The galvanizing news came in mid-afternoon: after Con-ass resolution squeaks by the House of Representative tonight aims to approve House Resolution 1109 and thereby cause a “justiciable controversy.” As of this writing, Rep. Victor Ortega of La Union is delivering his sponsorship speech on the floor. An all-nighter is expected at the House.
The strategy of the House seems to be to pass the Resolution, as most resolutions are passed, by simple majority of those present in the Session, sidestepping the ambitious objective of passing it by a majority equal to a majority of all the members of both chambers of Congress put together.
Senator Cayetano on TV says doing so opens up three options:
1. The President can come out strongly for the parliamentary system in her State of the Nation address in July;
2. She can play coy, since the game is afoot and she can run for congresswoman, become Speaker, then Prime Minister after 2010;
3. Someone can run to the Supreme Court and challenge the Resolution.
He seems to suggest that the objective at hand is to keep the issue alive into the third and final Session of the 14th Congress, and he also said he hears that the Palace has told its allies, “No Cha-Cha, no pork barrel,” at a time when an impending economic recession makes Palace largesse even more crucial to reelectionists.
Meanwhile, Secretary of the Interior Puno came out on TV assuring the public -“mark my words and trust me,” he said- that elections in the familiar manner will take place in 2010, “in the same manner as 2004.” The hilarity of this statement was surely unintentional.
As this plays out, you may want to follow caffeine_sparks or me on Twitter; liveblogging is also going on at Filipino Voices.