President B. S. Aquino 3rd has shot into outer space in his bid to become the greatest irrelevancy of our time. In 2010, before any cleric or electronic voting technician or analyst ever suggested he was merely a de facto president, a friend of mine made a bet, with some friends, that PNoy would promptly surpass his late mother’s record. My friend recently told me he had just paid off his losing bet. PNoy has made Gloria Macapagal Arroyo look like a candidate for sainthood; Joseph Ejercito Estrada, an intellectual and workaholic; and Cory Aquino, almost as good as gold.
Just when we needed to unite as one people in defense of the rule of law and the family and human life, PNoy chose to take the opposite side by paying off Congress to impeach and remove a sitting Chief Justice and enact a patently offensive law on Reproductive Health. And just when we needed to stand or perish together in defense of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of our Republic, PNoy chose to pay off Congress yet once more to railroad the creation of an Islamic enclave for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.
The MILF had earlier slaughtered 44 Special Action police commandos on a law enforcement mission to capture three international terrorists in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in the middle of a ceasefire agreement with the Aquino government. Aquino’s reported stand-down order to the reinforcement units for the SAF has provoked outrage and cries of treason across the nation. But instead of instituting punitive action against those who were involved in the massacre, Aquino has chosen to reward them with the proposed legislation.
PNoy’s saving grace is that he is totally unaware of his present condition. He sits on a sewer without smelling it. So he continues to bubble up with all sorts of monumental nonsense about his imagined merits. Despite plunging popularity and satisfaction ratings, which were already fudged in his favor, and the simmering discontent on the ground, his loudest humbug is that in 2016 the most favored presidential candidate would still need his personal endorsement in order to win, and whoever is finally elected would have to continue what he had begun. For now, senators who have any lingering doubts about the constitutionality, necessity or sanity of the Malaysian-inspired Bangsmoro Basic ‘law’ creating an MILF enclave should allow themselves to be talked to by him, for their sublime enlightenment.
To this, Sen. Bongbong Marcos, who chairs the Senate committee reviewing House Bill 4494, otherwise known as the Bangsamoro Basic Bill (Bababa), has provided the most dignified reply. He said he would be quite willing to discuss with anyone, including PNoy, (who at this stage has no role in the legislative deliberations, correctly understood, the ways and means of purging the measure of all its constitutional imperfections and impurities, but would rather be counted out if the purpose of meeting with PNoy would be solely to press the Senate to enact the constitutionally infirm bill, reportedly at the cost of P200 million per docile senator.
PNoy seems to believe that money will always prevail over morality, reason or the Constitution, especially on the eve of a national election where members of Congress would be seeking to be machine-elected by the rigged precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine. This makes a total mockery of PNoy’s “daang matuwid,” and contributes the lion’s share in stripping down PNoy of his credentials.
At a time when the most serious issues are threatening to sink the nation, PNoy’s only response has been to divert the people’s attention to the most absurd and inconsequential political issues that pass for entertainment. They are being asked about their choice for dog catcher in May 2016 months before there are any real candidates for dog catcher.
Now, while PNoy holds the undisputed title of the most irrelevant national politician around, every other politician seems willing to kill for the right to join the race for the second most irrelevant. It is an open race, and they are all eminently qualified. No possibility of anyone ever being disqualified. They take no risk that any national interest would ever take precedence over their self-interests. This is why you never hear any of the presidential wannabes saying anything on the major national problems calling for urgent solutions. All you hear is each one of them saying they would like to become president, without saying why they believe they should become president.
Consider this. These are some of the most serious problems we are facing right now:
The threat of actual dismemberment of the country through the Bababa, and reports of actual presidential bribery of the members of Congress, coupled with the imposition of a legislative deadline on the part of Malacanang for the passage of this bill, despite its constitutional infirmities and the warnings of murder on the horizon arising from the bloody persecution of Christians and other “infidels” by the ISIS in the Middle East, from which a global Islamic caliphate is supposed to travel all the way to Southeast Asia and southern Philippines;
(Aside from Bongbong Marcos, Miriam Defensor Santiago and Francis Chiz Escudero, no politician of national standing and galactic ambition has taken a clear and coherent position on this issue.)
