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Nov 19

Tidying up before the big push

(updated)

Today I went to the House of Representatives to watch our Motion for Intervention end up buried by the administration majority in the Committee on Justice. There weren’t many of us bloggers there, but it was comforting to know those among the intervenors unable to be present were thinking of us, as were other bloggers who have expressed their support, most lately including stuart-santiago and The Pelican Spectator.

As co-intervenor Marocharim Experiment blogged yesterday, everyone went into the process with no illusions, but no desire to compromise belief:

Like I said before: it doesn’t matter if GMA has two years or two days left in her Presidency. If she is found to be unfit to rule by virtue of a fair evaluation of evidence – or an admission of guilt – then the law doesn’t say that she doesn’t have to pay the price in the name of “stability” and “progress.” I reiterate: justice, fairness, and freedom are not words or compromises, but are perspectives.

For what actually transpired, {caffeine_sparks} provides the minutes of the proceedings of the Committee on (in)Justice. Here’s a sample, the moment of truth.


And see the coverage of Inquirer.net, of ABS-CBN, and part 1, part 2, and part 3 of GMANews.TV’s coverage. There’s Also the Philippine Star. While some of my reactions have been quoted in reports, I’ll get to that in my column tomorrow.

So let me point you in the direction of co-intervenors blog@AWBHoldings.com and particularly, of Alleba Politics who takes a close look at the Mindanao bloc in the House:

Curiously, South Cotabato Representative Darlene Antonino-Custodio and Bukidnon Representative Teofisto Guingona III who fought for the intervention during yesterday’s hearing was absent today. And I am disappointed. I was counting on Custodio to fight for Mindanao, to declare that an injustice done to Mindanao and its people has repercussions and consequences. Arroyo has used and continues to use Mindanao and it’s issues for her political gain. But this is proof that we are not willing to fight for ourselves. Of the more than 50 representatives for Mindanao, not one, not a single one of them voted to accept the intervention. Not even one of them lobbied for it. Not one of them endorsed it.

Let it be known that these congressmen, supposed representatives of Mindanao and its people stood idly by, while their land, their constituents, their constitution, their country was put in peril and bastardized by Arroyo:

1. Aquino, Jose II S.

2. Amante, Edelmiro A.

3. Plaza, Rodolfo ‘Ompong’ G.

4. Pancrudo, Candido Jr. P.

5. Guingona, Teofisto ‘TG’ III L.

6. Zubiri, Jose Ma. III F.

7. Uy, Rolando A.

8. Rodriguez, Rufus B.

9. Romualdo, Pedro P.

10. Zamora, Manuel ‘Way Kurat’ E.

11. Amatong, Rommel C.

12. Nograles, Prospero C.

13. Garcia, Vincent J.

14. Ungab, Isidro T.

15. Olaño, Arrel R.

16. Lagdameo, Antonio Jr. F.

17. Cagas, Marc Douglas IV C.

18. Bautista, Franklin P.

19. Dayanghirang, Nelson L.

20. Almario, Thelma Z.

21. Belmonte, Vicente Jr. F.

22. Dimaporo, Abdullah D.

23. Dumarpa, Faysah RPM

24. Balindong, Pangalian M.

25. Datumanong, Simeon A.

26. Clarete, Marina P.

27. Ramiro, Herminia M.

28. Emano, Yevgeny Vincente B.

29. Taliño-Mendoza, Emmylou ‘Lala’ J.

30. Piñol, Bernardo Jr. F.

31. Chiongbian, Erwin L.

32. Dilangalen, Didagen P.

33. Antonino-Custodio, Darlene R.

34. Pingoy, Arthur

35. Mangudadatu, Datu Pax S.

36. Go, Arnulfo F.

37. Jikiri, Yusop H.

38. Arbison, Munir M.

39. Matugas, Francisco T.

40. Romarate, Guillermo Jr. A.

41. Pichay, Philip A.

42. Garay, Florencio C.

43. Jaafar, Nur G.

44. Climaco, Maria Isabelle

45. Fabian, Erico Basilio A.

46. Jalosjos-Carreon, Cecilia G.

47. Labadlabad, Rosendo S.

48. Jalosjos, Cesar G.

49. Yu, Victor J.

50. Cerilles, Antonio H.

51. Cabilao, Belma A.

52. Hofer, Ann K.

These are the people who have FAILED to represent and defend their constituents in Mindanao. Let it be known that they refused to recognize and accept the facts, that they have acted contrary to their mandate, their duty to serve their constituents in Mindanao. Let it be known that they stood idly by while Arroyo gave away a piece of their land, created a state within our island, entered an agreement that put our people and our nation in peril. They have failed to serve, failed to do what they are paid to do.

