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

Skip to comment form

    • justice league on April 10, 2008 at 1:35 am

    Mindanaoan,

    Very well, at least we seem to be in agreement that the Rules of the Senate shall remain in force until they are amended or repealed.

    If I’m not mistaken, only 6 of the Justices actually wrote that they saw this issue for the petitioner. Justices Corona and Carpio wrote their own take on this issue while Justices Tinga, Chico-Nazario, and Nachura concurred with the ponencia of J. Leonardo De Castro on this issue.

    In deciding that the present Senate’s Rules of Procedure are infirm and that the “Senate of every Congress” is required to publish its rules of procedure governing inquiries in aid of legislation (and confining said rules to the Senate that “published” it); J. Leonardo De Castro took the OSG’s argument which reasons out that

    -every Senate is distinct from the one before it or after it.
    -the composition of the Senate changes by the end of each term since Senatorial elections are held every three (3) years for one-half of the Senate’s membership.
    -Each Senate may thus enact a different set of rules as it may deem fit.

    So how are the Rules of the Senate immuned from being affected by those 3 points?

    Will you be reasoning out that with regards to the Rules of the Senate
    -every Senate is NOT distinct from the one before it or after it?
    -the composition of the Senate DOES NOT change by the end of each term even though Senatorial elections are held every three (3) years for one-half of the Senate’s membership?
    -Each Senate may NOT enact a different set of rules even though it may deem fit?

    The Senate didn’t write an “end” to its Rules of Procedure which is to be taken that it is continuous. Its the Supreme Court that is writng an “end” for it. So how is the Supreme Court NOT writing an “end” for the Rules of the Senate also?

    • mindanaoan on April 10, 2008 at 3:34 am

    justice league, the problem is not so much as the senate as a continuing body as how to interpret ‘duly’ in the phrase ‘duly published rules of procedure’. we don’t have a problem with the rules of the senate, because: 1) there’s no procedure requiring its publication, afaik. 2) it contained an explicit ‘in force until amended’ clause. the rules of procedure on the other hand is required by the constitution to be ‘duly published’, and it has the additional requirement it imposed on itself in its effectivity clause, of publication in two newspapers of general circulation.

    it was the senate in neri who pointed out that the senate is a continuing body to try to justify its non-publication of the rules of procedure, without explaining why they published it unchanged on december 2006.

    since most already agree (some begrudgingly acknowledging a ‘design flaw’) that the present senate is not a continuing body, the senate should now just let go of neri and publish its rules of procedure immediately. clinging to this ‘continuing body’ argument is plain stubbornness.

    • hawaiianguy on April 10, 2008 at 3:37 am

    The rice problem in pinas won’t go away, surely the govt is a contributor to its accelerating tendency. In Southeast Asia, the country is the only one with a world-class R & D on rive growing, with the IRRI there for decades experimenting and perfecting higher-yielding rice varieties, and complemented by Philrice, a govt run agency.

    True, we were exporting rice to our neighbors before, until they learned the techniques that we proudly shared with their agriculturists who came to study at IRRI and UP Los Banos, later at Philrice.

    Have we ever wondered why pinas has become a rice importer from Vietnam and Thailand, whose technologists are trained here? Something is wrong with our govt, particularly DA. Obviously, RP has not given agriculture the impetus to grow, thinking wrongly that import-substitution strategy is the key to industrialize and develop. It has eagerly globalized (thanks to FVR and his technocrats) without “thinking,” as Walden Bello puts it. It expected more returns and payoffs but instead reaped enormous losses and put itself in a weaker position than before.

    Corruption has no doubt taken its toll, magnifying the already mounting problems that owe from our less-than-rational participation in a globalized world.

    But the internal side of the problem would be easier to handle, if only the govt is serious – as all states should be – in promoting the welfare of citizens rather than the interest of its leaders.

    Jocjoc Bolante’s case is a window into the gross mismanagement in the govt. The fertilizer scam, and the recently discovered piggery program, both worth billions of pesos going to the pockets of corrupt leaders, speak for the grand corruption since 2001.

    The Vietnamese and Thai people just walk away laughing at Filipinos. (Or, it could be the other way, our leaders jokingly walk to the bank, happy with their loot and impunity.) At least, the Thai succeeded in “patalsikin si Thaksin,” while Filipinos are still shouting “Gloria alis diyan.” Funny.

    Funnier still, Thailand, Malaysia, East Timor and the Philippines are the countries (out of 12) in Southeast Asia which are “partly free” – democratically speaking – in recent times. Yet, the country remains a laggard and always tails behind, truly living up to the iconic “sick man” of Asia.

    The solution? Anwar Ibrahim has three words for it: “Change the government!”

    • mindanaoan on April 10, 2008 at 4:00 am

    The solution? Anwar Ibrahim has three words for it: “Change the government!” — hawaiianguy

    and when some people move to change our form of government to that of ibrahim’s, guess who will still be up in arms?

    • hawaiianguy on April 10, 2008 at 4:26 am

    mindanaoan,

    Anwar, the deposed Malaysian leader and symbol of UMNO, was NOT advocating that Malaysia should go communist or change to any form different from the current one. He simply means changing the ruling govt and purging it of the vestiges of “Mahathirism” and the nepotistic policy grounded on “bhumiputra-first” policy that began decades ago.

    Anwar Ibrahim has been going around the US giving lectures on the political situation shortly after Mahathir retired from politics. He pointed out that Malaysia (ironically, it is doing much better than the lowly RP) has erred in its internal policy of favoring the bhumiputras (Muslim Malays) over and above its Chinese and Indian nationals. This preferential policy amounts to what Filipinos call “cronyism” since Marcos down to Arroyo. Instead of allowing the private sector to play its role in the market, the govt has intruded heavily into enterprise building, or allowing allies to monopolize business, even providing almost unlimited state guarantees to big projects run by Malays. That nepotistic policy only bungled the economy instead of promoting it under a protectionist system. The Malaysian Airlines is among the worst casualties.

    But even without Anwar’s advocacy, Malaysia is now on the road to political change. Recently, the Islamic party gained more seats in the parliament and threatened the ruling party that gained prominence under Mahathir.

