A manufactured privilege

Blogger Not Yet Sikat very kindly linked to The Philippine Diary Project. Just last night, I posted the December 23, 1938 entry from the diary of Francis Burton Harrison, which contained a passage that struck me:

At dinner that night, the President developed a theory in favor of representative democracy instead of  “mob democratic rule.” “The people care more for good government than they do for self-government,” he asserted, adding that “the fear is that the Head of State may either exceed his powers, or abuse them by improprieties. To keep order is his main purpose.”

I bring this up because today’s Inquirer editorial, Non-negotiables, endorses the Guidelines for Communal Discernment and Action to Address the National Crisis released by the Jesuit Province. It seems to me that the Jesuits are mainly concerned with how “to keep order.” They are not alone in this.

There are those who have been critics of the Jesuit guidelines. Filomeno Sta. Ana III, in The Black Priests, goes through the pros and then conclude with the cons of the guidelines:

The S.J. Commission fears people power because it “creates a dynamic where crisis situations continue to be resolved through extra-constitutional means.” Likewise, it believes that extra-constitutional means may harm democratic institutions in the long term.

The best response to this comes from a professor in a university that is a neighbor of the S.J. headquarters. Economics professor Raul Fabella (by the way, an ex-seminarian but not of the Jesuit variety) wrote an essay titled “The Constitutional Comfort for Impunity.” Its penultimate statement: “Whether for outright deposal or for defanging, these Filipinos now believe, rather as did the English barons at Runnymede, that only mounting direct action, increasing if it must the risk of extra-constitutional tectonics, is the only language Malacañang now understands and which alone can force it to come clean on truth and justice.” Its conclusion: “Waiting for the 2010 that will be forthwith stolen is ‘waiting for Godot.'”

(You can -and should- read Fabella’s piece, in full, here: The Constitutional Comfort for Impunity).

Manuel Buencamino, in his Response to the Jesuits’ Guidelines, says the guidelines promotes an independent counsel and impeachment, both of which he characterizes as distractions (personally, I believe the former is necessary and the latter is a worthy fight that will only engage a large group of previously indifferent people now -and is only as far as they will ever go, unless the President sends a clear signal she’s not stepping down in 2010). There is one passage by Buencamino with which I wholeheartedly agree:

Section g. “Prioritize the poor.” reinforces a mistaken belief that justice etc. are luxuries only the well-fed can value: “If many Filipinos seem to be uninvolved or uninterested, it is primarily because of an overriding concern for economic survival during very hard times.”

Filipinos have become apathetic not because they are more concerned about feeding themselves but because the system is unresponsive. They have given up on beating a dead horse. But that’s just me and that’s just them.

There is one criticism of his,

Section f (“Champion active nonviolence and protect human rights…”) shackles the opposition more than it does the administration. It allows the “State” to defend itself through whatever legitimate means necessary. But if you believe the administration is illegitimate then no self-defensive action other than preventing wanton vandalism and violence is permissible.

-Which points to something I’ve noticed before, and which I addressed in a column back in December, 2007 in A limited and limiting consensus (in this passage):

If this means essentially participating in a fight with one hand tied behind your back, because the public wills it and doesn’t care if the government not only fights with both gloves on but horseshoes in its gloves, then so be it. You’re after the long term and that means recognizing that eventually, all the excuses of the tacit and overt supporters of the administration will be proven false. For example, all the yammering to “give her until 2010.” Well, you can’t rush it until 2008, 2009 or early 2010 rolls around, and they have no choice but to see that oops, she isn’t operating by that deadline, is she? This is the clear signal being sent by the revival of Charter change, after all.

At which point you have to bear in mind that people will be even more hostile because they were proven wrong, but it would be nice to be able not to wave fingers at them but to embrace them, even belatedly, as they join the fight.

And even if she steps down, at least you kept her on her toes until then, and who knows, it might just be that keeping her off balance prevented her exploring extension options. So, no regrets, either.

Therefore the Jesuit guidelines are useful in that they reveal how far a significant group are prepared to go -but also, however reluctantly, how far they are being pushed. Because while the Jesuit guidelines are addressed, it seems to me, to those who are fearful of the consequences of action, they have been made possible by those getting fed up with the inactivity that serves as a form of tacit support for the administration, on the part of the senior hierarchy or school officials. Critics of the statement focus on the guidelines being a delaying tactic: they will move the goal posts, time and again, until the magic date of June 30, 2010 has been reached, when they can then shrug and say that they had to do nothing, because things sorted themselves out.

But in the meantime, the feelings of a significant chunk of people have been soothed. The target audience of the Jesuits doesn’t involve those already in the fight, only those who are irritated but who would rather not go that extra step further: this entry by karlvendell, I think sums up the views of the constituency the Jesuits are cultivating, quite well.

My column today is A manufactured privilege.

It extensively quotes the following: “Executive Privilege,” in historian David Kaiser’s blog, History Unfolding. And Congressional Oversight: Rules of the Road Less Traveled, by Donald R. Wolfensberger. And this handy-dandy extract from the conclusion of Woodrow Wilson’s Congressional Government.

A cornucopia of readings is also available in History News Network: Executive Privilege. In particular, see What Is Executive Privilege and Why Do Presidents Like to Invoke It? by David Greenberg:

Dwight Eisenhower, despite his famous valedictory warnings against the military-industrial complex, did as much as any president to nourish this national security state. Before Ike, presidents had compiled a long list of reasons for refusing congressional requests: the safeguarding of secret foreign policy deliberations; the protection of confidences; the fear that innocents would be unfairly impugned; the need to resist partisan harassment. But they had always conceded, at least tacitly, that sometimes such requests were justified. Ike, on the other hand, sought to radically expand the purview of what his attorney general William Rogers labeled, for the first time, “executive privilege.”

In 1954, fending off one of Joe McCarthy’s fishing expeditions, Eisenhower insisted that “it is not in the public interest that any… conversations or communications, or any documents or reproductions” concerning advice from any executive branch official whatsoever be disclosed. Because he was stiffing McCarthy, most liberal opinion-makers cheered his resolve. Emboldened, the administration continued to deny congressional requests, at least 44 times from June 1955 to June 1960-more often than all other presidents combined. It was a dangerous precedent, but because of the political atmosphere, there was little outcry.

