The “all-time high”

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Philippine-Chinese relations are “at an all-time high,” as Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo declared in Xiamen the other day, China being nowadays a capitalist power exporting its excess capital all over the world including the Philippines.

Chinese capital—the homegrown one amassed through the privatization of such key sectors of its economy as heavy industry, rather than that of overseas Chinese Filipinos are most familiar with—is increasingly in evidence in the Philippines. One of the more visible examples is Chinese involvement in the North Rail project, which I suppose is among the reasons for the Arroyo regime’s current “high.” Continue reading

Winning the war

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The Arroyo regime may have lost a battle. But apparently it doesn’t think it’s lost the war.

Listen to House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles. “I personally think that even if we are brought to the Supreme Court, I don’t think that we can lose twice on the same issue,” Nograles said during an interview. Continue reading

Gonzalez’ advice

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The entire country should no longer be outraged by the remarks, acts and decisions of Raul Gonzalez, the so-called secretary of justice. The great tragedy of mankind—and it seems especially true of that part of it called Filipinos–is that it can get used to anything, whether great suffering, meaningless deaths, corrupt politicians, or putrid governance by incompetents. Apparently, however, Gonzalez still takes getting used to. That is why his “advice” to Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban last week outraged many sectors, including those opposed to amending the Constitution.

In response to Panganiban’s admission that the Supreme Court was being pressured on the “people’s initiative” issue by “people who are interested,” Gonzalez said Panganiban should limit his socializing as well as his contacts with the media. Continue reading

The Rule of Arroyo

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“The rule of law and not of men” is one of those clichés at least two generations of Filipino politicians have used to justify anything from the declaration of martial law to the demolition of slum communities.

It was of course “the rule of law” that made Ferdinand Marcos issue Proclamation 1081, and the same “rule of law” that we see at work when the shanties of the poor are demolished to give way to shopping malls. Continue reading

Looking for a justification

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Malacanang, through Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, has announced that it favors opening the Philippine mass media to foreign ownership through the Constitutional amendments it has been campaigning for. It had coyly avoided the issue in the past. Apparently it now thinks it necessary to declare in favor of foreign media ownership, on the assumption that the mass media are just another resource for exploitation, like the country’s mineral resources. Continue reading