Begun this Clone War has

Even as GMA touts more China deals, predictions of the status quo being maintained in the House of Representatives may end up unfounded after all: Full-blown GMA-JDV war seen.

It’s all about the tactical implications of two moves: the Oliver Polido impeachment complaint (endorsed by Marcoleta San Luis) against the President on one hand, and Graft raps filed vs Speaker, son at Ombudsman on the other.

Here is the Pulido so-called impeachment complaint:

Pulido Complaint

Here is the Pulido so-called anti-graft complaint:

Pulido Graft
Even as Impeachment bid vs Arroyo doomed – Puno, and Opposition solons not supporting impeach complaint vs Arroyo (not least, I’d guess, because it’s a familiar strategy, the crudeness of which is only surpassed by the idiocy of those trying to dangle inducements: Solon bares P2-M bribe to endorse Arroyo impeach rap), since anything is possible in politics, it does make sense to point out Impeach plot may backfire on Arroyo — solons.

This is the gambit unfolding before us, folks:

1. The “nuclear option” any Speaker has, against any President, particularly when presidents leave herding the members of the majority coalition in the hands of the Speaker or allows the Speaker to maintain a constituency of his own, is that a Speaker can repeat what then-Speaker Villar did to then-President Estrada. Suddenly transmit articles of impeachment to the Senate for trial.

2. To head off this “nuclear option,” or the option of an impeachment complaint getting off the ground, if you’re an uneasy President, then encourage an ally to file a flawed impeachment complaint. This can then go through all the necessary rigamarole in the House, and expands your delaying tactics and political options there.

3. If the complaint’s really, really bad, it won’t gain any steam; if it’s so bad but you’re so unpopular it might gather steam, you can defuse the situation anyway, by giving and denying pork barrel funds; in these a friendly Speaker can help you, an unfriendly Speaker hinder you; but if the complaint originated from you, the President, then your ally or enemy, the Speaker, has suddenly found his options limited. He can kill the impeachment complaint, which insulates you, the President, from having to take the heat of another complaint for at least a year; if the Speaker decides to send it upstairs to the Senate, flaws and all, anyway, then you can maneuver the Senate into acquitting you because the charges were bogus or fatally flawed, anyway.

It would take a Speaker who’s a wizard at parliamentary procedure to find a way out of this kind of trap. It’s possible, but requires nerves of steel and a reliable set of clever parliamentarians.

Meanwhile, the Speaker’s camp now has to wage its own battle: Hand of ‘higher ups’ behind graft complaint–De Venecia son. All the Palace’s guns are trained on the Speaker and his son, because they have to be destroyed during the vacation the Senate started a week ahead of schedule. There are still enough dangling threads for a Senate to continue weaving a rope with which to hang some of the President’s men. As smoke asked in her blog,

If the ZTE contract was all-wrong, why not go after the guy who signed it, Leandro Mendoza?

If the ZTE contract was founded on a concept so wrong-headed as a broadband backbone for government despite the existence of commercial backbones, why not put the thumbscrews on the guy who cleared the concept, Romulo Neri (props to Mar Roxas – otherwise a retard – for focusing on Neri)?

Yeah, why hasn’t anyone gone after Secretary Mendoza? After all, it takes two to tango, Mendoza was invited to that breakfast, and they kept meeting… and meeting… and meeting… and then de Venecia is told to “back off” by the President’s husband (out of concern for JDV3, he said), but then why didn’t he also tell Mendoza to “back off” since Mendoza works for Arroyo’s wife?

And what about the thumbscrews for Neri? Ah- there’s the brouhaha about that executive session in the senate. It struck too close too home, maybe? So its potential result had to be blunted with a clumsy move (the allegation that Andaya intimidated Neri)? And a future possibility it might be repeated headed off (by means of this: Arroyo confirms Neri report of bribery, muzzles Cabinet)?

