Curses, foiled again

A combination of bungling on the part of Rep. Salapuddin and a switcheroo no one can quite explain attempted by Rep. Jaraula, derailed the Charter Change express in the wee hours of the morning. But this news item gives us a good idea of the legislative strategy of the majority:

…Cagayan de Oro Representative Constantino Jauraula tried to introduce House Resolution 1230 proposing specific amendments to the Constitution by way of a constituent assembly.

HR1230 has been pending for plenary action since September 18.

Camarines Sur Representative Luis Villafuerte, an administration ally, admitted that the majority bloc was also surprised by Jaraula’s move since what they had earlier agreed upon was to push for HR 1450.

But opposition members questioned Jaraula’s resolution especially when he started reading the whereas provisions of an entirely new provision.

This prompted the House to suspend the session.

After a lull of almost an hour in the session, the House resumed with Nograles’s new proposal.

Nograles moved to refer HR1450 to the House committee on rules, which he also heads, to calendar it for plenary discussion later in the day.

But Minority Floor Leader Francis Escudero objected, saying that the referral was inappropriate because after the rules committee, it should be referred to the committee on constitutional amendments for deliberations.

But Nograles again invoked the just amended rules in the House, in particular section 105, which allows them to tackle a Charter change resolution directly on the floor without going through the normal process of committee hearings.

Speaker Jose de Venecia, who presided during the last few minutes of the session, ignored the minority’s call for adjournment, and instead suspended the session until 4 p.m.

Pride of authorship seems to have inspired Jaraula to deviate from the game plan. What was meant to provide a fait accompli while the nation slept, enters a second round with everyone wide awake -and opposition groups now have the opportunity to mobilize.

However, the importance of amending the rules so debate will be minimized, also became clearer. Submitting a resolution to a committee, any committee, could bog it down; and as Salapuddin’s bungling revealed, theirs is not for the congressmen to ask why, but rather, for them to charge ahead and bellow approval for anything proposed by the leadership. Meanwhile, the Senate is trying to creak along and craft a response while the Speaker tries to sandbag the Supreme Court. He also echoes the thinking of Alex Magno.

Part of the rush, to my mind, is meant to foil brewing discontent with the proposals in such places as Davao, because Federalism has been junked.

Vanity Fair does a profile of disgraced Rep. Mark Foley and his political backers.

In the punditocracy, my Arab News column for this week is Filipinos Can Tolerate Foreign Boorish Behavior But Not Abuse.

Bong Austero has his own take on the matter, focusing on the nature of rape.

Manuel Buencamino writes an open letter to Speaker de Venecia, proposing the abolition of the position of congressman and its replacement with single representation by a local government official for each province.

The blogosphere has some initial reactions to the conviction of a US Marine for rape. Reactions to the verdict ranges from comments on commentary, such as Philippine Commentary taking exception to the Inquirer editorial. Some were surprised at the verdict: see Torn & Frayed and Philippine Politics 04. So was caffeine sparks. who offers up a meditation on Rape, Hypermasculinity and Philippine-American Relations.

Comments on the House goings-on, ranging from dismay expressed by chizjarkace and pinay woes and ; Archbishop Lagdameo naturally appeals for prayer; debatista, however, is impatient with what he considers artificial nit-picking over the Constitution’s provisions.

Mongster’s Nest brings up an interesting point: with the Left gearing up to invade Cebu City, they will lack “warm bodies” with which to infiltrate the House.

A Nagueño in the Blogosphere has pictures and descriptions of typhoon damage. Ang Pinoy nga Naman appeals for those bringing relief goods to proudly show the Philippine flag.

Iloilo City Boy on the President’s visit to his city and political developments there.

You Die Hard rates various online forums. Hilarious print snafu caught by Bare Naked Media.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

16 thoughts on “Curses, foiled again

  1. MLQ3,
    I have a feeling the Chacha ChooChoo is gonna do a Hindenberger.

    But is the Nograles Resolution what is contained in the PDF you published with The Smith Verdict post?

  2. MLQ3,
    Now that JDV is almost nearing his personal agenda to materialize(I sure do hope there would be a divine intervention this would not happen), I can now imagine that he’ll be de jure Prime Minister and his Deputies would be Nograles, Villafuerte, and Lagman.


  3. The current scenario in the Philippines reminds me of an important highly documented prtion of 18th century France during: the scene in the Lower House as described by mlq3 happened in similar fashion in the assembly of the new French Republic otherwise known officially in history as THE REIGN OF TERROR.

    Robespierre used, misused, abused the NUMBERS in the newly installed French Assembly (if you like equivalent to Gloria and the Philippine Lower House tandem) to terrorize the new and still fragile French republic and then crushing those who dared oppose him with the Guillotine!

  4. Mlq3,

    I just read the transcript of Sen. Franklin M. Drilon’s interview with ANC on Charter Change, December 6, 2006 in Ellen’s blog.

    Senator Drilon is perhaps being over optimistic if we go by the observation of Archbishop Cruz:

    “There is the up and coming recomposition of the Supreme Court whose Chief Justice is up for appointment by the national leadership itself that cannot but protect and promote its own interest in this signal prerogative.”

    The Philippine way of exercusing democracy in politics is just incredible.

    Democracy is a very fragile concept of liberty and sovereign will of the people.

