Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Charter Change and SONA reaction roundup

Never Surrender!!! Patayan na kung patayan !!! Onwards Cha-cha!!!

- Senators are in no mood to dance Cha-cha

Senate President Franklin Drilon said the Senate "is not in the mood to discuss charter change."

He said it was not the proper time to debate on the proposal because the public’s attention is focused on the "Hello Garci" recordings and the impeachment complaint against Arroyo. "And besides, our political situation today is not normal," he said.

Drilon said the Senate would pursue its legislative agenda which was formulated shortly after the first regular session of the 13th Congress convened last year.

The legislative agenda covers a three-year period and is focused on formulating measures that would lead to macro-economic stability.

Majority senators held a closed-door caucus at Drilon’s office yesterday and discussed the direction the Senate would take in the second regular session.

"You can say that it (charter change) is not part of the legislative agenda. We did not discuss it in the majority caucus. For that matter we did not discuss any new legislative agenda. The agenda that we agreed upon last year that enumerates the laws that we want to enact on a short term, medium term and long term would still stand. In other words, we set a legislative agenda at the start of this 13th Congress," Drilon said.

Senate president pro tempore Juan Flavier and majority leader Francis Pangilinan confirmed that there were no serious discussions on the charter change during the majority caucus.

"More or less in general principles, without substantive discussion, we touched on the options between constitutional assembly and constitutional convention and the overwhelming consensus is towards con-con. But there were no real discussions on the issue," Flavier said.

Pangilinan said most senators are not keen on amending the Constitution. He said they would rather find solutions to the current political crisis and wait for the impeachment process.

"If we tackle charter change now and the constitutional assembly mode and the impeachment process, members of Congress might have a hard time," Pangilinan said.

- More commentary on GMA's SONA address

If today, under a pliant House of Representatives, faced with the reality of a sitting President who has lost all trust and confidence of the great Filipino majority owing to her loss of moral and legal ascendancy, the same congressmen who will be sitting as a constituent body for a new Charter, won't even touch the impeachment complaint against that Chief Executive as a means to get her to account for her violations of the Constitution, how can they be expected to pass a no-confidence vote on a scandal-ridden government under a parliamentary system?

And yes, Virginia, in a parliamentary system, it would still be the same prostituted congressmen who will be the parliamentarians making up the Cabinet government.
No-confidence vote from these congressmen who have absolutely no shame, and even ignore their constituents' cry? Even the tooth fairy is more credible.

Gloria made no mention of the fiscal crisis, which has certainly deteriorated since. Is she then indirectly saying the fiscal crisis and the bigger economic mess are over, as she claimed the country is “poised for a takeoff” save for the too political Philippines?

And even as she delivered her address and spoke of a parliamentary system, she bared no budget particulars, and how the proposed funds are to be allocated, and for what purposes in her government program.

No mention was made of reforms to be instituted even in the Commission on Elections, or on revenue-raising plans to get the country out of the debt rut she put it in. Everything was focused on Cha-cha, which she knew would be music to the ears of both the congressmen and the local government executives.

All she and her image handlers wanted to convey to the public at large was that she had fantastic support and was highly appreciated by them, and ensured that, at the end of her every sentence, she would be greeted by applause and standing ovation and this, even before she uttered one word.

But who was she — along with her supporters who filled the hall, obviously in exchange for political and financial goodies — trying to fool? The Filipino people? The foreign investors? The diplomatic community?

Her speech was empty. The country is faced with the worst political and economic crises today, and she says nothing of these two crises.

Gloria said the country is poised for a takeoff. Wrong. It's poised for a crashlanding.

- Conrad says GMA is her own worst problem

What made it funny was that all the pressing problems she mentioned, to which she proposed various solutions, could easily be solved by one thing:

That was if she resigned or was ousted, whichever came first.

Ms Arroyo said the problem was that power was too centralized in Manila. The people need a government that "begins at their doorstep in the 'barangay' [village council], and does not end before the closed door of a bureaucrat in Metro Manila."

She resigns or is ousted and that problem will at least abate, if not disappear. Not since Ferdinand Marcos has anyone more centralized or concentrated power unto herself. While at this, if I recall right, before they mutinied, Antonio Trillanes and company did try to bring the complaint of the soldiers in Mindanao-that their superiors were literally stripping them of their boots -- to Metro Manila, and it ended before the closed door of a bureaucrat in Malacañang named Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Well, the door was not entirely closed, it was ajar, and the officers were let in -- to a scolding. That was well before eight out of 10 Filipinos said they wanted Ms Arroyo out. Guess if that will persuade Ms Arroyo to democratize power.