    As Malaysia gets out of its more authoritarian niche, RP appears to have become the OPPOSITE of what it says it is, ludicrously, as “the most democratic country in Asia.”

    • hawaiianguy on April 10, 2008 at 4:30 am

    I mean, “the ruling party that rose to prominence under Mahathir, sadly with the help of Anwar himself.”

    • grd on April 10, 2008 at 5:11 am

    mlq3, while it is expected that global rice production will increase by 1.8%, it is alarming to note that the global rice demand is expected to exceed the current season’s record harvest for this year as per the article written by Ms. Malou Mangahas.

    http://www.pcij.org/blog/?p=2256#more-2256,

    Various reasons have been blamed for the sharp slide in supply: erratic weather; natural disasters; soaring fuel and transport costs; supply hoarding and smuggling; conversion of agricultural lands to cash crops, biofuel production, and other commercial purposes, etcetera.

    But from country to country feeding on the staple grain, the context remains the same: galloping population growth rate has unduly stepped up the demand for rice, even as production has remained low or stagnant.

    Just three months gone in 2008, the figures seem alarming indeed. The global rice demand is estimated at 423 million tons, or more than the current season’s record harvest of 420 million tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    for the phil, Ms. Mangahas wrote:

    The Philippines produces about 90 percent of the rice it needs but also today needs to import up to 2.1 million metric tons, to be able to maintain its two-month inventory. Over the last three months, that inventory has thinned by 20 percent.

    Vast hectares planted to rice and corn have failed to lift this semi-feudal nation’s status from rice importer to exporter. In 2006, then Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban told Reuters: “Except for a brief period in the seventies, the last time this nation produced enough rice to feed itself was in 1903, the year the Wright brothers (Wilbur and Orville) invented the airplane.”

    A year ago, the Philippines imported 1.8 million tons of rice, or 16 percent of its requirements. This year, it hopes to buy at least 1.6 million tons, on top of a record production target of 17,33 million tons to raise self-sufficiency to 92 percent.

    Still and all, the law of supply and demand, a cruel, unbending equation, is fast catching up with the Philippines, on account of its fast-rising population.
    Local rice production over the last 16 years has grown from 6.09 million tons in 1990 to 10.02 million tons in 2006, or about 2.45 percent per year on average. This growth has been rendered meaningless, however, by the unbridled increase in the number of Filipinos — from 36.7 million in 1990 to 88 million in 2006. The national population is estimated to reach 94.03 million by 2010. </blockquote

    Clearly, our growing population is the one big factor why we have this crisis now.

    In Korina’s Show, UP Prof Ernesto Pernia again referred to the country’s population as the main culprit for our rice problem. He interestingly compared the Phils to Thailand where in the ‘70’s, we almost have the same population of about 36M. Comparing our population now of 90M against Thailand’s 67M, that’s about an increase of 150% against 86%.

    According to Prof Pernia, what our previous and present govt failed to address is the “demand” problem. He said, if we have controlled our population like what Thailand did, our rice demand now would only be about 16 million tons and we could even afford to export some of our surplus rice produce.

    The main obstacle of course for our population problem is the church as rightly said by Prof Pernia. The govt has always been held hostage by the powerful church over the issue of population control.

    • grd on April 10, 2008 at 5:15 am

    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.

    mlq3, while it is expected that global rice production will increase by 1.8%, it is alarming to note that the global rice demand is expected to exceed the current season’s record harvest for this year as per the article written by Ms. Malou Mangahas.

    http://www.pcij.org/blog/?p=2256#more-2256,

    Various reasons have been blamed for the sharp slide in supply: erratic weather; natural disasters; soaring fuel and transport costs; supply hoarding and smuggling; conversion of agricultural lands to cash crops, biofuel production, and other commercial purposes, etcetera.

    But from country to country feeding on the staple grain, the context remains the same: galloping population growth rate has unduly stepped up the demand for rice, even as production has remained low or stagnant.

    Just three months gone in 2008, the figures seem alarming indeed. The global rice demand is estimated at 423 million tons, or more than the current season’s record harvest of 420 million tons, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

    for the phil, Ms. Mangahas wrote:

    The Philippines produces about 90 percent of the rice it needs but also today needs to import up to 2.1 million metric tons, to be able to maintain its two-month inventory. Over the last three months, that inventory has thinned by 20 percent.

    Vast hectares planted to rice and corn have failed to lift this semi-feudal nation’s status from rice importer to exporter. In 2006, then Agriculture Secretary Domingo Panganiban told Reuters: “Except for a brief period in the seventies, the last time this nation produced enough rice to feed itself was in 1903, the year the Wright brothers (Wilbur and Orville) invented the airplane.”

    A year ago, the Philippines imported 1.8 million tons of rice, or 16 percent of its requirements. This year, it hopes to buy at least 1.6 million tons, on top of a record production target of 17,33 million tons to raise self-sufficiency to 92 percent.

    Still and all, the law of supply and demand, a cruel, unbending equation, is fast catching up with the Philippines, on account of its fast-rising population.
    Local rice production over the last 16 years has grown from 6.09 million tons in 1990 to 10.02 million tons in 2006, or about 2.45 percent per year on average. This growth has been rendered meaningless, however, by the unbridled increase in the number of Filipinos — from 36.7 million in 1990 to 88 million in 2006. The national population is estimated to reach 94.03 million by 2010.

    Clearly, our growing population is the one big factor why we have this crisis now.

    In Korina’s Show, UP Prof Ernesto Pernia again referred to the country’s population as the main culprit for our rice problem. He interestingly compared the Phils to Thailand where in the ‘70’s, we almost have the same population of about 36M. Comparing our population now of 90M against Thailand’s 67M, that’s about an increase of 150% against 86%.

    According to Prof Pernia, what our previous and present govt failed to address is the “demand” problem. He said, if we have controlled our population like what Thailand did, our rice demand now would only be about 16 million tons and we could even afford to export some of our surplus rice produce.

    The main obstacle of course for our population problem is the church as rightly said by Prof Pernia. The govt has always been held hostage by the powerful church over the issue of population control.