As the imperial presidency grew under John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon, however, outcry arose. Nixon, the first president in 120 years to face a Congress controlled wholly by the opposition, fought continually with Congress over matters of constitutional power, from his impoundment of congressionally allocated funds to his invasion of Cambodia. After the Senate began investigating Watergate, Nixon’s promiscuous use of executive privilege as a stonewalling technique became a chief point of contention. Nixon-who had earlier in his career attacked Harry Truman and Kennedy for invoking presidential prerogatives-himself used the claim to prevent his aides from testifying before Congress and then to withhold the tapes he made of his White House conversations. In an argument not heard since Jackson’s day, Nixon’s lawyers suggested that the courts had no power to compel the president to do anything at all. The president alone, they wrote, “must weigh the interest in prosecuting a wrongdoer against the interest in keeping all presidential conversations confidential.”

It’s interesting to note that Kaiser thinks the U.S. Supreme Court did the presidency an institutional favor by adopting executive privilege as a legal doctrine; Greenberg seems to think so, too:

Nixon often used to couch his defiance of Congress as a defense of “the presidency,” so as to suggest he was not just protecting his own hide. Ironically, United States v. Nixon, though it sealed Nixon’s fate, did shore up the presidency’s power in a significant way, because the court held-erroneously, it seems in retrospect-that the notion of executive privilege was “Constitutionally based.” As a result, the squabbles over executive privilege have continued, with Bill Clinton, during the Starr prosecution, invoking it with all of his delightful creativity.

What’s interesting to me is that William Rhenquist, recently appointed to the court by Nixon, abstained in the voting. In his column Motion for reconsideration yesterday, Justice Isagani Cruz points to one Justice who ought to have abstained, too:

All that is needed to change the majority ruling is to reduce it by only two votes in favor of the right side. Brion, who attended his first en banc session of the Supreme Court only on March 17, could not have participated in its deliberation on the Neri decision; hence, his concurrence should not have been counted at all. As for the other needed vote, I hope it will come from a conscientious justice who will realize that his or her allegiance is not to President Arroyo but to the Constitution.

Incidentally, in the same column, Justice Cruz says the high court has reversed itself upon a motion for reconsideration before:

In the present Neri case, the Senate will file a motion for reconsideration, which the administration even now haughtily dismisses as a useless pro forma effort that is sure to be denied. This brings to mind another case which did not follow the usual practice.

This is the case of Secretary of Justice v. Lantion, 322 SCRA 160; 343 SCRA 377, where the United States requested the extradition of Mark Jimenez, who asked the Department of Justice for information regarding the criminal charges against him. When that information was withheld, he went to the lower court, which sustained him. The Secretary of Justice then appealed to the Supreme Court, which affirmed Judge Lantion’s decision by an 8-7 vote.

The majority ruling was penned by Justice Jose Melo, with seven other justices concurring. It was received with much public outcry in support of the dissenting opinion of six other justices led by Justice Reynato Puno. When the government filed the expected motion for reconsideration, it was not denied but readily granted, to much public acclaim.

The resolution of the Court, which held that Jimenez’s right to information had to wait while the Department of Justice was still evaluating the charges against him, was supported by a 9-6 vote. Two justices of the erstwhile majority had recognized the error of their original votes and shifted them to the new majority.

More curious is former Chief Justice Panganiban’s assertion in Are the Senate investigation rules valid? that unlike the premartial law Senate, the present Senate can’t be considered a continuing :

The Senate however argues that there is no need to republish, because “Nazareno vs Arnault” (July 18, 1950) has held that, unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate was a continuing body.

Justice Carpio, however, cogently observes that “Nazareno” was decided under the 1935 Constitution when only eight of the 24 senators were elected every two years such that 16 senators constituting two-thirds of the Senate “always continued into the next Congress.” Since only a majority or 13 of the 24 members were needed to constitute a quorum and do business, the Senate was deemed a continuing body.

In contrast, under the 1987 Constitution, the term of 12 of the 24 senators expired every three years “leaving less than a majority to continue into the next Congress.” Thus, the present Senate cannot be deemed a continuing body. Ergo, the rules must be republished after the expiration of the term of 12 senators.

But then the Senate then and now has been the only chamber not subject to the replacement of its entire membership in a general election, which is of particular interest during presidential election years when half the senate remains in office while the entire slate is wiped clean from President down to councilor. It may well be that what Panganiban points out, though, was a design flaw: the intention may have been to retain the stabilizing feature of a nationally-elected chamber capable of carrying out business even in a vacuum (when no officials have been proclaimed elected), but electing the Senate in halves, instead of thirds as from 1941-1971, represents a fatal flaw.

Which only goes to show that innovations can cause more problems than they solve: it would be interesting to see why the half-and-half system of electing the Senate was put in place when originally it was never contemplated for a nationally-elected chamber.

In the end, Red’s Herring points out,

Executive privilege encourages presidential unilateralism. When used against legislative oversight, the privilege serves to veto policymaking at its very inception. Why did the majority in Neri in the effort to uphold executive privilege choose to play blind to the clear language of accountability and transparency in the Constitution?

Amando Doronila explores the consequences of the decision further in Neri decision a rollback of Philippine democracy .

Red’s Herring’s views is along the lines of what those who will be marching from Adamson University to the Supreme Court, to accompany the lawyers submitting their motion for reconsideration to the Supreme Court, will be asking, too. See this statement:

The Ruling on Executive Privilege: A Threat to the Nation

The Supreme Court ruling on executive privilege is not only a grave threat to the Senate as a co-equal body but also to our system of government and democracy in general. This danger is most clearly seen in Malacañang’s recent pronouncement that without published rules, all Senate hearings in aid of legislation, past and present, may now be considered “null and void” and that executive officials can now ignore them.

In its ruling, the Court upheld the President’s claim of executive privilege and nullified the Senate’s order citing former NEDA chief Romulo Neri in contempt for not appearing in its hearings on anomalies concerning the NBN-ZTE project.

The decision, however, is not simply about the President being right in keeping certain information from the public. Some of the reasons used by the Court in reaching its conclusions have dangerous consequences for our nation and our people.

First, the Court’s view that existing Senate rules on legislative inquiries have not been duly published disregards Senate practice, severely limits its capacity to conduct legislative inquiries, and in Malacañang’s view, even puts into question all acts of the 14th Congress, including enacted legislation. Will Malacanang now also argue that the budget law is also “null and void”?

