Monday morning quarterbacking

The Manila Standard-Today crows about the thin crowd and gives the lowest estimate at 15,000 (also echoed by the Philippine Star and the Inquirer and Newsbreak). Other reports suggest the Palace has regained its confidence because of the poor attendance (it had barricaded itself behind container vans on Sunday). Another Newsbreak report indicates the President may have been done a favor by the Speaker self-destructing; the initial advice of her advisors -for a Constitutional Convention to be elected, which they can pack- may be winning out.

The Manila Times estimate was 30,000. The Daily Tribune and the Business Mirror also put it at between 30 to 50,000 (30-40,000 was the police estimate, 50,000 the Church estimate). Malaya reports, but does not claim as true, still another claim that the crowd reached 100,000.

My personal view is that the crowd, during the Mass, numbered about 40,000 based on my circling around and asking people who should know (organizers of mobilizations). The crowd, first of all, was divided into two groups, because of a fence erected where the lawn ends and the concrete road facing the Quirino Grandstand begins. One organizer told me the student contingent numbered about 3,000. The crowd in front of the Grandstand compressed but was mainly huddled in the center. When I went beyond the fence, the lawn up to the Macapagal (Diosdado, that is) era carabaos that frame the entrance to this section of the park, was filled near the front but sparsely populated towards Rizal Monument. The El Shaddai contingent was closest to the railing in the lawn area, civil society groups were behind them sprawled on the grass, and isolated families that didn’t belong to any groups hung around the sides.

Last Friday, 20,000 Negrenses rallied: 10,000 in Bacolod City, 3,000 in Kabankalan City, 1,000 in San Carlos City, 2,000 in Cadiz City, 1,500 in Escalante City, 2,000 in Guihulngan town.

Now 40,000 is a highly respectable number for any kind of gathering; and even the lowest estimate equals the first flexing of renewed People Power in December 2000. Yesterday’s gathering, I think, is best understood in those terms: having been absent from the public arena, the Church is as much on probation as any other group, but still mustered a decent turnout without arm-twisting or other inducements. It’s muscles have atrophied and need some exercise. Had it been held on Friday, attendance would surely have been larger. But despite the imminent threat dissipating, and the threats from the Palace sinking in (I encountered quite a few people, when I talked to various people who attended, who said they came despite warnings from friends and family about their safety), people still went. A veteran journalist I encountered said what he found remarkable was that the people hanging out in the periphery were obviously people who’d turned up on their own: he described a surgeon, some businessmen, and some families he personally knew, who had never taken any kind of stand at all in the past. Those people, giving up a holiday season Sunday to make a personal statement, he said, are an encouraging sign.

On the other hand, baratillo@cubao says the public’s voted with its feet: and rejected everyone and everything. My only problem with this is it ignores similar things said about similar efforts as far back as I can remember. After every rally in the 70s and 80s and so forth, I’d hear exactly the same conclusions. I even heard it in 1997, after the anti Cha-Cha rally at the Grandstand; I heard it after the Edsa shrine rally; and over the past year. Identical assumptions were wrong, then. But only time will tell. Amando Doronila says it’s much simpler: the government eliminated what had been the motivation for the rally, and if the public remains divided up to now on the legitimacy issue, then it wouldn’t excite anyone beyond the usual suspects (like yours truly, but definitely not others); most of all, the rally lacked a definable objective. People lose the incentive to rally if the target of their ire curls up and dies, like the Constituent Assembly plan.

Anyway, you would think that by now, estimating crowds would have reached some level of scientific certainty, never mind what organizers or participants claim. In this case the police estimates seem to match the more sober estimates of the crowds from experienced organizers, so maybe the police are more objective than we normally assume.

The problem to my mind, is that a crowd is dynamic, it’s constantly changing; and that your estimate of the crowd depends not only on your method for counting people, but what time you do the counting. For example, had you counted the crowd at any time between 2 to 3 pm, the low estimate would have been valid; had you estimated the crowd during the Mass itself, you would most likely have gotten the 30,000 to 40,000 figure. If you counted the crowd, again, after the Mass but before El Shaddai got its momentum going, you might have been down to 20,000 but in about half an hour (as the sun set) the crowed suddenly mushroomed and definitely you could have counted 50,000 or more (the crowd thickened so that it reached the Macapagal carabaos and there was precious little standing room left).

