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Designed to fail and failing by design
By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on November 21, 2008 162 Comments 19 min read
A weekend reflection on power Previous Tidying up before the big push Next

My column for yesterday was Congressional feeding frenzy.

Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel of Akbayan sent me a clarification via SMS:

U wrote in ur col abt me “not lifting a finger, constraind as she is by A’s party positn, alignd w/Bayan’s, in favor of d Pres’s BJE-Moa scheme.” Kept lifting not just my finger, but my hand, 2 b recognizd by Defensor 2 speak, but he ignord me 4 d 2nd straight day; sinugod ko sya rt after d hearing 2 say that I was wearing a cloak of invisibility; he apologizd twice 2 me last nt during d plenary. Didn’t vote vs throwing out ur interventn only bec I’m not a mbr of d Justice Com, but I would have if I were. Our positn is not aligned w/ Bayan’s; they suportd d Moa-AD; we crit’zd d proceses atending it n GMA’s Cha2 agenda hitchhiking on it while suporting els of its substance such as d rt 2 self-determinatn.

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(Above: scenes from the Committee on Justice Hearing at the Andaya Hall of the House of Representatives)

Blogger Et Cetera Et Cetera was there, and after the voting took place (see photos above), she mused on what the voting and her previous experiences said of how the odds are stacked against anyone attempting to work for change:

While waiting, I was having slow motion flashbacks of the time when I first started policy research and advocacy work. A few years ago, we were meeting with a group of big businessmen explaining why the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) should give a rate roll back on cargo handling rates after a series of arbitrary rate increases. We were trying to get them to make a position. So we were there explaining to them that it wasn’t about the rate increases per se but it was more of the fact that the PPA has never followed due process when it comes to cargo handling rate increases. In fact, they only rely on cargo handlers’ claims, which were mostly unsubstantiated, as the only basis for granting rate increases. We also explained that there was a conflict of interest in PPA’s persona being both a regulator and an operator. Why? Because PPA benefits from its own regulation. How? Well once a cargo handler asks for a rate increase, the PPA readily grants it to them because by law, the PPA is allowed to share at least 10% of the cargo handlers’ gross revenues. For international ports, it’s 20%. So if you were PPA, any increase would be beneficial to you, right?

While explaining that to the group, their President at that time asked us, “If we support your call for a rate rollback, how much would that amount to, (meaning how much will shippers save) as opposed to antagonizing the government (PPA)?” We told him that based on calculations that shippers would be saving few millions. Then he goes “So a few millions divided by how many businessmen? That’s not a lot. We’d rather not antagonize the government.” Then we said, but sir, it’s the principles. To which he replied “Principles don’t fly. What’s important are the numbers”. I could not for the life of me believe what I heard. I remember telling myself that I will not let people like him ruin whatever is left of my idealism.

Fast forward to yesterday. I felt sick to my stomach because that’s exactly what happened at the hearing. He was right. Principles didn’t fly. In the end, what was important was the numbers. It was indeed a numbers game afterall.

A fellow intervenor, New Philippine Revolution, explains the intervention from the point of view of Muslims, and also, other people supportive of a peaceful resolution to the causes of conflict in Mindanao.

The news yesterday summarized the events: Arroyo allies go for the kill: House panel quickly junks 3 more impeach raps. Blogger The Warrior Lawyer sees it for what it is: prelude to the throwing out of the impeachment complaint. What’s interesting is the process of elimination, supposed to continue Thursday and conclude Friday, has been postponed to next week.

Why?

It may be that other opportunities presented themselves. This morning the headlines screamed, Arroyo son leads Charter change bid: 150 solons sign on for constituent assembly. This immediately galvanized bloggers like Pinoy Law Student and the Warrior Lawyer who does the political math:

And she would only need 196 signatures, which represent the two-third votes of the combined membership of the Senate (23) and the House (238), should the Supreme Court rule that a constituent assembly (composed of both houses of Congress) would vote jointly and not separately. A friendly SC could pave the way.

This explains the confidence of the President’s son, even as he denied being the ringleader in the House:

Arroyo, however, denied that he was leading the signature campaign, saying he just signed it and discussed it with his colleagues in the House just like any other congressman.

“(I was) one of the signatories. I also asked some of my friends, like Congressman Raul Gonzales Jr, to look into the matter. That is how we are in Congress. We are a collegial body. We try to ask our colleagues who are close to us to look at the issues. There is nothing wrong with that, we are a democracy,” said Arroyo.

Arroyo said the proponent of the resolution calling for a constituent assembly, Kampi president and Camarines Sur Rep. Luis Villafuerte, is the one heading the signature drive. House Speaker Prospero Nograles is also an author of a House resolution seeking to amend the Constitution’s provisions on foreign investments.

At least 163 lawmakers have signed Nograles’ resolution as of Friday morning.

“Hindi ako nagpapaikot niyan. If you look at the paper the main proponents here are Congressman Villafuerte and Speaker Nograles, and this is exactly the same piece of paper that circulated during the time of Speaker (Jose) De Venecia (Jr)… I’m not the one leading it. I don’t even know what level the signatures already,” said Arroyo.

Arroyo said he supports a constituent assembly because he wants Congress to thresh out issues about the Constitution “like scholars,” and dispelled rumors that he wants Charter Change railroaded.

The lawmaker said even if they succeed in calling for a Con-Ass, passing an amendment to the Constitution is still a long way.

“It is just calling for a Con-Ass. At the end of the day it will go back to the people for a referendum,” said Arroyo.
Arroyo said that once the House has mustered support from three-fourths or 175 out of the 238 congressmen and has created a justiciable controversy, they can compel the Supreme Court to decide on whether the Constitution should be amended by joint or separate Congress voting.

So the game plan’s all there, as the game plan’s been widely reported for some time now.

Within a few hours of the news breaking, Ellen Tordesillas was reporting on her blog the House majority was only 15 votes shy of their requirements. As of my writing this, the number of Representatives who’ve signed on to the Constituent Assembly resolution is 167. For the record, RG Cruz saw it coming and warned the public about it.

