Plan perfect

Wherever you are tomorrow, you can do one of two things:

1. Simply wear black to protest. You can even make your own protest t-shirt.
2. Breakfast for Democracy.

Going for broke is my column for today. I think the game plan is clear, and it’s achievable for the President:

1. Announce they have 4-5 million signatures by this or next weekend.
2. An obliging Comelec will say it will validate those signatures.
3. An obliging Supreme Court with either reverse its previous ruling or delay ruling on cases until the referendum is won.
4. A referendum on converting the presidential to parliamentary system will be held and won by the Palace.
5. The New interim parliament will convene before the end of this year, possibly as early as July or August.
6. Once in office, it will postpone election on the pretext that it has to convene as a Constituent Assembly for further amendments to the Constitution.
7. Instead of elections next year, there will be another plebiscite on many more Constitutional amendments.

The plan’s being revealed in stages. Sun-Star Bacolod reports, ‘Arroyo likely to cut term before 2007 if parliament pushes’: Coscolluela:

PRESIDENTIAL adviser for Western Visayas Rafael Coscolluela admitted Tuesday that the government is fast-tracking efforts to have a new Constitution ratified before the 2007 elections.

And if this happens, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may cut short her term to become Prime Minister should the parliament form takes place.

This is contrary to House Speaker Jose de Venecia’s earlier pronouncements that Arroyo and Vice President Noli de Castro would be allowed to retain their powers and serve their full terms until 2010 even after the shift in the form of government.

“The probability is that the President will become the Prime Minister and will have to run for reelection in 2007,” Coscolluela said.

The Speaker is happy with what he’s always wanted: De Venecia: Charter change may be limited to gov’t shift. He seems convinced that the Supreme Court will only accept a people’s initiative if it tackles only one change. And if that’s the case, then the one that appeals most is, if course, shifting to the parliamentary system.

Just to point out the obvious: as one of my previous entries pointed out, Republic Act 6735, the Initiative and Referendum Act signed into law in 1989, was meant to implement the Constitution’s provisions on initiative and referendum. However in the case Defensor vs. Comelec, the Supreme Court ruled that the provisions of the law on a people’s initiative and referendum are deficient (Sassy Lawyer unfortunately, seems unaware of both the law and the Supreme Court decision). Last night, the Supreme Court pointed out that it’s previous decision still stands –but people can bring the question to court:

Gleo Guerra, a director at the court’s public information office, said the Supreme Court’s March 20, 1997 decision on the insufficiency of Republic Act 6735 to allow charter change through people’s initiative still stands.

The high court handed down the decision in the Defensor Santiago v Commission on Elections (COMELEC) case.

“The court specifically said there must be a law to implement the people’s initiative provision in the constitution and unfortunately, RA 6735, the Initiative and Referendum Act of 1989, was held to be inadequate to cover that system of initiative,” she told ANC.

In a separate ABS-CBN interview, Guerra said groups who will push for a people’s initiative should consider the Supreme Court’s earlier ruling.

“If they want to continue the initiative, have Congress pass an enabling law or bring it again [before the] courts and use the arguments of those who gave a dissenting opinion,” Guerra said.

The Palace gamble seems to be, to have the Supreme Court overturn its previous decision: the present Chief Justice and Justice Puno were the dissenters in that decision, and so would be in a position to validate, in a sense, their earlier dissenting opinions (the Justices who voted against the law’s provisions being applicable are all retired; PCIJ has the majority and dissenting opinions online). That is why in my proposal, I invoked the same law the Palace is invoking now; the provisions on resolutions and provincial initiatives remains valid while the provisions on Constitutional amendments by initiative is what’s being debated.

As far as the push for parliamentarism goes, I’ve argued in the past (in public fora, not here in this blog, from what I can recall) that what is being proposed now is nothing new, but rather, is the latest manifestation of a preference as old as the Malolos Constitution itself. Reading the provisions on the legislature will bring up striking similarities to the kind of legislative-executive relationship being proposed now.