The Inquirer editorial yesterday delves into the real issues at hand that won’t go away:

There are questions, too, concerning what transpired in the Senate’s executive session in which former Neda Director General Romulo Neri (now CHEd chair) was supposed to have been given the chance to explain why he had invoked executive privilege. He never got to it–from what the public knows so far. The allegations surrounding the failure of the executive session to achieve its purposes have been used to raise questions about media’s lawful right to protect their sources, thus shifting the focus away from the real issue, which is, the allegation of pressure brought by the executive department upon a witness summoned by the Senate, a clear invasion by a co-equal branch into the workings of another. Whether a senator, in effect, has been implicated in aiding and abetting executive interference further complicates the issue.

Since it has been proposed that the Senate, in the interest of its institutional independence, should get to the bottom of the allegations, and since Neri himself may not have even disclosed anything because the disclosure was made impossible by pressure being brought to bear by a Cabinet member, the Senate, not the media, holds the key. It can vote to allow every senator present to disclose what really transpired. And it begins with the senators figuring out if, legally speaking, an executive session even really transpired.

And then, there is the question of whether executive privilege can be used as a means of enabling officials to thwart Congress’ duties or, possibly, to obstruct justice, hide crimes and cover up misdemeanors.

Executive Order 464 covering civilian officials, now has a counterpart covering the military–Administrative Order 197. The President has made a categorical statement to the effect that her subordinates will be invoking the notorious EO 464 in future Senate inquiries. We can confidently predict AO 197 will be used to similar ill-effect by the AFP brass. Even administration ally Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago has said that she expects this will end up in a case before the Supreme Court–the same place any challenge to invocations of executive privilege in Senate inquiries should end up.

As for the new Arroyo-Enrile tandem, Amando Doronila has some tart words for Senator Joker Arroyo in particular:

When the inquiry resumes, the Senate will find itself deeply divided on the issue, with no witness to provide it with the “smoking gun” to pin down the President.

But the resolution to hold reporters in contempt if they did not reveal their sources inside the executive session who leaked the story of Neri’s appearance is a live issue.

Senator Arroyo said he would pursue his ethics complaints against certain senators who leaked the details of the closed-door session. He does not need a battle with the press over an issue he cannot win — the right of the public to know.

It is so unnecessary. It is so unlike him to be on the side of a cover-up. It’s not worth covering up for the administration, especially on the involvement of the President’s husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.

A contrary view of the above is in Philippine Commentary.

The President’s risk-taking makes sense if you consider how damaged she’s been because of the Senate investigations, and how, if she can buy herself a year of breathing room, she can then mount an offensive against all possible rivals. The end game? Tony Abaya thinks the President will pull a Putin:

It has been rumored that all these shady transactions were/are meant to raise money for Kampi (Kabalikat ng Mamamayang Pilipino, or something like that), the political party headed by President Arroyo. That is not improbable.

During its “party congress” in February 2005, then Rep. Ronaldo Puno, at that time Kampi’s president, expressly set the goal of Kampi becoming the biggest political party in the Philippines by the year 2007.

In an earlier article, I had asked why Kampi, then a miniscule grouping, would want to become the biggest political party in the Philippines only three years before President Arroyo’s non-extendable term as president expires. I concluded that President Arroyo wanted to remain in power beyond 2010, as prime minister…

The subsequent maneuvers to shift to a parliamentary system of government, in the Lower House and through a so-called people’s initiative, confirmed my prognosis. Though both efforts were stymied, it does not mean GMA and Kampi have given up.

We can expect Speaker Jose de Venecia to be deposed from his position soon, especially after the expose by his son Joey on the NBN deal. Does Kampi have the numbers? Probably not. But the question should be rephrased, does Kampi have the money to buy all the opportunistic trapos waiting to be bought? To which the answer is probably, Yes.

A model may soon emerge in, of all places, Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin was first elected in May 2000 from a field of ten candidates, with the support of the outgoing president, the late Boris Yeltsin. In March 2004, Putin was re-elected president with an astounding 71% of the votes. His presidential term ends in March 2008 and he is barred by the Russian Constitution from running for a third term.

But — surprise! surprise! — he announced last Monday, Oct. 01, that he will run for a seat in the Russian parliament in the coming parliamentary elections on December 2, and that, as head of the ruling United Russia party, he had a “realistic” chance of becoming prime minister.

