Quantcast The Palace strikes back and other scenarios - Current

The Palace strikes back and other scenarios

140408_01ad_640 After days of titillating leaks (a Striptease, Lito Banayo called it), the Mancao Affidavit (version 3.0) was finally leaked in full. The story since then has taken the usual twists and turns, most recently with the surreal Mancao to Lacson: ‘Sleep soundly, sir’ . Last Sunday, the Inquirer editorial, pondering Lacson and Estrada being on the defensive (for now), asked whether the best they could do was mount The ‘Becket defense’. The other day, I was struck by this passage from Chapter 1 of Eugenics and Other Evils by G.K. Chesterton:
The wisest thing in the world is to cry out before you are hurt. It is no good to cry out after you are hurt; especially after you are mortally hurt. People talk about the impatience of the populace; but sound historians know that most tyrannies have been possible because men moved too late. It is often necessary to resist a tyranny before it exists. It is no answer to say, with a distant optimism, that the scheme is only in the air. A blow from a hatchet can only be parried while it is in the air.
In sports terms: the best Defense is a good Offense. And this is something Bong Austero acknowledges but quickly dismisses in his column, Truisms:
The problem is that the senator seems to be reinforcing negative public perception. This is because, unfortunately, the gentleman has been protesting too much even when his name still has to be officially dragged into the controversy. Consequently, everyone I talked to is asking the same thing: Why is he making such a ruckus when he still has to be accused, formally, of the crime? And oh, since we’re talking about truisms, there’s also that one about how offense is the best defense. It’s entirely possible that the senator, who lest we forget, used to be a military man and has expertise in intelligence work, knows something we don’t and is therefore taking matters into his own hands. Thus the senator has been quite vociferous in asserting that the whole thing is politically motivated and is a ploy to destroy his chances in 2010. Unfortunately, we’re talking about double murder in this particular case. At the end of the day, the matter of political foul play should become irrelevant. It is possible that Lacson’s enemies are milking the controversy to bits to advance some political agenda. It is possible that the senator is correct, this is another hatchet job from the usual suspects in Malacañang. It is illegitimate political behavior, of course, but like I said, it is irrelevant in this particular case because the only question that needs to be answered is whether he is guilty or not of the crime he is allegedly being implicated in. So the senator’s whining about how the whole scheme is a ploy of the dirty tricks department of the Palace is really irrelevant.
Except if the Senator knows that the “only question that needs to be answered” will not be addressed! The affidavit was prepared, some of its contents leaked, then the entire affidavit leaked, and then affiant launched a protracted effort to keep himself from being deported. All this suggests doing maximum damage without risking a confrontation in open court, or the government having its hands tied by the sub judice rule. The case for the prosecution, so to speak, was laid out by Antonio Carpo in a 2001 column for the Inquirer, Dacer’s killers: Who and why?, republished on the paper’s front page: Returning to Lacson’s publicist, Lito Banayo, he points out,
While we focus on who ordered the killing of FVR’s publicist and Joe Almonte’s best friend Bubby Dacer, we forget all about Legacy and Jocjoc, Mercy’s merciful cover-ups, Abalos’ borjer joints, Jun Lozada’s calvary for truth, journalists and activists getting killed, jobs by the thousands getting lost each day, because Circus, Circus re-runs the Dacer-Corbito case… And meanwhile, the money bags are being filled up in Malacanang for charter change.
As I pointed out in my entry on the recent surveys, the surveys indicate that the President’s constituency would welcome -or at least shrug off- the cancellation or postponement of the 2010 elections, and that even if half or more of the country might oppose it, they remain divided among themselves with no leader capable of coalescing majority support. Hence my column, Getting even, yesterday, which made reference to Tony Abaya’s recent column, Sinking fast (referring to the sinking popularity of the President even in bailiwick areas) where he writes,
