Near the end of Mao Zedong’s life, when news of one particularly close call with a lung infection reached Chou Enlai, he soiled his pants. He had to change into new pants before he could rush to the Great Helmsman’s bedside to see if he would live or die.
I think many of us felt the same way yesterday (like bringing a baby into this world), particularly as, in what may have been a last-minute effort to turn the tide through rumor-mongering, news began to swirl that the government would win in the Supreme Court.
Finally, the first news came out and it was very good news; and then it was official -and gladdening! Banketa Republique among others, could suddenly look forward to a happy birthday. Naturally the folks at the Black and White Movement and One Voice were frabjous. Other groups banged pots and pans with joy.
The decision of the Supreme Court, G.R. 174153 is available on line. It is strongly -and clearly- written. You can read the concurring opinion of the Chief Justice, as well as Sandoval-Gutierrez, and the dissenting opinions of justices, starting with Reynato Puno, then Ynares-Santiago, Tinga, Nazario and Valsco
Or then again, since the Palace was quick to focus on Plan 1.v2 (appeal), the ground’s being set for a last-ditch effort to overturn the decision. One thing’s sure: Heherson Alvarez says print media proved it’s more influential than broadcast media in such debates. This means print’s going to receive more slap and tickle from the Palace.
Newsbreak has the skinny on the justice who clinched the vote for the antis in the Supreme Court, though the Manila Times has a different take on who was the clincher. In that light, this passage from the Chief Justice’s statement says it all:
Ten years, fifty years, a hundred years — or even a thousand years — from now, what the Court did here, and how each justice opined and voted, will still be talked about, either in shame or in pride. Indeed, the hand-washing of Pontius Pilate, the abomination of Dred Scott, and the loathing of Javellana still linger and haunt to this day.Let not this case fall into the same damnation. Rather, let this Court be known throughout the nation and the world for its independence, integrity, industry and intelligence.
That theirs was was an activist decision is clear; and I simply don’t understand what Bel Cunanan means when she wrote,
It makes one wonder how this country would be if the Court had even just a handful of activist jurists willing to break out of the constitutional straightjacket and more brave hearts with a little less concern for “institutional damage” and posterity, than for the nation’s future which, at the moment of decision, was truly in their hands.
Still, just how close a call it was brought to my mind what Winston Churchill said, as his countrymen celebrated the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk: “we must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.” They are won through invasions. And the beach heads would be in the 2007 elections.
Exactly what might have been -and what still might be, since Business Mirror reports Plan B is a go– as far as the House intentions to amend the Constitution are concerned, is detailed by Newsbreak. The business community’s still regrouping in terms of its opinions -whether those from it supportive of the Palace should continue to do so, might be helped by that article. The political camps are mobilizing for a showdown in the House.
In the punditocracy, my column for today is Lame duck. Mercifully, By Jove! (and thank God he’s back to blogging the news) reveals what I wanted to know -what it was like at the Manila Hotel as the president’s visit heralded her Supreme Court defeat. It was a time to dust-off that old Palace chestnut: oh, Madame doesn’t really care. No, really. Trust us. Would she -or we- lie to you? She may have shown sangfroid, but she changed her schedule and nursed the local executives through lunch. And other news: there’s a Plan C.
The Daily Tribune pens a thorough editorial.
Dong Puno has a nice paragraph:
It doesn’t help that one of the most basic problems of both our Senate and our House is the elementary issue of…the quorum or, put another way, absenteeism. Yup, many of our esteemed legislators, after having received the people’s mandate, evidently make it their business to be otherwise occupied when the business of the people calls.
In the blogosphere, PCIJ reports Randy David’s articulation of a checklist for Philippine democracy:
* We cannot hope to gain anything unless we can first unify our people around a clear vision and engage their energies and enthusiasm in pursuit of these goals.
* Development has to start from the development of the people, through the provision of the minimum living conditions for sustained personal growth, through quality education, and the meaningful inclusion of our people in various aspects of the national life
* With regard to the private sector, those who have more in life are called upon to help those who have been excluded and opportunity without waiting to be prompted by the government.
* Corruption is not the most important of our problems but rather an expression of our most urgent problems: mass poverty and ignorance, patronage politics, expensive elections and an underdeveloped economy.
* Our private initiatives as citizens are valuable, but the crucial terrain of socail change is still the public arena, where policies and programs are decided.
* There is no shortcut to development.
* Some of our problems require simple and straightforward solutions, but many are multi-layered and complex. Every initiative rests on certain preconditions.
* No nation can progress without first instilling national pride and love of country among its people. National pride is to nations what self-respect is to individuals, a precondition for self-improvement. We must arrest our people’s dangerous descent to demoralization, and appeal to those who have made good here and abroad, to help lift the morale, especially of our young people, in these critical times.
Philippine Commentary weighs in with an analysis of the supremes’ decision. Comelec AKO asserts the language employed by Justice Carpio was intemperate and even tasteless -certainly, he says, unnecessary.
RG Cruz reports the Speaker’s defiant.
Mga Diskurso ni Doy cautions that the Palace must have been prepared for the possibility of defeat, and has been redoubling its efforts to achieve victory in the May 2007 elections. See Mental Pornography and The Philippine Experience, and blackshama’s blog, also Diego K. Guerrero, and the bystander as well. Uniffors says Raul Lambino was “pimp-slapped.” baratillo@cubao gives a more measured response and suggests this is merely round 1 in a prolonged fight.
blurry brain takes a critical look at the Philippines-Japan free trade agreement and the mentality of some of its advocates.
The Filipino Mind visits Mexico City.