The knives come out

The headlines tell the story:

Arroyo rejects Ramos quit call -Bunye: Cutting her term premature (Inquirer)

GMA House allies rake up Ramos ‘sins’ : Has no right to set deadline for Arroyo to step down… (Malaya)

So: Ramos blinks, and the President’s hatchet men start sharpening their knives. There you have it.

Incidentally, a colleague called me up with a hilarious account of a comment made by Fidel Ramos’s press guy on Rep. Imee Marcos. Apparently, Marcos was wondering on TV why Ramos’s press conference seemed so scatterbrained, to the point that she had to ask if perhaps the old man as going senile. Ramos’s press guy responded by asking why Imee’s mouth didn’t seem to move even when she was talking.

In other news:

Gloria and Comelec bigwigs planned fraud (Tribune)

Davide eyed as country’s United Nations delegate (Standard-Today)

Sacrificial beasts strike back in Turkey

In the punditocracy, My Arab News column for today is Misuari’s Fate Rests in the Hands of Manila Justice (a related story is Misuari has brief taste of freedom).

Emil Jurado sharpens his own knife versus FVR.

Tony Lopez says GMA is the best president since Marcos.

The Inquirer editorial calls the Council of State meeting ill-timed window dressing.

Jarius Bondoc has a curious column today, from which I will reproduce some lengthy extracts because the Star website doesn’t have permanent links:

Perhaps because I was the only fulltime journalist in the Consultative Commission on Constitutional Amendments, I’m the one being asked: why the hell did you guys pass that dangerous proviso in the Bill of Rights?

Huh? What proviso?

The item in question is the insertion of the phrase “the responsible exercise of” to Section 4, to read: “No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”

For the life of me, I don’t know how those words got in there. I reluctantly co-chaired a style committee (in charge of spelling, grammar and syntax) and thus was tasked to review the text. I don’t remember coming across it. Yet it’s there — in the penultimate and in the final drafts that were debated on Dec. 15, the heady last plenary day. How I wish again I wasn’t outvoted in intending from the start of Con-Com to not draft a new Constitution, but to simply identify what’s wrong with the system and how amending could remedy them. The Consultative Commission was purely recommendatory anyway, with two-and-a-half months to do its work. We should not attempt to match the feat of the ’86 Constitutional Commission, also called Con-Com, which drafted a fundamental law in four-and-a-half.

So where was I when the Bill of Rights was discussed, I keep juggling my memory now? Was it when I hopped into the washroom while they feverishly were rewriting and approving provisions like a factory assembly line? Or when 20 or so of us members were plotting how to revive our beef against No-El (no election in 2007, plus term extensions of all officials to 2010), which we felt was a killer rider to our work?

What I do recall is that a Bill of Duties was presented to the floor. It spelled out the responsibility of citizens to be loyal to the republic, honor the flag, defend the state, contribute to its welfare, obey the laws, pay taxes, get a job, and so on. There was a feeble attempt to strike it down in full, but only the last was deleted. One argument remains fresh in mind, though not the name of the arguer. He forwarded the line that only a Bill of Rights is necessary in a Charter, to detail the basic liberties of little citizens against a powerful government. A Bill of Duties is something citizens can imbibe from childhood, as in a Panatang Makabayan (Patriotic Pledge), or through posters, as in “A man should stand up for his rights, but not in the middle of a street intersection.” And that is where I begin to oppose, even if belatedly, the insertion of “the responsible exercise of”.

Where did this business of rights and obligations, instead of simply rights, begin? I suspect with the Laurel Constitution of 1943. But I still have to find the full text.

A column related to the above is Ellen Tordesilla’s column, which asks why the word “truth” was deleted from the draft preamble. Then again, I have little sympathy for maintaining the original preamble which was too wordy and rather schmaltzy: like Teodoro M. Locsin, Sr., I admire the preamble to the 1935 Constitution, which Locsin compared to “the ringing of great bells or the opening of the doors of a cathedral”.

Manuel Buencamino comes out swinging for Senator Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. as a possible president for the country.

Dan Mariano muses on the death of a man during the annual Black Nazarene procession in Quiapo, and wonders why the clergy tolerate such things.

Here’s a doozy: Kit Tatad pontificating on political morality.

An article in Slate, on how the US armed forces are lowering their recruitment standards.

