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First day of the Joint Session on Martial Law

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(This is a copy of what I live blogged. For a backgrounder see my entry Martial Law konfrontasi.)

4:08 PM

Ricky Carandang reports quorums exist and joint session will begin shortly. Expected to last until 9 PM with continuation tomorrow. Each chamber will have 10 hours alloted for questioning; administration officials will testify as "resource persons."

4:11 PM

Both maces in their stands, signifying session has begun.

4:14 PM

Kabataan Party List Tweets "opening prayer asks for discernment, wisdom on whether or not to revoke martial law, justice for victims of Ampatuan massacre."

4:17 PM

UP Law Dean Leonen on ANC expresses opinion House members may actually display some independence because it's an election year. He expects administration officials to supplement President's report with "new evidence" of rebellion. ANC Alerts Twitter account reports Leonen's opinion: Rebellion case vs. Ampatuans to continue even if Congress revokes martial law in Maguindanao.

Martial law confrontation in Congress

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Together with Edgardo Angara and his former martial law nemesis, Juan Ponce Enrile (who, however, dangles a face-saving proposal for Congress to reduce the time frame of the proclamation to less than 60 days), Joker Arroyo among his senate peers, is foursquare behind the President's imposition of martial law. The leading lights of the ruling coalition in that chamber, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Lito Lapid, have yet to form an opinion. The rest oppose.

Tomorrow at 4PM, the Senate and the House of Representatives assemble in Joint Session to tackle the President's imposition of martial law on most of Maguindanao. While it would have seemed logical, given the Constitution's requirement for Congress to convene without need of call, within 24 hours, to deliberate on any proclamation of martial law or suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, Congress hasn't moved with alacrity now that both have come to pass.

This early on, House officials are saying the public should expect a raucous session ("chaotic" is one word being bandied about).The Supreme Court, in the meantime, has deferred issuing a restraining order but has expressed awareness of the need for prompt action by giving the government only five days to submit its comment on the consolidated cases questioning the imposition of martial law.

Related readings on DSWD and relief



Yesterday, the Inquirer's editorial, Turtle-paced relief, looked at the controversy caused by a blog entry that questioned the speed at which donated relief goods made it out the door and into the hands of intended aid recipients. The editorial gave DSWD Secretary Esperanza Cabral's response to the questions raised in the blog entry, but also pointed out that the DSWD's own records showed a senator, congressmen, and cabinet members intervened in the release of relief goods, contradicting Secretary Cabral's own policy of making relief and rehabilitation "politico-proof."

The editorial also mentioned the 2006 South Leyte Mudslide, which had relief efforts marred by officials plundering relief goods and sending often inedible goods to the victims (Stella Arnaldo in her blog, points out the deterioration of the DSWD and corruption in its ranks dates back to the Marcos administration; the Guinsaugon tragedy took place under the current administration's watch and partially explains the climate of hostility or suspicion that surrounds government relief).

The real frontrunners

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The Social Weather Station released its latest survey, and here's an extract from their press release:

Senator Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III took the top spot in the people's three best successors to President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in 2010, according to the Third Quarter 2009 Social Weather Survey, fielded over September 18-21, 2009.

Sixty percent gave Sen. Aquino's name in response to the question, "Sa ilalim ng kasalukuyang Konstitusyon, ang termino ni Pang. Arroyo ay hanggang sa taong 2010 lamang at magkakaroon ng halalan para sa pagka-pangulo sa Mayo 2010. Sinu-sino sa palagay ninyo ang mga magagaling na lider na dapat pumalit kay Pang. Arroyo bilang Presidente? Maaari po kayong magbanggit ng hanggang tatlong sagot." [Under the present Constitution, the term of Pres. Arroyo is up to 2010 only, and there will be an election for a new President in May 2010. Who do you think are good leaders who should succeed Pres. Arroyo as President? You may give up to three names].

The next most popular successor was Sen. Manny Villar, who was mentioned by 37%.

Aquino and Villar were followed by former Pres. Joseph Estrada at 18%, Sen. Francis Escudero at 15%, and Sen. Mar Roxas at 12%.

Northern Luzon needs your help!

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Please read this appeal in the Marocharim Experiment: Northern Luzon needs your help:

Typhoon Pepeng is wreaking havoc in Northern Luzon. There are reports of landslides, floods, and devastation in the Ilocos Region, Cagayan Valley, and my homeland of the Cordilleras. The worst part for me, personally, is that many of my friends still live in the area, and are suffering the brunt of this storm. Messages from friends are describing a waterworld in Baguio that I never got to experience in 22 years of living there, and it saddens me to realize that the geography of Northern Luzon makes it a challenge to help people.

Let us rise up to that challenge; not only as Filipinos, but as human beings who help out in times of calamity, disaster, and devastation.