Of course what happened today was preordained.

Yesterday, the administration majority actually wanted to dispense with our Intervention. Please see the summary of what transpired, as recorded by {caffeine_sparks}: there’s also this interview with Rep. Teddy Casino:

Ricky Carandang: Sir, sufficient in form, tomorrow the vote on substance but there was a bit to do about whether or not the intervention filed by number of people would be included in the house. That wasn’t in the complaint… that wasn’t resolved. Was it?

Teddy Casino: No, it wasn’t resolved. In fact, we requested the committee to provide us copies of that intervention so that tomorrow we will have a more informed debate on whether to accept or not this intervention from various complainants.

Ricky Carandang: Okay, but as everybody loves to say in the House, Sir. It’s a numbers game and it doesn’t look like the majority is inclined to allow it in.

Teddy Casino: Well, the committee has to make a decision. What we are against is that it was a unilateral action by the committee chairperson Matt Defensor to consider the intervention as prohibited and to return the same to the complainants. We just want that thorough discussion be made because we think that the complainants also have right to be heard in this committee especially the importance of the issue that they are trying to bring out which the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain.

Ricky Carandang: But what was the argument why they wanted to exclude it? And did they exclude it without hearing the arguments of the intervenors? Or did they vote to exclude it on a mere procedural matter?

Teddy Casino: Well it was a mere procedural matter on the technicality that the first complaint was already referred to the committee and therefore one-year ban was already in place. And the chair of the committee considered the intervention as a new complaint. But as was clarified as the chair of the committee on rules Art Defensor, this is not a new complaint. This is an intervention or more generically an amendment to the first complaint which the Justice committee would have jurisdiction over that.

Ricky Carandang: So you seem to be implying that there’s some inconsistencies here with the application of their rules.

Teddy Casino: Yes, because under the rules of criminal procedure, which is supposed to be supplementary to our rules, you can amend the complaint before arraignment. And the president has not be arraigned yet. We have not reached that stage. So our theory in the minority, is that any complaint can be amended by the Justice committee and there is no prohibition on amendments, interventions or any other matter. It’s just that the committee will have to deliberate and decide on this issue. This is a long established point of the minority, which in the previous impeachment proceedings have always been denied. But we think that it is in keeping with the rules.

Ricky Carandang: Well sir tomorrow then based on what you’re saying I anticipate a lot of discussion again about the rules about whether that intervention can be heeded or not. Just out of curiosity sir… will you…

Teddy Casino: But at the end of the day, it will come to a vote.

So, as one of my co-intervenors, New Philippine Revolution put it, we got to live another day.

I don’t exactly agree with Rep. Casino (I wouldn’t concede “more generically an amendment”) but in view of the challenge we blogger-intervenors issued last week and which I restated in my column last Monday, Walk the talk, congressmen. It was good to hear Casino say what he did and act the way he did; and of course particularly heartening were interventions of Reps. Darlene Custodio and T. Guingona III during the hearing.

The Inquirer.net report summarizes the questions that were meant to be resolved today as follows:

Quezon City Representative Matias Defensor, chairman of the justice committee, had raised the “prejudicial questions” that must be considered before determining whether the complaint would be sufficient in form and in substance would be:

‘ Which complaint/ complaints must be considered?

‘ Is the complaint in intervention allowed by the Constitution, the Rules on Impeachment or the Rules on Criminal Procedure in its suppletory character?

‘ Is the chairman on the committee on justice correct in returning the Lozano complaint based on the precedent as approved by the committee on justice in the case of the Tamano/ Pulido complaint?

The four complaints submitted before the committee were from:

‘ Jose de Venecia III, et. al. submitted on October 13;

‘ Attorney Guillermo Sotto submitted October 23;

‘ Manuel Quezon III et al submitted on November 12; and

‘ Lawyer Oliver Lozano submitted directly to the committee on justice and received by the committee secretary on November 17.

