Pick your headline: Shades of Marcos, SC says of Arroyo’s 1017: Dispersal of rallies, arrests, raid illegal (Inquirer); “EO 1017 constitutional” (Manila Standard-Today); 1017 gets Court’s nod: But rules certain provisions illegal (Manila Times); “1017″ constitutional but actions illegal: Tribunal slams arrests, ban on protests (Malaya).
Also, the PCIJ blog report on the decision, with this quote from the Chief Justice’s concurring opinion:
Some of those who drafted PP 1017 may be testing the outer limits of presidential prerogatives and the perseverance of this Court in safeguarding the people’s constitutionally enshrined liberty. They are playing with fire, and unless prudently restrained, they may one day wittingly or unwittingly burn down the country. History will never forget, much less forgive, this Court if it allows such misadventure and refuses to strike down abuse at its inception. Worse, our people will surely condemn the misuse of legal hocus pocus to justify this trifling with constitutional sanctities.
That’s it, in a nutshell: the executive has tried to push the envelope; the courts must must step in to strike down “abuse at its inception”.
Big news ahead, as Newsbreak exclusively reports: ‘Cheating’ Operators to Come Out Soon.
In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is Filipinos Don’t Like Arroyo, but Don’t Back a Coup. The column has one typo which changes the entire sense of the piece:
These questions are tempting to address, but they depend on one given which doesn’t exist at this point in time — an executive branch of government poised to perpetuate itself in power at all costs, even at the cost of democracy and the constitution.
Should, instead, read,
These questions are tempting to address, but they depend on one given which does exist at this point in time — an executive branch of government poised to perpetuate itself in power at all costs, even at the cost of democracy and the constitution.
My column for today is What’s in it for you, which is based on a recent blog entry, but has this addition:
After all, the only assurance you have is not on paper or in the system. The only assurance you can have depends on a single assumption: that given absolute, unlimited, unquestionable power, a coalition, any coalition, can be trusted-and expected-to use its power only for the public good, never for its own, selfish interests, and surely not for the benefit of its political allies. In other words, all you have is faith.
Faith in whom? Don’t think in terms of the administration coalition. Think of any coalition. Because democracy is not about a particular group holding power forever. It is also about the probability that one day, today’s minority could be tomorrow’s majority. Either side can’t be given what those in power today wants. Because no one, no group, should have such complete, unquestionable, power. To surrender that power to one individual or group is madness and reflects a lunatic attitude toward governance.
Would you hand anyone, in the administration or the opposition, today’s leaders and, perhaps, tomorrow’s leaders, too, a blank check?
Manuel Buencamino examines claims that the parliamentary system as practiced by neighboring countries (specifically Malaysia, which is viewed, despite having a population 1/4 the size of our own, as a model to emulate) will lead to continuity in policies. He says this isn’t true, and gives concrete Malaysian examples. I’d add, if you want to see the presidential system at work, look at Indonesia.
The Nation of Thailand has an editorial that makes for relevant reading: Structure politics to fight corruption: To implement reforms successfully and root out Thaksin’s graft-prone legacy, we must learn the right lessons. In My Liberal Times, he discusses how an international conference shows how media can help make official development assistance graft-free.
Yesterday was World Press Freedom Day. Interesting reading from The Nation: The struggle for a free pressL World Press Freedom Day is a time for reflecting that an effective media requires constant nurturing, and Media intimidation: a view from the front: “I have never seen anything like it,” one Western diplomat told us recently. In Slate: Fighting Words: Bush vs. the press vs. Bush. Speaking of Americans, US Senate asks RP to hunt newsmen’s killers. Journalist and blogger Promdi has some harsh words for the President -because of her harshness to the press.
Hot Manila is back with a look at Charter change.
The blogosphere has Kerry B. Collison pointing to another extremely relevant article: speaking of Thaksin, the writer says, “don’t forget who got us into this mess.” Same-same, as the Thais would say, with regards to the Philippines.
An interesting entry in Challenge and movements, recounting the May 1 rallies in the USA, including a vignette featuring people listening to, and singing, the Internationale in different languages. The blogger sees a glorious future:
This must be a sign or an indicator that the ideological clarifications have sipped in for a time now with all the out counter attacks of debunking civil society, of two line struggle, of the need for a broad united front, of the importance of vanguardism, of the class struggle to mention a few within the international movement. If my observations are correct then a bright future is waiting ahead of us.
Ironically, this ties in with yesterday’s column by Amando Doronila, where he suggests National Democrats in the Philippines are returning to their pre-Edsa strategies and quietly abandoning efforts to court support from the middle class:
In shifting the venue of their marches to Mendiola, the working class and the Left implicitly declared they were taking a path to political and social change in the Philippines different from that of the Edsa-oriented middle class. Last Monday was therefore a reiteration by the Left that its forces, no matter how fractured they were ideologically, had nothing to do with Edsa-type people power movements, that they would not be part of any “tactical alliance” with the Edsa militants and that they would not be used further as the organizational arm of middle-class political movements.
A Bugged Life recounts accompanying a Rock Ed! effort in Olongapo. Rock Ed is a quiet, but interesting, advocacy that’s been going on for some time now.
Only in the Philippines comments, and draws, on dictatorships, then and now.
stepping on poop has great fun proposing a memorandum from Luli Arroyo to the faithful.
village idiot savant points out Davao City is the Most Competitive City for 2005 (Davao City and Baguio City are the two places I always think of moving to, one day).
Under the Talisay Tree returns to blogging!