Anyway, In the League of Cities of the Philippines, there is an entire page choc full o’ stuff to push forward the administration arguments.

Here is the matrix prepared by the PCIJ comparing the present text of the Constitution to the proposed new wording drafted by the House:


(note: the House continues to further amend the amendments; for example, in the PCIJ matrix, the House draft doesn’t include the latest rewording, which grants the new parliament the latitude to decide when the first real elections under the new Constitution would be).

I’ve blogged in the past on Federalism, and proposed readings on uncameralism versus bicameralism. I’ve noted before, too, that just as we’re toying with parliamentary government, other parliamentary governments are becoming more presidential.

And once more, let’s take the measure of Congress.

In the blogosphere, Newsstand examines yesterday’s entry by Sassy Lawyer, and issues a rejoinder: disagreeing is nothing personal, he says.

Go Figure discusses the findings of a study which tackles reducing corruption: as an example, road projects in Indonesia were tackled: threats of an audit were more effective in lessening corruption than community-based watchdogs.

Ang Kape Ni LaTtex has an interesting entry on whether Filipinos have a bias against entrepreneurship. He points to remarks made by Sen. Manuel Villar, who says one shortcoming of Philippine society is what he describes as the “employee mentality”.

The question of entrepreneurship is at the heart of whether this country can move forward or not: entrepreneurs are the dynamo of the modern-day middle class, just as employees who aspired for comfortable careers within a corporate environment were the bedrock of society in the past. Since the 1970s, we have had a crisis affecting the middle class: crony capitalism and the excesses of the Marcos years gutted the confidence of a generation which saw no way forward under such controlled circumstances. Government offered a safety-valve in terms of officially supporting emigration abroad and the OFW phenomenon.

The problem since then has been the failure of society and the state to at least turn the hard-earned money of Filipinos working and living abroad, into a means for producing and investing capital here at home. At the same time, the traditional ills of big business -what the academe refers to as “rent-seeking,” that is, exchanging support for the powers-that-be for preferential treatment that gives business supporters an unfair advantage, hasn’t been curbed.

Personally, I’ve said I believe Ramon Magsaysay, Jr. would make a good transitional president, because he has that rare thing, genuine entrepreneurial experience. I understand there are those who support Villar for the same reasons.

Bunker Chronicles takes a dim view of RJ Jacinto.

baratillo books cinema@cubao enjoys how columnists sometimes inspire humor without meaning to.

Mongster’s Nest suggests Holy Week reading: “the politics of underdevelopment.”

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

45 thoughts on “Plan perfect

  1. I was actually surprised that the Supreme Court issued its stand on the PI (people’s initiative). I’m quite happy with it. But as mentioned in this entry, the SC can actually reverse itself. The possibility of the SC reversing itself is quite high. And when it happens, it will cement my belief that the SC is really eating from GMA’s palms. And for me, I’ll be like a kid given a lollipop and then taken away even before I could start licking it.

  2. I still am for Sen. Lacson for president.

    I think he has the least political debt to be less corrupt than the rest,it is also his weakness.

    I hope he’s do’ing something about it, if not, then it’s true he will retiring from Philippine politics.

  3. For those in favor or Gloria Arroyo, they say that the accussations against her are difficult to prove. So let her be, they say.

    How about the accussations against Mr. Lacson, are they difficult to prove too? In a different thread, I think it was Rego who said he’d stick with Arroyo rather than opt for Lacson…

    I don’t know Lacson. I heard both the good and the bad about him, but I don’t have any personal knowledge whether he’s good or bad. If there was an election now, I would pick Mr. Lacson over Arroyo.

  4. The link to the changes in the constitution was a an entertaining read.

    Did they use search and replace function of a word processor to make changes to it? and I bet they also use grammar checkers to make subtle changes with great effect.

    Find: “three years” Replace with: “five years” (term of service)

    Insert: “The incumbent Chairman and
    Commissioners shall be allowed to serve out
    their respective terms”
    where appropriate.

