• Aquino fooling only himself, not the nation

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    According to his communications secretary, clipping the powers of the Supreme Court is “the top-of-mind” concern of President Aquino today.

    When he declared in an interview with TV5 that he has three objectives today – charter change, a second term, and the trimming of the high court’s powers –it is the last that is keeping him awake these days and nights.

    No goal obsesses him more. Because it is the SC decision on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that will send him to court and to jail once his term expires on June 30, 2016. My colleague Bobi Tiglao mischievously calculates that the prospect before him is not winning a second term but over a hundred jail terms.

    The memory of government is long. Once you run afoul with the law in the administration of public funds, the operation of the law and the court system is relentless and unceasing. That is why you can have court cases that go on for decades before resolution, even for lowly public officials.

    Aquino is hoping that by reducing the Supreme Court’s powers through charter change, the change can be made retroactive, to exonerate him of scores of crimes he has already committed under DAP.

    He and Butch Abad have also sent proposed legislation to Congress, particularly to the ever-loyal Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, that would legalize the DAP and all the acts committed in its implementation. They want the application of the law to be retroactive so that crimes that have already been perpetrated will be forgiven, and the loot already stolen is written off.

    This is unbelievably brazen and shameless. In all the annals of the republic, no president has ever attempted this kind of selfish and crooked maneuver. No one has ever attempted to amend the Constitution, and pass a law that would exonerate him of a crime.

    Coloma also said that reducing the powers of the Supreme Court would help the President in serving the nation.

    In the interview with TV5, Aquino said the 1987 Constitution empowers the Supreme Court to step into political questions, unlike the High Court during the Marcos regime that refused to check the executive when martial law was declared in 1972.

    He said there are those who wonder whether the SC of today is overstepping its powers in checking its co-equal branches.

    This is an absurd claim, and lawyers encouraging or directing Aquino in this view are second-rate or are just angling to be appointed to top judicial positions in government.

    A system of checks and balances
    Our system of government calls for the separation of powers among three co-equal branches of government –the legislative, the executive, and the judicial. No one is supreme among the three. Each branch enjoys a degree of power over the others.

    Under the system of checks and balances ordained by the Constitution, the president can veto congressional legislation, which can be overridden only by two-thirds vote of each house. Congress can impeach the president and the members of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court can declare a law passed by Congress and signed by the president as unconstitutional, as well as certain acts of the president.

    The branches are designed to work in harmony, not at cross-purposes with each other. When they all work according to their respective duties, the interests of the nation are served.

    Powers of each branch are limited
    The other key point is that the powers granted by the Constitution to each branch of government is limited. The powers of each are specific (definite and explicit), enumerated (listed individually), and delegated (assigned).

    President Aquino is banking on his cohorts in Congress and the Liberal Party to accomplish this grand strategy of constitutional amendment and exoneration of administration wrongdoing.

    This is politics at its most cynical. And it is nothing less than contempt of the Constitution.

    If they think our people will only watch while they perpetrate these dark deeds against the Constitution and the nation, they are totally mistaken.

    Attempts in the past to amend the term limits set in the Constitution miserably failed. This one will have an even more spectacular defeat because this time, the entire nation will be roused to action. The administration and members of Congress will have nowhere to hide.

    The truth is, by advancing this delusional project, President Aquino has pushed quite a number of legislators, including some of his own partymates, to support one or several of the impeachments complaints against the President that are set for hearing in the House.

    Congress and the President have to realize that having the numbers in the legislature does not empower them to do whatever they want. Tyranny of the majority is no less repugnant than one-man rule.

    The tyranny of the majority
    On this point, I commend the enduring words of the political philosopher Walter Lippmann to remind them of the foolhardiness of their enterprise. They cannot win on this.

    Lippmann wrote:
    “Free institutions are not the property of any majority. They do not confer upon majorities unlimited powers. The rights of the majority are limited rights. They are limited not only by the constitutional guarantees but by the moral principle implied in those guarantees. That principle is that men may not use the facilities of liberty to impair them. NO one may invoke a right in order to destroy it. The right of free speech belongs to those who are willing to preserve it. The right to elect belongs to those who mean to transmit that right to their successors.

    ”The rule of the majority is morally justified only if another majority is free to reverse that rule.

    “The constitution deliberately denies that the opinion of a temporary majority is to be regarded as the will of the people. The ultimate authority of course is in the people.