(This is a good time to review How a bill becomes a law, courtesy of The Manila Times).

The new big push goes against a rather brittle, to begin with, consensus reached in early 2007, that Charter Change was too controversial an effort to undertake for the remainder of the President’s term. That consensus then evolved into an even broader one, to simply let things be, by allowing the President to finish her term in 2010 so long as she didn’t take any overt steps to break that consensus.

That consensus has now been broken (whether or not the administration was serious about it to begin with, after facing a public rebuff in December, 2006, is debatable: some weeks back, The Lonely Vampire Chronicle wrote the Palace game plan’s two-pronged: 1. Charter Change; 2. emergency rule). The biggest obstacle to the ruling coalition’s ambitions -a Supreme Court majority not controlled by the Palace- has been taken care of, and will improve, from the Palace point of view, throughout the coming year. Only once or twice in our modern political history since 1935 has an administration enjoyed such a thorough domination of the Supreme Court. It would be political madness for the administration not to exploit -and continue to exploit- such a tremendous majority.

And there’s something in it for everyone. The President, in many ways, has built up an association with her ruling coalition based on giving her subordinates free rein in their duchies so long as they marshal themselves in her defense whenever her Queendom is threatened. Indeed, there’s something rather Elizabethan about her way of managing things. Two stories will suffice.

Earlier this year, someone told me that a Mindanao mayor recounted to him that the cost of a visitation by the President -and she likes to tour the country and drop in on local executives- was in the neighborhood of 3-5 million Pesos. That’s the cost of the security, housing, feeding, entertainment, etc. that officials have to shoulder, whenever the President and her court descends to show grace-and-favor to a local ally.

Add to this another story, by a former Treasury official, that the President travels with a government checkbook and is in the habit of whipping it out and filling out and handing out checks to officials, when she drops in on them. Among other things, it makes instant reimbursements possible, and the doling out of favors, besides, for project funding, for example. The President’s penchant for check-writing apparently drives Department of Budget and Management officials nuts, since they have to anxiously await the cashing of those checks, to find out how much the President has doled out and find ways to massage the figures into all the other government expenses being incurred.

The President, for her part, has a broad vision of the development of the country and it’s best expressed in this DPWH map:

super regions

But as for what goes on in these broad geographical divisions, she is less concerned so long as it is done by loyal allies. So even as she consolidates, for planning purposes, the national territory, at the same time, the atomization of that territory is taking place with her blessings.

Last last Tuesday, my episode on The Explainer was on the proposed division of Quezon Province. It was a scheme for which the local prelate has taken credit, and in pursuit of which the local Catholic Church has been mobilized. Much confusion has surrounded the plebiscite date, and the question has ended up before the Supreme Court. One of the leading critics of the proposed provincial split is Atty. Sonny Pulgar and three of his blog entries lays out the combination of local and national motivations for the gerrymandering he opposes. See No to Quezon division and Plebiscite Math and QUEZON del SUR: A Leap in Pitch Dark . Most interesting to me is his calculation that in a province with a voting population of 800,000 the fate of the province actually rests on a scant 100,000 voters, the expected turnout in a provincial plebiscite -which of course reduces the whole exercise to a battle of the political machines.

Honing the political machines and subordinating whatever authentic national development plans the administration has, to keeping those machines well-oiled and their leaders content, while starving all opponents, is not new. It’s simply a reality that has to be confronted. A report in Newsbreak: Mayors glad, sad over SC decision voiding 16 cities served to refocus my attention on this point. There’s a merry mix of motives and at times, the political class contradicts itself; but you can be sure that when push comes to shove, they know where their future prosperity lies.

It lies in nurturing -and there is no point nurturing something if you’re not going to trot it out and use it from time to time- the power of numbers where those numbers count. Those numbers count where they can be used in a manner that can be claimed to democratic because republican and representative: and used as a foil to popular opinion or popular sentiment. This allows the appearance of democracy to be maintained while defanging the population whose democratic sentiments contradict the instincts of the ruling coalition.

You could say that this has always been what sets representative, republican democracy from a purely plebiscitary democracy. Except you have the problem that the representative instincts of our political class clashes with the plebiscitary preferences of our broader political culture. The most effective leaders are those who have shrewdly used these plebiscitary instincts to validate and strengthen their representative claims.

An entry in Filipino Voices yesterday, by Dean Jorge Bocobo, Does the One-third Minority Rule Illegitimize Impeachment? makes me consider the flaws of the present Charter. It takes fewer votes by representatives to impeach a president than are required to rename a street. He asks if this is democratic. He says permitting a minority to impeach a President violates a cardinal principle of democracy: majority rule.

In a comment I replied that the problem he identified is only one of many problems brought up by a Constitution that was written by people who were backward-looking instead of being forward-looking; not least because the looking back looked only to their recent past, instead of the way constitution-writers have traditionally looked back, to see where the past can help in building a better political framework for the future.

In Bocobo’s entry, for example, he points to Hilario Davide proposing to reduce the number of legislators required to impeach the chief executive, based on his experience as an MP in the unlamented Batasan Pambansa. Yet Davide, by doing so, and trying to unshackle the legislature from the tyranny of numbers, ignored altogether the larger, richer, history of impeachment as a process.

Fr. Bernas, one of the authors of the Constitution, has himself suggested that one of their innovations, the Judicial and Bar Council as replacement for the Commission on Appointments as the vetting authority for presidential appointments to the Supreme Court, should be dispensed with. For all its limitations, the old way of vetting appointments to the Supreme Court seems to have been better.

So here’s just some, and I’m sure other have their own list, of the the things wrong with the Constitution: that a minority suffices for impeachment, substituting the Judicial and Bar Council for the Commission on Appointments, maintaining the Marcos era authority to automatically reenact budgets, instituting the military as guardian of the state, instituting a multiparty system without runoff elections for national office, electing the Senate in halves instead of thirds, all established a system designed not to function at all -or perhaps, to be more accurate about it, takes principles of checks and balances to extremes.

