The Long View: There is no debate

The Long View
There is no debate
By Manuel L. Quezon III

Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 01:56:00 06/25/2009

LAST Tuesday, during a discussion held at the Ateneo Professional Schools in Makati, three things Rep. Victor Ortega said in passing concerning Charter change caught my attention. My personal opinion concerning Ortega is that he is trying to walk a fine line between his personal views and maintaining his intellectual integrity, and being a loyal party man and one of the senior players in the ruling House coalition.

The first thing he pointed out is that while he and his fellow representatives have pledged not to touch term limits or cancel the 2010 elections, if a shift to the parliamentary system takes place before then, there will be no such thing as term limits. To my mind this explains why the administration can insist elections will take place in 2010, and that no one in the ruling party is contemplating extending either the President’s, or anybody else’s, term. No one is lying when they make such claims, for, as Ortega pointed out, if a shift in government occurs, everyone starts afresh. And so, if the old limits are erased, everyone can still say, with a straight face, that neither has anyone’s term limit been extended.

Later that evening, when I ran into a media colleague at the Philconsa night featuring former President Joseph Estrada, the colleague’s opinion reminded me of what Ortega said. Basically, the media colleague said he was frustrated by all the opining taking place on whether the President, should she decide to run for a House seat, was entitled to do so. This was a point easily disposed of by Comelec Chairman Jose Melo himself who says she can run, without having to relinquish the presidency.

Particularly frustrating to my colleague were the questions being asked lawyers about whether the President would be accorded any meaningful legal protection by becoming a representative. People are barking up the wrong tree, my colleague opined. If you change the system and the rules, then the old answers concerning legal immunities of officials become obsolete. The real question should be: What legal immunities will be accorded not just an ordinary member of parliament, but the prime minister? Chances are, at a bare minimum, the privileges enjoyed by the present chief executive.

The second thing Ortega mentioned is that theoretically the Comelec must be given a minimum of 60 days to schedule a plebiscite, and a maximum of 90 days, which means the latest that the Comelec can be instructed to hold a constitutional plebiscite is February or March 2010 (if it will be put on the 2010 ballot). Put another way, the earliest a plebiscite could be held, if a constituent assembly were held starting in July, is late September or October of this year – ahead of the filing of candidacies on Nov. 30, 2009.

And the third thing Ortega mentioned is that no specific amendments have been proposed, which is supposed to reassure the public.

I contested this. The proposals are clear, and have been on the table, unchanged, since 2005: a unicameral parliamentary system, with the possibility but not certainty of a later shift to a federal setup.

The only real leeway for compromise is the manner in which the president of the Philippines (under the proposed system, a purely decorative head of state) would be elected. The administration has seen that the electorate opposes being deprived of the opportunity to directly elect the head of state, so it would be reasonable – and wily – to propose the election of a decorative head of state while the head of government, who holds true power, would be elected by the members of parliament.

It simply isn’t true, however, that the only thing the House wants is the opportunity to freely propose amendments to the Constitution. There has been a constituency for a shift to a unicameral, parliamentary system, and that constituency has embraced the President who, in turn, did so, at first grudgingly, but now seems to be clinging to the idea with greater and greater enthusiasm as the terminal date for her term draws near.

If politics is the art of the possible, then a resourceful politician will first identify what lines cannot be crossed. The line seems to be the holding of elections in 2010. This also implies that the incumbent will not be tolerated as president past June 30, 2010. Therefore, the window of opportunity for President Arroyo is open widest from July to October of this year, and begins to close as we approach Nov. 30 of this year. But it theoretically, at least, does not close entirely until February or March next year, which is when, traditionally, the point of no return as far as her being a lame duck would have been reached anyway (for this is when the campaign really gets under way).

This is in terms of Charter change. The President still has time, then, to experiment with seeing how far things will go with Charter change, while simultaneously checking out her potential list of successors to see who might be amenable to scratching her back if she scratches theirs going into 2010.