This announcement, made during a pre-election party congress in Moscow, brought “hundreds of delegates to their feet with a roar of applause,” according to the French news agency, AFP. This is not political hyperbole. Putin is genuinely popular for having brought prosperity (through the high price of oil and gas) and law and order to a formerly impoverished and chaotic Russia. The latest public opinion surveys give Putin an approval rating of more than 70%.

So, if he wins a seat in parliament in December — and no one doubts that he will – Putin will be both president and prime minister for several weeks or months, until he names a presidential successor to take over in March 2008. In those weeks or months, the Russian Constitution will no doubt be amended to shift from the presidential to the parliamentary system of government, to allow the popular Putin, who is only 55 years old, to remain in power almost indefinitely, as long as his party retains majority in parliament.

Can our resident dominatrix, who has a net approval rating of negative 11% in the latest SWS survey, pull off a Putin here? Why not? The party in power — Kampi plus the usual opportunistic turncoats from Lakas and other parties – always has a built-in advantage over a divided and leaderless opposition, plus the cash from all those kickbacks to buy everyone with..

It is not improbable that another maneuver towards parliamentary will be railroaded soon, followed by elections for seats in an interim parliament, the original game plan of Speaker JdV to become the country’s first prime minister. But he’s out of the loop now. As in Russia after December, we could have both president and prime minister in one person, for a few weeks at least, until the shift to parliamentary is finalized and complete.

As long as the economy is doing fairly well, it would be hard for Loren or Chiz or Manny or Ping or Mar or whoever to successfully raise the moral issue against President Arroyo because the perception is rife and widespread that they are all crooks anyway – or would be beholden to another set of crooks anyway – and nothing is going to change if any of them were to take over through another Big Money-dominated election.

But to do that, she needs to take down the Speaker, now, and wall off the Senate.

More on Putin. Last year, a media critic of the Russian President died, or more accurately, was murdered, and in Pajamas Media, a closer look at Putin and his nemesis is taken by Kim Zigfeld, while a portion of Perry Anderson’s article on Russia in the Age of Putin is reprinted in Harper’s.

My column today is Calabasa meets the Force (You can find the Yoda quotes here that used, I have).

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Manuel L. Quezon III.

82 thoughts on “Begun this Clone War has

  1. already read it Manolo. Very funny.

    “Powerful you have become, the dark side I sense in you.”

    “If informed the Senate is, multiply our adversaries will.”

  2. Yoda was at the Mall of Asia yesterday..he watched the Manny Pacquiao bout sitting on the first row of the balcony section. Behind him were Bong Revilla and his family as well as fellow action star Philip Salvador.

    Few minutes before the fight started, i thought a more entertaining matchup would explode right in front of us when Chairman Ayos suddenly came in and sat at the left corner of the balcony, just about 5 meters where Yoda was. He sat beside Mother Lily, the movie producer.

    Akala namin bakbakan na e, but to our dismay JDV was as stoic as Yoda and he never even glanced in Abalos’ direction. Abalos hurriedly left even before the decision was announced by Michael Buffer, while JDV only moved when the movie stars started shaking his hands and exchanged pleasantries with him.

    Abalos would later claim that he didnt know that JDV was inside the same theater. Latest reports have it that JDV will charge him with perjury.

  3. But how could JVD be a Yoda? Yoda is pure, unadulterated and righteous, that’s why the Force always with him. I would re-titled it “the war of the devils”, then they are equals.hehe

  4. Just curious, does Gloria speak like this at all, I mean her pronunciation and all?

    ““What? Thish ish not Atty. Laoshnaunano? Who are you? Atty. Fundido? I shee. Thank you, anyway. Sho who wash the endorsher? Shang Kwan? From where? Ah. Yesh, I know the plashe. Where the queshong futi comes from. Thank him for hish endorshement, noh.”

  5. mlq3,

    Between GMA’s camp and JdV’s, it would be helpful if somebody can come up with the ‘tale of the tape’ of the protagonists.

    I think most propable is a win-win deal between the two camps atleast for the meanwhile. They can postpone the power struggle for 2010. If they allow the confrontation to be engaged now, both will end up losers.

