Posts Tagged ‘Philippine politics’

The First Hundred

The overarching strategy appears to hinge on the promotion of Public-Private Partnerships (or PPPs). Other than the fact that this is by no means an innovation, infrastructure development by itself is not a recipe for bringing the country out of its status as the perennial bridesmaid of Southeast Asia into the club of the sought after. There are tough choices to be made regarding population control, balancing the budget, peace and order plus of course, the manner and degree of aggressiveness in fighting corruption. Hard decisions require deft political handling and large political capital. While there is still hope, the President has to make these choices soon before his coin runs out.


Who’s Holding the Purse? The Line Item Veto and other Fun Facts Part I

The true “power of the purse” does not arise from the requirement that all revenue bills must originate from Congress as stated in Article VI, Section 24 of the Constitution. Rather, it lies in the dynamic created by the concept that the President must ask Congress for money. Thus, more than the authority of Congress to institute revenue measures, the true nature of the power shows itself in the authority of Congress to WITHHOLD money from the President.


What It Will Probably Take Part 1: Inclusion

At the end of the day, people will not sign on to any plan to overhaul the economy if they don’t see more food coming to their table or if the food is not coming soon enough. This is significant because that plan may ultimately involve reforms that are designed to increase country competitiveness by liberalizing trade laws or lowering the cost of Filipino labor.


The Bastard and the Messiah: Problems With the Philippine Presidential System

Rightfully or wrongly, the 1987 Constitution adopts such a pessimistic attitude towards the President that it almost seems to be betting that more often than not, Filipinos will elect the bastard. In the process, it also hampers a “good” President with restrictions that make it extremely difficult for him to deliver the monumental course changing performance that the collective dreams about.


Gagging Mariano (Part 1)

A few days ago, Manila newspapers reported that the Solicitor General recommended the rejection of Mr. Mariano Tanenglian’s offer  to testify against his brother Lucio Tan in exchange for immunity from civil and criminal liability (some reports make use of the phrase “state witness”).

Mariano is expected to testify  that a substantial part of billionaire Lucio’s business empire comprises wealth unlawfully amassed by the former President Ferdinand Marcos during his tenure and therefore subject to forfeiture.  Given that the Republic has consistently failed to get a firm hold on the elusive prize for decades, the emphatic and almost brusque rejection of the offer seems puzzling.

Admittedly, we are not privy to all information which may or may not have influenced the Solicitor General’s decision.   By way of example, since one of the principal justifications for the rejection is that the specific conditions for the giving of the testimony were unacceptable, a copy of the draft Immunity Agreement would have been helpful in testing the substantive merits of the position.

In any case, what we do have are public statements made by the concurrent Solicitor General and Acting Secretary of Justice regarding the rationale for the rejection.  These justifications can in fact be measured against a legal standard even outside the context of the terms of the proposed Immunity Agreement (albeit perhaps with certain qualifications).   Considering that the case in which the proposed testimony is to be taken is of historical import and considering further the personalities involved,  we venture to add that these legal standards must be somewhat restrictive.

Thus, the question is: are the justifications offered by the OSG for the rejection of the offer of Mariano Tanenglian to testify in Sandiganbayan Civil Case No. 005 legally valid?