Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol’s hints on the granting of pardon to the nine Magdalo soldiers who pleaded guilty to government charges seems to be part of the psy-war operations of the Arroyo administration.

Somehow, Apostol’s admission that the guilty plea could be the positive factor for the soldiers, led by Army Captains Gerardo Gambala and Milo Maestrocampo, to be granted a presidential pardon and at the same time, denying that there was already an agreement is consistent with Gloria’s virtual policy of mixed signals and political safety.

The admission part sends the signal to the soldiers that remain at the side of Trillanes, Faeldon and Layug that choosing the side of Gambala and Maestrocampo would be better for their future. While the denial part exonerates the Gloria government from any hideous deals that political analysts may infer to be happening.

But even before the pardon issue, the Gambala-Maestrocampo grouplet’s guilty plea obviously is meant to pin down the Trillanes-Faeldon-Layug group. Entering such an admission of guilt is also saying that all others who participated in whatever they have admitted is guilty as well.

As far as I know though, in order to prove guilt on coup de etat charges, conspiracy must be established and if conspiracy is proven, why are the sentences of the nine “guilty conspirators” different from each other?

One thing is for sure though, the Gloria government is conspiring with everyone it can conspire with to persecute anyone who refuses to conspire with their ways.

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That particular news about major fastfood chains offering half servings of rice is another one for the Onli in da Pilipins collection. What an irony considering that aside from being one of the biggest rice-eating populace in the world, our country is also the site of the International Rice Research Institute!

Well, the idea is commendable because it is good in many ways; the customers can save money and rice usage becomes more efficient. The problem lies though in our government’s inability to be more honest about the situation of this staple grain in our country’s stockyards.

Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap says that we don’t really have any “actual lack of supply” but only a “mere shortage.” Nice play of words, honorable secretary. No wonder the entire government is parroting the same line everytime they are being asked about the issue.

After EO464 and the SC Decision on Neri, this government already got addicted to concealing everything.  And even facts about Oryza sativa supply is now something that only they can chew.

Learning of the the Supreme Court decision on the Neri petition is like having a bad dream. It disturbs each and every rational citizen of this country to the fact that, due to this judicial document, any wrongdoing can now be concealed from the public in the name of “executive privilege.”

Well, though no one in his right mind would dare say that we really enjoy full democracy here in the Philippines, a lot of people still sees the Supreme Court as the last bastion of Philippine Democracy. This decision changed that.

What is executive privilege, anyway? It is not even indicated in our Constitution. It is only an assertion of a branch of government that is subject to interpretation of our courts. But now that the SC gives a blanket authority to the executive department to invoke such, anything can now be done under the cloak of it.

I must admit, though, that some senators may have abused their investigative powers to the point of power-tripping but it is not even mentioned in the decision. Truth be told, this decision made Executive Order 464 seem to advocate transparency. What’s there to hide between conversations between a president and her cabinet member about bribery? Is it because one of them is guilty of accepting bribes?

Now, refusing to use euphemism, this decision must be called a legal obstruction of justice. Forget about the people’s right to information. Forget about the principle of the government branches being co-equal to each other. Forget about everything.

The Supreme Court just gave Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a birthday gift, that the US Supreme Court refused to give to Nixon before. Expect more versions of the Watergate in our country.