Sent back to the Supremes

280807_02ma_640.jpgLet’s start with Neri and executive privilege: A timeline courtesy of the PCIJ.

My column today is A color of constitutionality The Inquirer editorial today is In aid of transparency, My column was less enthusiastic than today’s editorial about the compromise offered by the Chief Justice: Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. who, by all accounts, was coaching the legal team arguing the Senate case, wasn’t pleased, either, but tried to make the best of it in A case of delicate balancing -but all have been overtaken by events.

The problem is of course, something that came as a surprise yesterday evening: Senate rejects SC compromise on Neri.

(see also, Senate rejects compromise: Conditions set by SC seen as crippling legislature) I’ve been mulling over the reasons why the Senate decided to harden its position and rebuff the Supreme Court. I think the Senators decided they are operating from a position of strength, legally and politically speaking.

By all accounts, going into yesterday’s oral arguments, the Supreme Court was split, 7-7, on Neri’s petition. The effect of such a vote, if it had taken place, would have been to deny Neri his petition. However, revealing, in essence, a party-line vote would have discredited the Supreme Court, because it would have shown that even clearly significant cases are now reduced to which justice is loyal to the President, or not.

For that reason, it would have made sense for the Chief Justice to throw the ball back in the Senate’s court, hoping it would clarify the extent to which Neri intended to be obstructionist. The Palace, for its part, faced with a sure loss if the Supreme Court had voted, could also look forward to a reprieve, while Neri in the meantime could invoke executive privilege, get into trouble with the senators, and have the whole thing end up back in court.

By which time, a new Justice would have been appointed, thus further firming up the administration’s numbers in the high court.

The Senate, though, in rejecting the compromise offered by the Chief Justice, and which has therefore puts pressure back on the court. The Supreme Court can now proceed to drag its feet: SC needs time for final ruling on executive privilege.

Lawyer Teddy Te, for one, is happy over the Senate’s decision (see his blog, Vincula):

After nine hours of orals, the Supreme Court Chief Justice offers a compromise–perceived by Malacanang to be “solomonic”, which should already put you on guard–to the Senate: 1. Neri will testify at the Senate, 2. he will not be arrested anymore, 3. but the three questions he had invoked “executive privilege” against will not be asked anymore and will be considered asked, and 4. each and every time he invokes executive privilege, the issue will be tossed back to the Court.

My first reaction was that it was a “cop out” by the Court, after strong decisions on press freedom and showing strong resolve against EJK and ED with amparo and habeas data. Later on, after speaking with very reliable sources, it made sense–though I still didn’t agree with the compromise; my sources told me that the CJ and Justice Carpio felt outvoted by the Gloria people in the Court and feared a loss had they insisted on a decision–so to avoid a loss, the CJ offered the compromise. One step backward, two steps forward–was it Lenin who said this, or Tommy Manotoc? Yes, it made sense but it still left me with a bad taste in the mouth.

If the Senate approved the deal, Gloria wins, hands down and the Senate loses, big time. The power of the Senate to summon witnesses would be severely impaired and the dictator gets away with silence on the three questions that directly place the ZTE deal at her doorstep.

I am glad that the Senate FINALLY acquired a collective spine (did that include you, Joker?) and some collective sense of identity and history and said, “thanks, but no thanks.” I hope the SC addresses this issue and, despite the lifting of E0 464, rules that its invocation under those circumstances was not proper and that Neri SHOULD answer those 3 questions.

This explains, to my mind, why the Palace slams Senate’s ‘arrogance’ for rejecting SC proposal. The compromise could have hidden the party-line vote it had in the Supreme Court; and it bought that most precious of political commodities, time. But, since anything is possible, it could also happen that an irritated Supreme Court, piqued by the Senate’s rejection, could then simply decide in Neri’s favor.

In the meantime, returning to Fr. Bernas’ piece, some problems now arise:

If no compromise is reached, will the court require Neri to appear at the Senate? Neri has claimed that he has the right not to heed the Senate’s call.

Should the court require Neri to appear, it would mean that for the court, the current Senate inquiry is not one where President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may prevent a department secretary from appearing, as provided for in Article VI, Section 22 of the Constitution.

Rather, the court would be saying that the current Senate inquiry is one in aid of legislation under Article VI, Section 21.

In Senate v Ermita, the court said that only the President and justices of the Supreme Court are exempt from summonses to an investigation in aid of legislation. Neri is neither the President nor a justice of the Supreme Court.

Should Neri still refuse to appear, in effect he would be claiming a right analogous to the right of an accused against self-incrimination. An accused can completely refuse to take the witness stand.

But if Neri is required to appear, the court would be saying that his situation is more analogous to the right against self-incrimination of a witness who is not an accused.

A witness who is not an accused may raise the defense of right against self-incrimination only when an incriminating question is asked. He has no right to refuse to take the witness stand altogether.

