I see that the Manila Times has a scoop, courtesy of its veteran Congress reporter. (I don’t have access to the usual features, such as integrated links, right now, so may I spell out the address instead? It’s at http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/topofthehour.aspx?StoryId=19988)
"The Senate early Monday evening lifted its order holding National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales in contempt for refusing to divulge vital information on the contract he had signed with the US lobby group Venable LLP, a Senate source told The Manila Times."
It would be easy to file this decision (which according to the report will be officially announced sometime today) under the heading: Senate blinks in stand-off with Palace. But it is also possible, in fact even likely, that the decision is part of back-channel efforts to ease Palace-Senate tensions.
The Inquirer’s main story today (http://news.inq7.net/nation/index.php?index=1&story_id=54410) hints as much.
"President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has rejected proposals that she cut short her term to pave the way for the holding of snap elections in 2007, but she is now open to giving the opposition seats in her Cabinet, the Inquirer learned yesterday."
The snap elections proposal came from the Black and White Movement; in other words, people outside the loop. The Cabinet revamp, on the other hand, is famously the idea of Bro. Mike Velarde, an inside power player if there ever was one.
Stepping back from the brink seems like an idea agreed upon in a powwow of power players.