    • Bencard on April 10, 2008 at 5:21 am

    the philippines has unique problems that require unique solutions. indulging in the usual blame game, ad nauseam, will not accomplish anything other than inflame passions to create a belief that unwanted results of failed policies were brought about either by the sheer stupidity or the evil intentions of the governing authority. that may be part of it but the more fundamental cause is the flawed society that we have as a consequence of our tragic failure to educate our people on the values of self-reliance and personal responsibility.

    • grd on April 10, 2008 at 6:29 am

    hawaiianguy,

    what made you think mahathir is bad for malaysia? just because he is anti-US? maybe you should ask the malaysians.

    • hawaiianguy on April 10, 2008 at 7:06 am

    grd,

    No, it’s not me saying that, Anwar does. And the PAS (Islamic Party).

    • hawaiianguy on April 10, 2008 at 7:11 am

    But I do have something related to your post, grd.

    “Clearly, our growing population is the one big factor why we have this crisis now.”

    May I add one more very critical factor: land resources.

    Supporting evidence indicates the gravity of land conversion problem, where prime agricultural lands (e.g., in the CALABARZON area) are converted into housing subdivisions. Also, a large part of these lands are supposedly covered by CARP, due for expropriation to landless tenants who work for hacenderos and other landed elite. But a convenient, good excuse to have them exempted and at the same time reap untold profits, is for these lands to be classified as “industrial” and fit for housing and other related purposes. Sadly, that practice doesn’t lead to “industrialization” but enrich further the moneyed families, or oligarchs as others call them, that benefit a few rather than the country.

    Meanwhile, it’s a double whammy for those tenants: they get no land, and are displaced or driven to urban centers where no jobs await them. Can they farm in the cities?

    Benjamin and Ledevina Carino, in their “Urbanization, Industrialization and Land Conversion in the Philippines” (2007), provide meat to this issue using data in all regions in the Philippines. They point to a range of problems arising from it, and diminished rice production is certainly one of them,

    Citing official sources, the Carinos say: “the country had 2.1 million hectares of land for agric and food production in 1992. By 1999, this figure has gone down to 1.3 million hectares.” By 2008, that area must have been down to a million or less hectares, given the rate of conversion going on.

    How can rice production possibly keep up with a doubling population, when the ricefields have been cut to half their size?

    The Carinos have this to say:

    “It is, indeed, unfortunate that land use decisions in the country to date have not been guided by a full assessment of these factors” (social displacement of farmers, agric productivity, environmental impact, etc.).

    • justice league on April 10, 2008 at 7:27 am

    Mindanaoan,

    Like I implied before; I haven’t used the concept of a “continuing body” to justify the effectivity of the Rules of the Senate nor the Senate’s Rules of Procedure.

    The Senate believes that its Rules of Procedure has been duly published. The Senate didn’t write for its Rules of Procedure an end to its effectivity; only that it becomes effective after publication. What was done in 2006 was just a re-publication.

    The SC is the one that is now saying that there is an end to its effectivity citing the 3 points I wrote above.

    • benign0 on April 10, 2008 at 8:44 am

    How can rice production possibly keep up with a doubling population, when the ricefields have been cut to half their size?

    Again, we go back to a simple principle:

    Great nations were not built on good intentions. They were built on business sense. Real change in Pinoy society will never be achieved through the “sacrifice” of altruistic “heroes”. True change will be driven by people who find no shame in expecting a buck for their trouble.

    Nothwithstanding the “heroic” unprofitable trading of the Government to put food on the tables of the poor or the generosity of some future respondents to the food appeals that the Philippines may probably resort to in the near future, the REALITY is that it is the Law of Supply and Demand that will eventually come to the rescue of the hapless (as always) Pinoy.

    When rice prices rise high enough that channeling precious capital into developing land for rice cultivation becomes viable (more precisely, PROFITABLE), it is only then that this trend of cutting ricefields “to half their size” will be reversed.

    No army of “heroes” nor any amount of “heroism” and certainly no amount of prayer will build that production capacity and food security for us.

    Unitl then, folks, let them eat kamote.

    – 😀

    • benign0 on April 10, 2008 at 8:58 am

    Someday, planting rice will be more profitable than building malls…

    – 😀

    • hvrds on April 10, 2008 at 9:05 am

    When Pernia who is a doctrinaire “equilibrium scientist”
    more popularly known as a neo-classical economist it is a simple math calculation. His entire perspective at looking at economic problems is through the narrow confines of his craft as it should be. But it is incomplete.

    However he lacks the width and depth to analyze his quantitative conclusions with the also important qualitative analysis.

    Jeffrey Sachs mas made a more interesting point re: population in low income economies. Every community is dependent on its factor endowments. (Natural resource base) This also includes weather patterns. He correctly pointed to the fight for water resources as the prime cause of the problems in Sudan. (Darfur)The struggle of farmers versus herders is a problem going back to Abel and Cain.

    The main problem of the distribution of factor endowments and the stage of economic development will determine the culture of the community. Subsistence agriculture requires that families have many hands to help in the struggle for survival. Hence the need for large families. The Spanish word hermano and hermana comes from that. They also serve as the social safety net for the elders of the community.

    Now in the Philippines you have the realities of communities of low income economies together with middle income and high income communities coexisting side by side all put in place by colonizers. You have differing perspectives or cultures. After the Illustrados came the Kanutos. Now we see the emerging Tsinoy culture. But the vast majority are in a low income cultural mindset (Indios). On top of that you have the Catholic Church. On one hand the more progressive amongst them insist that the State has no place in the bedrooms of couples. Most especially a captive state. Birth control devices are medical devices that require a sophisticated establsihed medical supply chain. Condom use is prevalent but even the cultural mindset in rural areas is still set in the old ways. But the demographics are quickly changing as the intrusion of mass media is fast changing attitudes. hence the migration from rural to the world to keep the family economically above water.

    Again back to the entitlement regime. High growth rates are misleading and the fertility rate is a better gauge.

    Pernia is still looking at the economics of business as he is supposed to do since he is a price equilibrium scientist. That is why the Philippines has the most competitive price for kidneys since the supply is plentiful due to huge numbers of people who have no choice but to sell body parts to survive.

    They why is the more diffcult question since it would delve into the business of economics which is the continuing history of the business of economics. That would mean the relationships between the different agents in the economy predetermined by history.

    We have been created by colonizers and continue to be economically colonized by more powerfull states.