A critic of our intervention in the impeachment, blogger Seven Million Golden Fish, by pointing to the lack of a consensus on the appropriateness of the Supreme Court’s decision on the BJE-MOA, also tangentially points to an ongoing debate on the current Supreme Court, and the elimination, for all intents and purposes, of the Political Question doctrine, again an innovation introduced into the present Constitution by former Chief Justice, because of the Supreme Court’s shameful surrender to the chief executive in the Javellana v. Executive Secretary case, which provided the legal justification for the New Society.

For example, personally, I am a believer in a strong presidency. But a presidency armed with positive powers institutionally-ordained, and not wrested by means of subverting the constitutional order. And yet I do agree, to a certain extent, with the assertion of defenders of the President, like Alex Magno, that the presidency under the 1987 Constitution is condemned to fighting for its political life from the very start, which hampers the ability of any president to get anything done within their limited, six-year term (I also subscribe to the dictum put forward by Jose Yulo back in the 1930s: “six years is too long for a bad president and too short for a good one”). The presidency has to bear the burden of historical expectations of authority and dynamism, while being deprived of what makes that authority legitimate and arms the office with the ability to get things done: a firm mandate.

You could argue that a president who wants to achieve anything -and who has the combination of ruthlessness, fortitude, vision, and good luck any chief executive requires- has no choice but to bend the rules, circumvent them, or or flout them, to exercise the authority the public and political class both expect of the institution. That if the current President can claim certain achievements -and be condemned for institutional, constitutional, legal, moral, and administrative and political shortcomings- they are two sides of the same coin, which is, that the office has tremendous potential shackled by tremendous limitations, not in the personality of whoever happens to be chief executive, but in the way the whole politico-legal framework has been shakily established since 1987.

The citizenry then, is in a Catch-22 situation. Most everyone who takes the time to ponder the present constitutional framework finds its shortcomings to be so extensive, some sort of change is required -even a total overhaul. Only those who helped write the present Charter seem to hold it in some sort of affection. The problem, and this is at the heart of anything political, is timing. To make the necessary changes requires a great deal of trust in those in authority -and that trust simply doesn’t exist. So the dilemma is, make necessary changes yes, but making those changes will perpetuate the existing problems, or replace them with entire different, but quite possible, worse ones?

More on that in my next entry.

As for co-intervenor, blogger [email protected], the solution is very simple. Amend the Constitution to establish a hereditary monarchy:

I take offense at the prevailing culture of money and power not only in the House, but in all elected offices.

There is no use rebutting their arguments. As I have said earlier, they do not listen to reason. They have chosen to be deaf to the people’s voice. They have chosen to be dumb in exchange for whatever they want.

They have become subservient to the one who dispenses power and money. Which brings me to my next point.

From next week till they adjourn to enjoy the fruist of their kowtowing for the Christmas break, the House can deal with Charter change. With the recent breeding of a new mongrel in the Senate of the Republic, a Charter change in whatever mode is now possible. Since it is inevitable (if we believe Jesus Dureza and Gloria Arroyo’s supporters in the Intarwebs), I will swim with the current and support Charter change for one condition and one condition only: OUR FORM OF GOVERNMENT SHOULD BE AN ABSOLUTE, HEREDITARY MONARCHY WITH A SUBSERVIENT PARLIAMENT, COMPOSED OF A HOUSE OF LORDS AND A HOUSE OF COMMONS.

I have several reasons why I am making this condition.

1. Both Houses of Congress and majority of the elected officials of this country are acting as if Gloria Arroyo is queen anyway, so dispense with bullshit called democracy and establish an absolute monarchy, which is what is existing now.

2. Our elected officials act as if their offices are theirs and their kin’s, so dispense with the bullshit called elections and establish a hereditary monarchy with hereditary peerages, which is what is existing now, anyway.

3. Our officials act as if they derive their power from God, so dispense with the bullshit called separation of Church and State and instead establish a monarchy with a state religion, which is what is existing now, anyway.

4. Our officials love their titles so much, so dispense with the bullshit called leaders-as-servants-of-the-people and instead establish a monarchy with all the peerages and titles that we can bestow.

5. Lastly, our officials love acting before the cameras and pageantry. So dispense with the bullshit called republicanism and instead establish a monarchy with all the pomp and pageantry that it entails.

Oh well. The problem is some Palace bootlicker might just take the above entry seriously.

Until then, let me revisit this question posed last February: what to do, when When our representatives fail?


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  1. scalia, i don’t know if amendments themselves have ever been brought to the supreme court. what has been questioned is if the process of amendments conformed with the constitution; and whether the ratification of a new constituion conformed to the provisions of the old one. so let me suggest your list is too lengthy and not based on actual processes.

    they might be as follows:

    1. the House passes a resolution calling for a Constituent Assembly. Senate doesn’t or refuses to, respond. House proceeds by treating amendments as a law; on the day of the final voting some senators show up and vote with House to give a semblance of voting together. Somewhere in this merry mixup the Senate goes to the Supreme Court to challenge the process.
    2. Con-Ass formation survives Supreme Court scrutiny (the SC cannot review the proposed changes themselves, since it would make it judge in its own cause, for example if the amendments include establishing a Constitutional Court separate from the Supreme Court as proposed by some)
    3. COMELEC deliberates and finalizes plans for and schedules the referendum
    4. Actual conduct of the referendum within 90 days of the passage of the law or Supreme Court approval.
    5. Counting of votes cast: swift, because there are only Yes or No votes. (As in past plebiscites, the amendments are all or nothing: you cannot vote on single amendments as they are all intertwined in the Constitutional framework).
    6. Questions on the plebiscite survive Supreme Court scrutiny.
    7. Parliamentary elections in 2010. President runs for MP for Pampanga. Decorative President elected but with ceremonial role.