In the end, those from the minority who were present did take up the cudgels, not just for the impeachment, but our intervention, today. IWe were, however, never able to argue our case, which I present for the record (my thanks to the lawyers helping us on this):

1. The intervention is not a separate complaint involving a distinct cause of action but is just another aspect of the original cause of action upon which the de Venecia impeachment complaint rests, which is GMA’s culpable violation of the Constitution and breach of her oath as President of the Philippines.

2. The primary objective of the remedy of intervention is to avoid multiplicity of suits by allowing all related causes of action and issues to be resolved in one proceeding. As long as intervention has been properly and timely made and the intervention would not cause any injustice to anyone, it should not be denied. In fact the ends of justice would be better served by granting the intervention, as public interest should predominate over technical or procedural considerations.

3. Intervention should be granted if the intervenor(s) can show that they have a legal interest in the matter in litigation. As citizens and taxpayers, it cannot be denied that intervenors have a legal right to ensure that the laws of the land are upheld, especially if the violator is a public official. Impeachment is a process of national inquest into the conduct of public officials and the bringing of charges against them for misconduct in office.

4. The intervention is based on judicial findings which were not yet made or in existence at the time of the filing of the original complaint. Hence, it may be argued that an “intervening cause” , i.e. the ruling on the unconstitutionality of the BJE MOA (which was not appealed by the government), justifies the inclusion of the said subject matter as one of the grounds for impeachment.

In other news, there has been much tsk-tsking about Secretary Jesus Dureza’s opening prayer at the opening of yesterday’s Cabinet meeting.

Freudian slip? Trial balloon? Sneaky sabotage?

It has been more than two years since the President began chanting her mantra of “attaining first world status by 2020,” and began classifying our country as a “Second World country,” and by now, the phrase has become yet another tired presidential propaganda line, except, of course, for the very real possibility that the Palace believes its own propaganda.

And that it can be quite methodical and deliberate about achieving what it wants, in a manner calculated to reassure its loyalists, and those hoping against hope the current regime has an expiration date, and not unduly arouse the citizenry. Victory is so close, the Palace functionaries can almost taste it. Even as RG Cruz cautioned for the public to keep its eyes “on the ball,” it seems some factotums couldn’t resist a little gloating.

As Ding Gagelonia blogging At Midfield recounts,

This writer recalls that just weeks ago a commenter over at FilipinoVoices.com who claimed to be a ranking lawyer with direct links to the Palace revealed that they “wanted a 10-year term extension for GMA beyond 2010.”

This year -or next- as the Year of Political Rapture just came closer; aside from the usual suspects getting the ball rolling on further packing the Supreme Court, it was interesting to see Speaker Nograles in the space of eight months going from “amendments after 2010” in February to “maybe some amendments, let’s see” in May, to “amendments are nigh!” Saying on the news, tonight, that he was tickled pink by Juan Ponce Enrile’s election as Senate President and pointing to the trial balloon he started floating back in February, a Constitutional Convention instead of the more politically nerve-wracking method of using the Supreme Court as a blunt instrument against the Senate. (To my mind, this is where Enrile would be useful: he could smoothly navigate a Constitutional Convention law through the Senate, calling the bluff of Senators who said the only kind of Charter Change they’d support is thru a Convention).

Anyway, seems after gauging public opinion, people have either tuned out, or have proven themselves so tractable and manageable, that the administration thinks now is the time because all those saying they will “wait until 2010” are bluffing and will actually roll over and play dead if and when the President’s term extension by whatever means is achieved.

The prospects, if not for her, then for those surrounding her, are glittering indeed. As I mentioned in my 2007 column Quackery, if she’s in office come 2020, she would only be one year shy of matching Ferdinand Marcos’s grip on power.

But let me close with these reassuring words from the President’s ally, Rep. Danilo Suarez, explaining why initial reports of a 40-strong House delegation to accompany the President to Peru (subsequently reduced to 5) was no big deal:

Asked why such a huge group wants to join Mrs. Arroyo to Peru despite the economic crisis, Suarez said, “We have problems, but we don’t have a crisis.”

This reminds me of a conversation I had last Saturday, when I ran into Prospero Pichay of all people in Greenbelt. I asked him about our Chess team and then talk drifted to what seems to have been uppermost in his mind.