By analogy, the court would be saying that Neri may raise the issue of executive privilege only when a question he deems to be against executive privilege is asked.

It should be remembered that executive privilege belongs to the President and to no one else. At most, it can be claimed by the executive secretary by express authority of the President.

Hence, Neri must be able to show that after prior consultation with the President, he was instructed to claim executive privilege.

Whereupon, following the teaching of Senate v Ermita and in accordance with the tenor of the questions posed by the justices on Tuesday, Neri will be asked what exactly he is seeking to hide behind executive privilege.

At this stage, and as already mentioned during the Tuesday hearing, it may become necessary for the court to examine in chambers the secret sought to be guarded by the executive for the purpose of determining whether indeed the matter can or should be legitimately kept from the eyes of the public.

After all, the Senate has to be properly informed if it is to legislate intelligently, and the public generally has a constitutional right to be informed of matters of public concern.

Moreover, as already admitted in the Tuesday hearing, criminal matters are not covered by executive privilege.

Meanwhile, the story behind this news item –Arroyo revokes EO 464 after meeting with religious leaders– I found out last night. No one was supposed to know the President was going to meet her allied bishops, particularly the ones from Mindanao, at the Discovery Suites. However, the media was tipped off and reporters camped out. This meant that attendees were observed coming and going. And that the President ended up making her announcement sooner than planned. Speaking of bishops, Patricio P. Diaz dissects recent statements by the Catholic hierarchy.

In the meantime, Senators also want Memorandum Circular 108 scrapped. Check out smoke’s comparison of E.O. 464 and M.C. 108.

When he does publish a book, it will a doozy. Read Lito Banayo’s growing feeling of Déjà  vu. Meanwhile, the plot thickens: Arroyo not just witness at NBN-ZTE deal signing: and Another China contract missing.

And Gail Ilagan has some interesting observations concerning Lozada’s abduction.

Economic news: Poverty worsens between 2003 and 2006, according to the National Statistics Coordination Board. (see Poverty worsens despite growth and Poor Filipino families now number 4.7 million and More Filipinos below poverty line ) In his blog, [email protected] comments on the figures. In his column, Peter Wallace says that while government claimed 7.3 percent GDP growth last year, the real figure is about 4.8 percent growth. See also Inflation surges to 5.4% in February and NEDA expects to record growth slowdown in Q1.

How do foreign analysts go about determining risk in the Philippines? Read Forecast that Arroyo will survive has ‘large margin of error’ – analyst.

In the blogosphere, Phoenix Eyrie, Reloaded, is at the very least, ambivalent about opposition to the President. Spring Roll is confused by recent events. Mandaluyong High School says, let’s think positive. Splice and Dice thinks that the issues gives people a chance to seize the day. blackshama believes the old People Power is dead, long live whatever replaces it.

Observations from a Lowly Traveller is looking forward to migrating. Bayan ni Kabayan looks at the Neri chart.

470 comments

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  1. By the way, Mr. justice league, you may want to check out my brilliant book as well:

    http://www.getrealphilippines.com/book1/

    You can download it for free and make a critique as well. That is of course if you don’t find much difficulty in THAT. 😀

    • grd on March 9, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    “Your last paragraph seems to somehow indicate that you believe that ex-President Estrada did not resign as stated by the SC but was instead removed.”

    justice, you really believe estrada resigned and was not removed by people power? what was the basis again of that SC’s solomonic decision? maybe we should ask some people here specially cvj since he commented in one of the threads here something like “we’re the one who installed gloria so we should be the one to take her out also”.

    • tonio on March 9, 2008 at 5:07 pm

    cvj:

    you are sooo quick to call for people power, sitting over there in singapore. i suppose you have an exit plan for you and yours already thought up if the worse happens, yeah?

    or are you just too blind in your hatred of Gloria that you consider your kin “acceptable losses” if all hell breaks loose here?

    i’m speaking in the typical Filipino-style circumstantial myopia so that it may awaken your other sensibilities.

    you’re a classic “ivory tower” sort of person, one who loves to use “scientific” facts in order to bolster your arguments. the thing is, from over here, one can see through the piles of economic statistics you’ve arranged as a buffer to tone down your Gloria-hate. you’ve gone through a lengthy nitpicking session with the Ca t, all to prove that your thesis that our GDP is overstated just to push your agenda. Essentially, the discourse of the few days for you has been: i hate Gloria and she should be removed now, by People Power.

    yahoo. offer something new, alright?

    lest i be lumped with the other Gloria lovers however, let me state this: i don’t like the little dwarf. i don’t like how she holds on to power. i don’t like how she seemingly bastardizes our institutions in order to bring forward her agenda. what i don’t like is the willingness to “throw out the rule book” just because someone is cheating. in sports, you eject the player, you don’t throw out the rules. but that’s a personal opinion. and i’m declaring it here as such.

    but wait a seceond. cvj aren’t you doing this on a small scale with your interpretation of economic statistics? my god, you’re learning from the best!

