March 25, 2008

Conspiracy theories and others

If I were Gloria, and I wanted to hold on to power absolutely until 2010 and shield me from the suits that will come my way in 2010, . . .

1. I would appoint Mercy Gutierrez, the gatekeeper, to the Supreme Court anytime before 2010 and appoint another equally loyal and inept classmate/friend/crony to be Ombudsman in her place; that way, I would have another vote in the Supreme Court and an Ombudsman with a 7-year term that would last beyond 2010.

2. I would do everything to cure/heal Cory Aquino of her cancer because I do not need another loooooong funeral march, in the event that Cory Aquino passes away, and I do not need another martyr that would create another genuine EDSA.

3. I would find a way to convince Chief Justice Reynato Puno to step down before May 2010--through gentle reminders, if possible, but through forceful assertion, if gentle reminders do not succeeed--and then bypass Tony Carpio, who would be the most senior Associate Justice by 2010. That way, the entire Court would be Gloria's.

4. I would make sure that the Opposition would be hopelessly divided by allowing Erap to run for President, before going to the Supreme Court to question his entitlement on the ground that the pardon extended to him is conditional and that the condition is that he does not run for election ever again. Before that, I would make sure that none of those seeking election as President would ever be united--by enticing JDV to run as President perhaps.

5. I would keep Dinky Soliman and her singing of "If we hold on together" as far away from my cabinet as possible.

6. I would make sure that I have another Arroyo in Congress, but this time in the Senate; Luli, are you there?

9-6

In a 9-6 vote, the Supreme Court, just a few minutes ago (Tuesday, March 25, 2008, 3:25 thereabouts) granted the petition of Romulo Neri, which sought the invocation of executive privilege in relation to three questions posed by the Senate, in its investigation of the botched 329US$ ZTE-NBN deal. This means that Neri cannot be cited for contempt or arrested by the Senate if he refuses to answer the three questions, which the plurality of the Court now considers to be covered by executive privilege.

The three questions are: 1. whether Gloria Arroyo followed up the deal with Neri; 2. whether he was told to prioritize the ZTE-NBN project and 3. whether Gloria Arroyo told him to go ahead with the deal after he told her about the massive bribe offer.

The decision was penned by the 2nd to the newest appointee to the Court, Teresita De Castro (of Erap plunder fame or notoriety, depending on which side you're on) and was concurred in by the following Justices: Quisumbing, Corona, Chico-Nazario, Tinga, Velasco, Nachura, Reyes, and Brion (the most recent appointee). Of those who voted in favor, only Quisumbing's vote is surprising; the others are expected as they are all Gloria appointees.

The 6 who voted against are: Chief Justice Puno (with a 100-page dissent), Justices Ynares-Santiago, Carpio, Austria-Martinez, Carpio-Morales, and Azcuna.

There is a surprising lack of becoming modesty in Brion voting on a petition where he did not participate and where popular sentiment held that his appointment was precisely to forestall the effects of a Velasco inhibition. There is also an uncharacteristic lack of becoming modesty in De Castro writing for the majority, where her appointment was clearly seen as a reward for convicting Estrada.

This vote, coming on the heels of the 10-4 vote in the Chavez decision, shows just how much headway the Gloria appointees are making in controlling the court. If she lasts until 2010, Gloria Arroyo would have appointed all but one of the Justices (Puno; but she would have appointed Puno Chief Justice, so technically she could be considered to have appointed all the Justices).

How's that for separation of powers? Checks and balances, anyone?

March 06, 2008

Thanks, but no thanks.

1. Gloria throws out EO 464. Thanks, but no thanks.

There was nothing to throw out, as the Supreme Court had already removed practically everything there was to this putrid issuance from the dictator's arsenal. It should have been a non-issue except that, as dictators and their henchmen/women go, it was a convenient excuse to hide behind.

2. Supreme Court offers a compromise deal to Senate. Thanks, but no thanks.

After nine hours of orals, the Supreme Court Chief Justice offers a compromise--perceived by Malacanang to be "solomonic", which should already put you on guard--to the Senate: 1. Neri will testify at the Senate, 2. he will not be arrested anymore, 3. but the three questions he had invoked "executive privilege" against will not be asked anymore and will be considered asked, and 4. each and every time he invokes executive privilege, the issue will be tossed back to the Court.

My first reaction was that it was a "cop out" by the Court, after strong decisions on press freedom and showing strong resolve against EJK and ED with amparo and habeas data. Later on, after speaking with very reliable sources, it made sense--though I still didn't agree with the compromise; my sources told me that the CJ and Justice Carpio felt outvoted by the Gloria people in the Court and feared a loss had they insisted on a decision--so to avoid a loss, the CJ offered the compromise. One step backward, two steps forward--was it Lenin who said this, or Tommy Manotoc? Yes, it made sense but it still left me with a bad taste in the mouth.

If the Senate approved the deal, Gloria wins, hands down and the Senate loses, big time. The power of the Senate to summon witnesses would be severely impaired and the dictator gets away with silence on the three questions that directly place the ZTE deal at her doorstep.

I am glad that the Senate FINALLY acquired a collective spine (did that include you, Joker?) and some collective sense of identity and history and said, "thanks, but no thanks." I hope the SC addresses this issue and, despite the lifting of E0 464, rules that its invocation under those circumstances was not proper and that Neri SHOULD answer those 3 questions.

3. Let's resume our lives now that EO 464 is gone. THANKS, BUT NO THANKS.

The Bishops of my church should come out now with a stronger statement; clearly, the truth is being held hostage here and instead of setting us free, it is, instead, rendered an instrument of keeping us in bondage. Now that 464 is gone, what now? Perhaps, the answer should be, Gloria, gone.