The threat of war with China, in the face of Beijing’s illegal reclamation activities on several land features in the disputed areas of the West Philippine/South China sea; Aquino’s worse-than-poor handling of the country’s diplomacy; the escalating word war between the US and China, and the various concrete actions being undertaken by both parties to strengthen their respective military and naval positions in the area;
The threat of holding another automated presidential election in May 2016, using the same PCOS machines, which had been divested of all security features and accuracy mechanisms, without any of the urgently needed electoral campaign and voting reforms, and without resolving the complaints that had been filed before the Supreme Court, on the validity of the elections themselves, and before the Ombudsman, against the criminal conduct of the members of the Commission on Elections who rigged the 2010 and 2013 elections;
(The voters’ list must be thoroughly cleaned up, secret voting but public counting must ensure the integrity of the ballot. This could mean a shift to manual voting and counting, and electronic transmission of verified and verifiable results. Campaign expenses by candidates should be limited to the equivalent of what a candidate would earn legally from the office he seeks, if elected. Political advertising should be limited to what the Comelec would pay for and allocate equally among the candidates.
There should be a clear definition of the campaign period, outside of which no premature campaigning should be allowed. The anti-dynasty provision in the Constitution should be initially enforced by prohibiting any two members of the same family to sit simultaneously in the Senate or in any local government unit. The election law should be so strengthened that anyone who violates any of its provisions should be disqualified for life from running for public office.)
The destruction of organized labor through the virtual abolition of labor unions and the right of workers to any kind of security of tenure. Despite the economic boom claimed by the service sector, which is shown by the proliferation of malls everywhere, we have millions of young workers whose right to work is good only for a continuous stretch of five months, and no more. This violates the moral and constitutional precept which guarantees the right to full employment, and the right to living family wage for every breadwinner.
The urban decay characterized by homelessness, urban congestion, squalor, pollution, and the utter lack of basic transport services to move people and goods at a reasonable rate and pace in the cities and countryside;
The scandalous situation of farmers who, instead of being protected by government, must protect themselves from the unjust acts and policies of government, including its failure to control smuggling, which seeks to kill agricultural production. In the case of the coconut farmers, they must be protected from the imminent plunder of the coco levy funds worth at least P80 billion in hard cash, and about P200 billion in assets;
The eminent total recolonization of the Philippine economy, through a resolution adopted by the House of Representatives proposing an amendment to the Philippine Constitution (through Congress), which would allow 100-percent foreign ownership of land, mines and mineral resources, etc., while millions of Filipinos have no access to these resources;
The verified plunder of the nation’s resources though the pork barrel system, which the Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional, and for which the Court has ordered the criminal prosecution of all those involved in the manipulation and misuse of the same, but which order the Executive Department has failed or refused to comply with;
The alarming decline of the educational system and the lack of a thoughtful response from the government, even as the rest of the world tries to mobilize all its resources to strengthen the society’s capability to adapt to the advance of technology, and to innovate.
This enumeration is haphazard and merely illustrative. But each item provides an entry point for sober discussion of what can be done, and should be done, to elevate the national discourse and move the country forward under the next leadership. But we have yet to hear from anyone among those being touted by their media propagandists as “presidential wannabes” on anything of substance and relevant to the nation’s needs.
We have yet to hear one of these wannabes say that he wants to become president because, like my six-year-old grandson, he would like to fix the traffic. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao says he would like to break the bones of all the criminals and would like to see a federal parliamentary form of government. I am afraid the Human Rights Commission will want to be heard on the first; as for the second part, I am not sure it would even qualify as a joke. I myself favor the federal parliamentary system, but this can be achieved only through a change of the Constitution, not by electing a Mindanaoan as president.
Some other wannabes want to be president because they continue to rate high in the paid propaganda surveys. These surveys are commercial enterprises used to promote the cause of those who pay for them; they are seldom real or honest. Mar Roxas used to rate high in these surveys in 2010 but ultimately lost to Jojo Binay, who was rating very badly then. The DILG Secretary has been rating poorly since, but he wants to run because he says “he is ready” to be anointed by PNoy to continue his “daang matuwid.”
But there is no such thing as a PNoy “daang matuwid,” there never was. PNoy is now the nation’s biggest calamity: he is politically bankrupt, and has no political capital to pass on to anybody, least of all to Roxas. Until 2013, PNoy had the “hocus PCOS.” But this time, he shall not pass.