    • anthony scalia on March 9, 2008 at 6:41 pm

    Devilsadvc8,

    “filipinos do not seem to understand that english is only for communication. it doesn’t bestow any special powers aside from letting you communicate with other nationalities. galing-galing nga magsalita sa ingles di naman makapag-isip at makapag construct ng ideyang magaling. amf.

    math, science – critical thinking kelangan sa mga subjects na to, di ampaw na ingles.”

    Amen to that! Preach it bro preach it!

    to the self-appointed guardians of Pinoy English who still cling to English as the magic pill – take that!

    di pa rin ma-gets ng maraming Pinoy – mas malaki ang kita sa non-voice BPO than voice-BPO. Sa India, non-voice BPO earns more than voice BPO

    • Bert on March 9, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    “we have existed as an independent nation for only 62 years, yet we had already twice removed presidents by “people power” without election. the u.s. has endured for over 230 years without involuntarily “ousting” any president. is it something about us as a people?”–Bencard

    Yes, Bencard! The true answer is ‘delicadeza’, your us president has full of it while our Filipino president has none of it. Aside from the obvious fact of face-thickness.

    • cvj on March 9, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    In accounting we always have that analysis to find out the discrepancy.

    What should have been and what happened.

    What should have been is to report all cash receipts as income, what happened is that they don’t. – Ca T

    In a random sample, there are those who would honestly report their incomes (and expenses) and those who will not. If the sample is truly random, then the distribution of honest and dishonest respondents would be the same from period to period.

    Besides, the claim of dishonest respondents alone does not explain why income fell in 2006 and compared to 2003. That would require a stronger claim that the respondents in 2006 happened to be more dishonest than the batch that was chosen in 2003, because the former batch understated their income to a greater degree.

    In any case, that justification cannot simply be made (especially by NSCB Secretary General Dr Romulo Virola) without as much as an explanation on where the NSCB’s survey design broke down, if it did break down.

    • cvj on March 9, 2008 at 7:31 pm

    tonio, just a clarification question. are you disputing my claim that GDP is overstated or are you disputing where that conclusion may lead?

  2. In a random sample, there are those who would honestly report their incomes (and expenses) and those who will not. If the sample is truly random, then the distribution of honest and dishonest respondents would be the same from period to period.

    Again you talk about statistics without the number.

    Those who take for granted the importance of statistics are ignorant not to know to realize that the air we breathe, the food that we eat, the water that we drink and the transportation that we take are all made safe because of statistics. The pollution level that gives the agency the alert level that it was too dangerous for people to exhale the air was not arrived at by just like one cvj who makes conclusion from whatever he read in the newspaper.

    My father was a mechanic. Together with an engineer he was assembling trucks and heavy duty equipment haulers. Every little number that went into the computation of the torque and balance of the machines were noted or else the truck would be a demolition machine for drivers and pedestrians.
    There was no computer yet. All computations were done by the simple calculator and the “abacus” of my father.

    My economics professor would ignore your theory not unless it is backed up by numbers. So why do I know that you do not know economics? you were not talking statistically. You were just repeating analyses of people who by the way are also colored by partisanship. And people who do not know how these statistics are gathered and how they are processed to lower margins of error, easily believe whatever are fed to them just because the article writers are so-called “experts”. And I am talking about both sides of the fence.

    • Bencard on March 9, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    justice league, if i remember right, estrada’s removal started with the aborted impeachment hearing that angered a “sufficient” number of people to hold a continuous rally at edsa. estrada decided that it was a fight he could not win, and that discretion was the better part of valor. the sc held that by his own pronouncements and deed, he “constructively” resigned. in hindsight, of course, he probably could have stayed and fight to the bitter end. he did not and so he quit. i don’t think it was like having a gun pointed at his head when he did it.

    • justice league on March 9, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Benigno,

    I took your offer on your so called “Brilliant book”. Your Foreword by Cocoy Dayao claims your book is a labour of love. Yet it is supposedly built upon a vast pool of frustration Filipinos everywhere know well. Well that definitely was interesting.

    But I went only as far as reading up to Chapter 1.

    I would agree so far as the need for English and the needlessness of translating much of the world’s knowledge into Tagalog but there are some issues in your book from beginning till the end of Chapter 1 already.

    Your assertion that the Philippine Elite currently monopolizes the superior command of english would have us think that employees in call centers who also have a superior command of english routinely feast on the multi-layered cakes of options that the Elite have baked for themselves long before the menu is published to the masses.

    (BTW, not that I necessarily agree with others view; your view on english is being assailed a few post from mine)

    Your assertion that the stratospheric value of a Mercedes comes primarily from the excellent engineering, design, or quality. How are those radically different from that of a simple SUV like a mazda MPV though the mazda is significantly priced less? (I’ve ridden on late versions of both though definitely more on the latter than the former)

    You wrote of nineteenth century Japan in Chapter 1. Nineteeth century Japan is neither english speaking then or even now and certainly not a democracy then.

