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 9, 2008 at 11:56 am

    UPn (at 11:52), i’d nominate that as the Marie Antoinette-comment of the day.

    • UP n student on April 9, 2008 at 11:57 am

    to KG: There is a lot of pro-Islam pro-Quran anti-USA anti-Denmark broadcasts on YouTube. But YouTube is banned in Indonesia (and I suspect, many countries) because of one movie —— FITNA.

    • mang_kiko on April 9, 2008 at 12:14 pm

    think i know why cvj finds teodoro m.locsin’s philippine free press essay, linked by mlq3, “the worst”. it is because he thought all along that “corruption” was the invention of gma,

    puede re-invented, dagdag pa ang foolproof anti-evidence detection device…ngayon ang invention ay perfecto miente….

    • UP n student on April 9, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Should Filipino students (in high-school and below) be taught to be proud of their country, or should they be taught to be self-critical? do thoughts like below belong in the classroom?

    —————

    An article sent by Dr. Arsenio Martin of Fort Arthur , Texas ..

    THE DIFFERENCE

    The difference between the poor countries and the rich ones is not the age of the country:

    This can be shown by countries like India & Egypt , that are more than 2000 years old, but are poor.

    On the other hand, Canada , Australia & New Zealand , that 150 years ago were inexpressive, today are developed countries, and are rich.

    The difference between poor & rich countries does not reside in the available natural resources.

    Japan has a limited territory, 80% mountainous, inadequate for agriculture & cattle raising, but it is the second world economy. The country is like an
    immense floating factory, importing raw materials from the whole world and exporting manufactured products.

    Another example is Switzerland , which does not plant cocoa but has the best chocolate in the world. In its little territory they raise animals and plant the soil during 4 months per year. Not enough, they produce dairy products of the best quality! It is a small country that transmits an image of security, order & labor, which made it the world’s strongest, safest place.

    Executives from rich countries who communicate with their counterparts in poor countries show that there is no significant intellectual difference.

    Race or skin color are also not important: immigrants labeled lazy in their countries of origin are the productive power in rich European countries.

    What is the difference then? The difference is the attitude of the people, framed along the years by the education & the culture & flawed tradition.

    On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich & developed countries, we find that the great majority follow the following principles in their lives:

    1. Ethics, as a basic principle.
    2. Integrity.
    3. Responsibility.
    4. Respect to the laws & rules.
    5. Respect to the rights of other citizens.
    6. Work loving.
    7. Strive for savings & investment.
    8. Will of super action.
    9. Punctuality.
    10. and of course…Discipline

    In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life.

    The Philippines is not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel to us. In fact, we are supposedly rich in natural resources.

    We are poor because we lack the correct attitude. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich & developed societies.

    • magdiwang on April 9, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    The world tarders in commodites -Cargill, Continental Adm and others are all traders. They take physical postions because they make rational educated bets in the fuitures market. They have budgets for their weather forecasting larger than the Philippines government. They also spend for satelite tracking of areas to get an edge in placing future bets.

    The worlds hedge funds also do the same. They have access to this type of information.

    hvrds, hehehe….you basically cut the work for me here. our government does not have the resources to predict what is in store in the near term. it takes significant amount of time and money to do it, much more to hedge against it as it will consume valuable resources we dont have. I guess we can be blamed for being poor and nothing more.

    So why now balme the fact that the Fed is moving to correct a amssive disequilibrum by putting the entire resources of the state to backstop the economy of the U.S. That is their reason for existence. If they are exporting inflation that is for the so called independent Central Banks of the world to counter. The ECB is doing a very good job of exactly that. It has refused to lower it’s overnite rate. In a market economy only one thing organizes human behavior. Price.

    I dont blame the fed in pulling all the stops to save wall street resulting in an increase in price of commodities. what im saying that it is beyond anyones control on whats happening beyond our borders. Why blame then our government when they got caught on things not of their making.

    Our ‘uber’ economist however missed the big picture in her laser like focus on the economy. Wow Mali!!!!

    im wondering how anyone could have handled the situation much better. Realizing her shortcomings, she came up a plan 40B to stimulate the agricultural sector.

    • cvj on April 9, 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Upn, granting for the moment the validity of Dr. Martin’s flawed premise, even if there were such ‘education’ in the high school curricula, if the behavior of adults, especially the leaders (here in the Philippines, synonymous with the rich and powerful) is different from what is being taught in school, then such lessons won’t sink in or will be forgotten. The best form of teaching is still leadership by example and habit. Without this, any school education is no more than lip service.

