No free speech for you!

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Most people know how hostile the police are to free expression, but are probably not aware that the police have no right to free speech–or so the alleged President of the Philippines says.

Addressing the graduating class of the Philippine National Police Academy last Wednesday, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo claimed that there’s not only a Supreme Court ruling, but even a series of decisions that say that “if you have a right to hold guns, you surrender your right to free speech.” Continue reading

Decisions, decisions, decisions

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Despite Palace denials, it’s more than obvious that the purpose of Executive Order 511 is to centralize in Malacanang control over all government advertising in the mass media so only “friendly” media may benefit from it.

EO 511 consolidates the advertising budgets of all government agencies under one Malacanang body called the Communication Group. What seems to have immediately provoked its issuance was the Land Bank’s having advertised in the anniversary lampoon issue of the Daily Tribune. Continue reading

Law and order

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Senator Edgardo J. Angara has revived a proposal that’s been made before, and that’s to hold a snap election for the presidency and vice presidency. In the senator’s version, however, a joint Congressional resolution would shorten the six-year terms of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Noli de Castro and at the same time reform the Commission on Elections (Comelec) through constitutional amendments. Once those amendments—and only those amendments–are thus approved, the elections would take place under a caretaker government.

The proposal is an attempt to resolve the present political crisis, which, rather than winding down, is actually intensifying by the day. It would also provide reasonable assurance that the snap election that would follow would be honest and fair by shielding it from the influence of the incumbents and reconstituting the hopelessly damaged Comelec. Continue reading

Defending Democracy

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It was good to be reminded, and by no less than Navy Chief Vice Admiral Mateo Mayuga, that the Philippine military has been defending democracy all this time.

The admiral made a statement to this effect after a hearing on the Defense Department budget at the House of Representatives last week. The Philippine military, said Mayuga, carries arms to defend the country’s “democratic way of life,” but its officers and soldiers may not join such political activities as anti-Arroyo rallies. Continue reading

Hostage or not, does it matter?

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Senator Joker Arroyo claims that it is now the military that’s “calling the shots” in this country and that Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is its hostage.

The most recent statements of military spokesmen, especially those of a Colonel Tristan Kison, indeed suggest that the military leadership believes it now has the mandate and the power to decide the fate of the nation. But Senator Arroyo could still be mistaken, and Mrs. Arroyo still in firm command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. But does it really matter who’s in command of whom? Continue reading