    It is also shown that the more urbanized a country gets birth rates tend to go down. However the move from rural to urban in the Philippines has been distorted which is another long story. The other factor that no one seems to look at is the fact that modernity and technology has extended life.

    The U.S. social security system was geared for retirement at 65 as life spans then called for it. Off course life has been extended. In the 19th century life spans on the average reached 40 years of age.

    The Philippine scenario has been further distorted by the use of socialism for election policies by the trapo electoral system. So price as the main organizing factor for organizng relationships has been distorted.

    Dona Gloria being the worst offender of all.

    The main prinicple of keeping the people barefoot and pregnant on the farm is an old political model.

    • hvrds on April 10, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Take out the oil in occupied former Iraq and what do you have. Tribal communities living on the edges of the Tigris Euprhatis River. The superficial veneer of modernity brought about by oil which is turn was converted into modern standards of living. But the culture substantially is biblical. Hindi pa sila umabot sa individual rights kasi mahirap ang buhay sa dessert kung walang langis kapalit nang air con.

    Op-Ed Columnist
    A Network of Truces
    By DAVID BROOKS NY Times
    Published: April 8, 2008
    The U.S. brought no shortage of misconceptions into Iraq, but surely the longest lasting has been what you might call: Founding Fatherism. This is the belief that peace will come to the country when the nation’s political elites gather at a convention hall and make a series of grand compromises involving power-sharing and a new constitution.

    Skip to next paragraph

    David Brooks

    » The Bush administration has been pushing the Iraqis to make this sort of grand compromise for years — to little effect. The Democrats happily declare that there has been no political progress in Iraq because this grand compromise is the only kind of political progress they can conceive of.”
    “The grand compromise model would be appropriate if Iraq were a Western country living in the shadow of the Magna Carta. But Iraq is not that kind of country.”

    “As Philip Carl Salzman argues in “Culture and Conflict in the Middle East” (brilliantly reviewed by Stanley Kurtz in The Weekly Standard), many Middle Eastern societies are tribal. The most salient structure is the local lineage group. National leaders do not make giant sacrifices on behalf of the nation because their higher loyalty is to the sect or clan. Order is achieved not by the top-down imposition of abstract law. Instead, order is achieved through fluid balance of power agreements between local groups.”

    “In a society like this, political progress takes different forms. It’s not top down. It’s bottom up. And this is exactly the sort of progress we are seeing in Iraq. While the Green Zone politicians have taken advantage of the surge by trying to entrench their own power, things are happening at the grass-roots.”

    • hawaiianguy on April 10, 2008 at 11:14 am

    benigno, “When rice prices rise high enough that channeling precious capital into developing land for rice cultivation becomes viable (more precisely, PROFITABLE), it is only then that this trend of cutting ricefields “to half their size” will be reversed.”

    Easier said than done. On the ground, big landowners find it more profitable to let go of their ricefields to whoever who can offer a higher price, not the farmers who can’t pay. And ordinary farmers will never enjoy windfall from increases in the price of rice contrary to what some pundits say, only those behind the rice cartels.

    So what exactly is your alternative?

    Have you tried farming a square meter of land? Or eating a bunch of kamote perhaps? 🙂

    • hawaiianguy on April 10, 2008 at 11:33 am

    benigno: “No army of “heroes” nor any amount of “heroism” and certainly no amount of prayer will build that production capacity and food security for us.”

    I bet it won’t. Food security? I doubt if it really figured into the govt decision to allow this relentless conversion, following the Carino study. Somebody wrote about it, but who understands what it means? It is so esoteric that you got to factor in not only the amount of lands minimally (or optimally) needed to produce enough food for the table for a number of persons, but also assume a lot of things that may never happen, or only make sense to economists.

    One thing seems certain though. People know, esp. farmers and barrio folks, that giving away fertilizer money to Malacanan allies from urban centers pays dividends. It secures the mouth of hungry politicians, or those lusting for more power. Hope they don’t get FMD. 🙂

    • benign0 on April 10, 2008 at 11:37 am

    As a matter of fact, I do like kamote.

    Nothing beats rice of course, specially kapag adobo ang ulam.

    Then again, not everyone enjoys the beneefit of making that choice, do they? 😀

    • hawaiianguy on April 10, 2008 at 11:46 am

    benigno, “Then again, not everyone enjoys the beneefit of making that choice, do they?”

    In fact, many do. In far-flung areas in the south (e.g., Sulu and Tawi-Tawi), most Tausug and Sama people prefer kamote to rice. It’s an excellent companion for grilled fish, not adobo (esp. baboy, which is “haram”).

    • mindanaoan on April 10, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    justice league, “The Senate didn’t write for its Rules of Procedure an end to its effectivity”. yes, but neither did it write in it for a continuing effectivity, leaving us to conclude that its validity ends with the expiry of the power of its author.

    there is no escaping justice carpio’s “consequence … that the Rules of Procedure must be republished by the Senate after every expiry of the term of twelve Senators”.

    • justice league on April 10, 2008 at 3:13 pm

    Mindanaoan,

    We both assert that the Rules of the Senate shall remain in force until they are amended or repealed.

    Aside from there being no procedure requiring its publication, afayk; you contend that it does so remain in force because it contains an explicit ‘in force until amended’ clause.

    I however assert that the Rules of the Senate will remain enforced until they are amended or repealed BUT EVEN WITHOUT that ‘in force until amended’ clause.

    And I submit that the effectivity of the Senate’s Rules of Procedure is also continuous despite the Senate NOT writing in it for a continuing effectivity and despite the Senate NOT writing an end for the effectivity of its Rules of Procedure. (Of course that is until they themselves replace, amend, repeal, etc.. it.)

    You however submit that because the Senate did not write in their Rules of Procedure its continuing effectivity; you believe that it leaves you to conclude that its validity ends with the expiry of the power of its author.

    I cannot share your view.

    Because for me to share your view means that I also believe that the validity of the Rules of the House of Representatives ENDS with the expiry of the power of its author.

    House Rules
    -XXVI. EFFECTIVITY

    Section 151. Effectivity. These rules shall take effect on the date of their adoption.