March 04, 2008

It sounds greek to me, again

It's all the rage now, at least in law school. Everyone's talking about it--the photos in an anonymously-sent link of a crime being perpetrated in the name of brotherhood. Of course, I'm speaking of the hazing photos.

One anonymous commentor on my blog asked if I could do something about it. I am flattered and honored that s/he would think I could do anything about it.

My position on frats and frat violence is clear and unchanged. I do not intend to write about that here, now. Let me simply assure those who read this blog and know my position on fraternities and fraternity violence that, yes, something is being done about it by the officials with both mandate and power. While it may seem that nothing official is being done about it, I know, personally, that, yes, something is being done about it--it is just a matter of the proper time and place and forum.

In the meantime, for those identified and identifiable in the photographs, it is not too late to repent.

March 03, 2008

two from the good old 80s

Those who experienced martial law and read my blog will recognize these two songs; they may even have sung them and had lives changed because of them. They are not, by any means, the best anthems of protest (there are many) but they were, for a time, the songs of a generation who lived under the heavy onus of a dictatorship.

Many lives were changed because of the words of these two songs; I know mine was.

Sangandaan
(pete lacaba/ding achacoso)
hango sa "Sister Stella L." (1984)

walang komplikasyon sa buhay mo noon
kalooban mo'y panatag,
kalangitan ay maliwanag
ang daan ay tuwid at patag
sa buhay mo noon.

ngunit bawat pusong naglalakbay
dumarating sa sangandaan
ngayong narito ka,
kailangang magpasya
aling landas ang susundin ng puso?
saan ka liligaya?
saan mabibigo?
saan ka tutungo?

kay daling sumunod sa hangin at agos
aasa ka na ang dalangin
gagabay sa 'yong damdamin
ngunit saan ka dadalhin
ng hangin at agos?

alam mong bawat pusong nagmamahal
dumarating sa sangandaan
ngayong narito ka,
kailangang magpasya
aling landas ang susundin ng puso?
saan ka liligaya?
saan mabibigo?
saan ka tutungo?

Awit ng petiburgis
(rene agbayani)

Buhay na nagisnan puno ng ginhawa
Buhay na kumupkop,
hindi yata makakayang iwan
Buhay na kay hirap,
bagay na di ganap
Bukas o nakaraan, saan nga ba ang patutunguhan?

Koro:
May panahong magdudat’t magtanong
Ngayon ay panahon ng pagharap at pagsulong
Pagtatanong ay ‘wag lubayan
Tunggalian ay walang katapusan

Aking mga mata malinaw ang nakita
Luha ng kapatid dusa na di mapapatid
Diwa ay natalos, humayo at kumilos
Tawag ng pangangailangan ay di matatalikuran

At ang bisig ko’y handa na ngayon
At makakayang iwan ang noon

In these days of Jun Lozada and JDV3, there is a need for conscientization and politicization. In these times when people's choices are governed by "I'd rather not ask for resignation because I don't want Noli", there is a need to encourage people to take a long, hard look at the choices that face all of us.

Standing at our crossroads, each must make a choice and stand by it.

For my generation, our crossroads was highlighted by the heady days of the post-Aquino assassination and EDSA 1. These were two of the anthems of those days.

Perhaps the EDSA dos babies need to hear these words from these anthems--that we may make a choice and stand by it.

March 01, 2008

options

Gloria will not resign. . . willingly, that is. The shrewd trapo that she is, she will not leave the stage she took from Estrada in 2001 without options to protect her. . . and possibly her husband; I'm not really convinced yet that she wouldn't abandon Mike A if push comes to shove.

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Many have been asking about options under the Constitution now that Atty. Lozano and that huge kennel at Commonwealth have totally made impeachment a travesty and a joke. Some that immediately come to mind, not necessarily in order of priority or doability:

1. Resignation (Art. VII, sec. 8)
2. Removal from office (Art. VII, sec. 8), possibly through, but not necessarily limited to, impeachment
3. Voluntary declaration by President of inability to discharge the functions of office (Art. VII, sec. 11)
4. Cabinet action through majority vote (Art. VII, sec. 11)

Section11 is what the Hyatt 10 tried and failed to do.

Sec. 11 provides: "

"Whenever the President transmits to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice-President as Acting President.

Whenever a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.

Thereafter, when the President transmits to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that no inability exists, he shall reassume the powers and duties of his office. Meanwhile, should a majority of all the Members of the Cabinet transmit within five days to the President of the Senate and to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Congress shall decide the issue. For that purpose, the Congress shall convene, if it is not in session, within forty-eight hours, in accordance with its rules and without need of call.

If the Congress, within ten days after receipt of the last written declaration, or, if not in session, within twelve days after it is required to assemble, determines by a two-thirds vote of both Houses, voting separately, that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice-President shall act as President; otherwise, the President shall continue exercising the powers and duties of his office."

Notably this was also what Erap tried to do before he left the Palace except that it was probably an afterthought.

A voluntary declaration that the President is unable to discharge his office under sec. 11 might be the best option for Gloria; on the other hand, if she refuses to do this, her cabinet might be encouraged to do this--similar to what the Hyatt 10 tried but failed to do.

-----------------

What can Gloria be waiting for, many have asked-- a deal, perhaps.

A deal to shield her from any suits (again, Mike A might be incidental to the deal, she probably might just be looking to save herself.) might be what will convince her to just "cut and cut clean."

Its a difficult decision: kick her out but at the same time, not prosecute her. Hmmm, have to think about that.