  2. I will be here anthony. I will be here. to help out….its getting really really cold over here that I think I will staying home more often on the weekends….in my pc of course…

  3. i cant argue on specific details though unlik eyou and geo becuase I havent been updated my self so much on teh situations in Philippines. But the thing is what ever the issue is , this anti Gloria crowd has the same reaction all over again. It like its was programmed in them already that their reactions seem so automatic already. you know the Garci tape term extension. etc etc…..

  4. For political leaders who opposes CHA-CHA are those with personal agenda.
    For those who are for it have a vision of what will happen to this country 10 to 50 years from now.
    It may not be the right time but when is the right time?

  5. “they might be as follows”:-mlq3

    Might be , Manolo right? But what if its “might not be”? Can’t you imagine the damage that you are inflicting the nation if your might be will not happen?

    And one more thing, you and your ilk has been talking out loud about your “power” over Gloria or any other public officials. Yet you have been very afraid of your might- be- scenarios. Doesn’t that show you are powerless after all?

  6. rego, how do you propose to achieve a consensus on the following:

    1. whether the constitution should be amended. a consensus that goes beyond those who like debating constitutional matters (which isn’t most people) and engages if not all ,then at least a majority of the public who are entitled to vote.

    2. what amendments are best. and which you will prioritize (economic provisions only, legislative provisions only, executive provisions only, judicial provisions only, two out of three, three out of three, etc.), because there comes a point where you may decide so many amendments are required, you’re better off with an entirely new documents. this means:

    a). congress debating and proposing amendments;

    b). congress calling for a constitutional convention to do the job (a convention could start soon after delegates are elected, while some legal experts believe you can’t impose a time limit, it’s quite possible to write a new charter say before 2010)

    3. whether incumbent officials will be covered or not covered by the proposed amendments/new constitution.

    right now, some main proposals are:

    1. lifting limits on foreign ownership of land and corporations
    2. removing the provisions declaring the armed forces protector of the state, etc.
    3. removing the supreme court’s power to intervene in any case where grave abuse of discretion is alleged and return to the pre-1987 principle of certain cases being political questions outside the province of the court;
    4. abolishing the senate, retaining the house, but otherwise not changing the executive-legislative relationship
    5. restoring senatorial election by district and not national;
    6. establishing a hybrid french system with a parliament and an elected president with strong powers;
    7. establishing a parliament where assemblymen hold legislative and executive functions in a cabinet headed by a pm and which elects a ceremonial president (or national election of a ceremonial president);
    8. federalism, two kinds: federal republic with a presidency (USA, Mexico, Brazil), federal parliementary system, but unicameral; federal system, with a pm and parliament that is bicameral.
    9. maintaining the presidential system with a bicameral congress but having runoff elections under a multiparty system to elect a president with a majority mandate; or a presidential system under the restoration of the two-party system.

    these are proposals that i think can claim a fairly large constituency for each one. there are many other proposals but they aren’t widely discussed (e.g. fiscal federalism under the spanish model).

    I’d further propose the least controversial possible amendments are economic ones. Followed by changes to the court system and then followed by changes to the legislature. The most controversial would be those pertaining to the presidency (including abolishing it altogether or transfering its powers to a premier).

    Where do you stand, which would you prioritize, and which would you not prioritize? Which method would you adopt to debate and propose these changes?

  7. “I have nothing more to add other share my sadness that after all these years we are still in the pathetic situtation. I wonder when will Manolo and his ilk ever get it. Will they ever get it at all?”

    –what have been smoking lately???

  8. rego, obviously you don’t act on something if you think the probability is very small or not serious. And obviously you think the dangers of a possible outcome outweigh the dangers from doing nothing. the only danger to the nation is that everyone in the political class finds they have to spend more time actually explaining issues to their countrymen and that real consensus are built rather than passing the buck upstairs; the danger is people will take their citizenship seriously and get involved in the political and legal life of their nation; the danger is having become empowered citizens we will then discover it was this lack of empowerment that built mistrust or defeatism in the first place which made those given responsibilty and authority abuse both in the first place.

    the danger in destabilizing, as the government likes to call it, the intengan-gonzalez scheme of assassinations and abductions by people like palparan? the transformation of the legislature into an unthinking and mercenary bunch that makes the batasan pambansa look like a model of integrity? the danger in putting wild cannons and generally lunatic officials like raul gonzalez in their place? the danger in showing how dagdag-bawas has become virtually impossible to detect because so finely honed? the danger in skittish investors staying away rather than come here and lose their shirts to the piranhas in the ruling coalition, making it even more impossible to at least moderate everyone’s greed the way our neighbors still do and the way officials used to once upon a time until marcos showed them no limits can be the name of the game?

    i don’t know where you got the idea of the power anyone claims. there is people power, that’s a means of political action going back to gandhi and enshrined in our constitution; there is the power of public opinion; these are powers though that can be neutralized by the 3 g’s : guns, goons, and gold. not for ever, but long enough to make the reclaiming of sovereignty by the people a much more difficult and potentially bloody thing, if allowed to reach the point where it’s lost.

  9. “no, you can help also, especially now that the paranoia is intensifying
    one sad truth about this paranoia is that it gets to be manifested in the wrong places – blogs, other websites, media – thus having an appearance of what it is not and cannot be: a reality”

    –you don’t get it! we are preventing this paranoia of ours to turn into a reality, or rather from becoming into a nightmare!

  10. leytenian have you talked to some of these congressmen? their vision is to be in power 10, 30, years from now instead of having to engage in musical chairs with their wives and children.

  11. before macoy declared martial was there a lower and upper house of congress and SC? i bet there was, and did this prevented him from declaring martial law and changing the constitution to fit his needs? and back then, there were much better statesmen (note statesmen not politician), in the ranks of the opposition! were they able to prevent macoy? NO! what marcos had on his side was the MILITARY! and gma has been stocking her government with ex-gens who are not even qualified to fill any of the positions they hold! gma is not that stupid! she’s smart and i admit to that!