Second, the Court’s recognition of a presumption in favor of the confidentiality of Presidential communications places the burden of overcoming it upon those seeking disclosure. This is inconsistent with the principle that all means must be used to seek for the truth, and that those who wish an exception must show the need. It violates the constitutional mandate for transparency in government and the people’s right to information on matters of public concern.

Third, the Court has expanded the coverage of executive privilege to include not only communications directly involving the President herself, but also communications involving her close advisors. The President is given advice by many known and unknown officials close to her. How far down the chain of command does the privilege extend? This expansion effectively keeps away from public view information in many areas of governance.

Finally, the Court has made it easier for the President to invoke executive privilege, for all she needs to allege is that the information demanded involves state secrets or presidential conversations. This will allow her and other officials to use executive privilege to hide misconduct in governance, in violation of the constitutional principle of accountability of public officers.

Because the government acts in a consistent pattern of concealment, the presumption in executive privilege must remain in favor of disclosure and against secrecy. Public interest in transparency, accountability and the people’s right to information must always be strongly upheld and zealously protected. We must not allow this interpretation of executive privilege to weaken our democratic institutions. The Supreme Court must reverse itself!

April 8, 2008

Watch, Pray and Act Movement

Buong Bansa Sumisigaw: Tama Na, Itama Na!

(Busina!)

 

 

205 comments

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    • cvj on April 7, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    I agree with both Manuels. The sense of justice has little to do with income. There are people who, even if they’re already quite well-off, are still quite mercenary and imagine others to be like them.

    BTW, why were you ‘struck’ by MLQ’s statement?

    • BrianB on April 7, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Manolo, this People Power is getting to be too deliberate.

    • BrianB on April 7, 2008 at 7:29 pm

    bd what happened to all the commenters?

    • XAX on April 7, 2008 at 9:37 pm

    Many say that the Jesuits are too liberal. Many others believe they are conservative given their counter-reformation origins, during the century of the Council of Trent.

    The call (or the non-call for more active measures)for more discernment is plain and simple. Let us wait-and-see.

    Looks like hedging bets. As the CBCP?

    • UP n student on April 7, 2008 at 9:39 pm

    redsherring aka Abe Margallo asks for impeachment of the “9” Neri-majority-decision judges. I think somebody asked him if impeachment of the majority-judges is the same as overturning the Neri-majority-decision.

    • UP n student on April 7, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    Side-topic: Parisian citizen protest has resulted in extinguishing (for a few minutes) of the Olympic torch during the relay from city to city. This almost happened in London with the strong anti-Beijing protests.
    The Paris protests were so massive that nore than 3,000 French police lined the torch route along the Seine River and through the heart of the French capital in anticipation of demonstrators protesting China’s crackdown on Tibet and its human rights record in general. The head of the Norwegian Olympic Committee said Monday that officials should reconsider running the torch relay because of public protests.

    “The International Olympic Committee may have a bigger problem when the torch relay continues, if we get more of these demonstrations,” Tove Paule told public broadcaster NRK after a meeting with Olympic officials in Beijing. “One will have to look at whether the plans need to be changed.”

    ————————

    My perception is that the majority of Filipinos probably are annoyed, even angry at the Europeans for protesting against the Beijing Olympics. This is not to say that Filipinos do not sympathize with the “free-Tibet” movement. This is more that Filipinos feel a sense of pride that a non-white country is able to be on equal footing with the whites.

    • XAX on April 7, 2008 at 9:54 pm

    @ UP n student, Vic

    If the Philippine Senators are concerned about China’s bullying tactics, maybe they could pass a “sympathy” resolution. This was done vis-a-vis Myanmar.

    Of course, closer to Filipinos’ hearts: ZTE/NBN, Spratleys/Kalayaan, etc.

    Is a professional like Manny Pacquiao allowed to fight in the Olympics?

    • UP n student on April 7, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    XaX:

    Dirk Nowitski(Dallas Mavericks/Germany), Manu Ginobili (San Antonio Spurs/Argentina), Paul Gasol (Lakers/Spain) should be appearing with their national teams for 2008Olympics.

    Pacquiao, though, may do badly in the Olympics. Reason –Olympic point-scoring system way different from the rules of professional boxing. Olympic boxing is more like fencing — light tap scores as much as a body blow to the kidney area.
    Combination punches only count as a single point. One trainer commented: “Maybe the Olympic judges have slow fingers or they just don’t like clean combination punching. The fact is a fighter can land two or three consecutive punches and usually only earns a single point an overwhelming majority of the time.”

    • XAX on April 7, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    UP n student:

    Thanks. I’m quite impressed with the details you provided.

    Mabuhay ka!

    • UP n student on April 7, 2008 at 10:21 pm

    Xax: Professional boxers still banned from the Olympics. [Which probably is fine for most — first, they get famous being an Olympic boxer, then they make money being a professional boxer.]

    • XAX on April 7, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    UP n student:

    I asked for both tactical and political reasons.

    If our champion, Manny Pacquiao, our best bet for a gold medal, will not be allowed to box, then we could have that Senate resolution and just send a token representation to the Beijing olympics.

    • UP n student on April 7, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    Abe Margallo stretches the Neri-ruling — makes a propaganda statement, as it were.
    He asks a question — “how far down the line?”
    Gives his question his own answer…
    then makes a conclusion based on his own Q&A.

    “…. How far down the chain of command does the privilege extend? This expansion effectively keeps away from public view information in many areas of governance.”

    A senator, wishing to get pogi-points, may still ask a department head (four levels away from the President) what his boss’s boss’ heard the President say when his boss’s boss talked to the President. A judge will need to pay little value to the answer.

    • nash on April 7, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    @UP n

    “My perception is that the majority of Filipinos probably are annoyed, even angry at the Europeans for protesting against the Beijing Olympics……This is more that Filipinos feel a sense of pride that a non-white country is able to be on equal footing with the whites.”

    Really? Too bad the torch won’t pass through the Philippines.

    We had a fun time watching the torch relay.

    If you notice, the police were tackling the protesters to the ground but NOT ARRESTING most of them. When the procession passes, they are quickly released.

    CONTRAST this to those who heckled GMA! They get arrested!

    • justice league on April 7, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Like I opined before, the Supreme Court changes in composition more readily than the Senate. It could have a change in membership several times in one year.

