CHICAGO (JGL) – If President Aquino were allowed to run for re-election, it is like letting a player change the rules in the middle of the game. Aquino is just a part, who cannot be larger than the whole.
Letting Aquino run for re-election, like Marcos, is like an employee giving himself a raise when the 1987 Philippine Constitution does not even allow Congress to increase their salaries in the middle of their term nor allow the grant of royalty or nobility.
That is why the gravies better known as PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) and DAP (Disbursement Appropriations Program) were found by the Supreme Court so revolting because Aquino gave senators and congressmen millions of pesos of perks as a bait (bribe) to convict Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The Philippine Constitution has always given premium on morality of an action, not its result. The end never justifies the means. Because if this were otherwise, then Aquino could have allowed Cudia to graduate in the PMA to justify lying or cheating in class to pass a test or to allow extra-judicial killings of journalists in order to silence them.
When Alexander The Great was dying and was asked by his subordinates who would succeed him, Alexander mentioned the name, “Krateros,” a general, who was not around. But others, who heard it, thought it was “Kratistos,” the strongest. There were speculations that Alexander bestowed leadership only on someone, who does not crave for it.
Is history repeating itself?
When President Aquino warmed himself up to the proposal to amend the 1987 Philippine Constitution that will extend his term of office, it reminded me of former President and now detained Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo pardoning my friend former President and now Manila Mayor Joseph Erap Estrada so she would also be pardoned by her successor in case she ended up being prisoner herself, too.
Perhaps, finding himself in the same boat with former President Arroyo, Aquino made public his deepest secret on Aug. 13 (unlucky 13?) when he told listeners of TV Channel 5 that he is now listening to the clamor of his bosses (Filipino voters) that he should extend his term because he is the only one who could preserve the gains that he started. Isn’t it idiotic, self-serving and Marcosian?
“Si PNoy na lang ba ang anak ng Diyos sa kawawang Pilipinas?” (Is PNoy the only child of God in the forsaken Philippines?). Paging my friend, Atty. Mel “Batas” Mauricio: Aquino is a potential convert of your sect.
Aquino’s fear merely made presumptive front-runner Vice President Jojo Binay not only quiver because like Binay, Aquino will also likely face similar plunder charges brought against Arroyo, not even considering the four impeachment charges filed against Aquino now pending in Congress. And Binay might also not be there to rescue him or pardon him either. Aquino’s apprehension will soon become moot if the Philippine Supreme Court would deny his motion for reconsideration in his Disbursement Appropriations Program (DAP) appeal.
And this unease was made more possible when Arroyo was charged with plunder and is now under detention; the Supreme Court Chief Justice Corona was impeached and convicted; three senators, including once powerful Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, and even the elusive General Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan, are now all locked behind bars.
So, here are my suggestions:
Any presidential candidate in 2016, who wants my vote, should make a campaign pledge to the Filipino voters and to repeat after me: “I will not pardon a senator, congressman or government cabinet official if they are convicted for plunder and graft and corruption for complicity in PDAF, DAP, Malampaya scandals, etc. Let justice take its course. So, help me God.”
THE ONLY SMART GUY
Letting Aquino run for re-election is not only a violation of the 1987 Philippine Constitution but also it assumes that not one of the 100-million Filipinos is smarter than him. Besides, Art. III Sec. 31 of the Constitution is explicit: “No law granting a title of royalty or nobility shall be enacted.”
Okay, if Aquino now wants to run, he can call for a snap election, like Marcos. But in order to level the playing field, Aquino should relinquish his presidential position to a non-candidate successor, so he cannot use the arsenal of his office, including the P500-billion discretionary funds, to outspend and intimidate his rivals, including Binay.
Because it will take an amendment to the Constitution for Aquino to run for re-election, I suggest Congress also insert the following amendments:
1. All candidates for president, vice president, senator, congressmen, governors, mayors and justices of the Supreme Court and Court of Appeals and chairmen of Constitutional bodies should get a “clearance” (at least valid for one year) from a soon-to-be-created Constitutional Commission (similar to Judicial Bar Council) that states that prior to their filing for candidacy or application for their positions they have at least an average, if not better, not only academic (at least a four-year college Liberal Arts education) record but also to have legal, SOUND, repeat SOUND mental and physical capacities to run and/or occupy those offices.
ANTI-POLITICAL DYNASTY, FOIA SHOULD BE SELF-EXECUTING!
2. The provisions in the Constitution that require Congress to pass implementing laws to abolish political dynasty and establish Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) should be deleted. Instead the new amendments — abolishing political dynasty and establishing FOIA should be kept but should be self-executing and should take effect as soon as the Filipino people approve them in a plebiscite or referendum. These anti-political dynasty law and FOIA, if passed, are harmful to the well being of immoral government officials.
3. Another amendment is for political turncoats to be ineligible to run for elective position for at least six years. Turncoats should start at the end of the line, like a rookie partisan.
4. If a government is mired in deficit, all senators and congressmen are automatically disqualified for re-election.
5. There should be block voting when it comes to the elections of the president and vice president so that the winning tandem will come under the same party to avoid constant bickering by these two officials throughout their terms of office.
6. Any Filipino citizen or Filipino taxpayer can file bribery, corruption of public official, plunder and graft charges against any government official, including the President, the senator, congressman, judges and justices during their terms of office, even if this citizen or taxpayer does not get any bribe.
7. The two-term limit, four-year term should be restored without further extension even if the government turned in a surplus. And
8. If there is a preponderance of evidence of mismanagement of the office by the president, the president should step down upon finding of probable cause by an independent constitutional body and be hauled to court to answer for criminal charges and not wait for his term to lapse before he is charged in court. After all when Arroyo was charged in court after leaving office, she was immediately arrested. Why prolong the agony?