  6. pete, that presumes that both sides are thinking rationally. since the president’s sons coralled congressmen and brought them to the palace, and since jdv3 began speaking in public, the personal element can’t be ignored.

    i think the palace decided to press the button.

  7. “Just curious, does Gloria speak like this at all, I mean her pronunciation and all?” – MBW

    The Madam in the article is drunk and is frequently drunk(malakas uminom).

  8. mlq3,

    tony abaya:”I concluded that President Arroyo wanted to remain in power beyond 2010, as prime minister…
    The subsequent maneuvers to shift to a parliamentary system of government, in the Lower House and through a so-called people’s initiative, confirmed my prognosis.”

    an insider (PMS)confided that “there are no plans on GMA’s exit on 2010”, “no plans of leaving”, “no intentions of stepping down”, “she will stay after 2010”, then the indider added that over a family dinner she had advised her siblings to “better move out of the country, if they can, with their families, these problems will not stop because GMA has no plans of stepping down”. (her mother cried,”i’m too old to go, you all go, i’ll stay”

    moving out seems to be a valid advice, considering our experience in the country for the last 5 years, those (my siblings, close relatives) who have moved out have settled down to a new life, moving on for many is moving out,

    how can we who choose to stay really move on if GMA continues to stay in the palace? she really has to leave for the country to move on

  9. Pete and MLQ3,
    The upcoming barangay elections must be inluded in the equation. One of the reasons why the lower house wants it cancelled is because they don’t have the money to support their “footmen”(barangay captains),they just spent a fortune last May election. Now, Malacanang has the “dangling power”, “help us and we’ll help your barangay election candidates”.

  10. gps,

    so the barangay election’s place in the equation is about the lack of campaign funds, the palace says spending for 2 elections in a year cause budgetary constraints, barangay league pres james marty lim proposes a 6 – 8 mnth postponement, senate rejects postponement,

  11. GPS, i think it was Tony Abaya who pointed out a possible reason why Malacanang wants to postpone the brgy elections. maintains the status quo, with majority of brgy officers in the pockets of the admin. saves them money too. why risk the chance that your footmen be replaced by opposition footmen, right?

    vic, JDV as Yoda is apt. or haven’t you noticed the uncanny resemblance? it’s the ears, man, the ears! (and the height) only physical comparison i think, not their moral codes.

  12. the Supreme Court came out with the Writ of Amparo, and Malacanang cynically came out with AO 197. brilliant. SC is always a step behind.

    in war, you can’t jz keep on reacting. you’ll lose. you have to make your adversary react to you, not the other way around.

    JDV dallied too long. told ya he only had that week to act and he chose to spend it wallowing in indecisions. that’s why JDV will never be president or even prime minister. he has no balls to act when initiative is needed. he’s too comfortable haggling. hagglers are never followed. they’ll always remain that – middle men. poor JDV.

  13. DevilsAdvc8,
    I agree with you, Malacanang at first wants to postpone the barangay electons because the coalition(administration) congressmen will be sending their “offering plates” to Malacanang to fund the campaign of their “footmen”. Malacanang does not want to release campaign funds for nothing, it does not work that way, but now the situation is different.It’s just like a boyfriend telling his girlfriend ” BF:meron akong regalo sa iyo”,GF:Asan? Akin na! BF: “Kiss Muna”. Note, that Malacanang does not know how to save money, they just want their money’s worth. But of course I could be wrong.

  14. mlq3,

    :”It would take a Speaker who’s a wizard at parliamentary procedure to find a way out of this kind of trap. It’s possible, but requires nerves of steel and a reliable set of clever parliamentarians.”

    Unsolicited advice to JdV,
    1) Play it by ear. The more you listen, the less you talk, the better.
    2) Playing it by ear means listening to the right people who can give you wise and objective advice. Avoid tempters, forked-tongues, deceivers, wheeler-dealers.
    3) Playing it by ear entails being alert. Be on guard; hold your cards closer to your chest. Your son’s life is on the line. Much more is on the line.
    4) Most of all, playing it by ear means being sensitive to the inner promptings in your heart. Affirm the goodness that’s in your heart by following it. Expect extreme temptations for you to go against what’s good for the country and the people.

    at the end of the rainbow (coalition), may you find your ‘pot of gold’, inside of you, hope

  15. mlq3,

    “the palace has pressed the button”

    pre-emptive strike!

    that’s why i sort of need a ‘tale of the tape’ analysis, what is JdV’s expected counter? what has JdV got?