    Adopted, November 20, 2007

    But since you believe in such, the Rules of the House do not remain in force towards the next House. So that when the next House of Representatives comes along; it must first make its Rules; which runs counter to the present Rule- CONVENING AND ORGANIZING THE HOUSE
    Section 1. First Meeting and Organization of the House. The Members shall meet and proceed to the organization of the House on the fourth Monday of July immediately following their election, at the place designated for the holding of their sessions.

    And there being then no default operating Rules for the House of Representatives (in consonance with your view), what if by some quirk Mindanao is invaded by a large foreign army at noon of June 30th following a national election; when will the Congress be able to declare the existence of a state of war?

    There is no escaping justice league’s comment “That the decision of the Supreme Court would impinge on all the Rules of a “new” Senate”! (just trying to be humorous there)

    • mindanaoan on April 10, 2008 at 8:35 pm

    justice league, i’m sorry i can’t really find anything anywhere linking neri and the rules of the senate. nobody aside from you seems to be raising that issue. maybe it can become another matter the supreme court needs to clarify. for now, i find it pointless to theorize on the effectivity of the rules of the house, when the discussion is on the rules of procedure of the senate.

    • nash on April 10, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    @bencard

    I agree 100%.

    “the philippines has unique problems that require unique solutions. indulging in the usual blame game, ad nauseam, will not accomplish anything other than inflame passions to create a belief that unwanted results of failed policies were brought about either by the sheer stupidity or the evil intentions of the governing authority. that may be part of it but the more fundamental cause is the flawed society that we have as a consequence of our tragic failure to educate our people on the values of self-reliance and personal responsibility.”

    • Bencard on April 11, 2008 at 1:46 am

    thanks, nash.

    justice league & mindanaoan, could it be that you are distinguishing apples from oranges? i think the rules of court are of the the same nature, and operate, as statutes. the only basic difference is that the rules are established by the supreme court while statutes are enacted by the legislature. the rules govern, not only judges and justices and other officers of the court, including attorneys, but also any and all litigants. until properly amended and promulgated (published), the rules remain regardless of the composition of the court.

    on the other hand, the rules of each chamber of the legislative body govern their internal affairs and are enforceable against all persons conducting business there whether as resource persons, witnesses, lobbyists, propagandists, or “public relations” operatives.

    i believe each legislative body is separate and distinct from its predecessors and successors. that’s why, for instance, they are normally referred to as 1st, 2nd or 3d
    congress/senate, with their own set of officers/committee chairpersons. it makes sense that members of a particular legislative group be not bound by the rules of its predecessors/successors unless the incumbents expressly adopts (by republishing) the same rules under its own identity as a distinct group. in any event, outsiders or third parties should not be bound by such rules (especially its penalty/contempt provisions) unless properly adopted and published. one cannot be made accountable for a liability of which he/she has not been given at least an opportunity to know.

    • justice league on April 11, 2008 at 10:36 am

    Mindanaoan and Bencard,

    The series of brownouts here is hampering my ability to address your posts.

    I’ll just get back to you as soon as I can.

    • mindanaoan on April 11, 2008 at 12:37 pm

    Bencard, maybe you have something to say about this question of justice league (which i didn’t try to answer for being another issue): if the effectivity of the rules of the house ends when the congress expires, what does the new house follow before it has adopted a new set of rules?

    justice league, i’ll hazard a guess. it follows the parliamentary practices of the Philippine Assembly, the House of Representatives, the Senate of the Philippines and the Batasang Pambansa, which are also mentioned in the suppletory provisions.

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

    Madonna, I think GMA’s governments lost much, if not all, of its ability and inclination to do long-term planning. It’s been in the middle of siege warfare almost since Day 1 of its existence in 2001 to do more than engage in surviving.

    The longest presidency since, ah, Marcos (haha), and it hasn’t been able to think long term all because its too busy trying to survive.

    Kinda sad, really.

    • cvj on April 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    The inability to engage in long-term planning while dealing with issues of political survival does not speak well of GMA’s ability to multi-task.

    • justice league on April 11, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Mindanaoan,

    The point will be clear when you give your conclusion regarding the validity of the Rules of the House of Representatives.

    The Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation states
    Sec. 24. Effectivity*
    These Rules shall take effect seven (7) days after publication in two (2) newspapers of general circulation.
    *Adopted, August 21, 1995; Publication, August 24, 1995 (Malaya and Philippine Star)
    Re-publication, December 1, 2006 (Philippine Daily Inquirer and Philippine Star)

    While the Rules of the House of Representatives states
    XXVI. EFFECTIVITY
    Section 151. Effectivity. These rules shall take effect on the date of their adoption.
    Adopted, November 20, 2007

    You concluded that the validity of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation ends with the expiry of the power of its author.

    So what is your conclusion regarding the validity of the Rules of the House of Representatives? Does the validity end with the expiry of the power of its author?

    If you say YES; then it seems hazard your guess befell.

    For how can you rely on the suppletory provisions of the House Rules when the entire House Rules will no longer be valid?

    And so what I wrote previously follows.

    If you say NO; how can you conclude differently from how you concluded with the validity of the Senate Rules of Procedure Governing Inquiries in Aid of Legislation?

    And so to your question to Bencard I will hazard my own guess; it shall be the Constitution.

    Bencard,

    Well definitely there is little ambiguity in your stand.
    I however believe that the rules of both Houses of Congress should be treated in the same way as the Rules of Court as you elucidated.

    The rules MUST carry over by default till they decide to adopt new rules otherwise the only default rules to be followed by both Houses shall be the Constitution (as far as I believe).

    I believe that pertinent provisions of the Charter in this matter are as follows (though there might be some that I might miss or include some that are not):

    ARTICLE VI- THE LEGISLATIVE DEPARTMENT
    Section 4. The term of office of the Senators shall be six years and shall commence, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. …..

    Section 7. The Members of the House of Representatives shall be elected for a term of three years which shall begin, unless otherwise provided by law, at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following their election. ….

    Section 15. The Congress shall convene once every year on the fourth Monday of July for its regular session, unless a different date is fixed by law, and shall continue to be in session for such number of days as it may determine until thirty days before the opening of its next regular session, exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. The President may call a special session at any time.

    Section 16. (1). The Senate shall elect its President and the House of Representatives, its Speaker, by a majority vote of all its respective Members. Each House shall choose such other officers as it may deem necessary.