In the blogosphere, Rizalist comments that scientific scrutiny of Nick Faeldon’s rebel website indicates manipulation of the visitor counter! Apparently, one hit = 33 or 34 additions to the counter! Tsk, tsk.

Philippine Commentary sounds the alarm over Oliver Lozano filing yet another impeachment complaint -months before the one year ban on new filings lapses!

Big Mango provides a wrap up of what the prospects seem to be for this year.

Leon Kilat warns that singing “My Way” is potentially fatal.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

28 thoughts on “The knives come out

  1. Tatad was one of those who received a copy of the garci tapes.insted of him dirtying his hands he passed it on to someone who could do the dirty job for him using legal purposes for something illegal.He passed it on to some one who had an axe to grind.I don’t know what one calls characters like Tatad?

  2. Poor Jarius Bondoc, he’s got himself tainted by Gloria thru the con-com! Now he’s got to clear himself up. The problem is he sounds like a baby trying to explain himself, “Not me, it was them!”. Or something like, “It’s ok, it’s just a consulation anyway, our output was just a recommendation!”. Pathetic, but at least we now can see how they did their job.

  3. Ha! Ha! Ed Malay’s putdown of Imee Marcos was really hilarious. How can you trust the opinion of a person who has had so much cosmetic surgery and jaw reduction that she now has to talk without moving her mouth?

  4. If Lozano files and de Venecia refers to Committee before the Supreme Court decides on Garci’s Second Petition, say goodbye to the chances of the Second Impeachment in June, or at least most of the evidence of the Five Committees. The plan is cyrstal clear and diabolical–Panganiban and JDV will be calling each other a lot on this one, probably with Ronnie Puno and Tony Carpio overseeing a very delicate operation, full of hazard, full of peril. “Tanada” is on the side of the good, you know. People better figure that out soon.

  5. New preamble might as well be the following (btw, Bondoc is feigning surprise, he’s been outsmarted by his benefactor’s wife!):


    The thieving, lying, cheating crook so-called president of the Republic of the Philippines and her lackeys of the “bestest and the brightestest” might as well have dictated the following to replace the preamble in the 1987 Constitution:

    “We, the delegates to the Constitutional Commission, appointed by Her Excellency, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to represent the Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, to secure a Government that shall embody the Macapagal-Arroyo ideals, promote the general welfare, conserve and develop the patrimony of the leaders of the Republic, and secure to ourselves and our posterity the blessings of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s democracy under a continuing regime of Macapagal-Arroyo justice, peace, liberty, and equality, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.”

  6. MLQ3,

    With your permission, I would like to re-post here a reply I wrote to a co-blogger in Ellen’s blog concerning the NoEl gimmick.

    Thank you.


    Of course aatras si GMA sa NoEl because gimmick lang iyan. Kung lumbas OK, kung hindi, tuloy ang ligaya, este iyong time o term niya sa Malacanang.

    Tapos ipaplabas niya na news na “TULOY ANG ELECTIONS 2007≤ parang siya pa ang nag regalo sa taong bayan (di bida pa siya):

    She is just using the time element very very shrewdly…lahat ng gimmick gagawin niya so that she can use uthe time so very cunningly and then when all is said and done 2010 na pala eh, di panalo siya – tama siya! She will stick to her “term”.

    Alam ni Bansot at kilala niya ng mabuti ang mindset ng Pinoys!

    Tapos ang dami pa ng pera ng kanyang warchest (imagine from her latest caper iyong UK bridges from a UK soft loan of 20 years!!!!! = 117 million British Pounds or US$220 million!!! ilagay mo na lang sa 10% iyong lagay kay Mike MArroyo doon, di malaking pera, times pesos iyon!) Kaya sigurado si Bansot na hanggang 2010 resident siya ng Malacanang.

    Kaya ni Bansot ang Pinoy sa daldalan ng daldalan.

    Hawak niya ang military (through the top brass) at mga tulisan este Police pala at ang NBI (lahat – kasama na ang para-military institutions), hanggang ngayon. Pero kung matapang lang ang military natin (tapang nila ay hindi MORAL COURAGE kung hindi tapang unggoy lang) at iyong mga pulis-pulisan natin, puwede pang ma endanger iyong puwesto ni Bansot.