Another truism is that finality is not part of the language of politics – never say never – and so long as there are multiple options, the President will, of course, explore them.

All the rest – whether certain tactical moves will be done on specific dates, for example – are things for the clairvoyant to determine. It’s more important to identify the overall strategy, which remains unchanged: not just survival until 2010, but avoiding being disgraced when her term expires at noon on June 30, 2010.

* * *

THE Ateneo forum with Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, Rep. Victor Ortega, lawyer Adel Tamano and myself were recorded and put online at: -legal-eagles-on-constituent.html

Manuel L. Quezon III.

54 thoughts on “The Long View: There is no debate

  1. Was it Rham Emannuel who said that it would be a shame to waste a crisis as it offers opportunities.

    Next question in the context of GMA looking for a crisis to make some constitutional changes.

    How does she manufacture one?

  2. The only valid truism is:Gloria Arroyo is the supreme opportunist.Look at her whole political life:all about being opportunistic 100% of the time! Forget about principles,ideals !

  3. “We are not out to scrap the elections,” Mrs. Arroyo told reporters when asked to comment on the anti-Charter change rally in Makati City.

    “What I have always said, and it was part of my campaign platform in 2004, is that the political system needs to be reformed.”

    Mrs. Arroyo said the political and economic reforms she wished to implement would entirely depend on the efforts of her allies and “ultimately on the people of the Philippines.”

  4. A fourth significant thing Ortega said was that the House Leadership does NOT regard Rule XX Sections 139-141 as having been repealed or amended by HRes 1109. This means that LEGALLY speaking, the House Rule on its members proposing charter changes stands: separate voting by Senate and House. This is most significant because it means the House realizes SCoRP recognizes the present separate voting Rule as fully constitutional. The ConAss to which the House is inviting the Senate is therefore envisioned as an entirely different entity than “The Congress” — one that will in fact draft its own rules of procedure–just like a ConCon. An unelected ConCon to which the Members of the House would like the Senate to agree they appoint themselves. He gave me the impression, in a conversation right after the conference ended, that there was a SPLIT in the House Leadership over this. But the fact that they are doing it at all also means they’ve been advised by legal experts, possibly SCoRP justices, that IF the Senate separately agrees to joint voting, that would also be constitutional and nonviolative of bicamerality.

    I find myself therefore of almost like mind as Victor F. Ortega on the central constitutional issue. Unlike Fr. Bernas, I don’t believe it would be unconstitutional for the Senate to agree with the House to vote jointly on charter change proposals (no matter how unlikely that would seem to be now.) This is a logical consequence of the fact that the present Rule–voting separately as in ordinary legislation–is also obviously constitutional because it was adopted by both Houses separately.

    The way forward in thinking about this whole issue is clear to my mind: The central issue is not even “voting separately or voting jointly” but WHO gets to decide which voting mode to use? The Congress or the SCoRP.

    My opinion is that Art 17 Sec. 1 grants to the Congress the power to exercise constituent power, within the 3/4 majority constraint. That means the House and Senate voting separately can adopt either voting mode when the Congress proposes chacha.

    Under this interpretation, there is nothing for the Supreme Court to settle except to say that it is entirely up to the Congress HOW it will exercise a power clearly granted to it in the Constitution.

    If House and Senate cannot agree (even if they have in effect, under Rule XX, already agreed to vote separately on chacha proposals!) then they simply cannot exercise the constituent power. So what? That’s just like their failure to pass enabling legislation in myriad aspects of the Constitution. But no ones rights are violated by this inability!

    The 1109 Purists are equally wrong as Bernas–the 1935 purist–is wrong, since Article 17 Sec. 1 is utterly silent either way.

    Actually they are both right in that the constitution actually allows EITHER joint voting or separate under the 3/4 majority rule.

    But they are both wrong in wanting SCoRP to settle it for Congress–which would in effect be asking GMA how the Congress should do chacha!

    My Theorem: “Voting separately or voting jointly” is not fundamentally a problem in “statutory construction” but a matter of Congressional discretion.