MindanNews reports a Mindanao congressman’s views that his colleagues received no inducements for supporting amendments, but apologizes to his constituency for supporting the amendments effort. Newsbreak takes a look at the Commission on Elections, which will be the focus of attention after the New Year. My impression was that the most-applauded portion of Cardinal Rosales’ homily was his call for a revamp of the Comelec.

The President issues a national appeal for moral transformation.

My column for today is Parameters. Why are groups that formerly adopted a consensus for charter change, now bitterly divided? The reason is the President.

Bong Austero presents a useful analysis (and this serves as a reminder, I think, that one shouldn’t assume he’s an Arroyo loyalist; I’m all the more convinced that he is the voice of the undecided):

A line has been crossed in the last three weeks. And, unless more concrete steps are taken to assuage people’s fears and doubts, unless very definitive assurance is made that similar sinister conspiracies will never ever be resorted to again, I am afraid that the resentment will continue to snowball.

It is very easy to dismiss the prayer rally spearheaded by the Catholic Church yesterday simply as a warning salvo to the powers-that-be. I don’t share that belief. The organizers may have tried to downplay the political overtones of the event by insisting that it was simply a religious affair. But the truth of the matter is that most of the people who went to Luneta yesterday did not go there to pray. Everyone knows we can pray anywhere. People went because of political reasons. People went because they felt violated. People went because, quite frankly, their patience was wearing thin….

…Serves the administration right, I think. It has been given more than enough opportunities to redeem itself but it has only squandered these. If there is something that can be said of this administration, it is that it has done a great job at self-destruction. Instead of focusing on building a great legacy that will counterbalance the series of scandals that have rocked it from its inception, it has wasted its energy on counterproductive actions that have only alienated more and more people, including those who have been initially supportive – whether sincerely or grudgingly.

Is everything lost, then? I don’t know. Right now, I can’t see through my personal resentment at the way my intelligence has been insulted by this administration over that stupid move to ram that constituent assembly. Proposal down my throat. It is just sheer luck that all this mess is happening during the Christmas season when people are in a more forgiving and hopeful mood. But this self-destruction has got to stop. It simply has got to stop. Enough. Please.

Ellen Tordesillas was there and points out what was significant about it. I think we can get a good sense of where things are by approaching things from Ellen’s and Bong’s different points of view.

Jarius Bondoc is skeptical about calls for electoral reform, and mentions the Davide report, which is interesting. That report was prepared ages ago but never released to the public by the President.

Pictures (actually, Ellen Tordesillas has better ones):

Rally photo. If you look at the center of the picture, you can see me!
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Ecumenical invocation.
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Archbishop Lagdameo speaks.
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A happy, jiggly choir at the Grandstand (behind the scaffolding)
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Students from La Salle.
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Civil Society matrons: Vicky Garchitorena, Winnie Monsod. Serge Osmeña’s head.

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Beginning of the Mass.
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Periphery of Grandstand. Where the people are sitting on the sidewalk was the location of the fence separating lawn from asphalt. El Shaddai and Civil Society groups were behind the fence, in the lawn area.
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Parish delegations going home after Mass.
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Manila Bay sunset.
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Students going home after Mass.

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

95 thoughts on “Monday morning quarterbacking

  1. rego, with your last post, i agree pretty much. the lawyers say, though, that nothing can be brought to sc until an action forces a legal reaction. i think the reasonable way would have been to ask a plebiscite question: do you want constitution amended, and how? but then others pointed out (and i heard this argued particularly fiercely in bacolod), fix the comelec first and let’s have what we haven’t had since 2004, and that’s a credible election.

    someone else recently asked me if i’d talk to people i criticized regarding charter change, and i said sure, if it was done behind closed doors first to restore mutual confidence, and if they stopped their all or nothing approach. i’m all for consensus and i do think the issues are larger than the president.

    and yes, i do agree one major problem is there is no leader out there, but i also agree with those who say there’s no alternative because no widely-acceptable way of allowing leaders to come forward has been allowed: and that would be an election.