    • cvj on April 9, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    you basically cut the work for me here. our government does not have the resources to predict what is in store in the near term. – magdiwang

    Forgetting the fact that the government seems to have the resources for stealing elections (or fund a National Broadband Network), presuming the lack of the resources to outguess the market (or the hedge funds), the government could have resorted to identifying risks and contingencies (i.e. what if the price goes up? or what if the price goes down?) Imagination is free so the excuse ‘lack of resources’ does not wash.

    • cvj on April 9, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    im wondering how anyone could have handled the situation much better. Realizing her shortcomings, she came up a plan 40B to stimulate the agricultural sector. – magdiwang

    From the very beginning, the late FPJ had ‘almusal, tanghalian, hapunan’ as his priority. I remember that Manolo once criticized him for that.

    • j_ag on April 9, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    Funny but a country can only be successfull in exporting inflation if there will be a dumb counterparty to import inflation. There are choices that can be made.

    Ang hihina ng ulo naman ang may hawak ng kapangyarihan sa Pinas.

    Yung mga “Instik” galing sa PRC bumili sila ng kapangyarihan na mag-mina sa Diwalwal. Yung bumabasak na dollar na nasa kamay nila binibili nila and Pinas.

    Matitinik mag isip yung mga yan. Alam niya mababaw ang kaligayahan ng mga alalaly ni Madam. Si Madam naman gustong gusto maging guest sa PBB. (Pinoy Big Brother)Ingit kasi siya kay Kris.

    Tapos ang mga Instik ng PRC ay mag uupa ng milyon milyon hektaryang lupain sa Pinas.

  1. On analyzing the behavior of the people in rich & developed countries, we find that the great majority follow the following principles in their lives:

    1. Ethics, as a basic principle.
    2. Integrity.
    3. Responsibility.
    4. Respect to the laws & rules.
    5. Respect to the rights of other citizens.
    6. Work loving.
    7. Strive for savings & investment.
    8. Will of super action.
    9. Punctuality.
    10. and of course…Discipline

    In poor countries, only a minority follow these basic principles in their daily life.

    The Philippines is not poor because we lack natural resources or because nature was cruel to us. In fact, we are supposedly rich in natural resources.

    We are poor because we lack the correct attitude. We lack the will to comply with and teach these functional principles of rich & developed societies.

    In other words, the root cause of the chronic poverty of countries like the Philippines is cultural. It is at the very fabric of what constitutes the character of a people that determines whether they are destined to collective greatness or whether they will forever be relegated to the bypassed, forgotten, and ignored basketcases of humanity.

    That sounds strangely familiar now, doesn’t it? 😉

  2. The problem is hunger and lugaw is a perfectly moral and practical option.

    The market for lugaw shops would be viable.

    For that matter, why not promote kamote as the new staple for Pinoys.

    Pinoys and kamote.

    Perfect combination.

    – 😀

    • KG on April 9, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    UPN,

    yeah, FITNA probably is the reason.

    • KG on April 9, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    UPN,

    wrong grammar na naman ako, pero who cares?

    =====================================================
    here’s a link on our policies on agriculture,at least until the time of President Aquino.

    http://www.country-studies.com/philippines/agricultural-production-and-government-policy.html

    kahit na passe na to at least may understanding tayo kung ano nga ba ang naging policy dati.

    • nash on April 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm

    @benigno

    “In other words, the root cause of the chronic poverty of countries like the Philippines is cultural.”

    Oh talaga? So there is one prevailing ‘culture’ pala in the Philippines. I must tell that to my tribe in Benguet…..how about the Tagalogs? is their culture similar to the Visayans?

    You are not talking about the dominant Tagalog culture are you?

    • KG on April 9, 2008 at 2:39 pm

    Sa totoo lang kahit na anong contingency planning at mga magic na nnagyari sa mga funds the power of the purse is still with congress. Does our budget need be projected for three years instead of yearly budgets na madalas naman nareeenact?
    Three year budgeting can make contingency planning easier.

    I also think the pork barrel has to go,no matter what the congressmaen say that no money goes to their pockets.

    But, as I said, who cares ?