    Maybe I can find other issues (whether I agree with those issues or not) if I read again or even further but I think at this time that I’ve humored you enough already.

    • justice league on March 9, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Bencard,

    Very well.

    Grd,

    Bencard has spoken. As for me I subscribe to the SC decision which Bencard seems to adhere also to.

    As to your other issue, I would think that is no different from a loved one blaming oneself for the suicide of another for whatever reason the first one thinks though the suicide is clearly the decision of the deceased. Unfortunately I’m not willing to debate that analogy any further. If that is such a terible analogy then its best that you ask the one you are alluding to.

    Have a nice evening.

    • ramrod on March 9, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    “we have existed as an independent nation for only 62 years, yet we had already twice removed presidents by “people power” without election. the u.s. has endured for over 230 years without involuntarily “ousting” any president. is it something about us as a people?”–Bencard

    How many Philippine presidents were assasinated or nearly assasinated?

    • ramrod on March 9, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Say you do not know and stop trying to impress me that you know about economics because all you know is what you read. YOu failed to give me the coefficient correlation and you failed to give me how all the facts in the GDP are gathered.”

    – the Cat-a-tonic

    Thats because there are “credible” established, authorities in their respective fields who are ACTUALLY worth reading and listening to. Emphasis on “established” add recognized by a group of REAL people as opposed to the dreary, tired, worn out, self-worship of an apparent schizophrenic obsessively insinuating that sensible bloggers can tolerate the anal emmissions of the female canis familiaris…

    • grd on March 9, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Yes, Bencard! The true answer is ‘delicadeza’, your us president has full of it while our Filipino president has none of it. Aside from the obvious fact of face-thickness… bert

    like bil clinton?

    • ramrod on March 9, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    we have existed as an independent nation for only 62 years, yet we had already twice removed presidents by “people power” without election. the u.s. has endured for over 230 years without involuntarily “ousting” any president. is it something about us as a people?”
    ——————————————————————————-

    Oh Bencard, you just never failed to amaze me with your wisdom!!!!!

    I have reiterated in this forum many times over: I was never a big fan of Gloria.

    Yet I am very proud to say this in this forum: I AM YOUR BIGGEST FAN! – rego
    _________________________________________________________________________________

    My Lord! If you subscribe to this you’re really in trouble. If we look at “assassinating” Presidents as status quo in terms of the number of incidents in the US wow! And you guys want us to COPY everything KANO na naman? No way…I’d still go for a peaceful redress of grievances, I don’t want to spill my president’s blood even if I don’t like her. Last time I checked, the country was still civilized. The US? They can bring their shock and awe somewhere else or shove it where the sun doesn’t shine.

    • ramrod on March 9, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    bencard and rego,

    A history lesson for the legal illusionary and chuchuwariwap… 🙂

    http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0194022.html

    • Bencard on March 10, 2008 at 12:14 am

    ramrod, i know you have a a terrible penchant for simplistic arguments. there’s no equation, in any way, shape or form, between assassination and “people power” revolt. assassination is the act of one man, driven by all kinds of motivation not exclusively political, or of a relatively small cabal of anarchists or common criminals. people power action, as recognized by the constitution, is a lawful activity and accomplished by a significant portion of the population.

    lincoln, garfield, mckinley and kennedy were all assassinated not because of mass unpopularity but because of one-dimensional and often deranged motives of the assassins. comparing how the american people treat their presidents with how we do is not COPYING. your analogy is disingenuous.

    • Bencard on March 10, 2008 at 12:24 am

    rego, let me acknowledge your kind words in all humility. what i say is, i believe, a summation of the views of thoughtful people in this blog such as you, upn, c at, benigno, anthony scalia, mindanaoan, geo, and others, who do not see the wisdom of using people power revolt at the drop of a hat as an instrument of change.

    again, thanks for your concurrence.

    • grd on March 10, 2008 at 3:15 am

    justice, i think this is one of those rare moments where friends and foes alike will subscribe to bencard’s legalistic view re the SC ruling on erap’s resignation. the end justifies the means… until gloria rules.

    • benign0 on March 10, 2008 at 3:27 am

    justice league,

    Very nice but unhollistic nitpicking.

    Kawawa ka naman.

    – 😀

    • cvj on March 10, 2008 at 4:37 am

    “why use that of the United states which is a highly industrialized nation. Philippines is still considered an
    agricultural country where farming process is not even higly mechanized.