  2. bernardocarpio, the opposition, while being in the opposition, will not be able to implement alternate programs and strategies. apart from individual pork barrel allotments to the legislators (or any participation in advocacies or charitable initiatives), whoever is in power has control of the program of government, the taxpayer’s money (and government debt of course). In any case, you can go to Akbayan’s website to see what they have been doing with their funds.

    While we can debate specific policies, as i mentioned before, we have to be clear that the main issue against arroyo is not governance, it’s legitimacy. The legitimacy issue has crippled our ability to develop at a pace and in a manner that will be meaningful to the poor majority. The actions she has taken to grab and preserve power has the systemic effect of damaging our institutions which are the foundations for any country’s development, and dissipating the social capital we need to drive development. The damage stems from the direct effects of corruption associated with cheating process itself, and the mis-allocation of government resources towards preserving power (e.g. GMA’s total war policy, government support for Charter Change initiatives). The greatest damage by far is on the dynamics of the current system which has made a mockery of the rule of law, alienated a large segment of the masa and has further discouraged good people’s participation in government and governance.

  3. manolo,

    Im with you on points 1 and 2…

    I just noticed that you keep on mentioning EDSA3 and I dont….

    Honestly Mnaolo I dont believe in the authentcity of EDSA3. And teh reson you gave why there was an EDSa 3 even reinforced that belief.

    To me EDSA 3 is just an attempt by Erap loyalist to put back Erap, It can never be a result of frustration out of EDSA2. Why ? It was held to soon after EDSA2, when the post EDSA 2 government is just starting. Ilang buwan pa lang yata ang naka lipas eh. Its too early to judge the sucess or failure of EDSA2.

    If EDSA 3 is held now and resulted to a change in leadership then I will definitely beileve on its authen ticity and I can consider it a peopel power. To me a people power should at least result to a change in leadership. And EDSA3 did not achieve that.

  4. I just saw the following thoroughly beguiling statement on the Malacanang Palace website–There are three realities we face as a nation: one, that the people accept the need for Charter change to overhaul the system; two, that there is a need for a unified national consensus on the means and timetable; and three, that this is a platform commitment of the administration that will be pursued with urgency and fervor.

    These realities will continue to shape our actions for the better future of the Philippines—working closely and inclusively with all stakeholders and institutions; observing transparency; and backing up the entire process with a strong economy, social payback and values programs.

    This is a matter of paramount national interest and our leaders must all rise to the challenge.
    I guess she was just pretending to be listening.

  5. DJB,

    Do you sense a clamor from the religious sector for representation in Congress?

    It seems to me that the omission of the religious sector from party-list representation is consistent with and flows from the non-establishment clause of the Constitution. I would however support your proposal if it includes removing the tax-exempt status of religious organizations. In other words – playing with a popular slogan in the U.S. capital – representation thus taxation. I’m quite sure they can afford it.

  6. Exactly, Manolo. Thats what I ve been saying too. That the focus should been on more fixing the electoral system.(Di ba CVJ?) Even when I was steretd blogging at PCIJ yun na talaga ang sinisigaw ko eh. Fixed teh electoral system above anything else. Instead of focusing more scandals and alleged crimes of Gloria. If only that was done then I believe we should be having much progress by now.

    Im not saying that scandals and alleged crimes of Gloria government should not be exposed. Sure they shoudl be. But still we shoudl given more focus on fixing the electoral system.

    Kaya ang tingin ko talaga, that opposition has been so eager to have people power to change the leadership. but after 3 years it never came. So i would still rate the opposistion performance as way way below that of Gloria because they really have not achived that much eh. I woudl still reat them very low in planning, in strategizing and in managing compared to Gloria. I hated them so much for that!!!

  7. The exemption of the religious sector from the party list is inconsistent with the ‘No religious test…’ clause. That ‘except the religious sector’ should be struck from the Constitution. But the spirit of the party list is representation for the marginalized sectors who are underrepresented in our system. That can’t be said of the mainstream churches.