  12. gma has no problem breaking the law and have it sort out by the SC later, and when she has the number it will be a lot easier!

    SC is the last bastion of hope for the opposition and filipino peopel to have a fair hand shake, but that balance has been being tipped to gma’s favor lately the latest with brion! now tell me that brion is not partial to malacanang.

  13. “Might be , Manolo right? But what if its “might not be”? Can’t you imagine the damage that you are inflicting the nation if your might be will not happen?”

    –on the flipside, can imagine the damage if manolo is right?!

  14. “http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20081123-173809/JDV-details-secret-Arroyo-ZTE-meeting”

    JDV trying to live up to the hype! HOHOHO!

  15. the saddest part of this is that some of those in gma’s administration were same people who were fighting macoy before and during martial law years! now they are using same playbook from marcosian tactics and warfare to keep gma in power!

    talking about slaying the green monster being the easiest part and becoming the monster itself in the end!

  16. Manolo, it was luch time when your reply was posted.

    Just a quick reply to your post. as I need to go out for a personal errand.

    I believe as was clear in my reply to anthony that I was very busy with life here that I I was not able to keep my self updated with whta exactky is going on there. That is why I leave it to Anthony and Geo argue over the details.

    Ask me about Obama and I m sure I cant reply to you with so much details. he he he.

    I m sure i have posted some or most of my stand on issue before. Allow me to go over it in and I will give you my reply.

    I just woudl wanted to point out one thing, what ever teh proposal is, I would definitely go with th eone that can move this country forward. What makes me sad though is that you and your ilks is senselessly blocking any posible ways that Gloria proposed to

  17. mlq3,

    at least i can impeach my congressman and governor with local autonomy. I don’ t think they can go farther than 10 years or 30 years. The relationship between people and its representatives will plateau by 7 years. That’s when people get so sick of their leader especially if they are unhappy. One has got to give and i know , it’s not the people.

  18. “at least i can impeach my congressman and governor with local autonomy. I don’ t think they can go farther than 10 years or 30 years. The relationship between people and its representatives will plateau by 7 years. That’s when people get so sick of their leader especially if they are unhappy. One has got to give and i know , it’s not the people.”

    –you think???

  19. “rego, obviously you don’t act on something if you think the probability is very small or not serious. And obviously you think the dangers of a possible outcome outweigh the dangers from doing nothing. the only danger to the nation is that everyone in the political class finds they have to spend more time actually explaining issues to their countrymen and that real consensus are built rather than passing the buck upstairs; the danger is people will take their citizenship seriously and get involved in the political and legal life of their nation; the danger is having become empowered citizens we will then discover it was this lack of empowerment that built mistrust or defeatism in the first place which made those given responsibilty and authority abuse both in the first place”.- Manolo
    ————————————————————

    I believe one of teh problem too is that you and your ilke has been nudging Gloria even on things on very petty things. And you are losing that non partisan citizens is so as to what really is your real cause. Heck you woul deven make fun of her height. Yung mga gingaw nyo wala namng pinag iba na doon sa negative campaign na nangyari sa nakaraang eleksyon dito sa america eh..

    Two things Manolo,
    1. Calm down. Effective people abhor fear mongering and sowing paranaoia in the middle of a a problem or crisis . That will help much in sorting out a solution. or even consensus. Im not sure if there were ever a nation crisis in the wolrd that was effectively address by fear and paranoia.

    2. Be objective. I remember you posting before that this very hard for you to be objective and suggesting that you will never be objective at all when it come to Gloria If that is the case, maybe you should stop trying to solve this problem. You may just be complicating it. Leave it to sober and objective people

  20. Ermita said at around midnight Friday, “We are now preparing his [Mr. Arroyo’s] doctors here in the Philippines to be flown to Japan in 30 to 40 minutes.”

    He identified the doctors as Juliet Cervantes, Jose Ledesma and Rommel Cariño.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20081121-173659/Emergency-landing-Arroyo-husband-ill
    Posted 22:58:00 11/21/2008

    —–

    Arroyo’s three personal physicians at the St. Luke’s Medical Center, led by Dr. Juliet Cervantes, departed for Osaka at around 3 a.m. Saturday to check on his condition.

    ”They decided to go there because they’re not sure what his condition is,” Ermita said.

    Joining Cervantes on the flight were Doctors Jose Ledesma and Rommel Cariño, as well as Arroyo’s chief of staff, Juris Soliman, and Camarines Sur Representative Diosdado “Dato” Arroyo, Malacañang officials said.

    “The doctors wanted to make sure whether there’s a recurrence or not of his heart problem. In the past, he also complained of stomach pain before he was operated on,” Ermita said.

    Ms Arroyo waited for the three doctors to arrive in Osaka before departing at around 6 a.m. (Manila time) on the flight to Los Angeles en route to Peru, according to Ermita.

    ”She was assured of her husband’s stable condition, so she went ahead with her trip to Peru,” he said.

    Ermita said the First Gentleman had been advised by Japanese doctors to stay for a few more days, but said it was up to his Filipino doctors whether to bring him back to Manila soon.

    http://services.inquirer.net/print/print.php?article_id=20081122-173769
    Posted date: November 22, 2008

    —–

    Cervantes, along with St. Luke’s president Jose Ledesma and Dr. Rommel Cariño, flew to Osaka at around 3 a.m. Saturday.

    “They decided to go there because they’re not sure what [Mike Arroyo’s] condition is,” Ermita said.

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20081123-173810/Ailing-Mike-home-Gloria-off-to-APEC
    Posted 01:14:00 11/23/2008

    —–

    so, accurately speaking…

    there were two (2) doctors and one (1) hospital president who fetched fg from Japan.