    And i thought you’re one smart person who knows statistics. Why don’t you come up with one using the Philippine data on oil importation and GDP.” – The Ca T March 6th, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    As requested:

    http://www.cvjugo.blogspot.com/2008/03/gdp-per-capita-and-oil-imports-strong.html

    • Bencard on March 10, 2008 at 5:35 am

    ramrod, i know enough american history without having to resort to a quickie internet source, unlike you apparently. i think you better stick to selling paper products instead of giving lessons on history using wikipedia, or intellectualizing by uttering concepts you don’t fully comprehend, soldier boy!

    • UP n student on March 10, 2008 at 5:52 am

    cvj: that’s a nice chart. But it is correct for oil importation to have started to decrease in 2002. Reason — domestic energy production, in particular, Malampaya. The decrease in oil importation (in your chart) matches the uptick in Malampaya domestic gas production. (Malampaya officially inaugurated on October 16, 2001. Natural gas from Malampaya is pumped via a 312-mile sub-sea pipeline to a natural gas processing facility and three power plants in Batangas which is 25% of the Luzon Grid power grid (3 power plants have combined generating capacity of 2,700 megawatts). Malampaya natural gas production is 360 Million cfpd (cu feet per day); Malampaya domestic production has reduced the need to import oil (in excess of 21Million barrels of imported oil).

    —-
    The Philippine President after GMA should submit a case to buy USA-technology (or French!!!) and open a nuclear power plant in the Philippines. Maybe we will go the way of the French, after all.

  3. And i thought you’re one smart person who knows statistics. Why don’t you come up with one using the Philippine data on oil importation and GDP.” – The Ca T March 6th, 2008 at 10:21 pm
    As requested:

    20.

    http://www.cvjugo.blogspot.com/2008/03/gdp-per-capita-and-oil-imports-strong.html

    Thank you for the chart and the computation of coefficient correlation and the charts but what a waste.

    YOu convinced me that you have no future in Economics.

    When I said Philippine data on oil importation and GDP, I do not mean that you use the raw data.

    Let me copy/paste this principle on comparability.

    Although the cases across which two variables covary usually will be the same,1 the units in which the magnitudes are expressed for each variable may differ. One variable may be in dollars per capita, another number of infant deaths. One may be in percent, another in feet. One apples, the other oranges.

    Clearly, we have a classic problem. How can we measure the correlation between different things in different units? We know we perceive covariation between things that are different. But determining common units for different things such that their correlations can be measured and compared to other correlations seems beyond our ability. Yet, we must make units comparable before we can jointly measure variation. But how?

    And that how is what you do not know. Simply stated, you do not know statistics and economics.

    This statement of Wallace could have given you the clue.

    Oil imports should be growing close to GDP growth, a bit slower but close, and not showing a contradicting trend as it did in 2007.

    In my book, you still fail. Try again, I may give you a passing grade next semester.

    • UP n student on March 10, 2008 at 6:00 am

    cvj: you should chart out BTU-consumption versus GDP, not oil-importation versus GDP.

    And I’m serious — the Philippines should go nuclear-power-generation, and the sooner, the better. What is good enough for the French (sex, wine, and nuclear power) should be A-okay for Filipinos.

    • Bencard on March 10, 2008 at 6:45 am

    grd, i believe if any of the impeachable charges against gma somehow becomes convincing enough to as many people as in edsa 1 and 2, and generate the same fervor and intensity, then she would probably consider resigning as an act of statesmanship to avoid unnecessary loss of lives. until then, she would probably tough it out and continue seeking protection under the rule of law.

  4. the only lasting effect (People Power) leaves on society is government instability – mindanaoan

    I have actually argued that the exercise of People Power serves as some sort of pressure vents to release inbuilt people’s grievances trapped in a hothouse and that the Filipinos are just about to master the phenomenon of People Power to a point of making it predictable. This is how I’ve explained it in older posts:

    1) Historically in the Philippines, the volcano theory has been delusional at best, sometimes cast unwittingly to justify the clamor for societal changes that directly affect the health, safety, property, liberty and general well-being of those ensnared in the hothouse. At a closer look, those political and societal anxieties thus trapped are no more of those who have something to lose than of the shirtless, toothless and shoeless. But as long as they don’t start preaching armed revolution, such a clamor could only be taken as earnest attempts to maintain order, not to sow anarchy, and therefore similarly tranquilizing. (That seems to demote People Power advocates here to pseudo-revolutionaries if judged against one of America’s founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson, who believed “Every generation needs a new revolution.”)

    2) On the other hand, James Madison believed that if unchecked, the majority, that is, the uneducated and the unpropertied Americans, would tyrannize the minority – the privileged, the wellborn and the wealthy, like him.

    Madison and his colleagues feared People Power (of the American revolutionaries who had vanquished the British a decade before the Philadelphia convention), believing that human nature is essentially depraved by the thirst for power.

    By instituting procedural democracy including the legal disenfranchisement of the propertyless Americans (not to mention the native Indians, the blacks, and the women), Madison preserved the power of the few in America.