    The existing Rules of Court were actually adopted in 1997. There have been several amendments to the rules of court and such amendments are published in at least 2 newspapers of general circulation before they take effect but the entire Rules of Court haven’t been republished with each change in membership of the SC.

    I wonder why the present Supreme Court thinks the Rules of Court of the previous one still holds.

    The Constitution doesn’t even say the “Senate of every Congress” in sec 21 Art. VI (those words came from the Office of the Solicitor General). If the entire outgoing half of the Senate were able to run again for the Senate (which is a possibility if they had not served 2 consecutive Senate terms) and won; what would the SC be saying about the OSG’s argument?

    • istambay_sakalye on April 8, 2008 at 12:14 am

    it is very clear from the very beginning that neri’s claim of executive privilege is to hide a crime and not to protect national security and preserve diplomatic relations between china nnd philippines as claimed.

    neri himself admitted in the senate under oath that abalos offerred a 200(of whatever bibe) and that he called the president to inform her of the attempt. also in the same testimony that neri stated neda’s power is only to recommend the offer and the office of the president has the final say or approval of the contract.
    one can only conclude that the president despite being aware of this fact(attempted bribery) went to china to witness the signing of nbn-zte deal.

    one has to be blind or deaf not to see that the claim of executive privilege in this case is solely to insulate gma from the crime that has been committed. if no crime has been committed why stone wall? to preserve diplomatic relations? the contract was cancelled as a result of public furor over the anomalies. no diplomatic animosity between china and philipines resulted from the cancelaton.

    in the end the facts are there for everyone to see. plain and simple. to hide a crime committed against the filipino people.

    • vic on April 8, 2008 at 12:19 am

    XAX : I believe it will resonate louder if the Head of the Government or the State will voice the country protest against China behaviour and Human Right Records, but then again, with the Philippines Records on Human Rights not that “sterling” itself, I don’t think anyone will have the guts to do the whisper..China can Bully anyone especially one which maybe dependent on her economic wise, and would not hesitate to tell anyone not to Interfere in her Internal Affair..She had done it during the time when she was not that strong and now that she is a giant both Militarily and Economically, the more so..

    • David on April 8, 2008 at 2:21 am

    justice league: “Like I opined before, the Supreme Court changes in composition more readily than the Senate. It could have a change in membership several times in one year.

    The existing Rules of Court were actually adopted in 1997. There have been several amendments to the rules of court and such amendments are published in at least 2 newspapers of general circulation before they take effect but the entire Rules of Court haven’t been republished with each change in membership of the SC.

    I wonder why the present Supreme Court thinks the Rules of Court of the previous one still holds.”

    justice league, did you read Justice Carpio’s decision? During the “several times” that the Supreme Court had “a change in membership”, was there a time it failed to have a quorum?

    • Bencard on April 8, 2008 at 3:09 am

    manufactured privilege? isn’t everything in the constitution manufactured by human mind. the people, acting through its representatives, collectively adopted the constitution expressly granting the supreme court the ultimate power to interpret it. ergo, we, the people, are the “manufacturers”.

    • grd on April 8, 2008 at 4:08 am

    i just read in today’s news the recent SC decision finding an entertainment reporter guilty of libel but as per its new policy on libel, opted only for a fine instead of a jail term. this may have set a precedence for future libel cases.

    my question is, with this new policy of the High court, is there a need to further decriminalize libel since the SC virtually removed already the harsh punishment of a jail term for such an act?

    • vic on April 8, 2008 at 4:25 am

    i just read in today’s news the recent SC decision finding an entertainment reporter guilty of libel..

    grd, i don’t believe it is the duty of the SC of finding someone guilty, because an acquitted person case can not be elevated to the SC..maybe what you are trying to tell us is that the SC reduced the sentence to Fine only instead of Jail term ..for me Libel and Slander should not be a criminal offense in the first place, but a civil that could even cost the defendant more than just fines, but substantial penalty in rewards for damages to some one’s reputation and it could amount to millions..

    • Bencard on April 8, 2008 at 4:41 am

    grd, i think you are referring to a certain convicted libeler, cristy fermin, the annoying gossip monger at abs-cbn who makes a living defaming people in the entertainment industry. while the sentencing, within statutory guidelines, is within the court’s discretion, i believe making the imposition of a monetary fine a matter of court policy, without jail time, is ill-considered and unwise.

    i don’t believe the philippines is ready for decriminalization of libel. jail time is the only assurance the victim of libel can get justice, and the character assassins can be deterred. money, especially to a well-heeled perpetrator, or a moneyed institution with deep pockets, is no deterrence. what about judgment-proof, i.e. asset-less, convicts? they can go on their merry ways without fear of retribution.

  1. UPn,

    re your post of 4-07-08 @9:39 pm

    Please let me rephrase the question. What would happen to the Neri ruling if the majority of the SC justices (nine justices) were impeached and found guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution?

    The question is a difficult one that is why I have chosen to pass up on it. But since you brought the matter here let me then give my best shot at it. At the very least, the ruling would become an unenforceable decision if adjudged by a competent authority (the Senate as the sole judge in impeachment cases) to be the fruit of an impeachable offense.

    At the worst, a ruling such as Neri if so found as a culpable violation of the Constitution would not be a law at all, thus conferring no right, imposing no duties and affording no protection. Being contrary to the Constitution, it would be null and void.

    I have no recollection making the statements quoted in your post of 4-07-08 @ 10:37 pm. Please refresh me when or where I’ve made them.

    • Bencard on April 8, 2008 at 6:19 am

    “But if you believe the administration is illegitimate, then no self-defensive action other preventing wanton vandalism and violence is permissible.” manuelbuencamino (as quoted with approval by mlq3).

    since when did “self-defensive action” become permissible or impermissible depending on one’s personal belief on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the administration? what is this, just BELIEVE that the government is illegitimate and then you can prevent it from defending itself?

    • justice league on April 8, 2008 at 8:38 am

    David,

    The last paragraph of my previous post feels so lonely right now.

    I don’t have enough with me to answer your query on the status of past/previous SC with regards to its quorum.

    But Justice Carpio’s decision admits that the last Senate rules of procedure was published in 2006. How many of the Senate members in 2006 are members of the Senate right now?

