Friday, October 27, 2006

"Lambino Group Tried to Hoodwink the Filipino People" - SC

I finished reading the full text of the Supreme Court decision (which is already available online) last night. Aside from the audacity of the Lambino-led Sigaw ng Bayan group in trying to deceive our people, what struck me most about the Court's decision was its finding that under the proposed amendments no Senator will be qualified to become Prime Minister during the interim period of government. Absolutely no one (whether from media, academe, politics, blogosphere, etc.) has pointed this out and this is honestly news to me. But the Supreme Court has seen it - in street parlance, nasilip pa nila yun! - and I have to say that I'm impressed. Here are excerpts:

"There is another intriguing provision inserted in the Lambino Group’s amended petition of 30 August 2006. The proposed Section 4(3) of the Transitory Provisions states:

Section 4(3). Senators whose term of office ends in 2010 shall be members of Parliament until noon of the thirtieth day of June 2010.

After 30 June 2010, not one of the present Senators will remain as member of Parliament if the interim Parliament does not schedule elections for the regular Parliament by 30 June 2010. However, there is no counterpart provision for the present members of the House of Representatives even if their term of office will all end on 30 June 2007, three years earlier than that of half of the present Senators. Thus, all the present members of the House will remain members of the interim Parliament after 30 June 2010.

The term of the incumbent President ends on 30 June 2010. Thereafter, the Prime Minister exercises all the powers of the President. If the interim Parliament does not schedule elections for the regular Parliament by 30 June 2010, the Prime Minister will come only from the present members of the House of Representatives to the exclusion of the present Senators.

The signature sheets do not explain this discrimination against the Senators. The 6.3 million people who signed the signature sheets could not have known that their signatures would be used to discriminate against the Senators. They could not have known that their signatures would be used to limit, after 30 June 2010, the interim Parliament’s choice of Prime Minister only to members of the existing House of Representatives.

An initiative that gathers signatures from the people without first showing to the people the full text of the proposed amendments is most likely a deception, and can operate as a gigantic fraud on the people. That is why the Constitution requires that an initiative must be “directly proposed by the people x x x in a petition” - meaning that the people must sign on a petition that contains the full text of the proposed amendments. On so vital an issue as amending the nation’s fundamental law, the writing of the text of the proposed amendments cannot be hidden from the people under a general or special power of attorney to unnamed, faceless, and unelected individuals. "


In local news, Tourism Secretary Ace Durano announced that over P29 Billion in infrastructure projects will be allocated to improve the region's facilities and make it into the tourism hub of the Philippines (read more here). He made this announcement during the Western Visayas Tourism Assembly currently being held in Iloilo City. Boracay in Aklan province is by far the foremost tourist destination in the country, bringing in P10 billion in revenues last year. Also, Western Visayas is known for its festivals the more famous and more established of which are the Dinagyang Festival and Candelaria (for cockfighting aficionados) of Iloilo City, Ati-Atihan Festival of Aklan, Masskara Festival of Bacolod City. Other provinces are also trying to cash in on the tourism wave: Capiz is promoting its caves and Aswang Festival, Antique its Sinadya, Guimaras its beaches. Palawan, which is now part of Region 6, promises to be another Boracay with its pristine white sand beaches and beauteous coves..

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