    The legacy of American constitutionalism to the Filipinos in 1935 was similarly contrived in the Madisonian fashion. In that vein, Philippine democracy was equally of spurious character – well, until the success of two People Power revolutions that have proved the Madisonian thoughts wrong.

    In both historic events, the Filipino people have shown no ambition or greed, no thirst for power or wealth that Madison and his colleagues feared. Filipinos have just been too conscious of their civility they have balked to exercise the full force of their authority when apropos to do so.

    Somehow, by some divine guidance they know, even in the most perilous of moments, the line that divides People Power and mobocracy. Filipinos are indeed too politically sophisticated they can discern quite easily in their unconscious if the exercise of the sovereign power is genuine or not. This is uniquely Filipino.

    Isn’t constant calling for people power every time we had a problem with our elected officials a status quo? – rego

    We should not call on People Power every time we have a problem with our elected leaders. We should only invoke the power when the problem with our elected leaders is so grave it strikes at the core of our democratic ideas, practices and institutions such as for example when our president cheats in an election or compromises our territorial integrity and the institutional process to hold him accountable is flouted by those charged to make it work for the common good.

    At bottom is the proposition that the purpose of all political actions is either the preservation or change of the status quo. Conservatives who fear a change for the worse will opt to keep the status quo. Transformation agents desiring for the better will aim to break new paths. Indeed, neither has the monopoly of the good thoughts for the attainment of the good society.

    Abe, . . . “As People Power will continue to uncover the pursuit of such a political myth is anti-democratic, plain and simple” . . . whose point of view that idea is coming from? – justice
    league

    The political myth I am talking about it is the Platonic and Aristotelian political philosophy (the basis of the Western political tradition) probably best exemplified by the Madisionian thoughts above, extolling the rule of the high-minded elites (or the philosopher-kings).

    but regardless of the nobility of its cause, no one can discard “the fact that only an intense few dare to actualize the manifestation of the power.” to claim collective decision without going through an open tally sheet (as in a plebiscite or a recall process.) is not the path to democratic dreams but the avenue to liberal fascism. – mindanaon

    The American Revolution for example, like many revolutions, was a minority movement. During the revolution many colonists sat on the fence, were apathetic, and went on doing their daily routines.

    • justice league on March 10, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Grd,

    Well I guess you have been pretty answered already.

    But if you can find the phrase “the end justifies the means” in the SC ruling then good for you.

    Anyway, when the Chernobyl power plant had to be contained, several pilots had to be ordered to drop tons of concrete to seal it. Because of the extreme emergency, it had to be done via helicopters without the benefit of radiation shielding.

    Their commanders knew and I guess most of the pilots knew that they (pilots) were being sent to their deaths.

    • justice league on March 10, 2008 at 8:07 am

    Benigno,

    I guess I overstayed my invitation then.

    Well I always thought your offer wasn’t really much. I guess I was right.

    Well you did say it was a “brilliant book”.

    It turned out to be not so brilliant after all.

    And still you have another end all be all defense of your ideas in it. Not Surprising!

    Given the age of that so called brilliant book of yours; seems you were FULL OF IT THEN AS YOU ARE NOW. So that the term of yours that best describes you actually predates your use of it.

    • benign0 on March 10, 2008 at 8:50 am

    Given the age of that so called brilliant book of yours; seems you were FULL OF IT THEN AS YOU ARE NOW. So that the term of yours that best describes you actually predates your use of it. — justice league

    Of course you were right, dude. On all two counts even:

    (1) It wasn’t as brilliant as I said it was;

    (2) I was full of it then as I am now.

    Of course.

    By the way, have you seen my latest take on Edsa “revolutions”?

    You can check it out here:

    http://www.getrealphilippines.com/agr-disagr/edsa_collection.html

    It’s my own brilliant personal collection, though I call it a ‘hall of shame’ — which pretty much describes our track record of ocho-ocho politics. 😀

    • justice league on March 10, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Benigno,

    Sorry but no dice given how you treat my critique.

    Ask someone else.

    • justice league on March 10, 2008 at 9:04 am

    I mean offer it to someone else.

    • JMCastro on March 10, 2008 at 9:43 am

    People Power is another form of protest, pure and simple. What makes it Filipino is its emphasis on prayer, borne out of the spirituality that is innate in every Filipino. Translating People Power into something secular is difficult because the context is wrong, but if you look at the nature of warfare during pre-Spanish Philippines, it becomes clearer.

    During those times, after a battle is fought, there are healing rituals done, not just for the wounded, but also for those who are unhurt — the objective being to draw out the spirit of battle from those who fought, to ask the spirits for cleansing and forgiveness.

    Even 300 years of Spanish colonization could not stamp out our identity, we still retained a lot of our culture through our dances, superstitions and myths, not to mention the fact that even now we still have a lot of Filipino indigenous peoples in the hills. The greatness of the ’86 Revolution lies in the fact that it was an opportunity for cleansing and forgiveness in our society. Right now, during post-’86 times, we still haven’t cleansed and forgiven ourselves.

