doesn’t mean that you take it sitting down, when governments start raising the risks; it also means that media can and should challenge actions that serve to actively limit or even circumscribe coverage, because every official action sets a precedent. you cannot sit and wait and then go, gosh, you know what, they just got darned nasty because the point is not to react to the nastiness but prevent its happening, because it serves everyone’s -the public’s, the press’s, even government, if government is going to be about more than worshiping might makes right- interest.

    there will come a point where no one will defend you except yourself and of course if you go to DJB’s hierarchy of freedoms, self-defense and self-protection is a very high freedom; no writer, broadcaster, worth their salt ever rolled over and meekly submitted to authority, nor should they. which is not to say they are unreasonable people, but it suggests their not wanting to roll over has to have some good reasons behind it beyond egotism. what reasons could those be? a track record, on the part of authorities, to take a mile when given an inch, and to bludgeon if not simply liquidate, members of the press not in their pocket. even with thoroughly apolitical people who are seething with contempt for media, when i explain the reason the press is touchy about itself, they can understand this point.

    yes we do understand the point. only that we see it differently. i also think that i may be too harsh on media simply bec my feelings are being colored by my contempt for it. but then, it really balances out as my contempt for govt is just as equal if not more than that of the press’.

    maybe it’s a case of not giving too much of a f*@k bec we’re not directly affected. or giving too much of a f*@k bec we’re affected by it.

  6. DevilsAdvc8

    headline reads:

    “Fishermen Beat Rare Dolphin to Death”And other tabloid headlines from CNN.com, MSNBC.com, and Foxnews.com.

    http://www.slate.com/id/2183032

  7. cvj

    Devils, i think the compelling portions of your critique of media, along with that of hvrds and DJB (who has turned himself into a neocon version of Al Gore for this purpose), are the quality of reporting as driven by news as profit center mindset and concentration of ownership. However, with regards to the Manila Pen issue, these are peripheral to the main points as expressed by the journalists’ petition. The former is a chronic issue that needs to be addressed by on its own terms but should not be mixed up with the fundamental debate on press freedom.

  8. Jeg

    “The gravity of the ‘threats’ is directly proportional to the stubbornness of media.”

    On the whole, I’d rather have a stubborn media than a meek one, anthony scalia. I suspect so do you.

    There is a way out of this Manila-Pen-situation mess and it is through technology. ANC certainly is rich enough to apply the use of recording devices in the room after they have been ordered to leave. Leave a celfone with the coup plotters for interviews. A vidfone even. Then have one reporter embedded with the cops that will storm the place. If I remember correctly, it was the media people (ANC) that rejected the embedded reporter option, which I thought was pretty silly. It would not be silly if they only have one reporter. But they have lots. There would be no danger of a one-sided coverage.

    The media people who covered the Manila Pen did a great job, dont get me wrong. The main criticism I have with media’s position on this is that theyre practically asking the SC for immunity from the law just because theyre the ‘heroic media’. (That’s the way ABS-CBN portrayed them in their ads with the obligatory close-ups of the raised, plastic-shackled fists and dramatic music.)

  9. Jeg

    Another mystery solved: Call if ‘vidfone’ and not ‘videophone’ and it passes MLQ3’s spam filter.

    Although I also eliminated references to camras (intentionally misspelled) so I dont know if it was the change of spelling to vidfone or elimination of camra that did it.

  10. Jeg

    Another mystery solved: Call it ‘vidfone’ and not ‘v-i-d-e-o-p-h-o-n-e’ and it passes MLQ3’s spam filter.

    Although I also eliminated references to camras (intentionally misspelled) so I dont know if it was the change of spelling to vidfone or elimination of camra that did it.

  11. ptt

    The media people who covered the Manila Pen did a great job, dont get me wrong—Jeg

    They did? oh ya I remember, that was when the media reporters were the news. Yes it was very entertaining.

