[Originally published November 21, 2008 in the Page Section]
Chacha on the Swing
Charter Change or Cha-cha appears now totally loose. Political oppositions have been pushing for it. Among the provisions that they want changed is to transform the unitary State into a federal one. To divide. The issue basically involves re-awakening of tribal Philippines by pointing to regionalism as the root of backwardness, and to simply back-ride other agenda. And, to rule. This was calculated to gain wide support. What more will be amended, only the Cha-cha proponents exactly know. The public until this day has been kept little informed. The Bishops Five also support Charter change. Everyone has his idea of charter change.
If Charter change pushes trough, this will be the fourth major overhaul since independence in 1946. I, myself, think that there are provisions in the present Constitution that needed amending but I guess mine must be irrelevant.
But I think the best time for it to be considered fair, what ever needs amending, will be in the next administration… if this can be made covenant by all political parties for the 2010 election. I am not talking about legality.
The pro-administration lower house of Congress is now openly moved for Cha-cha. And no more pretensions, the main agenda is to remove restriction for the presidency that may allow GMA to run for a second term. This is officially denied by the Palace. There it is, folks, Charter Change that is never the less Charter Change that everybody wants.
If this is realized, in one corner will be the defender President GMA unless she changes her mind, and in the other corners we don’t see any definite contender or contenders yet. Could it be a repeat of the (FVR) de Venecia – Erap situation, or would it be a re-election by GMA herself? Fact is, only President Ferdinand E. Marcos has won Presidential re-election in the Philippines. How Mr. Marcos did it must be interesting to whoever are the brains behind this so-called GMA Reelection.
And although, while politically speaking she is a lame-duck, it still depends on who she is pitted against. As we have seen in the last three presidential elections, the oppositions cannot agree among themselves so that a 35% vote in a multi-cornered fight can make one the President. But, I think it is advantageous for the oppositions that it will be GMA herself who has got the worst dissatisfaction rating that should be running. Right now it looks like nobody’s in the way of Charter change. I mean Amendments is proposed to be done by Congress that is very much controlled by the Palace.
And, as we have seen how she can dip her hands into the cookie jar, like fertilizer and other dole outs, “cash gifts”, and casual jobs by DPWH during election times to mention some, she is not a lame duck at all – at least to all those congressmen enjoying her grace – money and more money to flow freely for them especially during election time. I think this is what everything is all about to many of them.
Never mind Hello Garci. And what about? It was about a wire tapped conversation attributed to GMA and Comelec Commissioner Garcillano about how they will win or cheat election 04. And to think that Commission on Election (Comelec) is supposed to be an impartial and fair body! Anyway, GMA already said she was sorry. And it is not even clear what it was she’s sorry about. Curtains down, that’s all there is to it, folks. Illegal evidence, lawmen say.
It was not the first grand cheat of election. And it was not the last. In fact on top of it was the controversy involving the incredible Commissioner Bedol in 2007 election. I think focus should be in the COMELEC.
And all about the political-economic powers enjoyed by Malacañang, they are nothing new. They are permissible by our constitution and our laws. What have become controversial are just alleged excessive, abusive, mal-practices of them. Legislative branch has the power to govern them so I guess politician have only themselves to blame whatever. I think we have a big flaw in the system so that there is no guarantee that the next tenants won’t be doing the same.
But will the great advantages work for GMA if she runs for reelection? Administration’s local bets winning everywhere with the exception of its national bets losing, is in the history of Philippine politics, too. At the grassroots, loyalty of electors is good only up to the local politicians that they have direct dealings with. This explains why the popularity of PGMA has not improved after so many dole-outs for miserable and destitute Filipinos. And, as much as local politicians would like to push for their higher-ups, they have also their own carrier, above all, to protect. Opportunists have only their hides to save when the swim gets rough. And I think that’s what everything will be about for the administration Party this 2010, folks.
Anyway, turn-coatism is also tradition in Philippine politics. Who seats in the Palace gets most of them Trapos.
But, hey. Cha-cha can swing to anything. What if the Presidential system becomes Parliamentary? In that case, I think, even a 90/100 disapproval rating by the public becomes irrelevant and meaningless. The Prime Minister is chosen by among the members of Parliament. This is the reason why strong personalities in congress who obviously (and clearly) have no chance to become President in a national election, have been actively campaigning for a switch to parliamentary system.
And, if you think the present Congress is corrupted and it is no better than a rubber stamp wait till we become parliamentary. This is the Philippines; I don’t think we have seen anything yet… Or, maybe we already have – we had Parliament in the time when Ferdinand E. Marcos was President (and Prime Minister) – which we threw away by the 87 Constitution .