  7. We can try to elucidate without resorting to gutter language. And if possible, let’s avoid hearsay and rumor and try to stick to verifiable facts.

  8. PREDICTION: GMA will junk Chacha at her next SONA after six months of acrimonious debate crowding out the Garci Tape controversy. After all, FVR has made cutting her term short an integral part of chacha. Who could be more interested in its failure now than GMA? She will cut FVR and JDV’s fantasy parliamentary terms even before they start. It’s FVR with the monumental blunder–reiterating support for GMA, calling on her to cut her term short, then peeing in Drilon and Sotto’s French wine.

  9. Carl,

    I suppose you were referring to the above posting written in Pilipino as gutter language?

    To my knowledge, Pilipino is not gutter language.

    To avoid hearsay, rumours or the like, one must avoid reading newspapers or opinion columns or better still, avoid talking about anything that closely touches on Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and perhaps, abolish the Supreme Court.

    But I must remind you that no less than the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines used what may be legally considered hearsays and rumours to declare a sitting, legally elected Estrada, “constructively resigned” and stripped him of his constitutional mandate. Need I remind you that the Davide-led Supreme Court’s basis was a supposed diary written by Angara and the sayings of Inquirer’s Doronila in his column, among others…

  10. It was Yogi Berra who said it best, “when one comes to a fork in the road, take it.”

    It is so obvious that there is till no critical mass of understanding or a critical mass middle force existing in the Philippines. Feudal culture is still deeply imbedded.

    “May it be to the world, what I believe it will be, (to some parts sooner, to others later, but finally to all,) the signal of arousing men to burst the chains under which monkish ignorance and superstition had persuaded them to bind themselves, and to assume the blessings and security of self-government. That form which we have substituted, restores the free right to the unbounded exercise of reason and freedom of opinion. All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately, by the grace of God. These are grounds of hope for others. For ourselves, let the annual return of this day forever refresh our recollections of these rights, and an undiminished devotion to them.”Thomas Jefferson

    “The implications for action are clear. By strengthening civil society – through legal rights and long-term economic development – and instituting clear rules to ensure accountability, political despotism and corruption will be brought under control. We should be uncompromising, therefore, in our defense of civil liberties.” Jeffrey Sachs

  11. When thirteen separate states signed on to their declaration of independence from their motherland, they did so based on certain principles and ideas. Those principles and ideals were tested again and again through the last two centuries. Those principles are being tested again today. The idea of a “United” States as a nation was an evolutionary process.

    Being a colony however of that entity has confused a lot of people in the Philippines. Will the islands ever break free by itself or be taken over and break free only time will tell.

    But the rationale then still stands the test of time. God given economic (life), political (liberty), and pursuit of happiness (social).

    In CONGRESS, July 4th, 1776.
    The Unanimous Declaration of Independence of the thirteen united States of America.

    “When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.”
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, having its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. Such has been the patient suffrance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”

    Over a hundred years later it took Lincoln at Gettysburg, where human blood mixed with the soil to express what that form of government was to be.

    Lincoln’s rationale for freeing the slaves was that he firmly believed that the fruits of labor was the sacrosanct private property of the worker.

    Another hundred years later the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown vs. the Department of Education mandating equal opportunity under the basic law – Education.

    Then the Civil Rights Act signed by President Johnson.

    Democracy is never given from the top. It is created by the majority for the minority of one.

    It is too bad most natives of the islands are still pregnant and barefoot.

  12. When the national directorate meeting of the ruling Lakas Party will be held on Jan 14, it is expected that the party members will toe the line of its titular head (Arroyo) rather than its chair emeritus (Ramos).

    The mantra is simply “The president believes in the rule of the law” and respects the Congress action on ConComs recommendation of ChaCha.

    Of course, the Lakas party members and the Congress will have their cake and eat it too in the ultimate coup “no election until 2010”.

    Time and again, it is proven that Filipinos (President, Congress and party leaders-mayors-governors) will be united if they share common (self)interest regardless the popular interest of the people. Self-preservation is a very strong character.