For us here in Metro Manila, the Internet has been a powerful tool for rescue and recovery in the wake and wrath of Typhoon Ondoy. We can harness that same power for the victims of Typhoon Pepeng up north, and perhaps translate that to a relief effort that will alleviate their suffering.

Updates and alerts

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I've moved my updates to a new entry. I won't be updating How to help : please help focus attention and help update List of Places to Donate instead.

For an overview of the situation, see OndoyManila which is supported by Google and with volunteers from around the world updating it.

For relief/response see also Sahana FOSS Disaster Management System, set up by volunteers, supported by IBM, and adopted by the National Disaster Coordinating Council.They have a Sanaha Forum, please visit; and here's the Volunteer Sheet for the Sahana Project.

There is an unofficial List of Missing Persons put up by the Ateneo de Manila.GMA News Also has a Missing Person Database.

For concerned individuals overseas, here's how to donate if you're abroad.

Follow me on Twitter for more regular updates.

How you can help (being updated)

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Note:  Follow me on Twitter for more regular updates.


12:49 PM List of impassable roads as of today. Here's an Unofficial Database of People Still Missing.

12:37 PM Commission on Higher Education announced classes suspended at all levels, private & public schools until Saturday in NCR, other areas under state of calamity.

11:44 AM The Ondoy Manila disaster map has been massively expanded to include provinces outside Metro Manila. Help out by filling out the Map Update Form (for those maintaining the map, perhaps it's time to color code past/ongoing events).

So many heroes. So many victims. There is growing awareness of the necessity of knowing which bank accounts, etc. are verified, so that donations aren't diverted to fraudulent ends. Check the Online Donations Options page for a list of verified bank accounts (domestic and international).

There are Filipinos abroad, in particular, who may not have much cash but are willing to gather relief goods if there's a way to send the stuff home. Please get in touch with the nearest Philippine embassy or consulate first! There is the unfortunate but distinct possibility relief goods you send home would be intercepted by the Bureau of Customs and either impounded or taxed!

Please review the Philippine National Red Cross' advisory concerning donations of goods/items for relief:

1. Send a letter of intent to donate to the PNRC 2. A letter of acceptance from PNRC shall be sent back to the donor 3. Immediately after shipping the goods, please send the (a) original Deed of Donation, (b) copy of packing list and (c) original Airway Bill for air shipments or Bill of Lading for sea shipments to The Philippine National Red Cross National Headquarters c/o Secretary General Corazon Alma de Leon, Bonifacio Drive, Port Area, Manila 2803, Philippines.

The Anointed Ones

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GMA and MV

The President and the former Senate President both had the same problem: much as they tried to entice the Vice-President to join them for the 2010 campaign, he turned both down. In Nobody Loves Me, Manuel Buencamino says the President was scorned once, but Villar's been scorned twice: his efforts to entice both Senator Chiz Escudero and the Vice-President being rebuffed. Only then did Villar make noises about Senator Pia Cayetano being his (third) choice for Veep. Yesterday, there was talk that Wowowee host Willie Revillame would announce his entry in politics as Villar's Veep, but it seems more likely that Revillame might instead head the Nacionalista senate slate.

Arroyo and Teodoro

The President did better in terms of having on hand what's been widely-discussed as her personal choice as her successor, her Defense Secretary, Gilbert Teodoro Jr. (the choice of the President's husband supposedly being the Vice-President). She did better because her defense secretary is a closer approximation of what she has put forward as her advantages as a chief executive: hard-working, highly educated, a reliable coalition player. His list of priorities and to-dos is in harmony with the existing administration agenda (more or less). And he isn't shy about it.

And he's been moderately successful in inspiring the faithful to work to ensure that the good times keep rolling on.

Presidential biodata

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The present Constitution imposes only three requirements to be elected President of the Philippines:

  1. One must be 40 years of age on the day of election;

  2. One must be a natural-born Filipino citizen;

  3. One must be able to read and write.

Presidential Bio Data

I've put together a comparative chart of presidents elected to office, so that readers can take a look at past presidential biodatas, for the purpose of evaluating those seeking the presidency in 2010. Lists like these, however, can't reflect the changing attitudes and preferences of voters as to what they consider essential requirements for the presidency.

Le Circus Freak

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(last updated 8/17 12AM)

This entry was first published on August 12, but has been constantly updated. As much as possible, updates are to the timeline itself, updated every day; updates to previous dates are, as much as possible, cited in the latest date addition for easy reference. As a general note, concerning the two documented dinners of the President ($15,000 in Washington, DC and $20,000 in New York City,) the Philippine Peso equivalents for each are 720,152.14 and 960,202.85 respectively; at 50 persons in Washington and 15-50 persons, depending on the testimony, in New York, that comes out to $300 per head in Washington and to $400 to $1,333 per head in New York City. A range of $300 (14,412.27 Pesos) to $1,333 (64,037.14 Pesos) per head for the two meals.