I believe that Plan A is still operative, that the move to amend the Constitution to shift to the parliamentary system is still on. It is the simplest and quickest way for President Arroyo to constitutionally remain in power beyond 2010, whatever the surveys may say about how unpopular she is. The Lakas-Kampi-NPC coalition has a stranglehold on the Lower House. They can and will no doubt revive moves to convene both Houses into a constituent assembly (ConAss) and attempt to vote as one body for charter change. Only the oppositionist Senate stands in the way and it will no doubt insist that the two bodies vote separately, in which case the issue will be deadlocked. This matter will undoubtedly be raised to the Supreme Court, probably by mid-2009 or later. As long as Chief Justice Reynato Puno remains in his position, the Court can be relied on to block any such moves from the Lower House. But if Chief Justice Puno is removed, for whatever reason, then the way is clear for ChaCha and we will have GMA Forever, legally and constitutionally, no matter what the surveys say about how unpopular she is. A variation of Plan A – let’s call it Plan A-1 – would be to postpone, not cancel, the May 2010 elections, by as few as two or three months, on the grounds of social unrest because of the continuing financial meltdown. By coincidence, Chief Justice Puno retires also in May 2010. Postponing – not canceling – the elections by even as few as two or three months would open a window of opportunity for the Lakas-Kampi-NPC coalition to push for ChaCha through a ConAss since CJ Puno would be retiring by May 2010, making possible the appointment of a new Chief Justice friendlier to President Arroyo’s ambition to remain in power beyond 2010.
Abaya think its no coincidence the President’s been visiting the Second District of Pampanga a lot recently:
By the strangest coincidence, the March 19 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (page 13) asks: “Will President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo run for Congress (in parliamentary elections) in 2010? In the last 22 days, President Arroyo visited Pampanga five times and four of those visits were all in her home province’s second district.” The Inquirer listed down these visits, in each of which she was accompanied by medical and dental missions. Unmistakable sorties to hustle for votes. Feb. 24 in Floridablanca; March 4 in Guagua; March 9 in San Fernando; March 10, Lubao; March 18 in Lubao again, to celebrate the birthday of her bosom pal, Lilia Pineda, wife of alleged jueteng lord Bong Pineda. No doubt the Lord, the real Lord, guided her to these places…
Ana Marie Pamintuan’s column, Scenarios, puts down another possibility altogether, Plan B:
If the current buzz has any basis, some characters in the administration are again toying with the idea [of emergency rule]. I don’t know what makes them think Barack Obama’s administration would be more receptive to martial law than the Bush administration, unless some scenario — a major eruption of violence in Mindanao, for example — can be used as justification… It’s a wild scenario, as far as Gen. Alexander Yano is concerned… no is also not worried about the possible appointment of Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit as his replacement when he retires in June. …Though his appointment will mean that senior officers will be bypassed, among them Army chief Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado and chief of the directorial staff Lt. Gen. Rodrigo Maclang… …Teodoro’s support is key to the imposition of martial law, and he doesn’t look like the type who will go along with it, especially if the reason is contrived as it was in 1972. But what if Teodoro is replaced by someone more pliable, like a particular retired military officer who has reportedly been eyeing the post for some time?… …Conspiracy buffs are warning that if Teodoro quits around May or June and the right men are installed in the top defense and military posts, then the groundwork is being laid for martial law. Only time will tell how wild this scenario is.
Well, what we do know is that the government is preparing to roll out a Moral Renewal Extravaganza come May 14. Can you hear it now?