    (3) Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, …

    (5) Neither House during the sessions of the Congress shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.

    Section 23. (1) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.

    (2) In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment thereof.

    ARTICLE VII
    EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

    Section 18. The President shall be the Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

    The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call. ……

    Section 23. The President shall address the Congress at the opening of its regular session. He may also appear before it at any other time.

    ARTICLE XVI
    GENERAL PROVISIONS
    Section 5.
    (7) The tour of duty of the Chief of Staff of the armed forces shall not exceed three years. However, in times of war or other national emergency declared by the Congress, the President may extend such tour of duty.

    If it will be held that both or even one of the Houses of Congress will not be bound by the rules of its predecessors till they themselves adopt it or at least adopt a new one; there might not be any rules to follow except the Constitution between the noon of June 30th following a national election till they convene on the 4th Monday of July unless a different date is fixed by law. Last year, they convened on 4th Monday of July (July 23, 2007).

    What if indeed an emergency arises between such dates that necessitates the action of Congress?

    As based on section 18 Article VII, … The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, CONVENE IN ACCORDANCE WITH ITS RULES without need of a call. …

    House Rules
    Section 84. Emergency Session. The House, if not in session, shall convene without need of a call within twenty-four (24) hours following the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or the occurrence of any national emergency.

    Rules of the Senate
    Though Section 84 of the House Rules has no specific counterpart in the Senate Rules; there is enough to go by with:

    SEC. 40. The Senate shall meet in session at three o’clock in the afternoon on week days, EXCEPT when the Senate decides otherwise. When the session is ongoing, no committee meeting or hearing under Rule XI shall be held.

    SEC. 42. The Senate shall convene once every year for its regular session. It shall continue to be in session for such number of days as it may determine in its legislative calendar, subject only to such limitations as may be provided by the Constitution: ….

    Those Rules of both Houses are, I believe enough to allow Congress to convene even before the 4th Monday of July after a national election.

    If the rules of the Houses do not carry over; what rules of Congress will Section 18 Article VII stand on?

    Though section 15 Article VI provides the President the power to call for a special session of Congress; the section gives the idea that Congress initially convened already.

    But even if such special session is sufficient for Congress to convene (which at this point I doubt); both Houses must first adopt a set of rules for themselves to address the situation if the previous rules do not carry over.

    Or what if a President isn’t even intending to call for a “special session to convene” Congress?

    What if a President declares Martial law (probably after a very very bad midterm elections for both Houses) between noon of June 30th and the 4th Monday of July?

    The same section 18 Article VII states that
    … Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. …

    What if that President chooses to just write to the Congress?

    Without existing rules carried from the previous one; even without a call, how will Congress convene itself outside of session in accordance with its rules WHEN IT HAS NO RULES YET?

    I earnestly await your thoughts on these matters

    • justice league on April 11, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Darn, I didn’t realize it was that long on Wordstar.

    • justice league on April 11, 2008 at 11:18 pm

    Ooooopppsss.

    Microsoft Word pala.

    • Bencard on April 12, 2008 at 2:12 am

    mindanaoan, justice league,

    i think, following the classic rule of interpretation that apparent ambiguities be resolved in favor of giving effect to what is necessary and reasonable, each incoming house has, in emergent situations, the initial right to follow and apply the rules of the outgoing house. i think, it is of very limited duration and applicable only to the situation at hand. it cannot be abused under pain of invalidation of the acts taken under such abusive exercise. for instance, failure to formally adopt and publish its rules say one month after the first session is, i think, unreasonable and unjustified nonfeasance (which is criminal). i think, in the absence of overriding purpose of the highest priority, adoption and promulgation of the rules must be the FIRST order of business.

    • justice league on April 12, 2008 at 2:26 am

    Bencard,

    That appears to be something that will have to come from the Supreme Court.

    In the scenario of Martial Law imposed by a President on such timing, would you say that Congress can thus be prevented from convening while (till the 4th Monday of July actually comes along) the Supreme Court decides on the matter?

    • Bencard on April 12, 2008 at 3:16 am

    justice league, i think that is precisely the kind of “emergent situation” i have in mind wherein the “old” rules may be applied to convene congress for the specific purpose of receiving “in person” the president’s report, or in the alternative, without the need of convening, to receive the written report. the sc may not prevent it by issuing a tro, as that could be an impermissible encroachment, but it may rule on what is constitutional for future application, not to invalidate what has been done.

    • Bencard on April 12, 2008 at 3:51 am

    btw, i think the evident difficulty the current senate is experiencing stems from the utter ignorance of some of its vociferous members, e.g., panfilo, jamby, jinggoy, mar roxas, etc.(all non-lawyers), and arrogance of some others, e.g., pimentel, biazon, etc., in the ways of the law and the constitution. these people, far from being statesmen that they ought to be, have no compunction courting constitutional crisis to advance selfish political ends.
    in their to desire to have it all and then some, they found their over-sized wings clipped a little bit. i hope they learned their lesson well.

    • grd on April 12, 2008 at 4:47 am

    Hawaiianguy,

    I agree with you, one critical factor attributed to our rice crisis should be land resources with these ongoing land conversions from agri to housing subd, malls, etc. (mostly in Luzon), again, it must be due to our growing population.

    aside from this, there are other conversions that are happening. in Mindanao there’s massive conversion of lands from palay to banana due to the profitability of the latter. this was proven true by a close friend whom I remember told me some 2 years ago that they have converted some 5 hectares of their family farm from rice to banana .