  5. Nowhere is the Senate mentioned. Can one clap with one hand? Then, there’s the numbers game. How can Nograles muster it? He successfully delivered what was, presumably, paid for: HR 1109. Beyond that what? Another round of pork, or arm twisting! But her greatest constraint is time. Well, a cornered rat tries any option, even one that doesn’t seem to exist. And if she’s indeed the luckiest bitch, we could always expect the unexpected.

  6. DJB, he was only one of several sponsors, so that’s his opinion and not binding on the rest of the majority. and also that bogs us down in whether the political question doctrine is still relevant.

  7. I posted before DJB’s entry popped out.

    In effect, DJB says that there’s simply no way a plebiscite could be held prior to the 2010 elections. Assuming, hehehe, that the Senate agrees to pass a resolution similar to HR 1109 by a 3/4 vote, there simply wouldn’t be enough time for it to finish the job. Consider also that a bicameral committee would also be required to thresh out any conflict.

    Here’s the clincher: “If House and Senate cannot agree (even if they have in effect, under Rule XX, already agreed to vote separately on chacha proposals!) then they simply cannot exercise the constituent power.”

    I’m glad that DJB has discarded his third option: voting alone as long as the 3/4 requirement is met. Or did he?

  8. Here’s the thing. They will keep pushing until time runs out. Why? Because that way, we debate legal issues instead of focusing on the personalities who will stand in for Gloria in 2010.

    Take Gilbert Teodoro for example. Here’s a guy who, if only he were not in Gloria’s camp, would merit serious consideration. But we are not looking at him and asking ourselves why a guy like that would run on the ticket of a party that totally supports everything Gloria has done. He is Mr. Clean in the cesspool. But he cannot be that unless he totally disowns Gloria and her followers. But until time for cha-cha runs out he will getting a free pass. And after chacha runs out, the next issue will be the legality of Gloria running for a lower office. And all that time Gilbert and Gloria’s senatorial slate will be under the radar. How do we, without defaulting on the cha-cha issues, keep the heat on any and all national candidate running under Gloria’s party? Because at the end of the day, if Lakas Kampi control the national offices, we are fucked.

  9. Maybe she has people where she wants them, as the whole country fascinates about “will she? or won’t she?”.

  10. Actually, she is in fact in control. People are merely spectators and reacting. The Lakas-Kampi is in motion and everybody are just watching at the sidelines. The rules are neutral but if you have number like what she is holding right now, she can have her ways and change them too.

  11. We are probably watching a one sided battle.

    1. The public opinion at large are molded that Arroyo will be finished at June 30, 2010. In contrast, she needs only to win at smaller area than usual which is her district (relatively easy to win) to get a second chance and continue immunity privilege.

    2. The public opinion takes for granted that the real base of future powers of Arroyo is the Lakas-Kampi machinery. Voters are blindsided that they will be voting in 2010 their own popular local candidate to Congress unaware of the true import of administration backing. It is already given that a well funded local campaign along with distribution of pork largese (money, philhealth cards, etc) wins the election. This is the key battle which is getting party mates elected to secure the 3/4 majority in the congress.

    3. The voting public are unaware of the shift in power. The people will elect their next President with no concern that it will be a figure head of state than before.

    4. The 3rd powerful branch of the government (SC) is a referee based on existing rules and defers the change of rules to the elected representatives, especially the majority.

  12. Here is the voices of outsiders prying into the plans of the President clearly points to one direction.

    1. SC chief Reynato Puno challenging the President to disclose 2010 political plans on the basis that it will have serious implications on the government.

    2. Former President Ramos who lost control of the Lakas-Kampi asked the President to reveal her political plan in her home province of Pampanga, an easy winnable seat.

    3. In Pampanga, former President Estrada warned the President against dangling government funds particularly Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) to buy loyalty and allegiance of local officials.

    4. Makati Mayor Binay led opposition mayors and governors to press the national government to change the rule on disbursing IRA.