    • mindanaoan on April 8, 2008 at 8:57 am

    justice league,

    Rules of the Senate,

    SEC. 12. In the first session following every periodic election of Senators, the Senate shall proceed with its organization.***

    SEC. 13. After the organization of the Senate in the manner provided in Rule IX, the following permanent committees shall be formed, ***

    it should be obvious from those rules that the senate is not a continuing body. and if you argue that the same senators continue from one congress to another, then, the house can also become a continuing body if majority of its members continue from one congress to another?

    • saxnviolins on April 8, 2008 at 9:21 am

    Justice league:

    In 1986, Cory appointed an entirely new Supreme Court, after accepting the courtesy resignations of the entire Court. There was no quorum; there was no Court at all, until April 16, 1986.

    • mlq3 on April 8, 2008 at 9:23 am
      Author

    bencard, i don’t know if anyone has said everyone hates the president. i know i’ve been careful to point out half the country doesn’t support the president, another quarter is sitting on the fence (implicitly supporting her) and another quarter will loyally support her to the bitter end. the one quarter plus the nominally nuetral quarter trumps the one half, because the one half is much more divided on the basis of options it supports, than the two quarters constituting the half that supports the president. these fractions have held remarkably steady since 2005.

    as for a manufactured privilege, the point of the article was to bring forward the views of some historians and legal minds that executive privilege was a legal concept of recent vintage, and adopted unwisely by the american courts.

    as for your other question, since when did “self-defensive action” become permissible or impermissible depending on one’s personal belief on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the administration?

    since the cry of balintawak.

    • mlq3 on April 8, 2008 at 9:25 am
      Author

    benign0, i’m surprised you have not considered how the rice crisis might possibly have been manufactured, as a means of accomplishing what the rice cartels really want: untrammeled importation.

    • hvrds on April 8, 2008 at 10:40 am

    On the “manufactured” rice crisis.

    Please note the following:
    On the importation of 2 million tons of Rice.

    2 million tons x $740 per ton (benchmark spot price for Thailand 25% broken rice as of April 4, Business World) = $1.48 billion. Please note that during times of surplus and good harvest projections contract prices or short term futures contract prices can be availed off by traders. However in times of supply pressures ( from whatever causes) futures respond accordingly. Hedge funds love these situations. You know blood in the streets and all that. In the international financial markets these business practices are perfectly legal. No laws against it. The unintended consequences of these prevailing realities are too numerous to detail, but it will make for interesting times for a de-facto President with a most serious credibility problem.

    Converted to pesos at Php 41 = Php 60.68 Billion. Now you know why even a small change in the exchange rate has an effect. Even a fifty cent difference is already a Php 20 million gap. (I wonder if we could consult Abalos on the intricacies of the rice trade too?)

    Translated to cost of imported rice at FOB that is already Php 30.34. Shipping costs and insurance still to be added plus the costs of distribution internally. The NFA will have to create a vast network of outlets to get this to the direct consumers.

    It is clear that rice bought at this cost would come out close to Php 40.+ a kg. Let us assume that the government would like to peg the rice at Php 18.50 retail. That would entail a subsidy of Php 23.50 loss for consumers.

    The bill will be close to Php Php 46 billion (2 billion kgs) is taxpayer funds the state does not have. That will be added to the total public sector deficit. Not to worry we will borrow the money for a consumption subsidy. Can afford. That is why our favorite financial analyst Joey Salceda has come back into the limelight. The E-vat + high oil prices plus a return to large budget deficits is in the offing. If you were to add the almost doubling of rice to that equation you would have a very combustible mix.

    Question comes to mind why not instead borrow earlier for production subsidy to put in place sustainable productive capacities.

    Apart from the corruption issues on the issues of subsides for either consumption and/or production this is a clear picture of an utter disgraceful failure of governance. Oh yes we do have a so called economist for President.

    Somehow I do not think she knows the difference between the business of economics and the economics of business.

    • hvrds on April 8, 2008 at 10:52 am

    “since when did “self-defensive action” become permissible or impermissible depending on one’s personal belief on the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the administration? what is this, just BELIEVE that the government is illegitimate and then you can prevent it from defending itself?”

    I could not help this. But kindly read the entire Declaration of Independence written by the leaders of 13 colonies declaring to the world their breaking of the contract between themselves and their government led by George III

    What little spark created the conflagration – Tea.

    • cvj on April 8, 2008 at 11:24 am

    Question comes to mind why not instead borrow earlier for production subsidy to put in place sustainable productive capacities.

    Apart from the corruption issues on the issues of subsides for either consumption and/or production this is a clear picture of an utter disgraceful failure of governance. Oh yes we do have a so called economist for President. – hvrds

    Excellent question! It reveals that Gloria Arroyo is an empty suit more adept at manipulating economic statistics than delivering actual results.

    • benign0 on April 8, 2008 at 11:50 am

    benign0, i’m surprised you have not considered how the rice crisis might possibly have been manufactured, as a means of accomplishing what the rice cartels really want: untrammeled importation. – mlq3

    mlq3,

    That may be the case locally. Who knows, anyway? One can argue that just about every “crisis” that grips the Philippines is “manufactured”.

    Then again here is an example of what is being reported outside of the Philippines:

    China, Egypt, Vietnam and India, representing more than a third of global rice exports, curbed sales this year, and Indonesia says it may do the same. Investigators in the Philippines, the world’s biggest importer, raided warehouses last month to crack down on hoarding. The World Bank in Washington says 33 nations from Mexico to Yemen may face ”social unrest” after food and energy costs increased for six straight years. – smh.com.au, 07 Apr 2008

    (my boldface to emphasize the point I am making)

    Crisis or not doesn’t change the fact of the bizarreness of a culture with an ancient tradition of rice farming and host to the International Rice Research Institute now being “the world’s biggest importer” of rice.

    Wow Philippines! nga naman talaga.

    But then maybe sometime in the future, the tables will turn and there’ll be “labour supply” crisis somewhere around the world and it will be Da Pinoy’s turn to have the last laugh.

    Then again, in such a scenario, “curbing exports” will mean forcing would-be OFW’s to stay put in the islands effectively depriving their family members of the needed dollars to purchase the latest celphone trinket imported untrammeled from China.

    Even better, maybe then, the surplus domestic labour will be forced to take up rice farming for a living.

    Doesn’t sound half as bad as it seems now, does it?