    If I were one of the incumbent or a commissioner right now I’ll join the bandwagon, I can save a ton of money campaigning for a position.

  5. Re your column going for broke

    At the end of the day, she won’t be broke that’s for sure.

    A kleptocracy is inevitable. It is unavoidable. There’s is too much dirty money being made and dirty money cannot lie unwashed.

    Dirty money has to be laundered before it can be enjoyed. She will have to buy a washing machine – a bank. The bank will have to invest her deposits. That means it will start buying up businesses and more businesses as more and more loot comes in. How many banks and companies did Imelda say she owned after Tony Boy Cojuangco sold “her” shares of PLDT?

    She who has the gold makes the rules and she who makes the rules makes and takes all the gold. It’s a cycle that, once began, can only end with an ouster or death

  6. Martial Law is now easier to declare in the new BS constitution. That is very scary

    Am I correct in my interpretation? No more checking by anybody why it was declared?

    All that was left of “Martial Law” is in this paragraph:
    In case of invasion, or rebellion, or imminent danger thereof when the public safety requires it, he may suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus , or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.

    very scary We all have to kiss GMA’s ass now if this BS constitution is adopted.

  7. I am sure some where else in the law it does metion time periods and other items note they do not provide links to the actual passages, just their interpretation of what the documents say..

  8. SEC. 8. The President, upon the advice of the Prime Minister and whenever it
    becomes necessary, may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless
    violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion, rebellion or imminent danger thereof,
    upon the advice of the Prime Minister and when the public safety requires it, he may, for
    a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or
    place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from
    the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, the Prime
    Minister shall submit a report in person or in writing to Parliament. Parliament, by a vote
    of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such
    proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President
    and the Prime Minister. Upon the initiative of the Prime Minister and approved by the
    President, Parliament may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or
    suspension for a period to be determined by Parliament, if the invasion, rebellion or
    imminent danger thereof shall persist and public safety requires it.

    This is the actual text that i could find.. Note the term is there..

  9. This is again PCIJ and the lack of responsible reporting on there side…

    In the computer world it is called FUD… Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD)..

    Why did they only quote what they wanted and not the exact lines?

  10. yo sleeping!

    the PCIJ matrix is a comparison of the 1987 constitution against the PROPOSED NEW WORDING DRAFTED BY THE HOUSE, not the concom proposal (which you are quoting from).

    sleeping on the job again, are you?

  11. Thanks for the link sleeping…
    PCIJ really made me search for a copy of that proposed ammendments and found exactly that same copy.

    I am still not for constitutional change though…

  12. Their is a NEDA copy also same document..

    The congress has not released a copy as yet on their site, so FUD..

    And the peoples initiative is based on the COM.COM

  13. As also mentioned in this entry; whatever happens, GMA still stays in power. That’s her plan, everything else are dilatory or squid tactics.

  14. I think the Supreme Court is just playing possum by reiterating its 1997 decision against the people’s initiative. If otherwise, why then would Malacanang push tru with gathering signatures and JDV waking up to living a wet-dream, if the Supreme Court would only strike down the current People’s Initiative?

    From what I see, Malacanang and JDV are so confident that CHA-cha will go ahead thanks to the people’s initiative. This confidence must mean something, it’s either they are really daydreaming or they know they have the Supreme Court, as John Mariano puts it, “eating from GMA’s palms.”

  15. gma, in her speeches, keeps on insulting our intelligence. Sobra na!!! She has institutionalized falsehood & deception. The Philippine state is in the risk of losing its soul & shall I say ‘dignity’ (as a dignified nation-state). It’s alarming that we’re now under an ‘institutionalized deception’.

    Below is an extract from GMA (media) news.

