Wednesday, September 07, 2005

lets interpret the law

An interesting story appeared on the front pages of the South China Morning Post today saying that the Chinese Government (and by that I mean Beijing) have decided to ask the surviving members of the Committee that drafted Hong Kong's Basic Law to provide their thoughts as they went about drafting Hong Kong's charter over 20 years ago. Innocently, Beijing stated that this was so that the original intent of certain passages, particularly on the powers and responsibilities of the Chief Executive, Legislative Council, District Councils, can be properly interpreted. This of course sent howls of protest from the usual crowd of democrats such as Martin Lee (who was actually a member of the drafting committee, until he resigned in protest) that such an interpretation, although the intentions may seem pure, would go against the legitimate functions of the Court of Final Appeal (HK's Supreme Court) or the National People's Congress (the law governing body of all China) to interpret the Basic Law.

This of course stems from the fact that the Court of Final Appeal and the NPC have been targets in the past few years of having interpreted the Basic Law rather liberally, to the consternation of the democrats in this city. The most recent example being the brohaha over the length of term of Donald Tsang, who suceeded the hapless Tung Chee Wah. The way it goes, China will ask the sages who wrote the law what they meant by how long and by how much democracy HK must have etc...

Just imagine if that was the case in the Philippines, that those who sat on the Constitutional Convention that drafted the 1987 Constitution had the say, based on their recollection, how the Constitution should be interpreted. Think how interesting life would be now. No offense meant to the men and women who drafted it.

well what now?

I wonder how bloggers and news junkies where able to survive watching the non-stop coverage of the squashing of the impeachment complaint against the President, (I recall having tuned out on 9/11 coverage at a ungodly hour) but it is interesting to note that in the run up to the junking, most of us already knew that the result was already pre-ordained. The events of 5-6 September was to my mind, merely theatrics in our political circus. The question is, what next? Already there is the Black and White Movement with a myriad of faces that, I'm hard pressed to believe would come together. This isn't 2001, wherein those that coalesced against Erap seemed identifiably the Middle Class, NGO and reformist types. We've got Cory, Susan Roces linking arms with Bro. Eddie and Ping Lacson, is something I thought I would never see.

Will this Black and White Movement suceed in pressing for GMA's ouster? In the short term, this seems unlikely. One must note that the Opposition went the impeachment route when the protest route didn't really muster enough people, or just basically turned off some sectors (recall the Ayala Avenue rally, that seemed to frighten people with the mass of unsavory characters). I've read something to the effect that a challenge will be brought to the Supreme Court. Hmm..., methinks the opposition should be really certain that they have an argument which won't just be summarily dismissed by the Court.

One thing is for certain, they've got to do something very dramatic, otherwise, this time next year, no one may be listening to them at all.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Not Acceptable

I'm very glad, in a sad but twisted way, that I've managed to be distracted from the ongoing brohaha in the Home Country by events in faraway New Orleans. I guess it was a sort of presumption on my part that if ever the United States ever encountered any natural disaster, it could cope easily from such problems with no fuss. Instead, the world media was bombarded with images straight out of a third world disaster film. Coming from a country which has had its fair share of tropical cyclones, earthquakes, and the occassional volcanic eruption, a country wherein we rail against the inept response of our officials to anticipate such events, the way the US Government responded to the Hurricane's aftermath was something I would expect from our country, and others like ours. I mean, this is the lone superpower. Watching the coverage on BBC World, which I prefer watching then say CNN for its more European outlook, you could sense some kind of utter disbelief on the part of the commentator that such a country as the United States of America could be humbled by the forces of nature. As my wife and I were watching the coverage, she couldn't help but be puzzled at the sheer ineptitude of the responding officials to the disaster. I mean, the local and the national level officials knew how bad it was, why didn't they prepare as hard as they thought possible? Whats even funnier was the comment of one of the persons initially interviewed during the day the levee's broke, that New Orleans was facing a scenario that was considered the second worst possible outcome. God help the poor people of New Orleans if the worst case scenario had happened.

Perhaps the lesson that can be learned from this kind of disaster is that even mighty nations can be humbled by situations such as this. That in the final analysis, whether one plans it well enough, there will always be variables that will not be taken into consideration. That there are just some things that can't be avoided.

The events of last week will recede from memory, but it is an example of how hubris can lead to such fatal consequences.