  16. Thanks for the newest “calabasa” article. This calabasa always entertains me.

    Did anyone use these calabasas in high school skits, something like Philippine Community Life (PLC), Philippine Govenment, Social Studies or even in presentations by host cities in NSSPCs? Are our high school students still involved in government and nation building? Do they still go to senate and house sessions?

  17. i think i have Manolo’s Calabasa series in my blog. actually, his Calabasa series are what got me started in reading his columns.

    as for MBW’s question re GMA’s speech, i think it has to do with her large front teeth. it’s a lisp i think, only worser somehow. Manolo makes great use of this speech flaw of hers and employs it with great wit in his Calabasa series.

    the exchange of s to sh and p to f adds new meaning to the words in use. nagkakaron ng double meaning.

    so instead of hearing “please sit” when GMA speaks
    heads of state might hear “pleash shit”

    just imagine.

  18. GPS maybe correct, I read that before, malakas nga daw.Baka maatayan siya niyan napakahirap, walang gamot sa dilaw at kati.

  19. What is it with two?
    Now it’s “May 2 ka dito.”
    Apparently coming from Puno
    In collusion with Pulido

  20. Can’t wait for the episode when Yoda (Manong Joda-v) becomes “one with the Force” (Forsh, rather?). I’m sure Calabasha won’t hang around 900 years for Yoda’s death…for it may be sooner, I hope…

    I also hope Yoda wouldn’t just die without a fight…perhaps he could also drag Madam with him in his demise. Too many of Madam’s shecrets (that coursed through Yoda’s well-known SONA-clapping ears) await our prying ears.



    Very, very appropriate!

  21. Out of curiosity, when are Mike Defensor and Raul Gonzalez coming back to join Madam? Mike’s one of the best ‘sunshine ra-ra’ boys of Gloria.

  22. mlq3,

    re alignment of political forces

    When Gilbert Teodoro (NP-Cojuanco)was appointed as sec DND, ithought, well GMA has coopted the businessman Danding’s support. Aside from the NP votes in the house, what I’m looking at now is how the kingmaker-businessmen play behind the scenes. Ricky Razon of course will mobilize the funds to mobilize the trapos against JdV and leave no stones unturned to secure GMA and make sure JdV and J3 are down and out.

    Whereas before the military was the swing factor, now its the businessmen. Money is the ammunition in this fight to the finnish. Has JdV got money to fight back? Loyalty of Lakas memebers are now at a premium. The Indices at (BSE) Batasan Stock Exchange are all up. It’s the impeachment Bull run market.

  23. “Out of curiosity, when are Mike Defensor and Raul Gonzalez coming back to join Madam? Mike’s one of the best ’sunshine ra-ra’ boys of Gloria.” – Nash

    Raul Gonzales just came out from the hospital I think yesterday or Sunday.
    Mike Defensor is still recovering from his loss, he got bitten by an animal called “reality check”.

  24. mlq, mbw, you both are very “funny”. want to revive the “kenkoy” joke, or the one about the “malodorous orifice”?

  25. mlq3,

    Batasan Loyalty Exchange Update

    RCLH – Rainbow Coalition Loyalty Holdings – Class B members closed at 2M ; Class A at 5M up.

    OMDB – Over My Dead Body — Loyalty Holdings is suspected to be behind the Loyalty raiders in line with a hostile takeover.

    OMDB is allied with KLH – Kampi Loyalty Holdings – which had recently made a takeover bid that RCLH had resisted.

    RCLH Founding Chairman JdV could ‘go 100% public’ to counter Over My Dead Body Holdings hostile take-over bid.

    Initiated with the Pulido-San Luis filing, the impeachment Bull run market is part of a high-stakes, winner-take-all fight for over-all market dominance.