    “But the will of the people is not to be confused with the opinions of fifty-one percent of the voters at any particular election

    “The authors of the Constitution were interested not only in what 250 congressmen think ought to be done, not only in what fifty-one percent of the voters think on election day, but in what these politicians and voters will think when they have cooled off and learned more. The founders were equally interested in the forty-nine percent.

    “This is the purpose of checks and balances and of constitutional supremacy. It is based on a refusal to believe that a true democracy means the dictatorship of transient pluralities.”

    Hitler also got support of Congress
    Lippmann ends his eloquent defense of constitutionalism by saying that Adolf Hitler was also elected in 1933, and that he got the support of the German legislature. Then he started planning to have the Nazis rule Germany for a thousand years.

    Our man in Malacañang must decide whether this is where he wishes to go.

    yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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    30 Comments

    1. Freedom of speech in this country is guaranteed by the constitution. Anybody can say anything he or she wants to say, whenever or wherever. There is no previous censorship in what an individual wishes to say. BUT when you say something, you must be ready to face the consequences of what you say. So better be careful what you say.
      Having said that, let me say that we have a dysfunctional president and an irrelevant congress. They all deserve to be punished for the organized and systematic plunder of this country. I hope they all become comatose.

    2. These people uses their froward mouth and perverse lips against the president Pnoy are obviously so bitter to the good deeds that he is making to our government by showing us that we still have a chance to have a government leaders we can really depend to and trust. We must all learn how do discern good from bad by what they do not in what they say.

    3. Silverio Cabellon, Jr., M.D. on

      What article of the 1987 Constitution would have to be amended to clip the powers of the Judicial Branch?

    4. Pnoy already sensed that he will be imprisoned once he left Malacanang so he is trying his best to stay on his throne with the help of his zombies(Belmonte, Drilon, Banal) but even he stay for one more term he will still face prison term , the only way he can stay in power is to convert the Phils into a monarchy, so after him, we can have Queen Kris then King Joshua then the son of the basketball player. Goodbye Filifinas.

      • Correct! abnoy want a second term to evade arrest after his term ends. If it was done to Gloria and Estrada is also applicable to IDIOT PRESIDENT Aquino. He have to answer the DAP/PDAF and where the monies goes? Aquino will be arrested after his term ends.

    5. Very appropriate, indeed…Pnoy is the “Nowhere Man” of the Beatles’ song…

      And the push for the Bangsamoro is indeed a curious and inexplicable one…hmmm, baka nga yan ang plano niyang pagtaguan pag wala na siya sa pwesto at makukulong na siya…?

      I can forgive all this corruption, but not this Bangsamoro deal….!

      People, please read the Quran online, to really understand that Islam is not just an ordinary religion, it is really a political ideology that seeks to control the government for Allah, until the whole world worships this Allah only…

      Giving a Bangsamoro territory to the Islamists, is pure treason to the non-Muslim Filipinos…wake up, or be willing to convert to Islam in 10 years or so.

      Or, be beheaded as an INFIDEL!

    6. Roldan Guerrero on

      LP- LAPIANG PANDARAMBONG is the correct meaning of this political party. It is led by the THIEF EXECUTIVE and a consolidation of YELLOW and BALIMBING THIEVES!

    7. The then Indira Ghandi the prime minister of India whose son was found by the press violating the law changed that law retroactively to avoid prosecution of her son. Noy wanted to do the same but worse, he wanted to change the law to absolve himself and allies of future corruption cases to be filed against him.

    8. gabriela silang on

      the president regard us as a bunch of fools! no way jose! we’ve been fooled once, never again! mr. president, lie to us if you must but please don’t take us for fools! had enough of your spins that brought us spinning down the drain. can’t take it no more! tama na. sobra na. wag mo kaming gawing tanga!

    9. P. Akialamiro on

      Once again, it takes a Rocket Scientist (asleep) to know why this president is after the SC. First, it was the same institution that confirmed the alleged midnight appointment of his future No. 1 nemesis, CJ Corona. Then, the same branch clipped his ‘fly by night power of the purse’. With these, he is bent on getting what he wants not relizing the dire consequences of his ‘escapade’. Cha cha or no cha cha, the harm done to the country because of this president’s undoings are already there; no amount of rule change will be of any help. If ever he gets his wish of clipping some powers of the SC just because of what was done with PDAF and DAP, I can honestly say, prayerfully: “May God Bless the Philippines”!

    10. Good article. Aquino is only focusing on self-preservation. As he has already showed he is capable of bending or breaking any system or law to do what he wants. Make sure we get him out. We do not need someone who tells half-truths and lies and does nothing for the Nation.