    …they definitely don’t want to risk their prized patient – fg, the living example of what’s best in medical care present in the Philippines today (as attested by fg’s 30 or so attending specialists).

    joc-joc bolante, who’ve recently been thoroughly examined (minus the pregnancy test) in the same center will also vouch for this excellent service.

    as the institution’s ad says, “Give your heart the best of care”…go to St. Luke’s Medical Center.

    …hospital-of-choice of the famous.

  21. “Bless the president’s husband so he will have forebearance, good health, the tolerance to live up to 2010, and perhaps who knows, even earlier…to reach the great beyond.

    Dureza’s latest prayer

    …also in jest?

  22. there are two categories of birds-of-the-same-feathers here in manolo’s blog, or even in my neighborhood:

    1. the pro-gloria/anti-anti, move on,
    pro-gloria-but-very embarrass-to-admit/I’m-no-
    hypocrite-but-I-am, I’m-pro-gloria-because I
    love my country group

    2. the anti-gloria because I love my country group

  23. there are 4 kinds :
    — the hypocrites who are anti-gloria;
    – the hypocrites who are pro-gloria;
    – the not-hypocrites who are anti-gloria;
    – the not-hypocrites who are pro-gloria;

    Actually, six. Because Bush “you are either with us or against us” had always been wrong.

  24. “2. Be objective. I remember you posting before that this very hard for you to be objective and suggesting that you will never be objective at all when it come to Gloria If that is the case, maybe you should stop trying to solve this problem. You may just be complicating it. Leave it to sober and objective people”

    –like you kind? HOHOHO! let us all drink and be merry then,
    because in heaven there is no beer! cheers!

  25. UP n grad, from your comment, there’s only one :
    (x, y, gloria) ; where x, hypocrite or not and y, pro or anti.

    left out are, of course, those who don’t have gloria-colored glasses.

  26. 2.” Be objective. I remember you posting before that this very hard for you to be objective and suggesting that you will never be objective at all when it come to Gloria If that is the case, maybe you should stop trying to solve this problem. You may just be complicating it. Leave it to sober and objective people”

    How does one become objective about politics? I am curious as to wonder if he/she understands what he/she knows about politics?

    MLQ3 writes his commentary in the editorial page of a newspaper. Emphasis on his commentary. His perspective based on his belief system.

    He obviously was given a spot on the op ed pages because the owners of the paper believe that he adds value to the paper through his commentaries.

    Take the leading media outlets in the world – and point to one commentator or analyst that speaks with objectivity.

    The value of free speech and the free press is the competition of ideas. Those ideas that are sustained generation after generation with historical facts become the prevailing reality.

    Open societies with open communication of ideas lead to open markets and the history of the planet has shown that this had benefited billions of people.

    Big Mike and GMA have shown the propensity to destroy the nascent stage of a Republic which I believe only a minority of people here appreciate.

    Objectivity about politics is ridiculous. Only people without souls believe that one must be objective about politics.

  27. objectivity should always be in the mind of the opinion writer. he must not lose sight of his objective.

  28. “objectivity should always be in the mind of the opinion writer. he must not lose sight of his objective.”

    Emphasis on the words “HIS OBJECTIVITY”

    An opinion writer is at best a theoretician who has been given an opportunity to express his theories.

  29. it surprises me that some readers expect me to do their thinking for them. i’ll do my own thinking, present things as i see it, explain to you why i see it that way, assert your every right to hold a contrary opinion and advocacy, but you have to look at what i write and what others who hold a contrary opinion write, and make up your own mind. it’s not easy – nor should it be.

  30. quezon,

    lawyers for the anti gloria school will keep the Supreme Court busy by filing cases in each step of the cha cha way.

    that’s the job of lawyers – find a justiciable issue, make every/any issue a constitutional question

    if amendments are questioned before the Supreme Court, what is questioned is both the merits of the amendment itself plus the process that results in such amendment.

    allowing gloria to run again in 2010 as president is by itself invalid. the constitution follows a principle that the incumbent cannot enjoy amendments that redound to his/her benefit. the benefits will take effect during the term of the successor to the incumbent

    also allowing gloria to extend beyond June 30, 2010 is itself invalid because that would violate the spirit of the constitution previous to the amendment. same argument with respect to allowing gloria to run for parliament in 2010 – the spirit of the constitution previous to the amendment disallows back-to-back terms of the chief executive.

    “2. Con-Ass formation survives Supreme Court scrutiny (the SC cannot review the proposed changes themselves, since it would make it judge in its own cause, for example if the amendments include establishing a Constitutional Court separate from the Supreme Court as proposed by some)”

    if the House proceeds alone, there’s no Con Ass.

    of course the Supreme Court can review the amendments themselves – is the procedure followed? are there vested rights and principles violated? should the incumbent enjoy the benefits?

    the SC will easily strike down amendments proposed by a ‘Con Ass’ composed of just the House

    there’s also the issue of – assuming there’s a valid Con Ass, how should it approve a proposed amendment – voting separately also or just one body?

    “5. Counting of votes cast: swift, because there are only Yes or No votes. (As in past plebiscites, the amendments are all or nothing: you cannot vote on single amendments as they are all intertwined in the Constitutional framework).”

    voting on a per amendment basis can be allowed

    “7. Parliamentary elections in 2010. President runs for MP for Pampanga. Decorative President elected but with ceremonial role.”

    gloria as PM violates the principle of back to back terms as chief executive. what cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly

    at the earliest, gloria has to wait for the term of the winning MPs from the 2010 elections to end before she can try to be back as MP

  31. “Have you ever noticed how a few families control the vast majority of the land and economy here?”

    “Ever wonder why there are high tariffs for imported goods? Even for products that aren’t made here domestically?”

    “Ever think that the middle class here needs a meaningful boost in order to both increase its size and improve its financial status? That it might benefit by working for foreign firms rather than those controlled by the local elite? (See the export and BPO industries to find an answer).”

    “Have you ever contemplated the notion that the influx of foreign competition in the domestic industry might make goods and services cheaper and better?”