  8. CVJ,

    About my neice, we never really talked politics until the start of this month. I was just asking a favor from her to campaign for our party list if 2007 election pushed through. I started by asking her about her political conviction and I was very surprised to know that she idolizes Gloria so much…..we have talked about her conviction about Glorias alleged crime. But based on that conversattion ther is no need to ask, She is just a bloddy Gloria loyalist.

    BTW she is only 24 years old and yuppie in Makati.

    Just last week I was teasing her. “Pano yan mukhang with the recent developments sa congress mukhang malalaglag na yang idol mo” . She just answered “NO WAY, Tito.” Ipusta ko pa sa yo ang christmas gift mo para sa akin , never na mangyayari yan. Hindikami papayag. Mag kampi kampihan man ang lahat, pagtulong tulongan man sya. she will still be there in malacanang….

  9. I guess she was just pretending to be listening.

    Looks like something written by a palace hack 2 weeks ago.

  10. mlq3,

    if you can say with utmost confidence that nobody would sell their votes this coming elections, if there is one, then, I might believe that no one would rally for the president even if you paid them.

  11. CVJ,
    “The legitimacy issue has crippled our ability to develop at a pace and in a manner that will be meaningful to the poor majority.”

    The opposition chose to be crippled by preoccuppying themselves with Gloria’s legitimacy issue and has come to a point wherein they are blatantly ignoring other pressing issues of the masa. Poverty alleviation does not depend solely on Gloria’s questionable legitimacy. Whether she still remains sitting or successfully removed from office the problem of the masa is still there. They (masa) have suffered long enough and they don’t need to wait for Gloria’s removal just to get out from their misery. Here is where the opposition is contributing to the prolonging of their agony.

  12. mlq3,

    let me repharse:

    if you can say that nobody would sell their votes this coming elections, if there is one, then, I might believe that no one would rally for the president even if you paid them.

  13. realist, read “the vote of the poor” published by the ateneo if you have a chance. it says, based on talking to the poor themselves, that they gladly accept money during elections -but don’t necessarily vote for the one bribing them. that is why dagdag-bawas had to be invented.

    and it cuts both ways. those paid to rally don’t stick it out and so the rallies they attend don’t achieve their objectives.

  14. Rego said, “I was just reiterating my previous assesment. That the outrage is not really coming from the majority as you would like to imply earlier. And I told that my basis was based on my dealings with our kabayan here and feedback I got from my relatives and freinds back there.”

    I think we should defer to the surveys in gauging anti-GMA sentiments, and not just through feedback from the people we know. For example, if I were to base it only from the sentiments of my family and friends, I would say that 90% of the population strongly loathe GMA.

    So let’s look at the surveys for a more scientific analysis of the nation’s pulse.

    The most recent SWS survey shows a 34% Satisfied and 47% Dissatisfied with the performance of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for a Net Satisfaction score of -13. An earlier survey revealed that 2/3 of the nation will vote “No” in a plebiscite on a new constitution “that President Arroyo wants.

    Pulse Asia most recent survey about Filipinos’ senatorial preferences has the opposition candidates clobbering administration-identified candidates. It’s not even a fight there, it’s a massacre. Its November 2006 survey show that disapproval and distrust remain the predominant public sentiment as regards GMA. A big plurality (48%) disapprove of her while only 25% approve (the rest are undecided.) 50% distrusts her while only 21% do.

    On another subject, I’d just like to say kudos to Rina Jimenez David for her column today in PDI. I thought she hit the nail right on the head. I definitely agree with her insightful analysis.

  15. mlq3,

    I know about this -but don’t necessarily vote for the one bribing them. It’s one “palusot!” It is to save face. You don’t really think that they would say, “yeah I sold out!.” Do you? Besides, no matter what they say, they did sell their vote.

    It would be nice to think that the one selling his/her vote is putting one over the candidate buying votes, wouldn’t it?

    and those paid to rally don’t get paid until after the rally. that is why they have to stick it out. i thought everyone knows that.

