Philippine Bastille

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Malacanang has run out of words to describe the Citizens’ Congress–or People’s Court, as some newspapers breathlessly labeled it–organized by the Bukluran Para sa Katotohanan (Unity for Truth).

Chaired by former Vice President Teofisto Guingona, the Citizens’ Congress for Truth and Accountability will look into allegations that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cheated in the last elections, and committed acts of corruption as well as human rights violations. Continue reading

Warning to Arroyo

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Former President Fidel V. Ramos’ speech before the Makati Business Club last Thursday (October 20) was three things all at once. It was a call as well as a reminder. But it was also a warning.

Ramos urged Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to cut her term short and “reform herself”. He also described the support he gave her last July as “secondary and incidental” in that it was given “in the absence of a better alternative.” Translation: it could also be temporary. Continue reading

Look Who’s Talking (2)

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Does one incident make a trend, one swallow a spring– or a rally attended by clerics “creeping theocracy”?

Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago says yes, the prayer rally last Friday that police attacked with water cannon being, in her view, an attempt to violate the law by using religion as cover.

“No religion,” said Santiago, “can serve to camouflage disobedience of the law by invoking freedom of religion. That would be creeping theocracy.” Continue reading

Madness in its method

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Former President Fidel Ramos’ claim that all the talk about the imposition of martial rule is nonsense has been echoed by a number of politicians and media commentators. Primarily they cite the conditions and limits the 1987 Constitution imposes on any declaration of martial law, or attempt to do so.

Section 18 of Article VII (The Executive Department) empowers the President to put the Philippines or any part of it under martial law “in case of invasion or rebellion,” but only for 60 days. Continue reading

Look who’s talking

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All this talk of martial law’s nonsense, said former President Fidel V. Ramos the other day. Except that he said it in the barracks language favored by the military. He said it’s “all bulls–t,” or cow dung.

Although many Filipinos think martial law’’ already here, Ramos focused on the harm the talk is supposedly causing the country. He then added that he doesn’t think Filipinos will accept martial law. What’s more, the Constitution protects the nation from a declaration similar to Ferdinand Marcos’ Proclamation 1081, which put the country under martial law on September 21, 1972. Continue reading