    “Or……are you saying that it’s better to be living in a martial law, one-party country like China???”

    LOOK AT ALL THESE SEEMINGLY BEAUTIFUL WELL THOUGHT OF STATEMENTS.

    SIMPLE QUESTION?

    IF ONE WANTS TO PROPOSE SOLUTIONS HOLDING BACK THE SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE PHILIPPINES WHAT WOULD BE THE STAGE OF DEVELOPMENT OF THE COUNTRY.

    SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT TO MEAN ECONOMY, POLITICS AND CULTURE?

    IF ONE CANNOT GIVE ONES OPINION ON WHERE THE COUNTRY IS SITUATED HOW CAN ONE PROPOSE SOLUTIONS?

    IN MY PERSONAL HUMBLE OPINION THE EXTREME LEFT CAME OUT WITH A CORRECT ANALYSIS AS TO WHERE THE COUNTRY IS SITUATED IN SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT.

    IN THE GREEK CITY STATES OF ARISTOTLE DEMOCRACY AND EQUALITY WAS FOR THE POLITY TO EXCLUDE WOMEN, CHILDREN AND SLAVES.

    THE UNITED STATES STARTED OUT ALMOST ALONG THE LINES OF THE GREEK CITY STATES…..

    CHINA IS RULED A SINGULAR PARTY LED BY A CENTRAL COMMITTEE WHO CHOOSES THEIR PRESIDENT AND PRIME MINISTER. DEMOCRACY IS CENTRALIZED….

    THERE IS NO MILITARY RULE IN CHINA….

  32. scalia, your arguments were discussed in the 1973 convention with regards to the ban-marcos resolution. that resolution was introduced because there was no other way to prevent marcos from succeeding himself if the country shifted to the parliamentary system. the arguments were threshed out then, and there is no reason to see, even with the objections you raised, why on the general principles you argued it is actually quite possible for the president to succeed herself as prime minister. it’s also possible, as was argued in the case of the 1940 amendments, that a president’s term can be extended, so long as ratified both in a plebiscite for the constitutional amendments in question and in a national election.

    it is entirely possible to vote separately on, say, amendment 1, then amendment 2, and amendment 3, etc. putting them individually to the vote in one ballot. but where could you find a constitution that could withstand the approval of one and the disapproval of another, considering they all form part of a whole? there is the practical question too, that for purposes of simplicity, efficiency, and political ease, it is completely in the interest of the proposing group to present it as an all-or-nothing proposition.

    finally, please go back carefully to the various ideas being floated by the house majority. one of them includes the idea that you can propose amendments without convening a constituent assembly, treating the entirety of congress essentially, for this unique purpose, as a unicameral body with senators voting with the house. even if every single senator absented himself if a supermajority comprising what would be tthree fourths of the house plus senate the voting would be valid and binding. it’s a clever and not entirely unfounded plain reading of the way the constitution was written.

  33. quezon,

    “scalia, your arguments were discussed in the 1973 convention with regards to the ban-marcos resolution. that resolution was introduced because there was no other way to prevent marcos from succeeding himself if the country shifted to the parliamentary system. the arguments were threshed out then, and there is no reason to see, even with the objections you raised, why on the general principles you argued it is actually quite possible for the president to succeed herself as prime minister. ”

    you forgot that nobody brought that to the Supreme Court then.

    “it’s also possible, as was argued in the case of the 1940 amendments, that a president’s term can be extended, so long as ratified both in a plebiscite for the constitutional amendments in question and in a national election.”

    oh yes that’s possible! the thing is, should the incumbent of the time when the amendment took effect benefit from it? the 1987 Constitution would not allow it. beneficial amendments are always enjoyed by the successor of the incumbent

    “it is entirely possible to vote separately on, say, amendment 1, then amendment 2, and amendment 3, etc. putting them individually to the vote in one ballot. but where could you find a constitution that could withstand the approval of one and the disapproval of another, considering they all form part of a whole?”

    only if the issue in the plebiscite is the acceptance of a whole Constitution

    not if amendments only are the issue

    “there is the practical question too, that for purposes of simplicity, efficiency, and political ease, it is completely in the interest of the proposing group to present it as an all-or-nothing proposition.”

    again, only if a whole constitution is up for ratification

    the 1971 Con Con and the 1986 Con Com were convened to revise an entire Constitution.

  34. “Bert , there three kinds of people. those who can count, and those who can’t.”

    “UP n grad, from your comment, there’s only one :
    (x, y, gloria) ; where x, hypocrite or not and y, pro or anti.”

    mindanaoan,

    it’s easy to see whom you are referring to. cheers!

  35. quezon, please don’t underestimate the creativity and capacity of lawyers to create jurisprudence

    you’re a historian right? the saying “nothing is permanent except change” is applicable to the Supreme Court. The conditions prevailing in the declaration of martial law and the Javellana decision are absent now.

    it seems you are more concerned with maintaining the paranoia than on seeking ways on how to stop gloria’s continued stay in the Palace via the SC

    more basic, you have to consider all the facts. not just the facts that would suit your need to maintain the paranoia.

    it seems you are the one who needs to review your facts quezon.

    Harry Roque is your friend right? He will surely enlighten you on the legal strategies on how to block any attempt at extension/running again. let him assure you that the Javellana decision cannot be used as precedent in every issue of amendments before the SC

    its true – nothing is more obscure than the obvious. the composition of the Supreme Court now is not the same as the Supreme Court of the early 1970s. don’t judge how the SC will judge now by how it judged in the 1970s, at least in ‘constitution cases’

    re-read this again carefully
    http://www.chanrobles.com/cralaw19731.htm,
    or better yet, ask Harry Roque to narrate it to you, how the SC arrived at the decision not to block the effectivity of PD 73 and Proclamation 1102.

    so you’ll get an idea of how the SC resolves cases.

    so finally you will discover there’s nothing to be paranoid about

  36. “IF ONE CANNOT GIVE ONES OPINION ON WHERE THE COUNTRY IS SITUATED HOW CAN ONE PROPOSE SOLUTIONS?”

    we can worry about development in politics and culture later. lets prioritize the economy first.. its hard to come up with solutions to problems in politics and culture on empty stomachs

    “IN MY PERSONAL HUMBLE OPINION THE EXTREME LEFT CAME OUT WITH A CORRECT ANALYSIS AS TO WHERE THE COUNTRY IS SITUATED IN SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT.”

    i humbly submit that the Left is mistaken.