  16. realist, i don’t think its an excuse, because this was a serious study and its findings were based on focus group discussions, which aim to arrive at how people really behave and not how we think they do.

    and the existence of dagdag-bawas is for a reason. the reason is that the old ways of fraud didn’t work as well as they used to.

    as for when rallyists are paid, never having observed the process close at hand, all i can say is i’ve read reports that say otherwise; and that if paid rallyists are running on a kind of meter, then that also limits the duration of their participation.

  17. Carl,

    You said: “Defending the right to preserve, within legal bounds, hard-earned gains, does not necessarily mean condemning those who want to air their grievances. However, those who feel agitated by the current situation and are mad at the world, should try to control their excessive fervor and fury. They should respect those who do not share the same state of frenzy that they are in.”

    Clearly, the current issues touch raw nerves among many of our countrymen. The public discussions, blogs and otherwise, are clear evidence that we don’t have a lack of intelligence or concern among Filipinos, although they pursue the latter in very different ways: praying, working harder on building their lives, advocating for political/social change, etc.

    Your comment above, however, raises another important aspect of the whole thing (which Manolo has also touched on) and that’s the need to affirm civility in public debate. The Brits invented the Rules of Order to enable people to at least appear civil while pursuing highly emotional debate (“I object, Mr. Chairman.”, “Point of order, Mr. Speaker!”). I guess, we have to evolve our own way of doing this — the congressmen’s use of their Rules of Order during session is very disappointing and is not the best role modeling, IMHO.

    I commented on this issue in Bong Austero’s blog, referring him to argumentation theorist Wayne Brockriede’s useful typology of argumentation using what I think are powerful metaphors: “arguers as rapists” vs. “arguers as lovers”. A summary of Brockriede appears here:

    In a nutshell:
    The Arguer as “Rapist” (I prefer to call this “Attacker”)
    .Depersonalizes the other
    .Relies on verbal aggressiveness, (name calling, ad hominems, attacking the other person’s self-concept
    .Uses force, authority, sanctions
    .Employs threats, ultimatums

    Arguers as “Lovers”
    .Regards other as an equal, stresses power parity
    .Values the relationship as much as (if not more than) the outcome or decision
    .Emphasizes cooperation and collobration over competition
    .Values shared-decision-making, choice-making
    .Willing to risk values, knowledge, and self-esteem by engaging in argument

    The labels do not refer to the person of the arguer but the style used. “Rapist” is a rather strong metaphor and I would prefer “Attacker”. We are all capable of using both styles and those in between, of course (Including yours truly, as my wife reminds me). But I notice that given the “gut” nature of the current issues, I’m seeing more attack arguments than usual in the blogs, prompting blog owners to switch to moderated mode more often — some even permanently.

    Civil debate for me is a reminder that we not only love our country, which is an abstract entity, but also our countrymen, who are afterall THE country concretely.

    A good day to all! 🙂

  18. Pinoy Gising,

    You already have a a rally in Luneta where the expected attendess is 500,000 and the actual attendess is only 50,000….

  19. Rego, thanks for your explanation. Maybe you can invite her to join in the comments section here. I’m sure Bencard would appreciate the company.

    bernardocarpio, the legitimacy issue was not caused by the opposition. it was a result of Gloria’s
    actions. the opposition just reacted accordingly to the revealed facts. Legitimacy, is at its core, a character issue and the reason why the call for Character Change is so important is because what keeps our country from taking off economically is the high costs of setting up and engaging in business, a direct result of lack of social capital and institutional support, which is both manifested and perpetuated by a culture of corruption. Any benefits from existing economic activity are also skewed towards the rich and powerful which serves to reinforce the entire cycle.

    Even Gloria Arroyo has also acknowledged the need for such ‘character change’ and has offered to lead it. Given the legitimacy issue, how credible do you think she will in this role, unless we interpret character change to mean change for the worse?