    – 😀

    • Acda on April 8, 2008 at 12:00 pm

    benign0,

    Ano ba yan! Are you holding us accountable? Its not our fault! Blame the IMF/World Bank/CIA’s (or insert another imaginary villain here) oppressive policies for decreased rice production!

    • magdiwang on April 8, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    Apart from the corruption issues on the issues of subsides for either consumption and/or production this is a clear picture of an utter disgraceful failure of governance. Oh yes we do have a so called economist for President.

    Commodities like rice, oil, steel, corn and others are subject to whims of the international market. Vietnam and China who are major exporters of rice limited their exports to tame inflation in their respective economies. The US is inflating its way to save its economy and this resulted in increased in price of all commodities. Even if you are the greatest economist in the world, how can you prepare on a rapidly changing 24/7 marketplace. How can the government be at fault on something that they have very little control of? Its like blaming the president of the US for the current high prices of wheat and corn. Im sure reasonable people will not do that as prices is dictated my market forces.

    What is more important is the government has started programs to prevent this from deteriorating further. I believe all of us Filipinos should support their efforts instead of second guessing their initiatives.

    • benign0 on April 8, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Ano ba yan! Are you holding us accountable? Its not our fault! Blame the IMF/World Bank/CIA’s (or insert another imaginary villain here) oppressive policies for decreased rice production! – Acda

    Oo nga naman.

    Everyone is at fault except the Filipino.

    Everyone.

    Filipinos are the real victims in any crisis.

    – 😀

    • cvj on April 8, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Magdiwang, contingency planning is Governance 101. Also, they should have thought through the implications of ceding control to the worldwide market. There are upsides and downsides to such a policy and it looks like they are not prepared for the downsides.

    • Liam Tinio on April 8, 2008 at 12:55 pm

    @benign0

    $ in importing rice < $ from OFWs

    i think i can see clearly now, the Filipino’s role in the new century and a global economy is to cease doing menial jobs and start doing high-value technical occupations.

    Philippines becomes a consumer country importing almost everything, skill and labor becomes our chief export composing of more than 50% of the GNP, and education will be the main industry in the country.

    • nino on April 8, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    Why the Youth Should Oust Gloria

    Leloy Claudio, Sharmila Parmanand, and Charisse Borromeo

    (Claudio graduated magna cum laude and was Ateneo de Manila University’s class 2007 valedictorian. Parmanand, also of class 2007, graduated cum laude. Borromeo, class 2008, graduated summa cum laude. They are members of the Ateneo Debate Society.)

    In recent months, we have been involved in various anti-administration efforts. In March, our organization came out with a statement entitled,”Why We Should Call for Arroyo’s Resignation” (available at ateneodebatesociety.multiply.com). We are also doing work for the Green Ribbon Project (grnribbon.multiply.com), where we ask graduates to pin green ribbons on their togas as a sign of opposition to GMA.

    As expected, we’ve received all sorts of feedback regarding our efforts, both positive and negative. As much as the negative feedback has dismayed us, we’ve also found it instructive. In university message boards and online forums, we’ve received vitriolic responses from people who felt it naive to call for an Arroyo ouster. We take these responses to reflect the opinions of those among the youth who believe it is futile and unproductive to oppose the administration.

    The opinions betray a sense of pessimistic resignation, which we feel is the main barrier towards youth involvement in national politics. In addressing some of the concerns, we hope to encourage other young people to take an active stance against this illegitimate regime.

    Here, we address three main issues on the call for GMA’s resignation.

    (a) That the call for GMA’s resignation is not founded on accurate information, and that we need to resort to legal means to attain that information.

    The ZTE scandal is only the most recent in a string of painful discoveries about the administration. Have we forgotten, for example, the irresponsible manner by which the GMA administration responded to the extrajudicial killings?

    A nine-month investigation on the human rights abuses in the Philippines headed by UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, Philip Alston, confirmed that a significant number of the extrajudicial executions is the result of “deliberate targeting by the military as part of counterinsurgency operations against the communist rebels.” Alston further explained: “The military’s insistence that the ‘purge theory’ is correct can only be viewed as a cynical attempt to displace responsibility.” The Human Rights Watch Report and Amnesty International Reports have echoed Alston’s findings. Even the administration-appointed Melo commission stressed the weaknesses in military investigations. If the military is engaged in deliberate targeting of civilians, its commander-in-chief should, at the very least, be blamed for gross negligence.

    How did GMA’s subordinates react?

    National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales said: “The enemies of our people, the enemies of the State have been very successful in showing as if we are the ones doing wrong when we’re offering our lives in the defense of what we know to be the best for our people, our freedom, our democracy…We are accused of extrajudicial killings. This cannot be allowed to happen.”

    Basically, Mr. Gonzales is saying that highly respected international organizations do not know how to conduct research.

    Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez called the Special Rapporteur a “muchacho” of the UN, and also accused him of having been “brainwashed” by leftists, while Philippine Defense Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane called Prof. Alston “blind, mute and deaf.”

    How about the calls GMA made to a COMELEC official while electoral results were being tabulated and her admitting to this “lapse in judgment?” Listen to the “Hello Garci” tapes and the illegitimacy of this regime becomes undeniable. As Conrado de Quiros always reminds his readers, Gloria doesn’t even have anything to resign from; the presidency was never hers to begin with.

    These are not isolated incidents. EO 464, CPR (calibrated preemptive response), the traitorous Spratlys deal, and many other actions of this administration betray a disposition that is hostile to searching for the truth. Hence, the call for resignation is a response to the trends of deliberately silencing the truth.

    While some of this information has not been verified beyond reasonable doubt (a legal criterion), we have enough information to warrant the belief that GMA has committed grave lapses as president and is thus unfit to lead. The reason why some evidence (i.e. Romy Neri’s knowledge about the president’s involvement with the ZTE deal) is unavailable is not because it doesn’t exist but because the cover-up has been so massive. Not calling for Gloria’s ouster means letting her get away with this cover-up.

    (b) Removing GMA will not result in any tangible benefit because all politicians are corrupt anyway; removing Marcos and Erap did not lead to a better Philippines and therefore, removing GMA will do nothing.

    The worst manifestation of the argument is: “mag-aral na lang kayo, kaysa gumawa pa ng gulong wala namang pupuntahan.”