“You know this is a time not for politics but getting down to work,” he said, and proceeded to of course pat himself on the back as the new irrigation chief. I told him I’d been hearing of downsizing in some BPO’s, and that there didn’t seem to be much in the way of the administration (which he so loyally serves) doing much by way of revealing whether it has a game plan -starting with enumerating the challenges ahead.

He sort of snorted and said, “they’re clueless,” and proceeded to say some rather uncomplimentary things about people in the Cabinet like Angelo Reyes, who he basically described as a know-nothing as far as his portfolio was concerned.

So I responded by asking why Lakas-CMD didn’t unveil a plan, since, after all, political life for people like him goes beyond the term of the President. He smiled and said some non-committal things. Then paused, and said, “even she doesn’t listen to me, every time I make a suggestion, well, you know how taray she can be.”

And then, after some more pleasantries (he is, after all, a pleasant person) we parted ways.

Onward to First World status by 2020!

115 comments

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  1. anthony scalia

    Bert,

    “inggit nga ako kay UP n, kung ano-anong smiley nalalagay niya.”

    ako din

  2. anthony scalia

    istambay,

    wala sa bibliya ang “God help those who help themselves”.

  3. anthony scalia

    kaminanman – HA HA HA

    Bert and Anthony – HE HE HE

    Istambay – HOHOHO

    Yano – HI HI HI

    nation on the ‘united opposition’ – HU HU HU

  4. nash

    “Meanwhile, the tsunami of outsourced white collar work (BPO) continues unabated and the Philippines continues to be seen as the main benefactor now and in the future.”

    Fota, INDUSTRY ba iyang BPO na iyan???? Zomg.

  5. istambay_sakalye

    “nation on the ‘united opposition’ – HU HU HU”

    HOHOHO!!!

  6. istambay_sakalye

    “wala sa bibliya ang “God help those who help themselves”.

    -ano klaseng bibliya ang hawak mo? baka galing sa DECS yan!

  7. istambay_sakalye

    “wala sa bibliya ang “God help those who help themselves”.

    –my mistake. hohoho. acutally ben franklin uttered these words! mea culpa! 🙁

  8. cvj

    grd (at 3am), the banners were there before the 2004 elections.

  9. KG

    “Fota, INDUSTRY ba iyang BPO na iyan???? Zomg.”

    Kahit showbiz industry.

  10. hvrds

    It is time for Big Mike and GMA to make their final push to remain on top.

    Marcos did it during a time of another financial crisis.

    A similar but more serious one has left the station and is gathering steam.

    Gloria the Savior to the Rescue.

    When a fast moving object hits a stationary object you will have a release of energy.

    They might just unite the opposition on this obvious well thought out last push.

  11. istambay_sakalye

    “wala sa bibliya ang “God help those who help themselves”.

    i am sorry as it was a lapse of judgment and also i promise to step down after the 2010 election (nothing about presidential), as i made good on my word the last time i promised not to run in the 2004 presidential election. also, i will face all civil and criminal charges against me in philippine and international courts. i will be vindicated as i am the truth, the way and chosen by God to lead the filipino people to 2020 first world status.

    hello garci? yes ma’am. 😉

  12. mlq3

    Brian, I think the local literati are stunned over Miguel’s spreading his wings and taking off abroad. 😉

  13. Bert

    “so what if they have banners about “Strong Philippines 2010″? what have they achieved so far?

    what’s the connection with the phils “First World Status by 2020″?”

    haaaaaaaay!

  14. grd

    “grd (at 3am), the banners were there before the 2004 elections.” Cvj

    cvj, so? she’s allowed to run in 2004, right? you voted for her remember?

  15. grd

    Haaaaaa din!

  16. BrianB

    Manolo

    I’m stunned my work in progress didn’t make it to the long list.

    Still I think his first novel only proves he’s still a protege of hagedorn.

  17. grd

    After Gloria’s historical announcement at Rizal’s grave, the camps displayed banners at the gates which said “Strong Philippines 2010″.

    So is “First World Status by 2020″ another prophecy? By soldiers and cops? tongue

    so tongue, what exactly did you mean with your post below?

    I’d like to see how the guru Enrile, with his generals in tow, go to this battle. It’s definitely gonna be far better than that of Villar and his Mickey Mouse Club… tongue – November 18th, 2008 at 5:13 am

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