    DJB, Jeg, maybe it’s just a typo. (after all, only two letters separate ‘charter’ and ‘character’:-)

  20. mlq3,

    so that you know, people who buy votes have cahoots in the polling place. that is how they make sure they get what they paid for.

    why, do you really think that candidates who buy votes and rallyist are that stupid? sure they may be taken once in a while, but on the whole they get what they paid for, and so does the bought voter in more ways than one. why do you think we are in such a rut?

  21. cvj,

    bencard doens’t really need a company in this blog, he has excellently, courageously and articulated so well his belief in GMA by himself and without any help from any one. Im actually very impressed!

  22. rego, in any case, please ask her about Hello Garci – what she thinks actually happened and whether or not it should be considered a valid issue.

  23. Hay naku CVJ, let go of the garci tape na! everybody knows that it is a valid issue. But you have to accept the fact that it did not make the people go for Gloria’s head. It may manage to get some people elected to the senate though. So be it…

    It would have been a good opportunity to fix the electoral system with the Garci Tape Scandal but then the opposition just wanted to use it only to seize power from GMA and and to wrestle for the control of the senate and congress. So be it…

    Mag eelection na naman and we havent fixed the electoral system. Panibago gulo na naman abot dayaan sa election. And we will be in the same rut again…..

  24. Rego, i used to think that everybody accepted the Garci tape as a valid issue (although with varying degrees of outrage) until Bencard dropped in from the alternate universe. I’m interested in whether your niece is also from the alternate universe or whether she just takes after her uncle.

  25. Rego, nobody wants to tackle the electoral system for now because both warring parties would benefit from the loophole in 2007. The Garci tape and the legitimacy issue is a valid excuse for now so as not to fix the electoral problem until May 2007. This is one reform that the legislative department is willing to put on hold because they will take full advantage of it. Again both administration and opposition are willing participants on this issue.

  26. actually, CVJ. I agree very well with bernardo.If there something that the opposition manage to accomplish right now i by slowing down Mrs Arroyo and stalling other pressing problems. so what wrong with what bernardo said?


    I have teh same feeling about fixing electoral reforms. Both parties are not really exicted to fix it for their own good. Becuase with defective electoral system it woudl be very easy for both parties manipulate teh results of election and for the losers to claim that they were cheated once they lost the election.

    But I wish that the civil society instead of joining oppsition in toppling Gloria shoudl have focused on this matter. I wish that instead of calling for peopel power to remove gloria tthey shoudl have gone for peope power to fixed the system. Kung yung pinag raraly ba naman ng eh para i isulong ng husto ang pag ayos ny system di sana by this time. may narating na tayo kahit papano.

  27. rego…this is what I want to tell the people here and civil society for so long! You nail it on the head.

    They failed for the past three years…got nothing show but mud on everyone faces, and air of hatred etc. Come 2007, we will be in the same situation again. The opposition should have peopled power to fix the election process in this country, instead of dreaming, and hoping that GMA would resign, which would never happen anyway.

  28. rego, moks, in three years opposition to the president has prevented:

    1. emergency rule with powers that aren’t the president’s to exercise (opposition to eo 464, cpr, etc. and sc decisions)
    2. foiled the proclamation of martial law in december 05 or feb. 06
    3. kept the fertilizer scam in the public consciousness
    4. prevented a constitutional crisis with con-ass
    5. informed the public of the reversal in government’s policy of not using gocc’s for loans

    etc., etc. if the president had been allowed to do what she wanted all of the above would have been unimpeded.

    with regards to electoral reform, again it was public pressure that led the president to withdraw the appointments of garci, etc. as commissioners. now there are, according to chris monsod, 3 good commissioners. there remains one vacancy. there remain three commissioners tainted by 2004.

    the president shows no signs of filling the remaining vacancy. which shows you her interest in electoral reform. the three bad commissioners won’t resign, so that shows you the prospects of an honest election. last sunday a colleague told me he’d been told by the governor of a nearby province (allied with the administration) that the cheating machinery from 2004 is back in place and has begun to move.

    now the president had several chances to put aside the issue of legitimacy and recover her base of support:

    1. she could have explained herself in july, 2005
    2. a credible truth commission could have been established
    3. she could have submitted to impeachment knowing she’d be acquitted and by submitted, allowed the showing of evidence. she could have done this not just once, but twice.
    4. called a national referendum on her continuation in office.

    instead, her strategy has been to intimidate, obstruct, and confuse:

    1. arrests, surveillance, etc.
    2. order officials not to testify and assert executive powers no other president has claimed, and disrespect the investigative and other powers of co-equal branches
    3. propose constitutional change only when her back was to the wall and by every means whether fair or foul.

    the president came very close to resigning, it was fidel ramos who changed her mind. and from time to time she has had discreet exploratory talks with various groups concerning a graceful exit. she hasn’t done so, because no one can guarantee her being left alone even if she quit.

    but the main point is, you think three years of keeping the president on something that should be the normal course -good behavior- isn’t an achievement? only if you think she seriously intends to retire in 2010. i don’t think anything’s changed, she still can’t, because she’d be thrown in jail the day after she retires. in which case, her staying in power remains on the table.

  29. mlq3: and where do you get the idea that GMA will be thrown in jail after she retires? I hope you have valid legal ground for your assertion. Are you stating a fact or is it just your personal wish? Just to remind you that there are gullible idiots who could easily be misled.

  30. bencard, not a wish, but something i foresee as unavoidable concerning the past few years. it all depends, of course, on who heads the next administration, and whether that person is prepared to start a new term fighting a predecessor’s legal battles.

    when estrada was arrested, a tradition dating back to 40s came to an end. part of the healing process after heated presidential elections was that the former president would recede to the background and left undisturbed, as the the successor tried to hit the ground running.

    considering how vast the scope of the anti-plunder and other anti-graft, etc. laws are, i don’t see how case after case concerning ultimately non-bailable crimes won’t be filed against her, with or without merit. and if the replacement administration sets out to make an example of the previous regime, then the active support of a new government would almost certain.

    the same charges attempted to be filed against her in impeachment 1 and 2 have civil liability counterparts, and can be prosecuted criminally, too. i’ve heard quite a few lawyers say they’re preparing the documentation required.

    and i also know, from discussions with people in the various political camps, that the president’s staying in office and other options, are circumscribed by her concern to avoid a tidal wave of cases filed once she no longer joins presidential immunity from suit.

  31. mlq3: You could have fooled me! Your statement was so straightforward and unqualified that I thought you had something of substance. To prosecute, let alone convict someone for an alleged crime, the accuser needs to prove, among other things, a knowing intent to commit it. In all her official acts as president, I doubt if this element could ever be satisfied; hence no probability of her being convicted of anything she did or failed to do as president. No amount of documents can be prepared by lawyers and non-lawyers alike to create that element.

    Your comparison of GMA with Estrada is most unfair and perhaps, disingenuous. Estrada is accused of plunder, a heinous crime that is not bailable and, until recently, punishable by death. GMA cannot be accused of anything near that, at least, not her personally. Prosecution of this kind of crime was not a mere break from tradition. It is an explicit mandate of the law against those who rob the wealth of the nation on a massive scale.

  32. “To prosecute, let alone convict someone for an alleged crime, the accuser needs to prove, among other things, a knowing intent to commit it.”

    Bencard, if I shoot you in the mouth for no reason at all, does the prosecution still have to prove intent? Or is intent not to kill, halimbawa I just want to scare a blabbermouth pero senya na may live ammo pala at tumagos sa leeg, a matter of defense?

    “In all her official acts as president, I doubt if this element could ever be satisfied “

    eh yung mga unofficial acts nya? Like calling an election commissioner to manipulate election count? Isn’t intent to cheat presumed from that mere act of calling?

  33. watchful: An insane person cannot have intent. Every sane person is responsible for the consequence of his illegal act.

    Calling an election commissioner is not a crime. Intent is not presumed in criminal prosecution under the penal code.

  34. Bencard, isn’t intent an internal operation of the mind, how exactly do you prove it? pls give example.

    Calling an election commissioner is not a crime. Agree. But what about calling an election commisioner with intent to alter the vote count in an election?