    • UP n student on March 10, 2008 at 10:50 am

    @JM Castro: Forgiven ourselves for what?

    • ramrod on March 10, 2008 at 11:15 am

    The Cat-a-tonic

    You may try your best to portray yourself as this Economics guru here and no one can stop you anyway, but the fact of the matter is you are also pontificating based on second hand information, that and the fact that your sphere of influence can be accurately measured as within a 1 meter diameter with the foci as your inflated ego (as that is probably the only thing inflated about you, the rest of the terrain being flat).

    If you’ve ever had the chance of actually holding on to an import manifest good for you, if not, just tell me your address and I’ll courier you my copies. The banco sentral/NSCB figures can’t really be trusted in terms of importation figures, why?

    1) Too many alternative ports of entry.
    You’re (we) supposed to have Manila South Port/North Port, but then there are others north of
    Manila that are not properly documented, if documented at all. Add the mysterious alternative
    port in Mactan, in East Visayas, in the southernmost parts of Mindanao.

    2) Look closely at the manifests, if you’re familiar with any industry at all, you’ll see that
    several entries are undervalued (just cross check with exporting company or compare with
    current market prices).

    3) Again look closely at the manifests, the “goods description” are not accurate, whether this is
    done intentionally or untintentionally, I don’t know, but “duties” differ per goods description.

    You’ll just hurt yourself trying to get accurate raw data, even more when you try to come up with accurate stats, you’ll never get anywhere with degrees of error computation.

    What some people who are ACTUALLY hands on here are doing are just trying to make it each day, playing within the boundaries of the rule book, praying that some people will “moderate their greed” enough so we can still make some money to pay expenses and have a bit left to save.

    The PEOPLE POWER we advocate is not a Bastille type one, in which a mob literally storms the palace and draw blood. The rallies are to express outrage, to hopefully awaken some people’s sense of delikadeza and fair play (makonsensiya). Most businessmen would rather keep quiet and work and hope for the better, filing cases and the subsequent fallout are too much of a diversion.

    So for all the wise alecs 7900 miles away from the Philippines, I’m sorry to say you are disconnected and are pontificating in absentia, your words are just that – words…

    • JMCastro on March 10, 2008 at 11:21 am

    UP n student:

    Forgiveness as in repentance, admission of sin or wrongdoing, and reparation for the bad things done.

    Perhaps it’s high time to consider some sort of amnesty in exchange for full disclosure of wrongdoings, since I suspect that politicians from both the opposition and the administration have been guilty of corruption in the past.

    • ramrod on March 10, 2008 at 11:21 am

    “And I’m serious — the Philippines should go nuclear-power-generation, and the sooner, the better. What is good enough for the French (sex, wine, and nuclear power) should be A-okay for Filipinos.”

    I agree with with nuclear power usage. It’ll bring down the cost of power, we only have to be responsible wit it.

    • ramrod on March 10, 2008 at 11:31 am

    “Perhaps it’s high time to consider some sort of amnesty in exchange for full disclosure of wrongdoings, since I suspect that politicians from both the opposition and the administration have been guilty of corruption in the past.” – JM Castro

    This may work. Is it at all possible for both sides to put down all offensive and defensive weapons and address these issues without threatening bodily harm or career crucifixion on each other? GMA is still OUR President, and we must admit that everytime we belabor her, something deep inside us hurts somewhat. It would be a good start to take responsibility for our present situation, really, and move on from there.

    • rego on March 10, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Cat,

    Ipasa mo na yan si CVJ, Parang awa mo pls!!!!!!!!!

    Pasang awa baga……….

    • ramrod on March 10, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    benign0 and those who dare criticize the Filipino,
    You might like to review your group dynamics and see how groups behave in relation to leadership or leader types. Try to observe a group of people in a room or wherever and how they interact with each other, always you’ll see an individual/s who acert some from of influence over the others actions and opinions. In fact, the action of the whole can be predicted by the attitudinal sytem or value system of this particular individual/s in a period of time.

    Don’t blame the Filipino, blame the leaders…

    • anthony scalia on March 10, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    ramrod,

    cvj is also invoking second hand info

    both the BSP and NSCB are also relying on third party data

    its standard practice to rely on third party data

    • ramrod on March 10, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    anthony scalia,

    True. Filtered, my point is – is so hard getting accurate info here even if you try to get them yourself. Its a nightmare I tell you.

    As usual, please disregard the histrionics of an old man… 🙁

    • cvj on March 10, 2008 at 2:19 pm

    Ca T, i’m not sure what you’re pointing out as being ‘incomparable’. The relationship i tracked is between barrels of oil imported and GDP. Correlating barrels of oil with GDP is also being performed by the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    http://www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/dancy/2006/0318.html

    Refer to figure 4.3 in the link above.