    • mindanaoan on April 9, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    mlq3, i agree that the supreme court based its consideration of the senate as a continuing body solely on its ‘continuing’ composition, notwithstanding that
    it reorganized its leadership after every election. still, we have to look at periodic reorganization, as well as termination of proceedings when congress expires, as ‘non-continuing’ features. if ‘continuing’ is a design specification, ‘filling-in vacancies’ should have been the feature.

    on the other hand, is there something from the constitution, or records of the concom, indicating what the framers of the constitution have in mind with regards to this question of ‘continuing body’?

    • Madonna on April 9, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    “im wondering how anyone could have handled the situation much better. Realizing her shortcomings, she came up a plan 40B to stimulate the agricultural sector.” — magdiwang

    Keep wondering please. It will be good for all of us. Another case of pera, pera lang yan ‘no (and my, whose money are you parting away again here Madam).Tsk, tsk, there is no shortage to her utter incompetence or intellectual laziness (that’s what unmitigated greed and power does to you). Go read FVR’s take on that: people will be saying “di kainin mo pera mo! E wala tayong bigas e!”

    Bless the soul of my departed maternal grandfather who was a farmer and a fisherman with the wisdom of a sage.

    My mother related this story that is so apt for the current rice crisis. During hard times, she would be ordered to go and get rice or some other food items at the corner store as a young child and she would be ashamed to go because it would be on “utang”.

    My grandfather would tell her, “naku, di malaking problema na wala tayong pera ngayon anak. Mas malaking problema at problemahin mo kung wala ka nang bigas or pagkain na mabibili.”

    Now who makes more economic or even common sense, the PhD economist or my grandfather, a farmer and who only reached 3rd grade education?

    • mang_kiko on April 9, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    aling Madonna, nakalimutan ata nang manga sikat na Ekonomistas “kuno” na sa simula, palatin lang nang produkto ang basi nang economiya, at dahil kumakalat ang manga tao at dumadami, masyadong impractical kong papasanin ko ang saging ko para ipalit sa bigas mo, kaya naimento itong “pera” para madali at hindi mahirap ang palitan..kaya kong Kulang talaga ang Produkto, kahit sang tambak pang pera ang Iprinta at ipamigay nang Palasyo eh balang araw gamitin lang yon na Toilet Paper…

  3. Hey, Benigs, kamote can be nice too, you know XD

    La lang, spam lang. Napagod ako dun sa sagot ko ke cvj sa isang thread eh. I’ll just make a more sensible post next time XD

    @ UP n

    Di ba pwedeng ituro both? That our students be proud of our history – and there ARE things to be proud of – and critical at the same time?

    I think one of the problems is that so much “learning” in our high schools and the elementary level is rote. Having (a lot of) teachers that appear disinterested in raising the level of study from “drudgery” to “appreciation” doesn’t help either.

    If my dad hadn’t bought me Marvin Perry’s A History of the World that summer before high school, and I had nothing better to do at the same time (this was the time before really good videogames, hehe), I doubt I would have developed an appreciation for history as much as I did. I barely remember anything worthwhile from “sibika” class in elementary. My HS was better, since I had teachers who made us appreciate history.

  4. In our country, you steal a goat and you will be sent to prison. You steal a jewel and you will be killed. You a million dollars – you just simply walk away…

  5. The point is, don’t steal a goat, never steal any jewel…the conclusion is obvious!

    • mang_kiko on April 9, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    The point is, don’t steal a goat, never steal any jewel…the conclusion is obvious!

    kaya pala si mamang Abalos, na alleged na humingi nang $130 milliones, hindi lang na Imbistiga..Point taken and will be taken by the next generations of Politicians and Public Servants.. and the cycle will continue…..

    • Dirk Pitt on April 9, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    it seems to me that the escalating price of rice is largely fueled by panic buying by a public that is being driven into a frenzy by pro-government forces, with the help of the paid media. when an average family who normally buys a kilo of rice, as needed, spends its life savings to buy a sack or two of “nfa” rice to be stored “just in case”, multiplied hundreds of thousandfold, no amount of government stockpile will be enough to “stabilize” the price, and there will surely be long-term shortages in the market.

    it looks like the pro-gma forces have stumbled upon a sure-fire way to stir unrest, eventually hoping to launch programs that in reality will be goldmines for more oppurtunities for corruption. it would be a sad spectacle when the people start killing each other because those who can afford to buy only a kilo of rice at a time find the rice bins empty because panic-buyers have gobbled up what is available and stored “just in case”.

    • mlq3 on April 9, 2008 at 7:09 pm
      Author

    dirk, you should always give credit to bencard for providing inspiration for your comments, including pointing out you prefer to reinterpet bencard’s original arguments as follows (then you proceed with your creative readaption of bencard’s arguments).

    otherwise bencard has a point re: malicious plagiarism.