  35. watchful: I’ll try to answer just one more question from you, then you’re on your own. Otherwise, you can consult with your own lawyer or pay me for my services (just kidding).

    To prove intent, you offer evidence to the trier of fact according to the rules of the court. If admitted, the court must be convinced (according to the quantum of evidence required in the case, e.g., beyond reasonable doubt) of the truth of your proposition. If he is not swayed, you can sulk in the corner,lick your wound, and try again some other time on another case.

  36. Bencard, limiting ourselves to the example I have given above, you are still not telling us what evidence should be presented to prove “knowing intent to commit” the crime that you are trying to explain to Manolo. If you cannot show your competence to be responsive to this particular question, why should anyone hire you as his lawyer?

  37. watchful: I don’t have to show my competence to you to get clients. Let Manolo ask me if he has any question and I would gladly answer him to the best of my ability. From here on, you are not getting from me the time of day.

  38. I’ll remain watchful Bennie boy.

    btw, I hope the “explicit mandate of the law against those who rob the wealth of the nation on a massive scale” would serve as a stern warning to Ate Glue, her cohorts and minions.

  39. my only inquiry with bencard is in a previous comment ( elsewhere, but i’ll repeat it here for everyone’s convenience:

    bencard, not being a lawyer i bow to your knowledge as to what can be determined in court and how. but let me invoke another lawyer’s opinion on two things:

    first, that a person need only be morally convinced, in contrast to having sufficient evidence as required in court, to embark on a course of action that ultimately seeks the removal or separation of an official from office, even if elective office.

    second, that separation from office as an objective does not require as stringent a legal case as criminal prosecution, which can follow after the official is removed from office:

  40. BENCARD,

    There was a case wherein a person wanted to murder another.

    While the victim was supposed to be sleeping; the other sneaked and stabbed the “sleeping” one dead.

    THe perpetrator was caught.

    But it turned out that the “sleeping” one died during the night of natural causes. All the suspect did was allegedly mutilate a dead body.

    Using your statement that “a knowing intent to commit it”; should the perpetrator be found guilty?

  41. justice league: I think the person would be liable for “impossible crime” under Art. 4(2) of the Revised Penal Code in connection with the offense he intended to commit (premeditated murder). I don’t think there is such a crime as “mutilating” a dead body in the Penal Code.
    But, of course, I could be wrong and you may have a better answer.

    mlq3: I think the only legal way to involuntary terminate a president’s tenure is by impeachment which, if successful, may or may not lead to criminal prosecution. I think, however, for the reason I have already stated, that the possibility of conviction and jail time are nil.

    Merry Christmas to both of you

  42. Bencard,

    You’re right on the impossible crime and also on mutilation of the dead per se not in the Penal code. It’s in the civil code and the person will be liable but not necessarily guilty.

    However, at which the intention also of the perpetrator was not to commit an impossible crime yet he will be liable for it.

    Calling a commissioner is not a crime but it will depend on whether the act will be seen as coercion of an election official. Election offenses have a prescription of 5 years from commision unless discovery was part of a contest proceeding but the court may look kindly on the prescription period in light of the fact of the President’s immunity.

    Impeachment is not the only legal way but I think what you wish to mean is that it is the only legal way available to the opposition right now.

    Merry Christmas to you too.

    Merry Christmas to you Manolo.

    Merry Christmas to everyone and one and all.


  43. on mlq3’s statement : “that separation from office as an objective does not require as stringent a legal case as criminal prosecution”. This is true, and the Constitution affirms it. The Constitution also has explicit paragraphs on how to remove government officials from their offices (with not a whit about “people power”, much less military or police coups, mentioned in said paragraphs).
    As for proving “knowing intent” given that science still is incapable of reading a person’s mind, the process is for prosecution to show a prepondenrance of evidence (written notes, documented conversations, verifiable meetings), the judge to determine admissability of evidence presented, and judge (or jury, if applicable) to determine guilt.
    To be remembered that lack of intent does not mean not guilty. Marine Smith’s intent was most likely for intercourse only with Nicole’s approval. Marine Smith was convicted of rape because of his action (and despite his intent).

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