Today’s papers have stories on how Cayetano’s slap on the wrist, say his peers, may not even take place, more news on Senate deliberations on the anti-terrorism bill:
Among the major amendments to the bill are the reduction (to three from 15 days) in the number of days a suspected terrorist can be detained without court warrant or formal charges, and the increase in the amount of compensation or damages (to P500,000 from P50,000) for each day of detention of persons wrongfully arrested and detained as a terrorist suspect.
Among the features of the measure are:
* When one is charged with terrorism and the case is dismissed, he can no longer be charged with similar cases under the anti-terrorism bill.
* Exclusion of military personnel from implementing or enforcing provisions of the bill.
* Suspension of implementation of the bill two months before and one month after any election.
The penalty for the crime of terrorism is 40 years imprisonment without parole. For an accomplice, the penalty is 17 to 20 years imprisonment, and 10 to 12 years for an accessory
(Bravo to Senators Roxas and Madrigal for voting against it).
Secretary Dureza blames The Manila Times for the hostage-taking incident in Sulu. Also, 27,935 jobs were lost in the first half of last year.
In election-related news, the efforts of Namfrel to be accredited, and the accreditation of the Anti Money Laundering Council, gets coverage. The latest survey gets coverage, underscoring the weakness of the Palace slate, as well as the ongoing shuffling and realignment of slates.
Jove Francisco, thank God, is back in his element reporting on the Palace Press Corps perpetual cat-and-mouse game with officials. He also makes some shrewd observations about the media savvy of some senatorial candidates (Angara is a pro; Zubiri is starting off with inept moves, etc. Sotto and Gomez are bowing out of their TV shows this weekend). He quotes a joke by a neighbor, which loosely translates into branding the administration’s “Team Unity” as nothing more than “The Kennel Club.” Ding, ding! I hjave a future column title!
And here’s a bogus story: Major party-list groups join Lakas. If you notice the list of party list parties and representatives in the story, they’ve all been pro-administration fixtures during the two impeachment efforts, and the Cayetano hearings. So this is not news, this is the announcement of a formailty.
In the punditocracy, my column for today is Tribute to Adel. Last night, together with Leah Navarro and Atty. Edwin Lacierda, I had the opportunity to sit down with Adel Tamano. He recounted the tremendous pressure he was under from both the administration and the opposition. When we were meeting, the deadline for giving the Palace an answer was ticking away. Ironically, I was informed this morning that my column renewed the efforts by the Palace (led by Paul Aquino and Lupita Aquino-Kashiwahara) to draft him again. However he seems firm on declining to run for the senate, for either camp. He could easily have decided to run: despite his public positions and many writings on impeachment, criticizing EO 464, etc., he hasn’t received enough exposure to damn him in the eyes of the public if he accepted a Palace offer.
I asked him what his advocacy would be, just in case he ran, and he said human rights (he is for the repeal of the Marcos-era law on regulating protests), opportunities for young workers, peace in Mindanao, and education (H.O.P.E.) and is, of course, an expert on impeachment and a critic of recent efforts to create a unicameral parliament.
But personally, I was impressed by his decision to withstand pressure from the Palace and remain true to what he has publicly expressed. I hope he considers proposals from several quarters for him to be a spokesman for UNO.
Concerning the elections, the Philippine Star editorial criticizes efforts to draw the armed forces into the elections, while Joel Rocamora points out how both government officials and rebels are equal-opportunity political murderers.
Alex Magno says the economy is coming up roses, and to be sure, what we’ve seen is that the economy is basically divorced from what’s going on in politics. What’s debatable is how much credit the administration deserves for this situation. Magno says that,
In order to avert the possibility of an unduly heated political season, it is best to draw the diverse political groups into a truly patriotic project of making elections in this country predictable and boring. That will minimize the margin for political trauma and discontinuity, helping us maintain that “firewall” that keeps the sane economy protected from our insane politics.
Which is fine and dandy; but he knows as well as anyone that leadership requires legitimacy, and that legitimacy won’t be there unless all sides get to see that the 2007 elections are credible.
In the blogosphere, Manila Vanilla gives a foreign observer’s skeptical view of the campaign; Iloilo City Boy tries to digest all the news on the drafting and redrafting of slates.
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