    5. Representative Abigail Binay, daughter of Mayor Binay sponsored a bill to change the IRA disbursing rule (not a chance at this critical time).

  13. Since we are in the realm of speculaton, here’s my view. We are watching a one-sided battle, with GMA on the losing end.

    1. The will be no plebiscite before 2010. She gains no immunity as a Congressmen. Despite her size, she is no longer a kid. She will have to face a crime reserved for adults, something punishable by more than 6 years.

    2. Even if the administration gets a 100% win, hehehe, in the lowest house, it will mean nothing in so far as a cha-cha is concerned as long as the opposition controls the Senate. Remember how the queens’s pawns got shattered despite overwhelming resurces, with even the penniless and flightless Trillanes squeezing through rather easily? The lowest house, by itself, cannot submit proposals to a plebiscite. Or at least there will be legal impidements, such as the budget for such an exercise.

    About the only thing going for her is her being smart and systematic. Smartmatic, for short. Barvados is a known haven for ill-gotten wealth. A Filipino with vested interests could actually be the owner of the winning bidder, and so was able to lower the bid by billions of pesos for the win. And then there’s this Aboizit. Failure of elections.

    3. There will be no shift in power. We will be voting in accordance with the 1987 Constitution.

    4. The SC will have nothing to work on. The lowest house, alone, cannot change the rules.

  14. One question though, since I’m not a lawyer. Will a plunder charge be acted on by the Ombudsgirl Friday of the Arroyo’s? Remember how she brilliantly and blatantly acquitted Nani Perez!

  15. The answer is no. The sitting president can only be removed by impeachment at congress.

  16. DJB on, “But the fact that they are doing it at all also means they’ve been advised by legal experts, possibly SCoRP justices, that IF the Senate separately agrees to joint voting, that would also be constitutional and nonviolative of bicamerality.”

    What has not been addressed by the constitutionalists squarely is the fact that extreme application of rule implies death. Bicamerality exercised particularly in separate voting is designed so senate voice will not be lost to superior voting number by the house and thus induced an artificial death to senate not by its own accord.

    Rule is equal to consent. At minimum, Senate has to consent first its own death by majority vote of its 24 members to agree in joint voting (dilution of votes = delivering its own demise). Hence, there is no other case of joint voting except the review of executive martial law declaration or suspension of habeas corpus.

  17. Supremo on, “Let’s send the Terminator back to 2001 and end this nightmare we are in.”

    Defeat or wrestle control of the Cyberdyne (Lakas-Kampi), the choosen platform vehicle of the President.

  18. d0d0ng,

    I’m sorry. The plunder I was referring to is against GMA as Congressman, not as President. You said she acquires immunity as Congressman, which I questioned because the immunity given to such position is kid’s stuff.

    I think DJB was merely saying that there’s no law or Constitutional provision insulating the Senate from hara-kiri.
    It probably wouldn’t, but it may.

  19. “Will a plunder charge be acted on by the Ombudsgirl Friday of the Arroyo’s?”

    “I’m sorry. The plunder I was referring to is against GMA as Congressman, not as President.”

    Again the answer is no. Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over members of Congress. But Congress can impeach an Ombudsman.

  20. I don’t understand why Teodoro should get consideration. He openly wants a unicameral (which we all know would be rubber stamp regardless of who the president would be).

    Teodoro does not want a UK style system but a Singapore style Harry Lee dictatorship

  21. The first scenario is slowly coming to unfold.

    1. The President increased her visits to hometown Lubao.

    2. The President’s son Pampanga Rep. Juan Miguel ‘Mikey’ Arroyo announced he is willing to give way to his mother and run as provincial governor instead.

    3. Nobody in Pampanga would like to challenge the President in her hometown. It is like asking for a political deathwish.

    4. The only person who is motivated and not afraid to face a political giant is UP Professor Randy David, a fellow Kapampangan who teaches political sociology at University of the Philippines since 1967, currently a columnist at PDI, arrested in Feb 25, 2006 protest (marking the 20th anniversary of EDSA1) when Arroyo declared a state of emergency. Arroyo used to teach economics at UP before she became President. Can a political sociologist professor and staunch critic of the President deliver a blow to a fellow Kampampangan? You wish but he is the best so far for the challenge.