    “Mrs. Arroyo, in a speech before ambassadors and officials of international donor agencies, said “the true power of the people is being felt with the signature campaign to change our form of government….The old-time politicians of the status quo better stand back, because this train has left the station…..we don’t have time for the endless cycles of political bickering, Senate stonewalling or partisan investigations. The people want progress, they want action, and they want it now,” Mrs. Arroyo said.
    —-> ang kapal talaga nitong si gma! The people want progress, yes there’s no question about that, but they (the majority) feel that the nation would be in better condition without this power-greedy glue-ria. She stinks!

  16. sleeping,

    where’s the wording? isn’t that what the PCIJ matrix is telling us?

    the thing is, you’re concluding already that the reporting of PCIJ is one-sided when in fact, you do not even have the proposed wordings by the house. you used the concom proposal as the basis for your conclusion, which is in essence just a “suggestion” and might NOT even be followed by the house in their drafting of constitutional amendments.

    wake up, dude!

  17. Manuel, may binago ka ba sa blog mo kaninang umaga? kasi hindi ko ma-access yung page ng blog mo sa History sidebar ko eh when i’m reading off line.

  18. Mlq3,

    DJB reckoned that this people’s initiative thinggy is a Palace diversionary tactic. After reading the various news, op-ed columns, blogs, etc extensively, I reached the same conclusion.

    Notice how people’s intiative for Gloria’s impeachment, military restiveness, corruption issues, etc. are taking a back seat.

    Everybody, Congress, Comelec, Supreme Court, and various political institutions are focalised on the issue. What’s highly disturbing is that there’s virtually no meaningful debate on the cha-cha – the debate is centered on obtaining signatures. It’s becoming sheer madness!

    I believe it’s time to re-focus and re-calibrate the issues; first and foremost, Gloria’s legitimacy must be tackled before changing the Philippine political lay out.

  19. #1 Jon “The possibility of the SC reversing itself is quite high. And when it happens, it will cement my belief that the SC is really eating from GMA’s palms.”
    #16 Jhay “just playing possum … confident that CHA-cha will go ahead.”

    There is a pattern in GMA’s moves, steps and swings. Since the 1998 presidential elections, at every crucial turn on her way to and stay at the top, she has been dancing the Gloria cha-cha: one step backward, two steps forward. It is a dance of deception, (of playing possum) and of treachery (then striking and attacking preemptively, when least expected).”President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may cut short her term to become Prime Minister should the parliament form takes place”.One step backward, two steps forward.

    ‘Plan perfect/Going for broke’ is a ‘reading’ of GMA’s magnum opus choreography. Has she the discipline, balance, execution, poise, projection, showmanship to swing it? Will she get the grand price, the president/prime-ministership trophy? MLQ3 thinks so and is resigned to “the coming administration victory”. In the meanwhile, aside from praying she trips, or is tripped, shall we, people, dance too? Shall we be ‘break dancing’ on the streets? Or ‘going for broke’ too? Any way it is we, the people, who always pay the price on GMA’s risks. Why don’t we be the ones who take the risks? Three hundred years under Spain, twenty under Marcos, how many under GMA?

    It is time to break the pattern. It is time for the people to be ‘going for broke’.

    (Stop the Gloria cha-cha! Hala Bira !)

  20. 14 january 2006
    philstar was able to obtain a copy of the cha-cha working draft…house charter draft gives gma undiminished powers:

    16 january 2006
    pdi’s in the know posted a proposed timeline of lakas (which they are really bent on fulfilling…come hell or high water):

    17 january 2006
    house panel adopted “chopsuey” (part of old draft, lakas draft, and consult-com draft) cha-cha working draft:

    18 january 2006
    malaya reported that lakas draft charter changes adopted by house committee and consult-com’s report relegated as reference material:

    31 january 2006
    pcij posted an easy guide to the house-proposed constitution (from where the above-cited matrix came from):

  21. NO TO CHA CHA !!!

    I control the Justice System, I control
    the HOUSE, I control the MEDIA, I control
    the MILITARY and POLICE, I control the BUDGET,
    I control the RELIGIOUS groups,

    MEMORIAL LIFE PLAN to build in Malacanang – , she will
    STAY there forever, with her POWER & POSITION she says

  22. Francis and Jon at #2 & #3. I think you have focused too much on GMAs strategies and failed to peruse all other presidential aspirants….My impression is that Lacson is more sleazy that GMA. His links to kuratong baleleng and Boby Dacer murder is scare the hell out of me….

