Game plan

Metro Manila breaths a sigh of relief; but the typhoon has claimed its share of lives.

President made an unscheduled trip to St. Luke’s hospital in the last hour (12:57 pm Manila time). Media colleagues report it’s because “she wants to be with her husband during his scheduled check up”. She doesn’t have more important things to do? Here’s the news story, 1 pm.

The administration says there was a momentary blip in economic news, but that Christmas spending plus remittances will make everything hunky-dory.
A colleague explained that what was troubling about the recent news of a slowdown in quarterly growth, is that the economy grew only at 0.3 percent when it was expected to grow at 1.1 percent. The growth was the slowest in 5 Quarters.

The drumbeating continues: less than half of Mindanao’s political leadership trumpets support for a Constituent Assembly. The House leadership says it’s all in the bag, regardless of what the usual suspects in business grumble.

The schedule, insofar as I’ve been able to cobble it together, seems along the these lines:

Dec. 04: House attempts to swiftly amend rules. Sessions on Thursdays for the duration announced.

Dec. 06: Chief Justice Paganiban retires. House of Representatives amends its rules allowing swift passage of a resolution.

Dec. 08: Associate Justice Puno widely expected to be named Chief Justice.

Dec. 13: The Supreme Court goes on Christmas vacation. The debate is whether the Chief Justice has to call his fellow justices to an en banc session to hear any challenges to the House, or whether the Supreme Court might go into hibernation and dither over hearing the case.

Dec. 16: House of Representatives approves a resolution proposing Constitutional amendments. Perhaps five senators materialize during the voting, to signify their participation. This gives the appearance of (token) Senate participation in the process. Commission on Elections receives House Resolution and schedules plebiscite in 60 days.

Dec. 22: Congress goes on holiday recess.

Jan. 16: Comelec announces it will pilot poll automation in Metro Manila and other selected areas.

Feb. 16: Plebiscite Day.

Feb. 17-19: Plebiscite results proclaimed.

Feb. 25: Edsa Anniversary marked with inauguration of Interim National Assembly.

This schedule is based on what I’ve heard from some lawyers and reading between the headlines. Some people I’ve presented it to, think that the Supreme Court will not turn a blind eye to any challenges raised, and that the Comelec won’t necessarily presume that a House Resolution will trigger preparations for a plebiscite. And many other observers think the schedule’s simply too tight. Let’s see.

In the punditocracy, JB Baylon dissects the pros and cons of investigating the President’s husband.

Billy Esposo bids farewell to his readers. He will be taking over Max Soliven’s slot as columnist for the Philippine Star.

The Business Mirror editorial pays tribute to former central bank chief Cesar Rafael Buenaventura who died yesterday.

John Lewis reargues the MacArthur dictum that “there is no substitute for victory” -in Iraq.

Historical footnote: the Supreme Court decision exonerating Ferdinand Marcos for the murder of his father’s political rival.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

54 thoughts on “Game plan

  1. Shaman,

    How different can a ConCon be from a ConAss?

    They are both deliberative, collegial bodies composed of democratically elected representatives of the people.

    They have exactly the same power to amend or revise the Constitution.

    The fact that there is an extra phrase attached to the Congress requiring a Three fourths Voting Rule might only convince some future ConCon to adopt the Three fourth’s voting rule itself. Would that be unconstitutional?

    Does this need to be settled by the Supreme Court too?

  2. DJB, my point is that there’s a question, or a controversy, if you will, that has arisen from a constitutional provision and it has to be resolved. I submit that Congress, even if it is acting as a Con-Ass, has no power on its own to settle the matter, say by adopting a rule. That power lies with the SC, as provided for in the system of separation of powers.

    When a Con-con convenes, no such controversy confronts it. So there’s nothing for the SC to resolve. Whether the acts of a Con-con can be subject to the SC’s review is something constitutionalists can argue about.

  3. THere is no term Constituent Assembly in the Present and the 1935 Charter, yet a plebiscite was conducted in 1967 as the people were asked whether Congress should convene as a constituent Assembly. It lost so we had a ConCon in 1971. (Info came from the explainer episode)

    How come we can have a term constituent Assembly which is not in the Charter? Why is it not termed THE CONGRESS?

    And even then the 1935 Charter was silent on how the Convention was to act yet act it did.

  4. In our scheme of things, SC does not directly declare or assail a statute, executive order, or ordinance as invalid or unconstitutional. There has to be an actual litigation where one party claims a right under the questioned provision and the opposing party claims there is no such right because the said provision is void for being unconstitutional. SC rules on the validity of a law as an essential component of its prerogative to adjudicate cases properly brought before it.

    SC is not a superbody empowered to invalidate, by its own accord, acts of Congress or the Executive, or to evaluate their wisdom and moral propriety. In the proper discharge of its judicial function, SC is only guided by what it determines to be the correct meaning and application of the Constitution, not the political clamor and pressure of even a million “marchers”, the military, other officials and politicians, big business, the clergy, or the media, nor, at worst, an imminent threat to their own lives.

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