  22. I hope nothing bad happens en route to 2010 if Randy David goes all the way mano a mano, so to speak, against the GMA clan.

    I have to tell you, I’m impressed with my fellow Kapampangans lately. First they vote in the lord’s rep against a gambling lord’s wife and action hero’s son , using nothing more than grassroots campaign. Now Prof. David is throwing his hat into the ring.

    Not bad for an ethnic group known for siding with the colonialists and stereotyped as being treacherous eh?

  23. The political showdown in Pampanga is not just a little fight but a huge spotlight on Arroyo’s hold to power with 2 position fight (governor and congress representative) to dislodge an incumbent priest governor which ironically represent a tragic aberration to Arroyo’s power. This is the time when ground support of Gov Panlilio can extend enough to defeat the Arroyos in governor and congress position.

  24. I’m not really politically active, but I tell you, if it comes down to Panlilio-David vs Mikey-Gloria for the Governorship and Congressional seat for the 2nd district, I’ll be out there spreading leaflets, going door to door, strapping my election boots (never done this), doing all the things a good citizen ought to be doing. It’s not just for the benefit of the Philippines, but I see this as a battle for the soul of Pampanga.

    And I feel the good, decent people of Pampanga will come out actively too.

    If it happens, this is gonna go down as one for the ages. Maybe a bit shallow and pathetic to admit, but I also like the element of “drama” unfolding hehehe.

  25. “Not bad for an ethnic group known for siding with the colonialists and stereotyped as being treacherous eh?”

    The second round is far far harder than the first one. The opposition will not be fighting an obvious liability figure in a gambling lord but a woman president who can deliver food on the table, jobs and money that cabalen in the 2nd district would care about with the daily grind. Most cabalens do not see the President as an evil person as graphic as gambling lord.

  26. And this is where the spiral of silence will come into play as well. Common sense dictates that a majority of Kapampangans will vote overwhelmingly for GMA and Mikey, given their experience in national power brokering may benefit the home turf bailiwick that is our province (by reigniting the north rail project, presidential or prime ministerial (!) discretion to funnel funds into the province, etc.).

    But I feel there’s a sizable majority of conservative, church going (not necessarily Catholic, maybe ang Dating Daan, Inglesia, and Born Again), moral set with old-fashioned values that is sick of the cynicism and evil going-ons of modern politics. Which is why come election time, they’ll see the choice of a former priest and a soft-spoken sociologist (who as a young man was a frustrated priest) and compare this with the crass and classless duo of Mikey and GMA, and will turn the pre-conceived notions about bailiwick politics on its head.

  27. Statistically, Arroyos will win both position. But I feel good that a cabalen like you will put a good fight. Imagine, it would be historical proportion if the cabalen themselves will put an end to Arroyo’s dynastic rein. Good luck.

  28. Something’s troubling me, and I want to share it with all of you in the hope of finding relief.

    Here’s what a voter will have to do at the precint: Identify himself, wait until BEI finds his name in the List of Voters, sign his name, put his thumbmark, gets marked on his finger then receive a blank ballot. I think this simple process will need a minimum of two minutes. So?

    Assuming an 80% turn-out, 400 voters will use up at least 800 minutes of non-stop voting from start to finish, or a whooping total of 13.33 minutes. Are we prepared for this length of time? What would happen when dusk comes, and still there a long queue of voters waiting for their turn?

  29. “Assuming an 80% turn-out, 400 voters will use up at least 800 minutes of non-stop voting from start to finish, or a whooping total of 13.33 minutes”

    You mean 13 hours (800 minutes/60 minutes). Assuming there is one ballot box it will not take that long. There is a point in the line where a voter is doing simultaneously with other voters like filling up the ballot. The late finish is usually from the late voters banking that there is less crowd in the afternoon, not a chance in my experience.

