Damned if they do…

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Did anyone ever doubt that Armed Forces Chief of Staff Hermogenes Esperon would court martial most of, if not all, the military officers accused of involvement in a supposed “coup attempt” early this year?

For him not to would undermine the Arroyo regime’s claim that a Communist- Military conspiracy was afoot to overthrow it last February. That would make the Arroyo regime’s actions then and since totally indefensible. It would also validate the popular view that the regime used the “conspiracy” as the pretext to go after its critics, intimidate the press, and intensify its suppression of the rights to free expression and assembly through Proclamation 1017. Continue reading

Disconnect

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Why was Mrs. Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo so intent on meeting US President George W. Bush in Hanoi last Saturday prior to the 14th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders meeting? Mrs. Arroyo was not among the leaders Bush was scheduled to meet, and the wiser option would have been for Mrs. Arroyo to distance herself from lame duck Bush after his party’s rout in the US November 7 elections.

Between November 17 and 19 Bush was scheduled to meet only with the leaders of Australia, South Korea, Japan, China and Russia. Each of these meetings took place, or were scheduled to take place, for perfectly understandable reasons. Continue reading

All together now

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“Orchestrated” correctly describes it. “Scripted” or “rehearsed” as well as “evasive” will also do. But add the word “clueless” to refer to the Arroyo regime reaction to the call of foreign chambers of commerce in the Philippines for the Arroyo regime to stop the political killings.

“Unprecedented” is on the other hand appropriate to describe the call. No foreign business group, much less the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFC) in the Philippines, has ever issued such a call to my recollection. Continue reading

A military man this time

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The’re playing down the political fallout from the sudden resignation of Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz last week. But Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s allies in the House are also echoing their Malacanang counterparts’ declarations that finding a replacement for Cruz is still her call.

Except that House Deputy Majority Leader Abraham Mitra has done them better. Mitra said over the weekend that Mrs. Arroyo, who will temporarily hold the defense portfolio, should assume the post permanently. Continue reading

Text and subtexts

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The Democratic Party was expected to sweep the November 7 US congressional and gubernatorial elections, and it did. The Democrats have won a majority in the House of Representatives, are on the verge of taking control of the Senate from the Republican Party, and have won 20 out of 36 contested state gubernatorial seats.

The elections were a referendum on the Bush administration’s policies, primarily those on Iraq. But there was general dissatisfaction too with the way Bush had managed the economy. Although the US economy has partly recovered from the loss of millions of jobs at the onset of the Bush administration, analysts say that wages have remained stagnant, income disparities have widened, and economic opportunities narrowed. Continue reading

Cara y Cruz

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The “irrevocable resignation” of lawyer Avelino Cruz as Secretary of Defense has been attributed to intra-cabinet bickering over the failure of the “People’s Initiative” to pass muster at the Supreme Court.

Malacanang apparently did not expect the 8-7 vote last October. Much less did it expect the majority’s description of the “PI” (which some uncharitable souls use with the full knowledge that “PI” is also shorthand for a common Filipino expletive) as “a deception” and “a gigantic fraud on the people.” Continue reading

Mischievous

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Japanese textbooks refer to such Japanese atrocities as the destruction of the Chinese city of Nanjing (Nanking) during World War II as instances of “mischief-making.” In the Nanjing “incident”, mischievous Japanese soldiers massacred 100,000 men, women and children, raped some 20,000 women, and burned, looted and practically destroyed the entire city.

But if that was “mischief,” North Korea’s test of a puny nuclear weapon last month was a “provocation” and a “threat”. Then there’s the US “war on terror,” under whose umbrella the Japanese government has managed to deploy Japanese troops abroad for the first time since World War II. Continue reading