    Loyalty holders, like money-wise Eulogio Magsaysay (AVE), are,as usual, waiting for the price to peak.

    A review of the 2005 and 2006 Batasan Loyalty Exchange impeachment market Bull run highlights:

    “Who will forget Jacinto Paras’ speech last year, ”Sabi ko sa mga anak ko, ‘Your Daddy is not for sale’”. To Paras’ children: sorry, kids, your Dad has just been sold.”

  26. I always enjoy mlq3’s calabasa articles.

    GMA has a permanent lisp , a gravel voice and no mastery of the Filipino language. She thinks she is descended from the frayles…….

  27. GPS, pete was actually very correct. the NPC is a splinter group from the NP, danding had tried to wrest control of the party but when doy laurel wouldn’t let him, he went off and formed the npc -which means nationalist people’s coalition but just as well means np cojuangco wing.

  28. MLQ3,
    I got confused with Pete’s statement:” Aside from the NP votes in the house”, which means the present time. Well, any way thanks for the info.

  29. BrainB,
    Read your blog and it is a beauty both in contents and the poetry. And I don’t want to stain it by leaving a comment not fitting for such a gem….

  30. On breach of confidentiality and Joker:

    1. If the information is not true at all, why you call it a leak and not plain disinformation? A claim of a breach of confidentiality presumes the information was true, else, what was there to leak?

    2. You put one over me then invoke confidentiality, you’re gonna get it back in some nasty way too, old man Joker haha!

  31. gps,

    sorry got you confused, i thought specifyng ‘np cojuanco’ is enough to make my point re GMA’s coopting Danding Cojuanco’s support, should’ve used “npc vote”

  32. mlq3,

    :”It would take a Speaker who’s a wizard at parliamentary procedure to find a way out of this kind of trap.”

    I might add: “It would take a Speaker who has better battle-tested and now battle-ready political survival instincts to FIGHT his way out of the trap… and WIN.”

    JdV’s ‘we-win’ scenario:

    JdV and FVR will close ranks to keep Lakas-NUCD intact and go on a counter-offensive against GMA. The impeachment will be pushed through to the Senate. GMA will be froced to go on an indefinite leave of absence before Senate verdict. Noli sworn in as acting president. JdV, FVR offers Noli to be Lakas-NUCD 2010 presidential candidate.

    Geopolitics is the swing factor. FVR brings into the equation the US hand; GMA overplayed the China hand.

    The business turf war among the local politicians and businessmen is played against the backdrop of a global economic turf war. GMA’s uncontrolled greed for cheap China loans has reached a level that triggers the US’s control mechanism that maintains stability in the region.

    JdV’s move: Forge a ‘global rainbow coalition’ with the US to counter GMA-China economic alliance.

  33. Pete,MLQ3,
    JDV, to survive this gambit, must think like a seasoned politician but must move with dispatch like a good general. I heard that there was an emergency luncheon meeting today at Malacanang with several Congressmen in attendance,the luncheon meeting was not in the schedule of GMA for the day.

  34. “The business turf war among the local politicians and businessmen is played against the backdrop of a global economic turf war. GMA’s uncontrolled greed for cheap China loans has reached a level that triggers the US’s control mechanism that maintains stability in the region.” – pete

    This is an interesting scenario, but you must not underestimate the power of the dark side of the force, China may yet have some unseen “sith” allies lurking behind the shadows mainly with monosylabic family names. The US may not have the power nor compulsion to interfere thus leaving Yoda at the mercy of the minions of the dark side, dark days indeed for the Jedi.

  35. “BrainB,
    Read your blog and it is a beauty both in contents and the poetry. And I don’t want to stain it by leaving a comment not fitting for such a gem….”

    Vic, thanks. The prose will loosen up eventually.

  36. ramrod,

    US had dropped GMA. GMA had sensed and feared this and US’s actuations confirms this. Among other instances, US had warned GMA against pushing through with the ZTE deal.

    An interesting scenario had been an impending scenario.

  37. dadvocate,

    methinks US’s forces will be spent against threats to its survival. RP is a very sensitive spot for US not to spend its force to keep it from a very dangerous enemy.

    Indeed, an intersting scenario.

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