    Benjamin and Ledevina Carino, in their “Urbanization, Industrialization and Land Conversion in the Philippines” (2007), provide meat to this issue using data in all regions in the Philippines. They point to a range of problems arising from it, and diminished rice production is certainly one of them,

    Citing official sources, the Carinos say: “the country had 2.1 million hectares of land for agric and food production in 1992. By 1999, this figure has gone down to 1.3 million hectares.” By 2008, that area must have been down to a million or less hectares, given the rate of conversion going on…. Hawaiianguy

    I think there’s something wrong with the above figure you quoted. I have read in more than 1 paper that there are 4 million hec of rice farm and not 1.3 million or less. this could be true for how can the country produce the estimated 16 million tons of rice this year if we only have less than 1 million hec of rice land (average production as reported ranges from 3.5-3.8 metric tons/hec for ordinary seeds while 5-6 hec for hybrid seeds).

    taken from the philstar:

    “Total land area planted to rice in the Philippines was estimated at four million hectares, excluding upland areas planted to rice. Of the total, only about 70 percent is irrigated and the rest is rain-fed.”
    http://www.philstar.com/archives.php?&aid=20080329138&type=2&amp;

    How can rice production possibly keep up with a doubling population, when the ricefields have been cut to half their size?

    how can we stop conversions? I think benignO just gave the answer below:

    When rice prices rise high enough that channeling precious capital into developing land for rice cultivation becomes viable (more precisely, PROFITABLE), it is only then that this trend of cutting ricefields “to half their size” will be reversed… benignO

    .

    Indeed, it’s the profitability. I watched last week some ordinary farmers being interviewed about the increase in the price of palay and they say they are very happy, they were able to pay all their debts.

    • hawaiianguy on April 12, 2008 at 6:49 am

    grd,

    I appreciate your pointing out a possible error in the statistics. I have yet to look into the “correct” area devoted for rice production, although that should have been the concern of the Carinos who initially cited the data as coming from DA itself. In the absence of an explanation, I guess the data refer to areas under MAXIMAL utilization, not total areas devoted to rice production. By another land use criterion, what’s needed is, in fact, TWICE the area mentioned in that newspaper article to maintain adequate food security for the rapidly growing population in the Philippines.

    • KG on April 12, 2008 at 8:28 am

    JL,
    Thank you for pointing me back to this thread.
    Parang nabitin ako, kaya hinanap ko ang continuation dun sa latest thread na may realated topic.

    • mindanaoan on April 12, 2008 at 11:13 am

    justice league, yes, you might be correct. the constitution is where we begin. on one hand it it says “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings”. on the other hand it says “The Senate or the House of Representatives or any of its respective committees may conduct inquiries in aid of legislation in accordance with its duly published rules of procedure.” the constitution gave the power to determine its own rules to each house, but made a ‘duly published rules’ requirement on inquiries in aid of legislation.

    each house may determine the rules, it says. your problem of ‘no rules’ before it has adopted it own set of rules, therefore, seems to be really a non-problem at all! in an emergency, it can simply say, ‘we adopt the previous rules’, and voila! it has satisfied the contitutional provision of determining its own rules.

    also, it seems congress has other sources of rules of proceedings when something is not covered in its rules, aside from those mentioned in the suppletory provisions. in arnault, the supreme court referred to Cooley’s Constitutional Limitations and Jefferson’s Manual.

    in any case, you cannot say the house cannot conduct its sessions because it has no rules, because the constitutional provision of ‘may determine’ implies it may even choose not to have its own rules at all.

    finally, dragging the rules of the house to preserve the effectivity of the rules of procedure of the senate is simply unreasonable. they are not in the same boat.

    • justice league on April 12, 2008 at 5:27 pm

    Bencard,

    Your recent statements that the new Houses of Congress be allowed to apply the rules of the corresponding previous one (at least for a limited time as far as you are concerned) is now more aligned with mine.

    You gave an allowance of one month. Based on the history of the American House of Representatives however; there have been times when it took that House more than 2 months to adopt their House Rules (Of course, they never had a President Marcos like us who exploited whatever loophole can be found)

    George Galloway, in his History of the United States House of Representatives (though certain pieces of information have been assailed like his claim that no amendments have been introduced to the House Rules for a certain period of years; much of it have been accepted) notes that at least 3 Houses of Congress took more than 2 months to adopt House Rules.

    The present practice of adopting House Rules (nearly in the 1960’s) on the first day is claimed to be due to the caucus of the incoming or retained majority party. They already know what they want. (and that too has been assailed because it is claimed that in that way; it isn’t the House that chooses)

    (In our parts of the world; one never really knows if his party will be the majority party)

    But as to your claim on the non adoption of House Rules after a period of time; well, it does say “may”. Unlike “The President shall address ….” And as far as the Senate is concerned, they view their rules as having a continuing effectivity till repealed, amended, etc…

    BTW, ex-Pres. Estrada sent his purported “temporary disability” letter to the Senate President and the Speaker of the House. It was received at their offices but they were obviously elsewhere.

    Also, given the powers wielded by a President; he/she could very well padlock Congress also (much easier with Congress not having been convened). So I was more in thinking that it would be Congress going to the SC and not the Executive going to the SC.

    Mindanaoan,

    Yes. It does say “may” and if they choose otherwise (in consideration of the rules of the previous House not being carried over) it will be to their and our peril.

    As to your assertion on the ‘duly published rules’, the decision that arrived that there were none is AGAIN the 3 points enumerated in the previous posts above.

    As to your argument of the adoption of rules in an emergency; how can the Houses adopt rules when they have not been convened and so is definitely not in session?

    So your non-problem is still a big problem.

    Your voila! turns out to be wala.

    As to your assertion of Congress having other sources of rules of proceedings when something is not covered in its rules; did you consider that such might have been included in the suppletory provisions at the time of Arnault like the Jefferson Manual being referred to in the Rules of the Senate? So again; how can you rely on the suppletory provisions of the House Rules when the entire House Rules will no longer be valid?

    As to what you find as unreasonable, practically the same words yet different conclusions; (unless better arguments come along from you) one can more easily say that THAT is unreasonable.

    • justice league on April 12, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    I might have given the impression that adoption of American House rules on the first day just occured in the 1960’s.

    It was actually common also a long time before that but there came a time when Congressional members were amenable to discussing amendments on the first few days.

    Now, adoption of House rules by the U.S. House of Representatives on the first day is practically the norm.