    This is, of course, not only illogical, but it is also a dangerous way of thinking. Under this logic, we shouldn’t even work for reform because all politicians are corrupt. It is ironic that, having acknowledged widespread corruption, some simply want to reinforce it by disengaging.

    Change occurs through small, gradual steps. Ousting Gloria is obviously not going to solve the problem of corruption; it is simply one of the things we have to do in order to counter it. Nevertheless, letting GMA get away with her crimes strengthens the culture of impunity in Philippine government, which is one of the major roots of corruption.

    Unfortunately, a number of educated youths (although, we suspect, not the majority) are blinded by the convenience of simply focusing one’s time on one’s career or studies. As a consequence, they’ve constructed this fiction that the country is hopeless and that nothing can be done. It is this kind of thinking that makes people dismiss idealism as naivete.

    The thesis that corrupt politicians will replace corrupt politicians will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if people like us do not stay vigilant.

    (c) We do not have a qualified successor.

    It is ironic that the same people who staunchly defend constitutional means shun the idea of Noli, GMA’s constitutional successor, taking over, in the event that GMA is convinced/forced to resign. However, we agree that the issue of a valid replacement is one that needs to be addressed. There are three ways we respond to the “Noli question.”

    First, replacing Gloria with Noli provides us with a crucial window of opportunity for genuine reform. Should Noli assume the presidency, he would feel beholden to those who ousted his predecessor. Indeed, Gloria herself felt indebtedness to certain groups for helping her assume the presidency. The folly of civil society then, which we cannot repeat now, was resting on its laurels. Few people were critical of GMA early on. This is something we can change this time around. A Noli presidency can work if we make it work.

    Second, genuine efforts at exacting government accountability are virtually impossible at this point. It is not within the interests of Malacanang to fight corruption in government. Serious investigations have been and will be suppressed because these are likely to point to the misdeeds of the president and her cohorts. Noli, although far from perfect, is not covering up as many shenanigans as GMA. A de Castro administration would not have as big a disincentive to run after people like Abalos.

    Third, as economic professor Mike Alba notes, corruption has a learning curve. So, assuming that Noli is corrupt like Gloria, it would take some time for him to make the necessary connections, appoint the proper people, and find the loops in the system that would allow him to steal our money. At the very least, an Arroyo ouster reduces the pilferage.

    Lastly, and perhaps most fundamentally, Gloria has proven to be such an egregious president that even a mediocre one would be a better option. If there are two evils, we should choose the lesser one and deliver ourselves from the egregious other.

    • Madonna on April 8, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Thanks Benigno. I didn’t know that the Philippines is the biggest importer of rice in the world today!

    The current rice crisis is just an indication that GMA’s horizon is mainly about the short-term, with nary a strategic grasp of what matters.

    Talk about food security. Talk about rice being our food staple. In case of war or any catalysmic world event, we will be going down immediately.

    We are getting screwed by the dark underbelly of capitalism, all with the approval and encouragement of our leader in Malacanang.

    And madam Gloria (smart economist kuno) had done thing but left us to the mercies of the rice cartel. Because it’s more efficient to be importing rice (more efficient nga ba?). Or is it the clear case of being more profitable for a few?

    Even FVR fired a shot against Gloria for her agricultural policies: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/storypage.aspx?StoryId=114257

    • Madonna on April 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    “i think i can see clearly now, the Filipino’s role in the new century and a global economy is to cease doing menial jobs and start doing high-value technical occupations.”

    Claro ba Liam Tinio? Ano yan gamit mo ba ang bolang crystal ni Madam Auring? But wait, your predictions are even way stupider than Madam Auring’s.

    • Madonna on April 8, 2008 at 1:30 pm

    “stupider” — more stupid

    • KG on April 8, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    CVJ,
    late ko na nakita yung exchange nyo ni JEG on food security as priority.

    he is correct that we were overtaken by events like globalization.

    but we have tried everything like price stabilization,government guarantee on credit to farmers,which was a bust.

    Now on irrigation,which an interesting link by madonna on FVR questioning Arroyo because the irrigation project in his home province of pangasinan was not implemented,and also points to an issue of missing irrigation funds.

    On poulation growth, Benign0’s contributor Manuel Gallego III had zero population growth proposals,which can be shocking to most of us,(myself included).Come to think of it sofftening some extreme proposals like forced sterilization of parents of street children would be helpful,kaya lang pag hindi natural method,the catholic church will always be there to shoot down that proposal.

    By Benign0’s focusing on pinoy short-comings is once explained by him, that our problems(which he has a colection) go way before this administration and will probably go beyond it, yun nga lang ; I wish I could have a better comment than nothing new,alam namin yan.

    • inodoro ni emilie on April 8, 2008 at 2:37 pm

    Crisis or not doesn’t change the fact of the bizarreness of a culture with an ancient tradition of rice farming and host to the International Rice Research Institute now being “the world’s biggest importer” of rice.

    indeed. it also saddens me to see that right below the packaging of jasmine thai rice is the small print acknowledging, milagrosa, as its genetic source.

    that said, these rice cartel members should be exposed. a brian gorell type of revelation is ripe for this taking.

    • vic on April 8, 2008 at 2:46 pm

    From madonna FVR link:

    Masakit mang sabihin, kung kalaban ka ng Presidente hindi ka talaga bibigyan ng project. That’s politics,” he said. “Why would the president give assistance to somebody who’s biting her and does not believe in her administration and program?” Statement of member of house Suarez, an administration ally:

    Well, just imagine, granted the system is changed to Federalism and most regions or autonomous provinces leaders are “kalaban nang PM”, then there will be no downloading of federal funds to those provinces or regions?? Even the way it is, this is still Patronage Politics, which is Undemocratic, and clearly in violation of the equal treatment of all citizenry…I think and I believe it is still the Mentality of some politicians, other their insatiable greed that hold the country’s growth and development…remember it does not take that many Suarezes to bring a nation down…

    • j_ag on April 8, 2008 at 2:57 pm

    “The US is inflating its way to save its economy and this resulted in increased in price of all commodities. Even if you are the greatest economist in the world, how can you prepare on a rapidly changing 24/7 marketplace.”

    Wow, I did not know that the U.S. government is practicing the oldest most effective form of protectionism, devaluing or debasing their currency?