Bagong Pagsilang (Hymn of the New Society) - Bagong Lipunan Choral Ensemble, Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra, Felipe Padilla de Leon But besides that -because, if there’s one thing we know for sure by now, it’s that the President never puts all her eggs in one basket- providing for the future continues apace. 290607_04jc_640 And so there’s this story: GMA’s son to get new House district. Simply put,
The House is proposing to split Arroyo’s constituency into two districts. This is obviously in anticipation of the widely expected congressional candidacy of Budget Secretary Rolando Andaya Jr. in next year’s elections. Andaya was representative of Camarines Sur’s first district for nearly three terms or nine years before joining the President’s Cabinet. His late father, Rolando Andaya, represented the district for three terms. If the budget chief decides to reclaim his House seat, Rep. Arroyo could run in the proposed new district. Second-district Rep. Luis Villafuerte, who is president of Mrs. Arroyo’s Kabalikat ng Malayang Pilipino (Kampi) party, authored the bill dividing the Andayas’ bailiwick into two districts. The additional district would include two of Villafuerte’s towns.
Anyway, there will be more on this and other proposals for new House districts on tonight’s Explainer. Meanwhile, some articles that I’ve been meaning to link to, concerning the current economic crisis. The attempt to understand what caused the current global economic downturn continues apace. Alice Poon, writing in the Asia Sentinel, points to Alex Salmon’s Recipe for Disaster: The Formula That Killed Wall Street, and says that while the article is rather difficult to understand, it makes the best attempt so far, to explain things in layman’s terms. Peter Gowan, writing in The New Left Review, argues that what actually happened was that “A New Wall Street System” emerged over the past quarter century; and that this is what collapsed, in a manner no one could quite comprehend because the new system was, well, so very new (hat tip: Caffeinesparks). As things continue to unravel, looking back to the Great Depression continues to be fashionable; see the Bloomberg special, 1930s Revisited: Depression dynamic takes hold on markets, banks. You hear people referring, more and more, to the late John Kenneth Galbraith’s 1955 work, The Great Crash: 1929 (see excerpts from the book). His son, James Galbraith, has taken a critical attitude towards the new American administration. See James Galbraith: Obama Isn’t Doing Enough to Solve the Financial Crisis . The Left, after an initial bout of Schadenfreude, has taken to asking whether it can step in the political and moral vacuum created by the implosion of Capitalism. The venerable The Nation conducted a symposium, “Reimagining Socialism”. Barbara Ehrenreich and Bill Fletcher Jr. in Rising to the Occasion  think that Capitalism might possibly not survive this latest crisis, but that Socialism isn’t equipped, at present, with a plan for taking up the slack. Robert Pollin in Be Utopian: Demand the Realistic, says Socialism will take time to come up with relevant solutions; Perhaps most controversially, Alice Solnit argues in The Revolution Has Already Occurred , that the Left must embrace the small-is-beautiful mode, for it is in co-ops and even bicycle lanes that the Revolution has taken place; and instead of obsessing over the State, the Left be more Anarchist in its approach. Tariq Ali in Capitalism’s Deadly Logic , and Immanuel Wallerstein in Follow Brazil’s Example , both think the answers are present in Latin America and the revival of the Left there. Non-Left blogger big mango argues, instead, for Re-imagining Capitalism. Domestically, the largest faction of the Left seems more interested in doctrinal purity. An interesting reading is Jose Ma. Sison’s lecture, Anti-revisionist struggle and cultural revolution: Consequence to the CPP , where he rejects criticisms of Stalinism and reaffirms the enduring relevance of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Which brings me to a U.P. Professor, Rene Ofreneo, and his observations regarding RP’s deepening Job crisis:
Clearly, the job situation is bad before the present global recession. This can only grow worse under the lengthening shadows of a global economy moving south. This is not difficult to comprehend given the relative openness of the Philippine economy and its high dependence on the global economy. In particular, the following job “winners” are highly vulnerable: * Deployment of OFWs and OFW remittances * Remittance-based industries, e.g., distribution, real estate, education, etc. * Electronics exports * Nontraditional agricultural exports * CC-BPO services * Tourism * ODA-funded infrastructure projects, and * Mining, biofuels All the above are likely to decline. The decline of some winners will be dramatic, such as what is happening in the electronics. There are numerous “downsizing” programs being carried out by investors-locators in the 40 or so private industrial parks, four export processing zones (Baguio, Bataan, Cavite and Cebu) and the two special economic zones (Clark and Subic). The decline in others will be less dramatic, mainly in the form of slowdown of growth in demand as what is happening in the CC-BPO industries. In the case of the OFW sector, the picture appears contradictory—decline in the demand for OFWs doing home care (e.g., Hong Kong and Singapore) and low-end factory work (e.g., Taiwan and South Korea) but continuing high demand for specialized OFW services, e.g., welding and designing services (due partly to the infrastructure-based stimulus packages in countries in recession) and health care (due to the requirements of aging populations in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries). On the whole, however, the Philippine employment crisis as outlined earlier is now being aggravated by the global crisis, with the above winners experiencing either a sharp decline or a slowdown in demand. On the other hand, the weak sectors of the economy—domestic industry and domestic agriculture—are likely to continue to languish under trade liberalization, smuggling, neglect, high cost of doing business/farming, CARP conflicts and so on. Will unemployment then go up? Not necessarily. In the 1983-85 Philippine economic depression, most of the displaced formals simply swelled the informals in the urban and rural areas. Somehow, low-wage earners must find ways to survive and cope with the requirements of daily living. In this context, one challenge for labor officials is how to monitor the deteriorating quality of jobs for many Filipinos. Another challenge is how to measure real displacement rates—at home and overseas—given the tendency of employers to rely mainly on short-term hiring arrangements. Both the DOLE and the National Statistics Office are unable to record the number of employees who are not formally “terminated” but whose services are simply not renewed.
This ties in, in a way, with my thoughts on our society’s coping mechanisms when a crisis takes place. And this suggests that whether it’s the Left, expecting its ranks to swell, or government officials expecting -even fomenting- civil unrest to justify emergency rule, or mainstream politicians expecting the economic crisis to sway the voting population one way or another, that all may be disappointed.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Manuel L. Quezon III published on March 24, 2009 1:54 PM.

Coping mechanisms was the previous entry in this blog.

Chimerica or Greater China? is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.