    • UP n student on April 9, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    Thomson Financial News
    Rice prices expected to climb on speculation Thailand to cut exports – UPDATE
    04.02.08, 8:26 AM ET
    HONG KONG (Thomson Financial) – World rice prices may be set for another sharp spike with leading exporter Thailand expected to cut supplies starting this month.

    Domestic prices of the staple have surged 50 percent since January, and Thai farmers are reported to be hoarding rice on hopes of further increases, traders said Wednesday.

    Thailand is the world’s biggest rice exporter but Thai producers are now reluctant to meet commitments….
    Rice exporters who have suffered steep losses in fulfilling commitments made at the beginning of the year are expected to scale back supplies starting April.
    Traders in Hong Kong and the Philippines said they haven’t yet received official notification from exporters in Thailand warning them about lower exports.

    ‘What I know from our counterparts in Bangkok is that they too cannot get hold of any supply at the moment. Supply there is just too tight right now. I think most suppliers are focusing on their domestic market,’ said Guia Manay, rice trader of Daewoo International.

    • UP n student on April 9, 2008 at 9:38 pm

    When the price of rice goes up 50% or higher, Filipinos will be disgusted. It’s a whole different story when rice is not available at all.
    When the supply chain breaks down and the flow of rice to Divisoria from Bangkok gets stopped, the anti-GMA better rev up their engines!! Stoking up an already mad citizenry gets easier.

    • grd on April 9, 2008 at 10:01 pm

    When the price of rice goes up 50% or higher, Filipinos will be disgusted. It’s a whole different story when rice is not available at all. UPN

    while it’s heating up globally, mlq3 is still entertaining the idea that the crisis is locally manufactured.

    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

    • supremo on April 9, 2008 at 10:24 pm

    ‘in the first post edsa senatorial election i believe 1/3 had 6 year terms, another third had 4 year terms, and another third had 2 years terms, leading to the staggered system -or maybe i’m wrong. it should have been designed that wa6y.’

    It’s actually six years for the top 12 and 3 years for the bottom 12.

    • David on April 9, 2008 at 10:29 pm

    Madonna: “Another case of pera, pera lang yan ‘no (and my, whose money are you parting away again here Madam). Tsk, tsk, there is no shortage to her utter incompetence or intellectual laziness (that’s what unmitigated greed and power does to you). Go read FVR’s take on that: people will be saying ‘di kainin mo pera mo! E wala tayong bigas e!'”

    Madonna, if you will indulge me, what, in concrete terms, do you propose the government do vis-a-vis the agricultural sector?

  6. In our executive department, a lot of agencies are functioning as semi-judicial bodies or quasi-judicial bodies, like LTFRB and DOLE bureaus, for it is of necessity, for order to appertain. To be sure, the SC would be so unwise to strip them of privilege to summon and to apply ‘contempt’, for they would be useless.

    Now, in our legislative section, such quasi-judicial mode had been approached at, modelling after the necessity and efficiency of U.S. Senate Hearings, that had brought down mafias and tax evaders and drug lords and gun dealers. in our territory, a Senate iniated move had resolve a flawed Estrada Presidency, and it showed how senate inquiries could be of great importance to our population and society as a whole.

    But without the ‘contempt power’ or the power to summon, even to a minimal extent, would lay these inquiries inutile and inefficient, negating the wisdom it had shown before—and further, future presidents and ministers would be emboldened to do malice for they won’t be perturbed by our lawmakers.

    • UP n student on April 9, 2008 at 11:12 pm

    As the Thomson Financial News article makes evident, even the population of rice-exporting countries (Thailand, Vietnam) are affected by the rice-supply crisis. Abe, Bencard, supremo, Ca t can speak to how much the the 20-pound bag of rice in the US of A has gone up in price. However, the rice-exporting countries do not have a supply-chain problem! The Thais will be among the last to have stores without rice to sell. Thailand will take care of the Thais first, as well they should.

    • Bert on April 9, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    “..the anti-GMA better rev up their engines!! Stoking up an already mad citizenry gets easier.”

    UP n s, there is no need for the anti-GMA people to rev up their engines. The people follow the advice of their stomach, when the advice of their stomach is too much to ignore they will move on their own volition.

    Then the anti-anti-GMA will rejoice…for Martial Law shall be then in place. Lucky Gloria talaga.