  12. qwert

    “my goodness, at best, all the media can hope for is for government to shut up.” – Anthony Scalia

    … and pay P10 million to boot.

  13. cvj

    These ought to either be abolished in toto or applied in toto. It is most unfair that the Franchise Laws apply only to broadcast. They should also apply to print. – DJB

    Are you suggesting that government regulate the issuance of newsprint? How will that work? Should the newspapers be printed in government approved printers just like the way it regulates the printing of money with serial numbers and all that?

  14. anthony scalia

    nash,

    sorry to say this, but this is the reality – the petitioners would have to wait for another Manila Pen circus-like event to happen, be there, get warned again, get arrested again, before they can file a case with the SC.

    the “threat” is not directed at media’s responsibilities per se, but is aimed at media’s insistence to be at the same line of fire as the police/military! there’s no violation of press freedom there!

    and no, it won’t be scary if I were the secretary of justice. if you will notice, I have made a distinction between media rights in general and media being out of line of fire/harm’s way/danger zone/cross-fire. please give me credit for that.

    i have to hear a comment from you on the ‘stubbornness of media’ to be at the line of fire/harm’s way/danger zone/cross-fire

  15. cvj

    and no, it won’t be scary if I were the secretary of justice. if you will notice, I have made a distinction between media rights in general and media being out of line of fire/harm’s way/danger zone/cross-fire. please give me credit for that. – Anthony Scalia

    I’m sure with you as Secretary of Justice, Bencard as Secretary of Information and DJB as Supreme Court Justice, we can all sleep well at night. 😛

  16. Jeg

    cvj: I’m sure with you as Secretary of Justice, Bencard as Secretary of Information and DJB as Supreme Court Justice, we can all sleep well at night.

    You forgot ptt. He deserves a cabinet position, too. Homeland Security?

  17. anthony scalia

    Jeg,

    “On the whole, I’d rather have a stubborn media than a meek one, anthony scalia. I suspect so do you”

    True. I commend media for their stubbornness in unearthing the NBN-ZTE deal. But insisting to be in the middle of a police/military operation is different.

    “The media people who covered the Manila Pen did a great job, dont get me wrong”

    to second ptt’s comment – didn’t you notice, that close to 95% of media coverage were on the arrests of the media people, and not on coup pals Trillanes and Lim?

  18. anthony scalia

    qwert,

    “… and pay P10 million to boot.”

    thats a longshot. they (media) have to prove that they deserve to be paid P10 million in moral damages.

  19. anthony scalia

    cvj,

    “I’m sure with you as Secretary of Justice, Bencard as Secretary of Information and DJB as Supreme Court Justice, we can all sleep well at night”

    of course! that’s saying a lot, coming from the great cvj.

    eh paano kung ikaw ang secretary of justice, si manuelbuencamino ang secretary of information, at si mlq3 ang SC justice? 🙂

  20. DJB Rizalist

    We should not be over-awed by the Supreme Court. Although it has awesome authority, it can only win the assent of reasonable men when it produces Decisions that our sense of Justice intuitively approves of. In this respect, the Philippine Supreme Court has a pitiable record.

    We can read many of this Court’s decisions like any other English composition. Some are definitely better than others both as prose and as jurisprudence. And too many are no better than the looser ends of bloggers’ comment threads, where they cut and paste reams and reams from some rollo, but don’t really end up making any sense of it all!

    Some, even by Chief Justices penned, have embarrassing errors of historical fact lifted from low grade textbooks that are nonetheless brazenly used to back up some point of clear ideological prejudice. As in the IPRA decisions.

    And to the extent that the Truths of 1776 are known to be SELF-EVIDENT, I have trusted a direct interpretation of them more than the dubious innovative Rules and carpenterial constructions of the Philippine Court in adjudicating important Constitutional cases.