    Mrs Arroy and Ping Lacson are very much of the same kind. They are just trapo painted with stinking mud all over them.

    Geez there are soo many cleaner politican out there. There is Jun Magsaysay, Oscar Orbos, Joker Arroyo, Randy David, I would even vote for Winnie Monsod or MLQ3 over Lacson….

  23. I learned yesterday that Mayor Duterte told barangay captains Wednesday to support PIG and chacha.
    JDV timeline – “interim parliament” up by July. You’re right, Manolo. It’s his pipedream; our nightmare!

  24. rego,

    The personnality you mentioned did not run for President, that’s the reason why It was not included in my selection. If they had the self-confidence to proclaim to the people that they can run this country then I would certainly include them, but for now to me they are mostly critiques and Prof. Randy David is one of my favorite social-scientist.

  25. FVR wanted Palace to own the campaign behind gathering of signature.

    Palace is distancing itself for obvious reason.

    The bright boys are laying the important groundworks for the people’s initiative to support stronger arguments for then dissenting opinion to make way for the reversal of the 1997 Supreme Court opinion.

  26. Rego, regarding Lacson, you might be right about him. But what made you so sure of your information? If you’re just like me who analyze the situation thru online newspapers, what you know may be tainted by black propaganda about him.

    It might be the opposite with Gloria Arroyo who before she got into power, there was really no “black marks” on her record but now that she’s in power the warts have come out into the open.

    From all the accussations against Lacson, he’s not even been convicted of anything. That makes him innocent until proven guilty. That will make voters think twice before choosing him. That’s why if there was another candidate that is “cleaner” than him, I would choose that other one. But then again, what will stop Lacson (or any other candidate) to sling mud to that other candidate?

  27. That is always the case, Jon, when some become a president in our country she will just instantly tranform to an evil person….

    About Lacson darks fast, gee isnt he the PNP Cheif during the Bobby Dacer murder case? Aren’t Mancao and Aquino his closest aide? Where are these two men now after they were convicted in court? They are here in the US running from justice in the Phil.. See, even before Mrs Arroyo hid Garci and Joc joc Bolante, Lacson already did that for Mancao and Aquino. If he can do all those dirty tricks while he is not yet most powerful person in the country, how much more when he is already one? Man, you dont have to be a rocket scientist to able to analyze that..

    Definitely, he is not the change that I would love to see for our country….

  28. I won’t defend Lacson. I don’t know him, but compared to Gloria (a known evil), I would give Lacson a chance (an unknown evil, in your words).

    What is the good I see in him? It’s his quality of being strong, can do and will do attitude, straight talker, and he actually has a platform of government! Are these qualities going to make him president one day? I don’t know.

  29. may tanong lang ako… is vote buying and signature buying legal?

    i don’t mind if a candidate uses his/her own money to buy people’s support. pero kapag ginamit mo ang pera ng bayan para sa ganitong effort, hindi ba illegal yan?

  30. Jon, I believe Mrs Arroyo is also strong. Look she was able to survive those “blows” coming from everywhere. And look where we are now?

    And you have issues that Mrs Arroyo lied? Look what Lacson did. I saw him before on tv ( nasa manila pa kasi ako noon) just after Erap was ousted. And he really did talk staightly that he will not run for office. And he also straight talked during the election campaign that he is against the pork barrel. He is indeed a straight talker straight lies nga lang ang kanyang talk!!!!!!

    And now he is in the fore front of the protest action against Mrs Arroyos lies? Oh pleeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaassseee!