  30. Thank you. But it’s 13.33 hours. When every minute counts, we simply can’t round up the figures.

    Let’s not talk of other voting aspects, simultaneous acts considered. Let’s focus from the time you give your name ’til you are handed a blank ballot. Even an unrealistic estimate of one minute average would take up 6.6 hours of uniterrupted run from start to finish. It would still be disastrous, because the BEI, the voters as well as other facilities are not so automated.

    What time does voters actually start to trickle in? How about voting gaps or lulls? How efficient would our BEI and the logistics be? With the consolidation, how long will it take to find a voters name? Remember that our experience is limited to only 250 voters per precinct, under the same time allocattion.

    I’m not against automation. I’m just trying to see how it would work, or wouldn’t. As Senator Escudero is, I presume.

  31. The reality is GMA and her planners have layered both tactical and strategic end-game scenarios so they are ready to push the envelop all the way.

    While everyone’s mot looking the COMELEC is fully outsourcing its constitutional functions to Smartmatic.

    While this is not to say the technology provider will help actively cheat but the COMELEC instead of addressing serious doubts about the manner the bidding was undertaken is resorting to smoke and mirrors denials and equivocations, even resorts to threats.

  32. “Sometimes I’m confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn’t obvious…”
    – Michael Stipe, singer of R.E.M.

  33. Defend a proposition by trying to knock it down. This is a management tool being used by Senators as they grill COMELEC officials. But GMA propagandists are trying to discredit them, Senator Escudero, in particular. They say the youth would turn against him for being anti-automation by asking so many questions. This, of course, is a brazen lie.

    Some anti-GMA forces, unwittingly perhaps, are helping her by falling for every ruse that she dangles from time to time for mindless kittens to chase. Examples: the phoney ConAss and her announced plan to bid for a congressional seat. The real thing is FAILURE OF ELECTIONS. How should we deal with it?

  34. “What time does voters actually start to trickle in? ”

    Does not matter. One is allowed to complete once the voter is inside the precint.

    “How about voting gaps or lulls?”.

    Everybody can rest.

    “How efficient would our BEI and the logistics be?”

    Teachers will serve as chaiman of the Board of Election (BEI). They had been doing their job in every elections in the past and had known every problems encountered so far. Their job this time is made easier with the automation. Instead of spending hours in counting each vote, in the preparation of election returns (ER) and bring the result to the canvassing board, the machine will do the vote counting, summarizing and transmittal in just a few minutes with a copy of the result retained by the BEI and the appropriate parties. That is how easy it would be. If the machine failed. The teachers will just do the process manually. It is not the end of the world.

    “With the consolidation, how long will it take to find a voters name? ”

    Quicker than usual. The long list is broken by small groups (A-F, G-J, etc) and multiple names can be processed at the same time with smaller groups in one area. The voter need not to walk to another precint to find his name.

    “Remember that our experience is limited to only 250 voters per precinct, under the same time allocattion”

    That is peanuts with only 5 sheets. Each sheet is 2 pages, each page with 25 names. A precint can handle 1000 voters.

  35. “This is a management tool being used by Senators as they grill COMELEC officials”

    If the senators are smart, there is no need to grill the Comelec officials. What they need to do is test sampling the machine that it should work according to the process. They also need to understand what legal action they need to do when the result of the sampling have partial adverse or false positive result. In the 2000 US election, Gore was winning over Bush in some states. In states where Gore lost to Bush, it was found that some of the machines have false positive count in favor of Bush. And the paper copy of ERs have already been dumped and too late for any legal action. If the Democrats had been aware of the problem, the result would be enough to turn the slim margin of Bush over Gore in Florida and would have Gore as President.

    Opposition senators should demand actual test sampling of the real machines to be fielded.

  36. The other potential loophole is traceability of ER to the canvassing summary. The opposition party should be able to find in the canvassing summary (as electronically generated) a particular ER number so the ER result at field retained by a party representative should be exactly the same count of votes and the vote results. This is where padding or double counting of favorable results can happen.