    It is largely a failed Court from the standpoint of moral and logical consistency, after usurping Senate powers in 2001 and overthrowing the presidency as well as separation of powers. Born to activism in 1987’s guilty conscience of a Constitution, it cannot now make up for the failure of the TEXT by suddenly pretending to be a champion of Human Rights and making up new RULES.

    Our secret consolation lies in the genius of the democratic construction: Every Supreme Court can reverse virtually any past decision a past incarnation of that Court has made.

    Corrigibility is every court’s true recourse for salvation: to correct its own past mistakes and not to make new ones.

    But talk about SECRETIVE.

    The Supreme Court, imho, would’ve made J. Edgar proud. You can’t even look at their public [sic!] guest logbooks to figure out who Santa Claus was…

  21. Jeg

    scalia: didn’t you notice, that close to 95% of media coverage were on the arrests of the media people, and not on coup pals Trillanes and Lim?

    I said Manila Pen incident, tony. Not the post-coup ‘heroification’ of ANC.

  22. cvj

    You forgot ptt. He deserves a cabinet position, too. Homeland Security? – Jeg

    Of course, he should be with the Commission on Human Rights. I could just visualize his post-mortem report that goes…”Pumagitna kasi eh…

  23. anthony scalia

    Jeq,

    yes. i was referring also to the Manila Pen circus. the resulting media coverage (by all media – print, audio, visual) was more on the arrests than on the coup pals

  24. qwert

    “I’m sure with you as Secretary of Justice, Bencard as Secretary of Information and DJB as Supreme Court Justice, we can all sleep well at night.” – cvj

    “eh paano kung ikaw ang secretary of justice, si manuelbuencamino ang secretary of information, at si mlq3 ang SC justice?”- Anthony Scalia

    I wonder who will be your respective presidents.

  25. mlq3

    kakatawa naman. only bencard is qualifed to be sec. of justice or on the sc because he’s a lawyer, unlike djb or myself. 😀

  26. benign0

    mlq3

    re your comment # 708762

    You expressed in three paragraphs a simple point I was trying to make: that whatever way the Media behaves, the way it sees itself and its place in Pinoy society, the quality of the input it acquires, and the quality of the output it delivers, quite simply reflects the nature of Pinoy society itself.

    To be bit more specific (referring to the menu of scenarios in your last paragraph) in the case of Pinoys, we worship freedom above everything else (certainly above order, due process, and any form of regimentation) so much so that it is the be-all end-all of just about any form of spin, sloganeering, and appeals delivered to the intellectual faculties of Filipinos. So therefore the Media is the way it is, our politicians are the way they are, our celebrities are the way they are, and so on and so forth BECAUSE Pinoy society is the way it is.

    It just so happens that the Media is the topic in this thread. But your analysis can be extended to just about anything that REFLECTS the nature and quality of our society.

    All of the above channels of said reflection share a common adjective. They are all RIDICULOUS.

    Our Media, our politiicians, and our celebrities (just to name a few of these channels of reflection) all exhibit RIDICULOUS characteristics — i.e. in behaviour, substance, and presentation. Considering the utter smallness of the stature of these channels of reflection upon comparison with their equivalents in other societies, Media, politicians, and celebrities all occupy ridiculously and perversely disproportionate places in Pinoy society.

  27. cvj

    In which case, we can combine Bencard’s cabinet portfolio so he can be Secretary of Legal Truth, which will of course be the only kind of truth allowed.

  28. Bert

    “My goodness! What police abuse are you talking about? The police are not preventing media from writing and reporting about the event – they just want media out of the site of engagement! Media can still do their job from a safe distance!-anthony s.

    Mediamen,fully identified and armed with nothing but cameras, hands tied with wires then herded into an iron-grilled bus by heavily armed police, and that is not called police abuse. But that’s not the point. I can understand you, tony, if you are the police spokesman, or a part of this gov’t., which I suspect you are. Pardon me if I’m wrong. I am assuming that we here in Manolo’s blog are civilian citizens, all potential victims of police abuse given it’s notoriety, and given also that media is almost always on the side of the oppressed citizen when it happened, and we are discussing here something in the category of a grey area. What is hard to understand is for rational and very intelligent people condemning the cause of the complaining side allegedly abused, then espousing the cause of the alleged abusers.

