The rather bullish analysis from Bear Stearns (dated July 22, or the Friday before the President’s SONA jumpstarted the "great debate" on Charter change) may be based on some wrong or at least overstated assumptions. I don’t have a copy of John Stuermer’s report, so I can’t say I’ve looked at the fine print, but some of the quotes included in the story set me wondering.
His reading of the impeachment scenario, in particular, seems downright erroneous.
Stuermer also said that the longer the impeachment process drags on, the less likelihood it would prosper by the end of this year as lawmakers’ focus on reelection prospects for 2007.
"It may take a really brave congressman to sign the impeachment complaint, especially if he or she is from a party that is presently or was previously in President Arroyo’s coalition," the analyst said.
Yes, but in the previous, and successful, impeachment of President Joseph Estrada, many majority congressmen jumped ship even when the elections were only about half a year away. "By the end of this year," however, means administration congressmen who endorse the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo actually have a year and a half to recover from their endorsement and prepare for the next elections.
"In addition, filing the complaint too early might cause them [the opposition in the House] to miss more compelling evidence that may surface later in the year," Stuermer said.
Did he mean the opposition in Congress could have waited, say, weeks or even months, before filing the amended complaint? This reading ignores the basic fact that a complaint had already been filed, by Marcos lawyer Oliver Lozano, and that — whether the opposition was on board the impeachment train or not — the House majority had to decide on the complaint within 10 days of the opening session. The pro-impeachment camp, simply put, did not have the luxury of time.
Stuermer may also have overstated the local governments vs. "imperial Manila" divide.
"Promulgation of the new Constitution, especially in the provinces outside of Manila, might be met with apathy or even open hostility and not viewed as a solution to the Philippines’ political problems," he said, noting that provincial officials in Mindanao had already threatened to secede from the Philippines if either the Constitution were changed or the President removed from office.
Actually, the secession bluff was only in case of the President’s removal from office. And those same provincials in Mindanao are actually some of the most forceful advocates of the shift (through Constitutional revision) to a federal system.
Hmmm. A little more bear, a little less bull, perhaps?
PS. Here’s a short bio of Stuermer (please scroll down, about midway); a report on his election outlook, two weeks before the elections last year; and a quote about a month after the Hello Garci scandal exploded, about the President’s staying power (second to the last paragraph). I must say; he has been quite consistent.