    • Madonna on April 9, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    David, I am sorry this is the first time I encountered with a handle like yours here. So excuse me if I am kinda suspicious on the request.

    Ikaw sa tingin mo? Everything rosy and dandy with our rice situation? Answer that and I may indulge you.

    • mlq3 on April 9, 2008 at 11:32 pm
      Author

    grd, yes, when i wrote that reply i was reading this:

    http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=77619

    and thinking there was that silver lining in the clouds of doom:

    According the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 2 April, global rice production is expected to increase by 1.8 per cent – or 12 million mt – this year, easing a tight supply situation in key cultivating countries.

    Assuming normal weather conditions, sizeable production increases were expected in all the major Asian rice-producing countries, including Bangladesh, where supply and demand were currently under pressure.

    “The international rice market is currently facing a particularly difficult situation with demand outstripping supply and substantial price increases,” said Concepcion Calpe, a senior FAO economist.

    • Madonna on April 9, 2008 at 11:35 pm

    A tight world rice supply situation may be a reality — but do we have enough reason to really be in a tight rice situation ourselves domestically?

    And UP n, how ironic, Americans are not a rice-eating nation and so an increase in price won’t affect them that much. But guess who are offering to save our stomachs?

    In 1997, a law was passed to modernize agriculture and practically mandated rice self-sufficiency. And guess what happened to the funds for irrigation (and fertilizers (Joc-Joc or whoever he is, where is that fellow now)?

    Billion and billions of pesos down the drain that could have not only helped our farmers and revved up the agri sector, made us rice self-sufficient and my, even pump our GDP even higher.

    Now GMA magically comes with a P40B program right in the middle of the crisis and she expects us to applaud and be grateful?

    • supremo on April 9, 2008 at 11:41 pm

    UP n student,

    The price of elephant ang milagrosa are still the same. It they go up then we’ll just buy the long grain variety. Not the same but good enough for one rice meal a day.

    • Maginoo on April 9, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    UP n “Stoking up an already mad citizenry gets easier.”

    As I said in an earlier thread, talking of “the angriest firing up the hungriest.”

    Galit at gutom, masamang combination. Summer heat pa naman. It’s a month of living dangerously.

    • Bert on April 9, 2008 at 11:49 pm

    “Thailand will take care of the Thais first, as well they should.”

    UP n s, are you implying the Philippines is not like that?

    • Maginoo on April 9, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    In 1997, a law was passed to modernize agriculture and practically mandated rice self-sufficiency. And guess what happened to the funds for irrigation – Madonna

    The law was called AFMA, or Agricultural and Fisheries Modernization Act. I understand there was not adequate funding.

    But guess what was brought into the country tax-and-duty free under the provisions of the law by the oligarchs? Luxury helicopters, yatchs, etc.

    Oo nga naman, kailangan ng helicopters for seeding/fertilizers; yatchs for marine research, etc.

    • vic on April 10, 2008 at 12:03 am

    Supremo, No raise here yet too, but we’re expecting a 10% as announced by some Chain lately as soon as the current stock is exhausted, for how long we don’t know. We also import mostly from Thailand and US.

    • Bencard on April 10, 2008 at 12:13 am

    mlq3, thanks for your wise admonition re “malicious plagiarism”.i hope that, since the subject has apparently some spark of intelligence (i.e., the ‘good’ taste of choosing my composition – words, syntax, punctuations and thought-organizations) to express his contrary rant), lol, it would somehow register in what he/it has for a brain.

    i guess my main beef, as you correctly pointed out, is the obviously malicious omission of proper attribution/acknowledgment of original authorship, as most everybody in this blog doesn’t do. i really don’t mind my work being an “inspiration” to anyone, friend or foe alike, so long as the user doesn’t appropriate it as his own. there’s nothing more irksome to a writer than a simpleton wanting to appear literate by aping the former’s writing. “““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““““`

    • Madonna on April 10, 2008 at 12:22 am

    Galit at gutom, masamang combination. — maginoo

    The angry who think are usually from the richer classes and they will not probably go hungry. The hungry do not really get angry because anger for all its worth is a luxury in this country. They just go depressed, like Marianette Amper or they continue to smile like all those people living along the railroad tracks. And they will not get hungry for long because the government will be importing rice, even if they go by up by 100 pesos per kilo and then the government will sell this for P18.50 NFA price.

    Except that several years down the road, let’s just expect more soaring public debts and our taxes screwed over another round of another merry mismanagement. Just perfect.

