Ellen Tordesillas published it in full first, over at Vera Files, and people have been rolling in the aisles ever since. Just in case you have any doubt that really wrote what he did, here’s the facsimile of it:
The background to the order being, that the Judge formerly dismissed Mike Defensor’s perjury charge against Lozada, was overruled by a superior court, and so has to handle the case.
Blogger Et Cetera Et Cetera was frankly puzzled by the order, while Manila Bay Watch was pleased as punch and Smoke was certainly amused. Every lawyer I’ve talked to says this order is unprecedented in terms of the, shall we say, pungent language used. Some lawyers think that aside from the personal pleasure the Judge undoubtedly derived from penning this order, the legal consequences of it will be to ensure that Defensor’s lawyers have a strong case with which to insist that the Judge recuse himself from the case -or be forced to do so, again by a superior court.
Manuel Buencamino in his Business Mirror column today takes a cue from Mark Anthony’s funeral oration in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and proclaims Mike Defensor an honorable man: see Mike Defensor does not lie (“He just sees things in a different light”).
A word on Ako Mismo, which certainly has gotten tongues wagging (and Martin Perez’s blog, AKOMISMO, getting deluged with stray hits), and not a few people feeling patriotic -or merely lusting after one of the attractive dog tags the website offers as an incentive for signing up.
When the site was heralded by a TV ad and a two-page spread in a major daily, I personally wondered if it wasn’t a trial balloon for the presidential candidacy of Manuel V. Pangilinan. Business circles have been abuzz for some months now, about the tycoon’s possible, even probable, presidential aspirations; and there have been those quietly circulating in order to sound out opinions on whether a Pangilinan bid for the presidency would get public support.
One of the site’s endorsers, Maxene Magalona, has come out with a categorical statement that her participation in the ad campaign for the site has nothing to do with anyone’s presidential aspirations. Smart Communications has categorically denied being the owner of the site. From what I’ve heard from people who claim insider knowledge of PLDT, their boss in not interested in the least in becoming the country’s chief executive.
There will be some disappointed by these disavowals, as there were those whose interest was genuinely piqued by the prospect of an MVP bid for the presidency.
There are two blog entries that help explain why the website caused some misgivings in the days leading up to Magalona’s statement. The first is in Baratillo@Cubao, the other, in Constant Random Change, who approach the site from two different ends (one, shall we say, philosophical, the other, technological) but with similar conclusions: the site was opaque in certain respects and the opacity provoked skepticism. It shouldn’t have required a Whois search, for example, simply to determine who owned the site: an advertising agency that has also categorically stated the campaign is its own, as part of its corporate social responsibility efforts.
On another note, please be aware that my entry on The Great Book Blockade of 2009 has had numerous updates added to it, including the side of the Department of Finance (methinks even more incriminating). In addition to those updates, a noteworthy entry’s in Twilight Coven Philippines (hat tip to andrewdrilon) who apparently noticed the sudden death of imported books; Indolent Indio compares the Department of Finance’s current actions to those of Ferdinand Marcos, when he decreed non-compliance with copyright for foreign publishers and authors; and mzeid has an amusing graphic.
Most of all, read this extremely reasonable, and learned, comment on the whole thing by Bibliophile Stalker.
Let me put down some thoughts on how this whole thing is coming together:
1. Once again we see how difficult it is to survey our laws and get an idea of when, precisely, executive agreements were concluded and under what circumstances: a tremendous amount of sleuthing is required which might otherwise be used more productively for other purposes. So let me just reiterate for the record my frustration over the Official Gazette not being put online.
2. The timeline that emerges from the statements of the Department of Finance is that a memorandum was issued on Easter Sunday, which in itself is rather curious. As for the justifications for that memorandum, that a tax was mandated, but for some reason unimplemented for years, there is still some confusion on whether this is actually the case, but what is clear is that the President of the Philippines has the authority to either hold in abeyance, modify, or scrap altogether, such a tax: and that doing so might actually put the country more in harmony with the spirit and actual provisions of the Florence Agreement.
3. Therefore the logical course of action might properly be a petition to the President of the Philippines, coursed through the Secretary of Finance, knowing full well that the petition would still have to be coursed through the Secretary of Justice, and such a petition might best prosper if endorsed by the National Book Development Board (but there is the ethical problem that his son sits on the National Book Development Board; one or the other, or both, might have to inhibit themselves). Another course would be legislation, but executive action would be quicker but liable to modification by future chief executives.