  29. benign0

    “I am assuming that we here in Manolo’s blog are civilian citizens, all potential victims of police abuse given it’s notoriety, and given also that media is almost always on the side of the oppressed citizen when it happened”

    Jeez. Who is this guy?

    He sounds like an old relic from the 80’s

  30. cvj

    What is hard to understand is for rational and very intelligent people condemning the cause of the complaining side allegedly abused, then espousing the cause of the alleged abusers. – Bert

    I agree, and on top of everything, they think they’re doing the smart thing by taking the side of the abusers.

  31. ptt

    “Mediamen, fully identified and armed with nothing but cameras hands tied with wires then herded into an iron-grilled bus by heavily armed police, and that is not called police abuse–Bert

    Where is the police abuse? These poor media men REFUSED TO LEAVE and willingly acted as HUMAN SHIELDS. I’m surprised Philippine Police had the training and discipline to pull off the arrest without a reporter/sympathizer being shot. To zip tie/secure/handcuff everybody in the scene was tactically sound and at par with western and foreign law enforcement procedures. Police of course were “heavily armed” due to the fact that some moron former Navy Lt convicted senator walked out of his hearing with “heavily armed” men, and occupied a hotel uninvited.

  32. ptt

    I could just visualize his post-mortem report that goes…”Pumagitna kasi eh…“ – cvj

    Ha Ha your close. I probably would have added: ”Pumagitna kasi eh, tatanga-tanga akala niya iilagan siya ng bala kasi meron siyang press ID.

  33. qwert

    “I’m surprised Philippine Police had the training and discipline to pull off the arrest without a reporter/sympathizer being shot” – ptt

    I was surprised too, for a different reason. The reason why no reporter/sympathizer got shot was because the police used teargas but what took them so long to make that decision? What were they up to? Was the teargas approach the real and actual plan or was it just a contingency plan (just in case the original plan cannot be executed). The intent of the police, I think, is more important here than the alleged media abuse.

  34. nash

    @Justice Anthony Scalia, Esq.

    “stubbornness of media” – so what? no law broken there yet, so NO threats required. if it so happens that the media, by being in the crossfire, became an accessory to the crime, then by all means, throw the book at them.

    All I’m saying is that you do not need threats to remind people that we actually have laws. Much the same way that you do not need to be OA and have two platoons guarding GMA all the time as if she was a G8 leader (who incidentally, don’t have as an elaborate security detail as GMA with the exception of Dubya and Putin)

    wow.

    lots of people putting forward their names for our new and glorious republic. Tama hinala ko, blog pundits are essentially narcissists (aminin)

    as long as we keep miriam santiago, for theatrical effect.

    let’s do a john edwards and hedge our bets. (ie, waiting muna tayo kung sino manalo sa tuesday tapos siya endorse natin….we can still be vp…)

  35. Bert

    “I am assuming that we here in Manolo’s blog are civilian citizens, all potential victims of police abuse given it’s notoriety, and given also that media is almost always on the side of the oppressed citizen when it happened”-Bert

    “Jeez. Who is this guy?

    He sounds like an old relic from the 80’s -benignO

    I told you I came from the most rural part of the country, it took me centuries to reach this far, not even near as coherent as all you guys here. No red face there admitting I’m no elite. Will somebody now tell me I’m an outcast here in Manolo’s blog?

  36. qwert

    Bert,
    No, you’re not an outcast. You just have to know early the great divide in this blog and which side of the fence you belong. By their blogs you shall know them.

  37. nash

    what? there is a divide here? i thought we are just exchanging ideas.