Ms Arroyo said we needed to give local and foreign investors a strong message: "We will not waver in our commitment to economic reform and fiscal discipline, whatever the political cost."

She resigns or is ousted and the German investors of Piatco and their government will hear that message. Fiscal discipline will improve dramatically from the sudden disappearance of pillage, along with Mike Arroyo. Best of all, the political cost will be cheap for the nation, if not for Ms Arroyo.

She said "our political system has now become a hindrance to national progress. [It has] degenerated to an extent that it has become difficult for anyone to make any headway yet keep his hands clean."

Ms Arroyo resigns or is ousted and we will have lost our biggest hindrance to national progress. What hinders progress is a political system that has become the refuge of scoundrels, also called "trapo" [traditional politicians]. You won't find bigger trapo on earth than De Venecia, Fidel Ramos and Ms Arroyo herself who has gone boldly where the first two have not gone before. And of course all those chimpanzees jumping up and down last Monday. They resign or are ousted too and we will have instant progress-not least in improving the looks of Congress.

As to keeping hands clean, that has nothing to do with political systems. Some people just like to wallow in mud.

Ms Arroyo said the country needs peace. She resigns or is ousted and this country will not just have peace, it will have peace of mind. Ms Arroyo said this country needs education. She resigns or is ousted and this country will not just have education, it will have enlightenment. Ms Arroyo said government needs a new Constitution. She resigns, or is ousted, and this government will not just have a new constitution -- it will be constituted by those who were actually elected -- it will stop its decline into prostitution.

Ms Arroyo said we should stop being divided. "Now is not the time for divisiveness.... Let us never lose sight of that greater battle for one people."

She resigns or is ousted and this country will cease to be divided. In fact, she does not resign and this country will be united-against her. She herself said so in December 2002: "If I run, it will require a major political effort on my part. But since I'm among the principal figures in the divisive national events for the last two or three years, my political efforts can only result in never-ending divisiveness." What applies to running applies to overstaying.

Ms Arroyo said we should overcome our "tendency to be our worst enemy."

She resigns or is ousted and we will have overcome our worst enemy.

- Here's an article on the hypocrisy of some admin solons re impeachment solution.

- Onwards Cha-cha

With much haste and after apparently realizing that her political survival and that of her administration depend on a shift in the system of government, President Arroyo will personally bring the issue of Charter change (Cha-cha) to the people in the countryside as she will revive her provincial tours soon for this purpose.

The rest of the nation will also see more of the Chief Executive in the next few days as she will finally be accommodating requests for interviews from the media.

- Gloria laughs off "weak" impeach case

President Arroyo yesterday dismissed the case for her removal from office as “weak.”

Her spokesman Ignacio Bunye said it looks like the “proponents themselves feel they have a weak case. This is evident in their premature move of threatening to resort to extra-constitutional means should they fail.”

At the same time, Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez claims that the

opposition is unlikely to muster enough numbers for the impeachment complaint against the chief executive. Opposition lawmakers filed an impeachment complaint the other day but managed to get the signatures of only 42 solons, 37 signatures short of the required 79 to automatically transmit the complaint to the Senate for trial. “Well, if they cannot get the numbers now, it would be more difficult for them to get the numbers later,” Gonzalez told reporters yesterday.

We'll see about that, Sir Raul.

- Malacanang taunts Opposition: Tapos na ang Boxing!

- Impeach team presses short route to Senate trial

PRO-IMPEACHMENT congressmen at the House yesterday said they should be allowed to transmit the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo to the Senate for trial once they could muster 79 votes, following the rules applied in the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada in November 2000.

Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano (NP, Taguig), spokesman for the United Opposition at the House, said: "Speaker (Manuel) Villar then transmitted the complaint to the Senate after having reached the needed number so hindi naman puwedeng si Speaker de Venecia hindi idi-diretso as Senate."

Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III (LP, Quezon), one of the eight LP members who endorsed the impeachment complaint, agreed.

"Let’s do it quickly, Mr. Speaker. We owe it to our people to do our constitutional and moral duty to ferret out the truth. I have no doubt in my mind that we can quickly gather the additional 37 signatures. After all, in the Estrada impeachment complaint, there were initially only 20 or so endorsers. Here, we already have 42," Tañada said.

Tañada said Villar did not wait for the committee on justice to report out the impeachment resolution against Estrada. "The moment one-third of the House members signed the complaint, he endorsed it to the Senate even if the committee on justice had yet to report it out," he said.

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