  13. all that is happening is a game of’s not any different from how our election go where there are so many candidates in the presidential race. so one needs a small number to win.
    Drilon divided his LP party w/ his stupid move.Ramos strategy is doing the same as part of his strategy.
    we are clearly divided just as our geography is!
    since people power does not seem to be working.the strategy now is “a group of people power” w/ the agendas & interest to push goes into play.
    my stand has always been to breal away from this cycle.because power gained by any uncosntitutional means will promote further instability.
    it is “we” the people who are the ultimate losers!!!!
    it’s like paying far to much to watch a spectacle that is so trilling & exciting but will not lead us anywhere!!!!

  14. manolo, the no-el is really just a has been presented w/ objective resaons in mind.
    i understand it’s hard to open our minds & be objective because obviously our emotions & our mental ability to look at the bigger picture has been heavely influenced by the events of the past year.
    sometimes we can really be a one track mind society so centered w/ individuals & immediate needs.sadly not any different from the poor man in the street whoes efforts are focused on having his meal for the day.
    but i would like to beleave that us who can write in this blog are more fortunate because in various ways we have had more in life.
    in a way we could use our education to contribute to give clarity in issues rather then contributing to the noise that further muddles up issues.
    because it seems that the order of the day is all about confuse divide & rule.
    i admit ever since i have been writing in your blog i have always taken the side of prudence after weighing things.
    i have always taken the stand that the garci tapes where released to saw doubt, confuse, divide & rule.
    remember when pimentel was filibustering endlessly as if waiting for something to happen that never did anyway.
    why didn’t the tapes come out that time?
    why did the tapes come out insted exploting pgma’s unpopularity w/ the r-vat? ironicaly the same r-vat when imposed gave our economy a boost.
    personaly, i see things as a personal asult to pgma’s personality. why?
    alex magno in his column today mentioned that there where also electoral reforms discussed in the concom.
    maybe insted of being so concerend for a no-el we must focus first to have a system to make elections a means of accurate results.
    did media care to look for the positive things the concom did?
    if i should go by what society is doing today i could only conclude that our educational system has completely failed us.
    becuase from how things are going it shows that we lack the dicipline to think & analyze & ask the right questions.
    we seem to be forever stuck in the superficial of matters.
    it seems that our education has taught us the wrong things such as to complain & protest & look for faults.
    I have always beleave every problem has a all boils down to attitude & self worth.
    anyway these are just my thoughts.i have no illusions that it will change the world.
    and it’s not about being pro or not no-el but about doing the right things for the right reasons & not about allowing oneself to be controled by perceptions & where the wind blows.

  15. I gree with Dan Mariano, but where did the heck did he get these ideas?

    “I cannot imagine God being pleased when his creatures worship graven images—even of himself. (!!!) For Christians who have a clear understanding of their faith no handiwork of man can ever capture the spiritual perfection of the Almighty. The statue of the Black Nazarene and other misrepresentations like it are nothing but expressions of human vanity. (!!!)

    Is he really Catholic or what?!?

  16. The trouble is not the graven images themselves, like Protestants and born agains would think (mistakenly); these objects have a rightful place in the exerecise of one’s faith. Human vanity? Susmaryosep! That was too simple-minded for someone who claims to be Catholic.

  17. Dan Mariano comes across as a thoughtful Catholic. The controversy over the role of graven images in worship has been there since the days of the golden calf. Interesting that on this matter, Muslims, Protestants & Jews are on the same side against Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Hindus and Buddhists. Icons (or the lack of it) is a big deal…

  18. Golden calves are different from Catholic iconography. It doesn’t take a genius to see the difference.

  19. To the Catholic eye, they are different. From the outside, they can all be classified as religious symbols.

  20. Dear Manolo,
    I read your column today and for once I agree with what you have written. Maybe when they file an impeachment case they should just simplify the charge to obstruction of justice and abuse of power and authority which we all can understand rather than a long list of cases which upon closer scrutiny are hard to prove ( and the worst of all they are also doing and have done again and again).
    Maybe when we reduce our hatred for other people.. we can think and communicate better and create a bond which will benefit this country..tell your bloggers and tv station..they keep on harping on the people’s apathy maybe they should ask themselves first what have they done to create such apathy? Personally, I feel sorry for even the media that goes bla bla bla every it is out in the open that vested interest caused it all..see? just look at the SWS…contra cha cha daw ang survey and then all of a sudden 52% pro chacha just because of Ramos..ay naku naman why do they always make the people look so stupid.
    I pay a lot of taxes to this country and have even put up small scale businesses just to provide jobs to poor people. I am not like many of your commentators who keep on dishing out venom ..what right do they have when they live far away from this country and have not paid any taxes. Even if you block comments of people who do not agree with you I really dont care.

