The big news today is the opening of the Mother of All Wrangles at the House. PCIJ summarizes the possibilities.
(Update: thew Committee on Justice suspended it’s hearings at 10:26 a.m. in order to go into executive session. Rep. Datumanong ruled that non-members would be barred from asking questions (Rep. Rolex Suplico maintains that traditionally, in committee meetings, non-members, that is any member of the House, are allowed to ask questions but not vote). So now, the first battle is not what PCI suggested, but procedural questions, such as why an executive session should be allowed.)
Newsstand got the same email from Dan Songco and has devoted his blog space to Dinky Soliman’s letter explaining her quitting the cabinet. Read it. But you know, lines like this:
Sunflower greetings to my friends in Pagbabago!
Simply make me cringe. Never mind ending her letter with an emoticon, thus: “dinky :-)”
Still, the middle forces types are gearing up for action, and it is the kind of action at which they excel. My previous entry focuses on this. Hot Manila has an interesting article (devoid of “sunflower greetings” and emoticons) on why Vicky Garchitorena, Dragon Empress of the Ayala Empire, decided to go against the President, too.
The punditocracy today has Patricio Diaz with an interesting column on the manipulation of voters and voting in Muslim Mindanao, which he says everyone on the ground understands but which everyone pretends doesn’t exist (Anonymous Sources predicted the President would gloat about the voting, and was proven right); Dan Mariano arguing Raul Roco was the best prime minister the Philippine never had (from what I know RSR was not in favor of the parliamentary system); banker Edgardo Espiritu arguing that we’re stuck with our national debt (this should be interesting to those discussing precisely that topic in one of my recent posts); Mike Tan goes into the recent snafu about government’s facts and figures on the trade deficit; the Inquirer editorial takes a dim view on the battle of the witnesses and cautions the senate to think of impeachment.
Amando Doronila writes a glowing account of Fidel V. Ramos (who has a most unflattering photo in the latest issue of Time Magazine, in which he’s interviewed by Anthony Spaeth but looks like the living dead). Doro says,
Although Ramos’ intervention was crucial to the Arroyo regime’s survival, it would be too much to say that Ramos is now the power behind the regime and has taken it captive. That is exaggerating his role. Ramos’ agenda seems to be larger and more important than opening space for a soft landing for President Arroyo from the current crisis.
It does seem that having gained the President time, she has shown every intention of reshaping the situation to suit her requirements, and not his. The other day I saw FVR on Dong Puno’s “Viewpoints” show, and in frustration, Ramos hit himself on the head to emphasize a point (besides his fetish for pointing at people and the camera). The man’s on the verge of a stroke.
On a cultural note, Christian Bautista is going Bahasa, which reminds me of stories I’ve heard from Filipino expats abroad. One friend, who was an executive in Indonesia, once told me that whenever Jose Mari Chan’s music would play in music stores, passers-by would pause and listen in awe. Greg Macabenta wonders why Filipino restaurants can’t seem to manage to take off in the United States. I blogged about this subject last year. Another cultural note is provided by someone who objects to banning canned goods from the MRT. Finally, Carmen Guerrero Nakpil explains just how thoroughly ingrained gambling is in Philippine society.
The blogosphere round-up: Buzz Machine points out newspapers in America are giving Google a run for its advertising revenues; Edwin Lacierda muses on snitching as a Filipino political phenomenon; Ronnel Lim zooms in on an opposition that is out-gunned and out-foxed:
The joke around town is that the opposition has a witness training academy and that the Arroyo administration has a witness prevention program. With witnesses dancing the cha-cha-cha–although unfortunately not in the way FVR had in mind–what are we to think? Bearing witness in this country, law on perjury and libel notwithstanding, is taken so lightly that I would not be surprised if any moment now someone turn up in the Senate and testify to Garcillano’s having been abducted by an alien spaceship. Where the hell is that man anyway?
Punzi apparently heard the same joke and adds some cautionary thoughts. Speaking of “wetnesses,” Ricky Carandang has made his debut in the blogosphere, and so y’all should encourage him to keep up the effort. His maiden entry concludes,
Is it possible that some enterprising minds are taking advantage of the battle for public opinion by selling their testimony to the highest bidder?
Both sides should be careful. Buying witnesses, whether it be done by Malcanang or its detractors, will not help them win the public. In this day when testimony can apparently be bought, the public tends not to believe anyone unless thay have evidence to back them up.
Howie Severino wonders if we’re genetically predisposed to resisting bird flu; Miron thinks he sees oddly named people. Finally, in the intriguing blogs department, there’s My Blog, which mixes Socialism (including visions of blood-letting to achieve social transformation) with touching vignettes of domestic bliss, and labor leaders recovering from strokes by tending to aloe vera plants. Vladimir Lenin had a similar soft spot for plant life; he used to lovingly tend a rubber plant, which reminded him of plants his mother used to keep in a greenhouse (Lenin, though, had a horror of cut flowers).