    To claim that a nation is truly democratic, it must at least observe and practice the concept of:

    1) a neutral military
    2) a truly independent judiciary, i.e., courts of law, Supreme Court, in that sense, a judiciary which is almost beyond reproach.

    But the concept of neutrality and independence in both those institutions in the Philippines is highly questionable.

    Because our military is not neutral and because our judiciary cannot be called truly independent even at the Supreme Court level (in spite of their thrashing of Legion’s PI), more so because of the fear that after Panganiban, the executive powers will be infiltrating the highest court considered in democracy as the ultimate bastion of justice in the country, there is serious doubt in my mind that the people in the Philippines KNOW or REALIZE full well the real concept, the essence, the meaning of democracy.

    Democracy dictates that sovereign will lies in the people. But I don’t see that here. What I see is 161 members of the Lower House and Gloria abusing their political prerogatives, breaching the Constitution, bamboosling their way through an unspoken but de-facto dictatorship.

  5. Our people must learn and understand that DEMOCRACY is not simply a “numbers’ game.” It is more subtle than that. It is also about true values, about the concept of knowing what is right from wrong; it is about reason and applying reason to the law so that the law may be well served…it is all about powers that be thwarting injustice and misrule.

    “Numbers” help in the exercise of democratic prerogatives but when “numbers” are misused and abused, the exercise defears the subtle meaning of democracy and renders it futile.

    Misuse and abuse of “numbers” such as those being practised by Gloria and JdV in what should be a democratic exercise leads to tyrany, and in the case of the Philippines, we see a de facto dictatorship.

  6. Justice Puno has just been named CJ.

    I think this House attempt will live or die in his hands.

    And I think our chances are actually good.

  7. According to Sen. Franklin Drilon, the Senate will file its petition with the Supreme Court when the House goes to the Commission on Elections to request a schedule for the holding of a plebiscite
    Dumb move. File the petitiion for injunction with the Court of Appelas with a prayer for a TRO. Ask Binay how he did it. Let JDV and gang get a reversal from SC once CA issues TRO. With a 7/7 split the Senate wins.

  8. …our senatongs and tongtressmen are at it again. A reader asked
    me why i use the “senatongs and tongressmen” is it not disrespectful? My answer, they are the ones “disrespecting me” with their antics. max fabella from florida

  9. mlq3,
    Your post: “opposition groups now have the opportunity to mobilize.”
    links to Black & White Movement blog which I think should distinguih itself from the ‘traditional’ opposition and the ‘left’ by aligning itself with ‘Pro-Democracy Movements’ to draw the line of battle on charter change as war between the ‘Pro-Democracy Movements’ against the ‘Forces of Dictatorship’. The administration lumps all oppositors together as ‘the opposition’, people’s orgs, church people movements with the opposition ‘trapos’ and the communists, to confuse the public at large, to neutralize the ‘silent majority’ and the ‘conscienced military’ with red scare propaganda.

  10. Dear Anna,

    Your observation is spot on: “Democracy dictates that sovereign will lies in the people. But I don’t see that here. What I see is 161 members of the Lower House and Gloria abusing their political prerogatives, breaching the Constitution, bamboosling their way through an unspoken but de-facto dictatorship”

    How about a term I have heard which fits what you see: “Trapocracy”

    “Trapocracy dictates that sovereign will lies in the Trapos.. 161 members of the Lower House and Gloria abusing their political prerogatives, breaching the Constitution, bamboosling their way through an unspoken but de-facto dictatorship”

  11. Bastusan, senatongs, tongressmen, trapocracy – all of it painfully accurate and conducive to Gogolian laughter through tears, really.

    I should have used the collective wit of this forum when choosing a title for a documentary film which I and my partner shot earlier this year about the state of things in today’s Philippines. (It is to have a premiere on One World human rights film festival in Prague next February.)

    I decided to stick with the working title Democtatorship. It is not as inventive as the above mentioned names, but perhaps it will be “less Pinoy” and more universal as I hope its whole message will be.

    For I believe the whole world should take a closer look at what is happening in the cradle of modern People Power. My only fear is that the alarm will be ringing too late.

  12. Representative Luis Villafuerte, in sponsoring resolution 1450, has argued for a ‘textual’ interpretation of the Constitution as an ordinary person (as opposed to a lawyer) would understand Article XVII Section 1. When asked why a similarly worded passage in Article VII Section 19, i.e.

    He” [the President] “shall also have the power to grant amnesty with the concurrence of a majority of all the Members of the Congress“,

    was repeatedly implemented as the House and Senate voting separately, he responded by saying that the House has all along been mistaken. He also is unfamiliar with basic statistics as he considers the 1200 random sample as less representative of popular sentiment than the “12 Million” who signed the Sigaw initiative.

    Notwithstanding the flaws in his reasoning, in the stamina department, you have to hand it to Villafuerte who has been carrying the ball for the majority congressmen. He has been standing in the podium for over six hours now while being interpolated by successive opposition representatives and one pro-admin rep (Locsin).

  13. If only they could do the same thing for an honorable purpose and not a self-serving purpose, they would be described almost as admirable.

    Why didn’t they do that sort of marathon work in Congress to try Gloria instead? Had Gloria been acquitted after a similar and thorough piece of work by the legislature, there probably would have been less political chaos today.

  14. mlq3,

    I just read your column Long View about the nocturnal exercises in this institution we call House of Representatives.

    Your account of how these bunch of gung ho elected officials are subverting democracy is simply staggering.

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