Congress joint session closes


The historic joint session to deliberate on President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s declaration of martial law over Maguindanao province convened at 4:10 p.m. on Monday. Since martial law was lifted last Saturday, the session is expected to close today.
From the many empty seats, both at the gallery and on the congressional floor, it seems the historic joint session will end with a whimper. I can imagine all those who died during Marcos’ martial law turning in their graves. Will blog this last day of the joint session.
Continue reading

Wrap up: The first joint session of Congress to tackle the President’s report on the proclamation of Martial Law


That was a great front act on the first joint session of Congress to deliberate on the President’s report on PD 1959, the proclamation of Martial Law.
When Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen asked where the President was, the simple reply of House Speaker Prospero Nograles was that she had substantially complied with the requirements of the Constitution: she had submitted her report to Congress on Sunday, and the newly-drafted rules on the joint session did not require her to be present.
Makati Rep. Teodoro Locsin Jr. then pointed out that Dilangalen was one of those who had a petition questioning the proclamation at the Supreme Court, and said he was forum shopping.
Dilangalen, of course, had to answer that, though Nograles already said that Dilangalen, as a member of the House of Representatives, had “every right to talk in this chamber.”
The allegation was “preposterous” and “out of order,” Dilangalen said. The session was suspended, after which Locsin apologized to Dilangalen and said that, because there are other more important things that need to be tackled, he would rather that they move on to the business at hand.
“I did not come here to be insulted,” Dilangalen said, apparently unwilling to be pacified.
Nograles pointed out the remarks have already been withdrawn.
“If this continues I might change my mind,” said Teddyboy, and again session was suspended.
Of course they kissed and made up after that: “Teddyboy is a very good friend of mine,” Dilangalen said, adding that he was Teddyboy was only testing him. “Thank you very much I forgive you Teddyboy.” Continue reading

Partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo: the one who drafted Proclamation 1959 is confused.

Rebellion is hard to prove, says Partylist Rep. Satur Ocampo, pointing out that though he was charged with rebellion during the Marcos dictatorship, the charges were not proven until the time he managed to escape.
Later, when as a member of the House of Representatives he was again accused of rebellion, he said it took the justice department nine months to prepare charges against him and five other partylist representatives.
He raises the point that critics have raised: that the rebellion case might be a way out for the Ampatuans, because it is hard to prove and two, because it is political. Because it is hard to prove, there is a chance that the Ampatuans charged with rebellion will scot-free. And because it is political, there is the chance that even if the Ampatuans were found guilty and convicted, the President can always pardon them.
Congress suspends session until 2 p.m. Thursday afternoon.
Continue reading

Ermita admits: there was no actual rebellion

“You may be correct there was no actual rebellion going on,” Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita admitted during interpellation by Rep. Edcel Lagman, but then he turned around and added: “But [there were] all indications [that] rebellion [was] being committed and happening on the ground because of the presence of armed groups…”
Lagman kept asking Acting Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera about the elements of rebellion. Was there a public uprising, how did the Ampatuans withdrew their allegiance from the national government? The closure of public offices, he said, would be more likely to fall under sedition, not rebellion. There were no reports of a public uprising before December 4, when martial law was declared over Maguindanao, he said.
Continue reading

Why were there no judges in Cotabato city? One was killed, the other two were on hadj

Maguindanao Rep. Didagen Dilangalen explains why there were no judges in Cotabato City. Branch 15 has been vacant since the judge there was murdered, and there was no one recommended by the Judicial and Bar council to replace him. The other two judges, of branches 13 and 14, were in Saudi Arabia on hadj, with the permission of the Supreme Court.
Acting Secretary Justice Agnes Devanadera simply said she didn’t know about that. Senator Joker Arroyo now speaking. Dilangalen said he had more questions, but he had been told that 52 congressmen had lined up to ask questions.
Continue reading

AFP admits: the guns of the Ampatuans could have come from gov’t itself

Under questioning from Sen. Benigno Aquino III, vice chief of staff Lt. Gen. Rodrigo Maclang gives three reasons for the high powered firearms found in possession of the Ampatuan clan and their the supporters in Maguindanao: they were bought legally, they were acquired illegally, or they could have been given by government at a time when the Ampatuans and their supporters were waging the government’s war against the separatist rebels in Mindanao.
The following are notes, and incomplete.
Noy is Senator Aquino, Deva is Justice Secretary Agnes Devanadera, Puno is Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno. Continue reading

PNP operations director Andres Caro reports on the Ampatuan massacre


Police Director for Operations Andres Caro reports before the joint session on the Ampatuan massacre that happened on November 23, 2009.

He said: All in all there were 57 victims in said incident of which 22 were found unburied, 24, six and five were exhumed from grave site one, two, three. There were 36 males, 21 females and also of total, 32 were media personalities and 7 were Mangudadatu family members. 21 cafgus on duty during the incident at a nearby detachment in Bgy Salman, Ampatuan were taken into custody by investigators for questioning.