    • mindanaoan on April 12, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    justice league, as stated earlier, the constitution gave
    each house the power to determine its rules of
    proceedings. however it does it is its own prerogative,
    even to the extent of not having one at all. so if it
    makes use of the rules of the previous house, for reasons
    of practicality and for its own purpose, it can really do
    so. it doesn’t mean the rules have extended effectivity, it only means the new house made use of its prerogative.

    the fact that, in galloway you cited above, the
    houses have been adopting the rules on the first day, and only 3 took more than 2 months, indicates their priority to establish their rules. it does not support your belief that the rules carry to the next house.

    as what can be understood from arnault the house
    of representatives, being a non-continuing body, cease to
    exist upon the periodical dissolution of congress. and
    further, “It is but logical to say that the power of
    self-preservation is coexistent with the life to be
    preserved.” coexistent means it expires with its
    principal. it cannot, by any stretch, mean, carry over until supplanted.

    as to “practically the same words”, how can you consider similarly the rules of the house, which the constitution gave each house to determine, with the rules of procedure, which the constitution rigged with a requirement? had there been no ‘duly’ in the requirement phrase, publication on the website, or in pamphlet form, would have been sufficient compliance.

    • mindanaoan on April 13, 2008 at 12:02 am

    Darn, I didn’t realize it will come out like that from notepad. 🙂

    • justice league on April 13, 2008 at 3:51 am

    Mindanaoan,

    The Philippine Congress convened on July 23, 2007. The Philippine House of Representatives adopted their House Rules on November 20, 2007. So what Rules were they using in the meantime?

    One of the times Martial law was declared in America (probably the last was after hurricane Katrina) was when Abraham Lincoln declared it during the Civil war. On September 15, 1863, Lincoln imposed Congressionally-authorized martial law. It was challenged in court in ex parte Milligan.

    Right in the middle of a bitter civil war; and Lincoln lost in the Supreme Court!

    The Court resoundingly told him that “Martial law … destroys every guarantee of the Constitution.”

    The SC delineated the confines of Martial law.

    Like I said before, America never had a President like we had.

    And as far as I understand, Martial law isn’t even in their Constitution while it is in ours. What they have like ours is a suspension of the writ of Habeas Corpus under the Sections for the Article of the Legislative branch while ours is under the Article of the Executive.

    The powers of the American Legislative branch according to the Constitution include:
    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
    To provide and maintain a Navy;
    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

    The power of the American President according to the Constitution:
    The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; ….

    Read again our own Section 18 on the Article of the Executive branch and you will see a difference.

    The rules of our Houses must continue till they themselves replace, repeal, amend, etc…. it.

    I asked this of Bencard so I think its about time I ask it if you. What if a President declares Martial law between noon of June 30th following a national election and the 4th Monday of July with the rules of the previous Houses having lost its effectivity?

    Can the Houses convene on their own? How?

    (If you’re planning to copy Bencard’s answers; then I suggest you answer the succeeding questions I asked him also.)

    BTW, you left out many questions but I’ll ask this one again. How can the Houses adopt rules when they have not been convened and so is definitely not in session?

    Now as to your question as to how I can consider the rules of the Houses in similar way as the rules of procedure of the Houses which the constitution rigged with a requirement; it was the way the Rules of Procedure was struck down.

    The rules of procedure was considered infirm by striking NOT at the rules of procedure BUT by striking at the core individuality of the House itself from where both rules emanate.

    Do you think arguments like every “House” is distinct from the one before it or after it, the composition of the “House” changes by the end of each term, each “House” may thus enact a different set of rules as it may deem fit, and the “House” is not a “continuing body” struck at the individuality of the Rules of Procedure?

    • justice league on April 13, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Ooooppsss.

    Lincoln was likely dead before the SC decided but everything else follows.

    • mindanaoan on April 13, 2008 at 10:27 am

    justice league, Can the Houses convene on their own? yes. there’s no problem how each house functions with or without its own rules. it’s inane to think congress cannot convene because it has not adopted its rules of proceeding.

    [C]ourts have declared that ‘the rules adopted by deliberative bodies are subject to revocation, modification or waiver at the pleasure of the body adopting them. And it has been said that Parliamentary rules are merely procedural, and with their observance, the courts have no concern. They may be waived or disregarded by the legislative body.‘ Consequently, ‘mere failure to conform to parliamentary usage will not invalidate action (taken by a deliberative body) when the
    requisite number of members have agreed to a particular measure. –osmena, jr. v. pendatun

    the senates rules of procedure was struck down not because of “the core individuality of the House itself from where both rules emanate” but because of non-compliance of the constitutional requirement of ‘duly’ published rules of procedure. it was the senate who tried to differentiate itself from the house, claiming it is a continuing body, to convince the supreme court that the publication of the senate rules of procedure on december 2006 already complied with the constitutional requirement. this ‘continuing’ differentiator is where the senate hinge its argument that it need not republish its rules of procedure. if it fails to convince the court that it is a continuing body, then like the house, it needs to publish its rules of procedure for the 14th senate. again, nobody aside from you seems to be following the line that the rules (both kinds) carry over to the next house.

    • justice league on April 13, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Erratum

    The writ of habeas corpus is also in our Article III.

    Mindanaoan,

    How many times must I tell you that I have not argued about a “continuing body” for either the House and the Senate?

    In Tolentino vs Sec. of Finance, while considering Osmena vs. Pendatun; the court said

    “… as we have already ruled, “parliamentary rules are merely procedural and with their observance the courts have no concern.” Our concern is with the procedural requirements of the Constitution for the enactment of laws.”

    Can you be SPECIFIC how Congress will be able to convene itself without having first its rules?

    As to your argument on the non-compliance of the Constitutional requirement of ‘duly’ published rules of procedure (Yes, there is a Constitutional requirement there just like there is one for Congress to convene itself and just as there is one for the enforcement of the anti-dynasty provision); what again is the basis of the Court in saying that the Constitutional requirement was not complied with?

    You’re going to go back again on that “non-continuing body” argument, aren’t you?

    The argument used was AGAINST the “body”, and you’re claiming the core individuality of THAT body wasn’t struck aren’t you?

    And why do you keep PERSISTING on the idea that I alone am following the line that the rules (both kinds) carry over to the next house?

    I let it passed then, but if you use that argument again (and unless Bencard and David [or anyone else] make their presence felt again with regards to my issue) I’m going to start claiming that you are the only one who doesn’t understand the issue!

    • justice league on April 13, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    Correction

    I let it passed then, but if you use that argument again (and unless Bencard or David [or anyone else] make their presence felt again with regards to my issue) I’m going to start claiming that you are the only one who doesn’t understand the issue!

Load more

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.