    • David on April 10, 2008 at 12:39 am

    Madonna: “David, I am sorry this is the first time I encountered with a handle like yours here. So excuse me if I am kinda suspicious on the request.

    Ikaw sa tingin mo? Everything rosy and dandy with our rice situation? Answer that and I may indulge you.”

    Madonna, you have nothing to worry about. I only ask to be enlightened. To answer your question, clearly, with the rising price of rice (and of food, in general) and a looming decrease of global supply, there is a problem with the rice situation. And where there is a problem, we ought to try to find a solution.

    • mlq3 on April 10, 2008 at 12:40 am
      Author

    I’m trying to think of when we were had indonesian-style rice riots. Ever? During Spanish times, perhaps, directed against the Chinese, there were several pogroms.

    We like to channel our dissatisfaction where? elections? None on the horizon. And if there’s one thing the President is, she’s a skilled organizer in crisis situations. By hook or by crook she will find a way to keep this situation from escalating -although you really have to hand it to Mons. Dacay in Cebu, he’s afraid that the President’s brainchild of distributing rice through parishes might lead to the distribution of condoms; this, by a loyal ally of the President, which goes to show you the high opinion the President’s own allies hold her government.

    • Madonna on April 10, 2008 at 1:04 am

    Madonna, you have nothing to worry about. I only ask to be enlightened. To answer your question, clearly, with the rising price of rice (and of food, in general) and a looming decrease of global supply, there is a problem with the rice situation. And where there is a problem, we ought to try to find a solution. — David

    Thank you. Of course we need solution. I agree with manolo, GMA being tried-and-tested in crisis situation, would find a solution on this one. And there is no absolutely no need for stoking the fires for political purposes. Just saying, lay the responsibility where it is due because I believe that the tight supply in the world market is not the singular cause for our current rice crisis.

    This problem could not have escalated into a case like this, if the government’s horizon is into long-term solution, long-term planning.

    Look, rice being our food stable, has what you call an inelastic demand, and with a fact such as this, in addition to a growing population should clearly dictate policy — which is self-sufficiency with a priority on supply.

    Obviously, we need to grow rice domestically and enough so that we don’t need to import. Rice is too close to our daily survival to leave it to the uncertainties of the global market. There was a time even that the Philippines was exporting rice and we were producing in surplus for our domestic consumption.

    GMA’s government has not prioritize agriculture, rice growing most especially. The strings of alleged malversation of funds are additional causes that point to the mismangement of the sector (as even pointed by FVR).

    • Madonna on April 10, 2008 at 1:10 am

    “food stable” — food staple

    • magdiwang on April 10, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Keep wondering please. It will be good for all of us. Another case of pera, pera lang yan ‘no (and my, whose money are you parting away again here Madam).Tsk, tsk, there is no shortage to her utter incompetence or intellectual laziness (that’s what unmitigated greed and power does to you). Go read FVR’s take on that: people will be saying “di kainin mo pera mo! E wala tayong bigas e!”

    madonna, im not sure if i’ll go that length to point a finger to our government. its also too convenient to blame anyone for that matter. we have always been a net importer of rice for many years. the business model of importing rice have always work for us until this year. the fact is we cannot produce the grain competetively and consistently. there are many reasons why we cannot produce enough, but i assure you successive governments have tried to do it and all have failed.

    We will literally have to spend billions of pesos to be self sufficient in rice. our government can go the way on how the US, EU and Japanese make themselves self sufficient on food by massively subsidizing it. i dont think we have the resources to allocate for that and we are not in the same league with them with spare funds to fund that entitlement. you might have some bright ideas, please share.

    • vic on April 10, 2008 at 1:27 am

    I don’t what Genetically Modified Food role in Future Food Production and its significant in food supply as the demand for food will eventually outstrip the supply, but it is worth discussing in the future thread..do you guys think so??

    • Maginoo on April 10, 2008 at 1:28 am

    Rice is too close to our daily survival to leave it to the uncertainties of the global market. – Madonna

    Of course, Ms. M. The Japanese, with their huge foreign exchange surplus, could easily import the best variety of rice, at any price. But no, they will not!

    Food shusi-curity.

    • Madonna on April 10, 2008 at 1:33 am

    Magdiwang,

    Sorry, can’t post a long a reply. Way past bedtime. LOL. Just please read on previous comments ( and esp. I had a reply for David) and you’ll see where my thought are. Thank you.

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