    @bert: i like the sarcasm

  38. UP n student

    Bert,
    This is Q3’s site, so I don’t know his rule about who are outcasts and who are INkasts 😀 but I know that comments from a wide variety of people get in. INkasts include those who know what they are talking about. Those who don’t know what they are talking about but believe they do, they get in, too. 😀 And those who don’t know what they are talking about, who know it, but still do the keystrokes entry because they are lonely 🙁 or because they want to obfuscate 👿 — if they make a blog-entry comment, the comments get in, too.

  39. anthony scalia

    Diesel,

    “…so what? no law broken there yet, so NO threats required. if it so happens that the media, by being in the crossfire, became an accessory to the crime, then by all means, throw the book at them”

    in the same vein, the government hasn’t broken any law yet, hasn’t prevented media from being in another danger zone, yet why did the media crybabies go to court for a future event?

    “All I’m saying is that you do not need threats to remind people that we actually have laws. Much the same way that you do not need to be OA and have two platoons guarding GMA all the time as if she was a G8 leader (who incidentally, don’t have as an elaborate security detail as GMA with the exception of Dubya and Putin)”

    sorry to differ, but the media crybabies are acting as if they don’t know the law, or the only law they know is their freedom of expression. hence the resort to ‘threats’

    my friend, all the government is asking is for media to stay out of the danger zone! no more, no less! to repeat for the nth time, media are not prevented from writing and reporting about the event!

    as for the OA guarding of gloria – diskarte ng PSG yon

  40. anthony scalia

    Bert,

    “Pardon me if I’m wrong.”

    oh yes you are wrong. but you are pardoned.

    Pare ko, look at it this way:

    all the government wants is for media to stay out of the danger zone, okay? government is not stopping media from writing and reporting about the event.

    to refresh you of the issue:

    we are not talking here about the case for damages suffered by the arrested media during the Manila Pen circus.

    what we are talking about here is: if an event like the Manila Pen circus happens again, and if media will insist to be in the cross-fire again, government will arrest them. The media took issue with this, and want the court (1) to stop government from making the threats, and
    (2) to compel the government to grant them entry in the danger zone
    the next time another Manila Pen circus-like event takes place!

    to borrow DJB’s words – government simply wants media to be 50 meters away from the scene, not 5 inches away!

  41. nash

    Justice Anthony Scalia,

    I guess I’ll leave it at that if you believe that a civil government retains the moral high ground by issuing “THREATS”.

    Incidentally, I’m watching Antonin Scalia speak next week. I’ll send in a good word.

  42. inodoro ni emilie

    on banning media coverage on anti-terrorism police activities from downunder:

    http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/keelty-rebuffed-by-minister-over-media-comments/2008/01/31/1201714153269.html

  43. anthony scalia

    Diesel,

    “I guess I’ll leave it at that if you believe that a civil government retains the moral high ground by issuing “THREATS”.”

    okay, as long as you put “threats” in quotations.

    “Incidentally, I’m watching Antonin Scalia speak next week. I’ll send in a good word”

    Thanks. Wow, are you going to meet him in person? If you ever meet Laurence Tribe also, please say hi to him for me, a big fan of his. Same with John Roberts.

  44. nash

    “In person”, no I will probably sit at the very back.

    I’m not really a fan. Have you not noticed that I’m a liberal-wishy-washy tree free love for all tree hugger?

  45. nash

    @INE

    tingnan mo naman ‘call’ lang ni-rebuff na agad. paano kaya pag mas grabe pa tulad ng ‘threat’.

  46. anthony scalia

    ““In person”, no I will probably sit at the very back.”

    you could raise up a small banner/placard

    “I’m not really a fan. Have you not noticed that I’m a liberal-wishy-washy tree free love for all tree hugger?”

    no. believing in media freedom per se isn’t an indicator of being “a liberal-wishy-washy tree free love for all tree hugger”

    what i’ve noticed is an insistence on calling an endeavor to merely keep media out of the danger zone (not really preventing media from writing and reporting) an assault on press freedom

  47. grd

    test

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