  31. There’s no need to defend Sen. Lacson, his achievements and credibility can speak for itself.

    As far as I know Mancao and Aquino does not have an outstanding warrant of arrest or was convicted in any criminal court. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  32. rego,
    He had his reason for running for President ask him yourself.

    And yes he is against pork barrel, he did not avail of his allocation.

  33. Strong, intelligent, wily, what else can you describe Gloria Arroyo? She’s all those and then some (negative traits!).

    Lacson? If there was only him and Gloria, I’ll vote for Lacson. Between Lacson and Fred Lim? I’ll go for Fred Lim. I’ve said it before, I’d vote for Bayani Fernando if he runs for office. You see, only those who runs for office are the ones we can vote for. If MLQ3 runs, he sure looks like a good bet too.

  34. is vote buying and signature buying legal? i don’t mind if a candidate uses his/her own money to buy people’s support. pero kapag ginamit mo ang pera ng bayan para sa ganitong effort, hindi ba illegal yan?

    and why is COMELEC taking this signature campaign seriously? since:

    a) it’s clearly a gov’t initiated effort.
    b) people got bribed using gov’t money for their signatures.

    So shouldn’t the whole “People’s initiative” thing be nullified by the COMELEC since halatang ginastusan ng Gobierno ang “initiative” na ito para mabili ang signatures ng mga mamamayan?

    If the COMELEC validates this bogus “people’s initiative”, this should put any doubts to rest na hawak sila ng malacanang.

  35. John, even to me it(charter change initiative) looks like a train that cannot be stopped all of a sudden. Your point (a) is very clear, point (b) is a little difficult to prove unless the ordinary people who received the grease money come forward and say so. Even if it insults a few of us, who cares? Even if there’s no insurance that this chacha will really help the Filipino in the long run, who can stop it?

  36. actually jon, many people were openly admitting to it:

    From Malaya:

    Sen. Panfilo Lacson said: “This government has near-perfected the art of deceiving the people.”

    He said reports from the field showed government men were orchestrating the barangay assemblies.

    “Talagang gumagastos sila ng pera sa pagpipirma na ginagawa nila. Sinasamantala nila ang kumakalam na sikmura ng kababayan natin para maisakatuparan ang kanilang hangarin na mag-shift tayo sa parliamentary system through people’s initiative. Alam nilang malaki ang problema sa Mataas na Kapulungan ng Kongreso,” Lacson said.

    Senate minority leader Aquilino Pimentel Jr. said P20 million was initially released for the signature campaign.

    He said municipal development officers of the Department of Interior and Local Government organized and coordinated the barangay assemblies.

    “In that meeting, the local government officials were told about the funds for the holding of the barangay assembly and the money had been released,” Pimentel said…

    Pimentel said he was not surprised anymore when barangay officials and workers, as well as residents, openly admitted that bribe money was being offered to those who would sign the petition calling for amendments to the Constitution.

  37. It is a puzzlement then why there are no great howls of protest and no court cases being made …

    kaya nga ito ang tanong ko kanina:

    is vote buying and signature buying legal? i don’t mind if a candidate uses his/her own money to buy people’s support. pero kapag ginamit mo ang pera ng bayan para sa ganitong effort, hindi ba illegal yan?

    If the gov’t is, frankly speaking… bribing officials and residents to gather signatures for CHA CHA, illegal ba yan?

    ethically it’s wrong, we know that. but is it illegal kung hindi naman ito isu-submit sa comelec and the gathered sigs will only be used for PR purposes? (so that the admin can claim na they have the “people’s support” on cha cha)

  38. any form of vote bying is ethically wrong regardless of where you get the money. any government funds used not intended for government official duty/activity is illegal.

    whether some one use the results of vote bying in the palace initiative for PR or for comelec, it is illegal if gov’t funds were used.

    the questions now are…did they use gov’t funds for this initiative?do we have evidence? will the evidence stand in a court of law?

    but the biggest question is…DO WE STILL HAVE THE POWER OF COURT OF LAW?

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