  21. thanks for your comments emelie, I have been thinking of a positive way forward. Please note, though that I am not in the habit of censoring comments I disagree with, you’ll find many comments here hostile to me, my views, or even other posters. What happens though is that to prevent spam, I have a pretty strict spam plug in filter, and for some reason, it nukes people for spamming and I am not sure why, though it may have to do with ip addresses or the frequency of posting. Anyway should you find a comment not coming out, it’s best to wait a few minutes and post again, or emal me to let me know.

  22. Yo Emilie, hold your horses! Paying taxes do not allow you to become dictators and GMA like issuing executive orders to suppress dissenting ideas. We’ve come to enjoy this site because we can express our thoughts and share it with others.

  23. Jon, I insted understand Emilie, maybe also because I too am a big tax payer & I too have a “real” stake in this country.This is also the reason why I try to move more on the prudent side.I have more at stake but like I have always said in the past I’m not complaining & insted trying to figure out ways that we can have more understanding.
    maybe we should understand more the spirit of what she said.Don’t you think haveing less misunderstanding,listening to each other, having less hate, creating bonds that will benefit the country and so on are universal values that we should have more of?
    Jon, how many senate “in aid of what ever” have we witnessed? Can anyone in the blog say where those “so called investigations” lead too? The only guaranteed resluts of those investigations are; senators grandstanding, peoples reputations ruined & maligned, anyone who has a axe to grind is free to talk.
    It’s all a political act that promotes agendas & interest.It’s pure bs that it searches for the truth!!!
    There is nothing wrong w/ the Senate as an institution.It’s the garbage that it contains that is ruining this country.

  24. MLQ3,

    This reply here is for Emilie.

    Miss Emilie,

    I am one Pinay living abroad paying my Philippine taxes regularly because I send most of my income here to the Philippines. My savings accounts in the Philippines are taxed too!

    I have also invested a great deal of money which has absolutely not yielded a cent to date I keep them there because my investments are feeding people, keeping them alive…and I first invested most of my hard-earned savings in the Philippines in 1994.

    I pay lots of taxes indirectly too through the many people I feed there and who are consumers themselves (e-vat, service tax, etc.) and the children I send to school, yet like lots of Philippine taxpayers in the country and abroad, I personally don’t receive any of the advantages that I should automatically receive from paying my taxes, health coverage, free and good education for the children, etc.

    I am positive many of MLQ3’s bloggers here are contributors to your and the country’s continuing survival.

  25. All Filipinos have a genuine stake in the country. OFWs like we are the same as you are. I definitely am happier when I’m back home. I have my fears as i have posted before.

    But expressing how you feel is a basic need of a democracy. We should not curtail that.

    As for our senators wasting time and people’s money, I am against that too. Joey’s logic should be able to understand that, these senators and congressmen are in power, then can do whatever they like and we can’t do anything about it, yet. Our chance (if we learn) is during elections. Don’t vote them in again!

    As for others venting venom, it’s their prerogative too! As much as we want constructive criticisms and positive comments, there will always be those who do things differently. But the beauty of democracy (supposed to be) is that the majority rules.

  26. MLQ3,

    Again for Emelie and “obstruction of justice”:

    As for obstruction of justice, it is evident that there are unclean hands that are out to complicate matters for some people in Congress to prevent a bona-fide impeachment complaint from coming out.

    Oliver Lozano it seems is Gloria’s (OK, this needs to be confirmed) Trojan horse who is using a legal ruse – filing an impeachment complaint ahead of anyone to make sure that a bona-fide Congress impeachment case doesn’t prosper.

    I am not convinced that Mr Lozano’s motive is pure. It is my opinion that his action is plain OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE (which Philippine Commentary has rightly exposed), all in the service of Gloria Macapagal.

    It seems that this Lozano is the same Oliver Lozano who figured in a criminal case when as a member of a loyal Marcos group, he incited a group of Marcos loyalists to commit murder on the person of a Cory Aquino follower in Luneta many years ago.

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