  37. “The real thing is FAILURE OF ELECTIONS. How should we deal with it?”

    Failure of elections is favorable to the opposition than to the administration. At minimum, the President will not risk any cloud of doubt facing international pressure, as it wanted to show it has people’s mandate to move the presidential government to parliamentary one.

  38. “Failure of elections is favorable to the opposition…:

    This is probably premised on the assumption that gma could serve if elected to Congress. How could she evade a charge of plunder? You said her OmbudsGirl Friday cannot help her. And plunder is not covered by the immunity given to Congressmen!

  39. There is no doubt in my mind that there is agreement between both houses of congress about the need to amend/revise the political structure of the government as to terms of office and either to change to a bicam federal or unicam with or w/o an elected president.

    It would suit the social format more for it to become a unicam stucture. Feudalism and de-facto federalism would be more organized under the unicam structure. Let the different families fight for political power in their own fiefdoms. That would in turn strengthen local communities under fiefdoms. Guaranteeing free and fair elections in a simple election for heads of fiefdoms would bring the costs down and also prevent violent competition amongst the competing families. Only when the feudal lords see that elections are fair guns will be put away.

    Decentralize the taxation structure and give the power of the purse back to parliament. Abolish the national income taxes based on the income levels by region. All local government must be given the ability to tax sin consumption where incomes are not high enough to be taxed based on disposable income.

    The developmental gap between regions is broad in some case and not in some. Over all it is huge. You cannot have one shoe fits all for all. The present policy framework is good only for the NCR.

    We have a hybrid colonial/feudal structure with tribal communities thrown in. We need a one country three systems in the Philippines.

    The ARMM would fall under the tribal communities. Looking at the challenges there through the eyes of neo-colonialism is wrong. They are the largest of the tribal communities wrapped under Islam.

    First things first is to diffuse the monopoly of power at the to to the fiefdoms. The feudal lords will then become politically responsible to their subjects.

    We should stop talking about popular participatory government over all and allow it to evolve at the local level first.

    Parliament should then formulate a national game plan for the proper sequencing of internationl integration in the global economy presently dominated by the G-7 economies.

    The financial system should be isolated from the outside and regional central banks should be set up not centralized under the multilateral mandate which in reality is the U.S. treasury.

    We should not delude ourselves into think that we have a solid nationally linked and integrated economic marketplace.

    We don’t and until we all begin to understand that that is the basis for a full fledged nationally participatory representative government we will never begin to address the deeply rooted structural problems in the country.

  40. “Believe it or not, when we decide to run, we will be speaking about the performance record of the administration.” – Ronnie Puno on why GMA and Lakas-Kampi will still be a force to reckon with in 2010

  41. “How could she evade a charge of plunder?”

    Gloria Arroyo can evade a charge of plunder when she will be elected as member of congress. The Ombudsman has no jurisdiction over members of congress.

  42. I have always thought that since the Arroyo’s OmbudsGirl Friday couldn’t be there to manipulate gma’s case as she did Nani’s, there’d be no way, even as a Congressman, could she get away with plunder. Now, we say that she’d be better off without her. I think I’m getting drained. Who can file the plunder case? To whom or where?

  43. J_AG,

    Let’s simply strenghten our LGU’s. Even with limited means, it has already worked wonders. It’s senseless to demolish our well-loved and well-entrenched regions to build artificial, incohesive and unwieldy ones under federalism.

    Creating communities or regions based on tribal or religious kinships would widen our social fissures, rather than heal it. I oppose any religion based community or government. It’s a step backwards.

  44. Taxj ….. do not confuse the shallow artificial religious construct of culture in the ARMM as what separates the Muslim tribes from other tribes. They are still deeply bound by family clans for economic survival are are communitarian in essence. That in essence chains their political culture. The utter misery of poverty in the ARMM areas are a result of their corruption aided and abetted by the need for their command votes. It is system that feeds on itself.

    Do not be misled by the rantings of a very few about Islamic fundamentalism.

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