    “THE UNITED STATES STARTED OUT ALMOST ALONG THE LINES OF THE GREEK CITY STATES…..”

    but didn’t remain that way for long

    “CHINA IS RULED A SINGULAR PARTY LED BY A CENTRAL COMMITTEE WHO CHOOSES THEIR PRESIDENT AND PRIME MINISTER. DEMOCRACY IS CENTRALIZED….”

    maybe the more apt phrase is “democracy is limited to party members.”

    and that’s something similar to the parliamentary form of govt – the heads of state and govt are chosen not by popular vote but by a select group

    “THERE IS NO MILITARY RULE IN CHINA….”

    really? if you mean the President and the PM aren’t military guys, then you are correct

  37. Too much water (read: verbiage) under the bridge; I don’t know where to start with my belated responses.

    Perhaps the low-hanging fruit first —

    “THERE IS NO MILITARY RULE IN CHINA….”

    Other than having extensive, pervasive economic and political power…and being ready to roll tanks over college students, no…no, the military is pretty passive and sidelined there….non-existent, even…..uh-huh, yeah, right.

  38. Seems like mlq3’s and anthony scalia’s debate proves that changing the constitution is:

    a) needed
    b) possible
    c) complicated
    d) worthy of debate
    e) past-due

    Other than the contentious claim that the only goal is to extend GMA’s stay, almost every other trend/belief/desire is to improve the Constitution.

    So…should everything stop? Or is it wise to move forward knowing that we all agree that a term extension is unacceptable?

  39. istambay wrote: “–you don’t get it! we are preventing this paranoia of ours to turn into a reality, or rather from becoming into a nightmare!”

    But when we slow down all the yakkety-yak and take a cold, hard look at the facts and the knowable, guess what? The paraoid nightmare doesn’t look very realistic or imminent.

    And with so much to take care of…with so many problems (and opportunities) on hand…and within a deteriorating global economic context…what do you think should be the country’s top priorities???

  40. The probable numbers/ are:

    * 6~12% — rabidly anti-Gloria
    * 6~12% — rabidly pro-Gloria

    * 75~85% — rabidly pro-growth

    What should the Legislature be focusing on? What kind of programs should the Executive be implementing? Can the media help us digest and understand the competing proposals for improving the economy?

    What should the national dialogue be about???

  41. oh for god’s sake, scalia, i pointed to javellana so you can review the process by which the 1971 convention was convened. and the issues raised because of it. i have been saying i don’t doubt the creativity of lawyers -they have been quite creative under the auspices of your dear leader. but there are some limits because there are some parameters to the process of constitution-making.

    what i don’t understand is something quite simple. if there’s nothing to be paranoid about, if the entire process will bring forth a regime of teddybears and candy cane trees and cotton candy clouds, why do you and the geos of this world suddenly materialize and mount rear guard actions as your dear leader goes forward with what you consider the eminently unthreatening business of governing? you could be going fishing and dreaming pleasant dreams of the post arroyo era. instead, you are busy arguing that your partisanship is objectivity and that your vacuum of facts are actual facts. i can understand those ferociously defending the president because they confess to being undying admirers of hers. you claim otherwise, that you are a nixonian silent majority.

    so what gives?

  42. geo, i’d think a real game-changer, and i’ve said this before, is a convention elected and in place before 2010. what the country has not seen in a long time is the kind of leadership that surrenders something for the broader public good. or any stunning demonstration in the governed by the governors. outside of an impeachment, i’d fretted all along that if the president had held a plebiscite on her continued rule you might actually have had a situation where she would win it (by the skin of her teeth at worst, with a healthy majority if she’d played her cards right) as a more fundamentally democratic solution than impeachment.

    if the president, as some of her own advisers have been advising her all along, had thrown her weight behind a convention, it would have perhaps offered a way through the impasse. but she is too conservative, perhaps, to run the risks of corraling delegates when she’s already safely accomplished that in the house.

    conceivably, even though some lawyers say you can’t impose a time frame on a convention, if she’d thrown her support behind delegates pledged to writing a new constitution before the 2010 elections, it could have been done (and might still be done, one reserve option mentioned by the speaker is precisely a convention).

    but who knows, maybe within a week or so the issues may be joined as the draft of the resolution seems to be circulating and it simply states that by virtue of the specific provision on amendments, the undersigned congressmen and senators who’ve signed it constitute themselves into a constituent assembly and propose certain amendments to the people. the issue could be settled by the supreme court after the holidays. we shall see what we shall see, soon enough.

    while a broad consensus exists, i think, among people who are familiar with or at least engaged enough to care about constitutional frameworks, i am ot convinced a broader, cross-sectoral consensus exists. i believe the opposite exists -a stubborn, cross-sectoral, broadly national consensus that the concerns of people -for greater efficiency, less waste, more accountability and transparency, less insider trading and dealing, and less rank-pulling and influence-peddling, more honest elections, among many complaints- will not be addressed by constitutional change.

  43. “And with so much to take care of…with so many problems (and opportunities) on hand…and within a deteriorating global economic context…what do you think should be the country’s top priorities???”-Geo

    Change the form of gov’t., with the same politicians in it, that’s your priority.

  44. My priority is to help in whatever small way possible to stop this attempt to perpetuate the rule of what the majority of the Filipino people consider an anomalous administration, and that the government should prioritized solving the more pressing problems of the country instead of changing the form of gov’t. due to perceived ulterior motive.

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