    Wow, I did not know that since thew U.S. dollar is the worlds de facto world currency that this would send an inflationary surge in thw financial markets of the world that would eventually affect the worlds real economy.

    Wow I forgot also that our economist GMA finaished her formal education and became a teacher way before Milton Freidman changed the face of economics for the last thirty years.

    Is that why GMA forgot and got blind sided by the sudden surge in commodity prices which was responsible for the sudden surge in the mining business here that she said was because of her hard nosed reforms but now that has migrated to agricultural commodities (grains) it is the fault of the U.S. in protecting their economic interests?

    She lived by the sword of rising commodities until the other side of the blade is now threatening to cut her.

    Now we should all have the confidence to stick it out with her after all the probable lying, cheating and stealing (fertilizer funds) in this time of crisis.

    At a minimum this calls for a coach and team change.

    Sebastian get sacked for exactly the same thing. he thought he could go out and import anytime at low prices. His head got caught in the vise.

    Sometime in 2005 Goldman Sachs called for oil at $100 a barrel. If one were to check the nominal dollar price of gas in certain parts of Europe today it is already based over $200 a barrel. $6-$7 a gallon.

    But that is another sotry of another day.

    • nash on April 8, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    @bencard

    “I don’t believe the philippines is ready for decriminalization of libel. jail time is the only assurance the victim of libel can get justice, and the character assassins can be deterred”

    WHY SO????? Are we ANY LESS enlightened than the rest of the world???? If you have a look at British Tabloids or or French Satirical TV for example, they would have been shut down for libel/slander ages ago.

    cheers

    PS. Pero tama ka, kung si Cristy Fermin ang pag-uusapan, naku, let’s lock her up and throw away the key.

  2. that said, these rice cartel members should be exposed. a brian gorell type of revelation is ripe for this taking. – inidoro

    But these grains traders have existed since time immemorial.

    Why go after them now?

    They serve their purpose as efficient consolidators of commodities because they have the capital to acquire, store, and transport these in economical quantities.

    If da Pinoy trading approach were used, rice would be sold wholesale in thousands of little sachets and transported across provinces in tricycles. 😀

    What is actually happening is this system of traders’ capital structures responding to a market condition. The system has ALWAYS existed in a form that, BY ITS VERY NATURE, responds this way.

    The NFA is there to artificially counteract market forces using commercial means of intervention (i.e. taxpayer-funded unprofitable buying and selling).

    The minute Government decides to mount a non-commercial intervention in the market (i.e. curtailing otherwise legal commercial activities using special powers granted to its police and military assets), shouldn’t there be some kind of legal step that first needs to be made?

    Isn’t it proper procedure to first declare, say, some sort of state of emergency so that the right powers may be granted to military and law enforcement agencies to physically intervene in what under normal circumstances is a free market?

  3. Hirap sa atin e. Gusto natin ng “freedom” but are not prepared to be responsible for the consequences of irresponsible behaviour made under the guise of this freedom.

    In the same way, a free market is powerful when wielded by cluey societies.

    But in the hands of commercial morons, it tends to swing back with a crushing blow.

    – 😀

    • vic on April 8, 2008 at 3:25 pm

    University of Waterloo President David Johnston, recommended to the Parliament that the Inquiry into the Affair of Former PM Mulroney, which I will call the “airbus affair” should be Narrowly focused as to its scope, and recommended that some parts of it will be held in Private.

    (this is today’s headline 8 april 2008)

    The Special Advisor rejected the call from Commons’Ehics Committee for a Broad Mandate, as demanded by the oppositions, saying that the Committee does not define what the mandate should be and provides no rationale for it’s recommendation.

    Johnston had been asked by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to lay out the terms of reference for an independent investigation into the Mulroney-Schreiber affair.
    Johnston stuck with the recommendation he first made in his preliminary report in January, urging the commissioner to stick with a narrow mandate.

    “A public inquiry represents a significant expenditure of limited public resources,” he writes.
    He even suggested that the inquiry commissioner may want to make the hearings more “efficient” by holding parts of the probe in secret.

    He rejected calls that the inquiry probe questions surrounding the sale of Airbus jets to Air Canada and the allegations that Mulroney profited from kickbacks as well as Mulroney’s successful libel suit against the federal government for first making those allegations.
    But he agreed that there remain serious questions surrounding Schreiber’s payments to Mulroney of at least $225,000 – Schreiber says $300,000 – shortly after the former prime minister left office.

    “One of the questions that an inquiry could answer, directly and straightforwardly, is: ‘Why payments were made, when and how and why?’ The uncertainty surrounding this question remains,” said Johnston, the president of the University of Waterloo.

    “There’s existed and still exists, public concern over the disclosure of the cash payments and the services rendered for the payments,” he writes.

    Johnston also raises questions about Mulroney’s declaration of the payments on his income taxes, saying the “treatment of the retainers, is, at a minimum, unusual in light of ordinary business practice,” he said.
    He says the inquiry should examine whether there was “appropriate disclosures and reporting of the payments.”

    In making his recommendations, Johnston rejected calls from the federal Liberals for a wide-ranging public inquiry that would have dug deeply into the affairs of the two men.

    Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion immediately expressed disappointment with the report. But he said he hoped that the inquiry commissioner would have the independence to let the probe go where the “evidence” pointed.

    “We are deeply disappointed by how much the terms of reference are narrow. It’s not what we were requesting from Mr. Johnson,” Dion told reporters.

    “This being said, the bottom line is that the Prime Minister must make sure that the Commissioner will have the latitude to be guided by the facts and to let the facts take him where he needs to go,” he said.

    Some pointers here of how to Dig, Dig and how to find that Elusive Truth so hard to find.

    As I pointed before, for “aid of Legislation” and this one for the Ethics Reform Legislation, that the Mandate of the Commissioner or Inquiry Head should be defined clearly before it starts its very, very serious of job of Truth hunting…and the country is again ready to face the truth, not with shame but pride that adult men and women when times come are ready to confess their sins…

    • rego on April 8, 2008 at 3:42 pm

    “Isn’t it proper procedure to first declare, say, some sort of state of emergency so that the right powers may be granted to military and law enforcement agencies to physically intervene in what under normal circumstances is a free market?”
    =========================================================
    But those noisy anti Gloria crowds will surely make a big fuss about that emergency power and will spread rumors that it is a prelude to extending her term… and then panibagong crisis na naman.

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