  5. Ca T, i’m not sure what you’re pointing out as being ‘incomparable’. The relationship i tracked is between barrels of oil imported and GDP. Correlating barrels of oil with GDP is also being performed by the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis.

    You got me there for a few seconds. I almost want to go fly back to the Phils and rebuke my Statistics and Economics Professors.

    But then, I saw the author of the article. He’s a lawyer. So his statement that there is high correlation was just based on visual presentation of the charts adapted from blah blah.

    Ow the chart? That was not a chart that shows coefficient correlation. The caption does not even say so. It was merely a presentation of coplotting the oil consumption and the GDP. The principle that I provided says it can be done. But the question of comparability remains.

    One can always do that to show the trend. But the significant relationship has still to be computed and graphed.

    I have been warning you not to apply the statistics of the developed and highly industrialized country to the Philippines which is 40 per cent agricultural and contributes only 20 per cent to the GDP.

    Again you are comparing santol to apple.

    • cvj on March 10, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Ca T, the author may be a lawyer but the chart that he used (showing the correlation between barrels of oil and GDP) came from the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis. I refer to that chart not for the purpose of comparing an ‘industrialized country’ vs. the Philippines but to show that such a comparison can, and has, been made by economists. In determining whether a chart shows correlation or not, there are other things besides the caption that we can rely on. ‘Correlation’ is simply the degree by which two variables are related to each other, in this case, volume of oil and GDP. You don’t need a Degree for that.

    • Bert on March 10, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    “in hindsight, of course, he probably could have stayed and fight to the bitter end. he did not and so he quit. i don’t think it was like having a gun pointed at his head when he did it.–Bencard

    Oh, Bencard, there was indeed a gun pointed at his head alright. A high caliber sonofagun called Angelo Reyes, don’t you know him? And erap knows the futility against the odds, so he quit. If only erap had an esperon then who love his president so much, the story might have been different.

    • justice league on March 10, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    Bert,

    Ex- Pres. Marcos had AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ver at his side and that didn’t help him much. Of course one might reason out that not everyone in the military respected Ver. But then with renegade soldiers still running loose purportedly helped by active soldiers in the military; one might say the same with Esperon.

    The day after Gen. Angelo Reyes and the other generals came to EDSA, eager demonstrators started to advance towards Malacanang. They smashed through police barricades and penetrated to about just 200 meters from Malacanang’s Gate 7.

    In order to protect now ex-pres. Estrada and his extended family then; the PSG deployed a reinforcement of the area.

    Even after the military generals have withdrawn support, Estrada lasted a day more under the protection of the PSG.

    If the crowd had actually broken through, I would not have been surprised if the PSG had defended Estrada with their last bullet and till their last breath.

    Maybe his family being with him made him consider. But then maybe not.

    Leonidas at Thermopylae knew the futility against the odds, and yet he stayed.

    Though he eventually didn’t, Estrada could have stayed.

    Someone said that Estrada might have decided that discretion was the better part of valor; ex-Pres. Estrada definitely had a lot of indiscretions, fortunately for a lot of people, he had discretion that final day.

    • Aames on March 11, 2008 at 12:16 am

    mlq3: “dinapinoy, that’s it. now people are zeroing on what those documents might be and where they are: …why other documents such as the oil exploration deal on the spratleys were not announced to the public…

    mlq3, isn’t this misleading? Was not the RP-China agreement announced to the public in September 2004?

    • Bert on March 11, 2008 at 12:56 am

    “bert, so what’s wrong with charter change as “objective”, even by “gloria”? it seems you guys are afraid of your own shadow. i think psychologists call that “paranoia”. didn’t she say she will obey the constitution and step down in 2010? if you ever think you can “oust” her by force now, as your crowd has been trying to do since she became president, don’t you think you would have a better chance of succeeding if she tried to perpetuate herself in power beyond 2010? even “dictators” can be toppled by genuine people power, as in the case of marcos, you know.–Bencard

    nothing to do with ‘paranoia’, bencard, more on ‘hypocrisy’ really. commenters trying very, very hard to distance himself or herself from gloria (maybe due to embarrasment) with coy comments on legalities or something but bristle everytime anti-gloria commenters point out the obvious about gloria’s rule. just tongue-in-cheek comments, nothing seriously for offense, bencard. but when the defense comes full circle by endorsing even the objective, then that’s pretty obvious na, don’t you think? I admire a commenter more who can say ‘gloria is clean’ with sincerity than one who deny her but consistently would attack her detractors.

    • Bert on March 11, 2008 at 1:22 am

    “Ex- Pres. Marcos had AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Ver at his side and that didn’t help him much.–justice

    justice,

    ver may be a kin of marcos but remember that esperon shed tears for his lady for just a pittance which ver might not bother for marcos for same reason. my personl opinion is, esperon will be a more determined guardian angel than the predecessors (heaven forbid). and gma knows it.

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