    11. Dominador D. Canastra on

      Good column, Mr. Makabenta. Please continue writing incisive pieces like this.

    12. God Please help us. Enlighten our leaders of the true desires and needs of the people. Let the people know all of the consequences relating to the latest moves to challenge our constituion.

    13. “Under the system of checks and balances ordained by the Constitution, the president can veto congressional legislation, which can be overridden only by two-thirds vote of each house. Congress can impeach the president and the members of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court can declare a law passed by Congress and signed by the president as unconstitutional, as well as certain acts of the president.”

      This is important for check and balance of and for the Executive, Legislative and Supreme Court Branches, co-equal and independent bodies. More power to the SC since they showed that they are NOT subservient to the Executive, now controlling also the Legislative Branch. PNoy is trying to have controls of ALL the three Branches. Thus, he wants Cha-Cha to clip the power vested on the Supreme Court.

      This must not happen since it will mean back to DICTATORSHIP GOVERNMENT.

      PNoy is trapped in his own juvenile folly. Thus, his choice is JAIL after his term OR DICTATORSHIP. He should know the fates of DICTATORS like Marcos, Gadaffi, Hussain (+ + +) or like Amin, Duvalier (vanishment from their own country).

      I hope PNoy gets help from his own doctors. He is delusional and he hears voices (his own voices, not the Filipino masa).

    14. “Our man in Malacanang must decide whether this is where he wishes to go”. Firstly, I must thank you for your very enlightening piece. I think our man in Malacanang is incapable of making any personal decision because I am afraid he is the incarnation of the NOWHERE MAN. Allow me, Yen to quote the most salient parts of the song made famous by the Beattles: “He’s a real nowhere man, Sitting in his Nowhere Land, Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
      Doesn’t have a point of view, Knows not where he’s going to, Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
      He;s as blind as he can be, Just sees what he wants to see, Nowhere Man can you see me at all?”
      Is there any future for a nation such as ours, being led by a NOWHERE MAN?

      • This nation will never have a future. Pathetic filipinos like you who are not happy and will never be satisfy on anything.. I can’t wait for the coming of a 7.2 earthquake …This is the best solution to this poor country surrounded by corrupt, hypocrite, arrogant filipinos who doesn[t do anything other than complain and criticize…The philippines will be wiped off the map together with you complainers…Rot in hell.

      • Neil E. Rodriguez on

        I salute you, Sr. Gloria Felix, FSP…more power! Marami sa atin ang na silaw sa kinang ng kulay dilaw (ng magulang). Na kahit alam natin na dumudumi na dahil sa ginagawang pag dungis (ng anak) ay nabubulagan o nagbubulag-bulagan! Sana hindi tuluyang masira ang magandang pangalan na iniwan sa mga Filipino nina Ninoy at Cory!

    15. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression does not give a person the right to do things that are detrimental to society as a whole.While freedom of speech gives us the right to verbally express how we feel, it does not give us the right to curse and abuse other people. Some things require self-control and respect.
      There has to be a restriction on freedom of expression.

      Freedom of speech should never mean freedom to abuse. We are lucky enough to live in a democracy and have a principle right to freedom of speech. However, should we allow hateful partisan speech e.g. ethnocentric banters, political slurs and things that blatantly set out to offend others?
      Freedom of speech does not grant one the permission to slander or libel. Therefore, there is already some limitation to the principle. Offence is one thing, but incitement to hatred, discrimination and persecution must, surely, be indefensible and should be treated as such.

      a concerned lawyer

    16. If i were the president i will amend the constitution so i can have another term and one job i’ll do …i will make sure some of this journalists/writer/observer wannabe who wants attention like you Mr Makabenta who abuses the freedom of speech by being very disrespectful, rude, critical, sarcastic be put to jail or lose their job. It’s time to put an end to this nonsense writer who is being paid to criticize the president of the philippines.. To tell you honestly…You are not helping your country in doing so Mr, Makabenta…you are putting your poor country in shame. Grow up and Get a Life! Mabuti pa yong ibang dayuhan na nagmamalasakit sa pilipinas sa pagtulong sa mga mahihirap as compared to you …poor guy.

      • …and then lets them into all into jail… but you have forgotten…whats next…who will help see or report misdeeds by the govt..shall we go to the prescint to ask whats goin on, i thought u were a wise man but alas…i was mistaken…

    17. Very well said and understood Yen.

      Senator Ninoy Aquino said: There are 49,000,000 Filipino cowards and one Son – – – of – – a B

      That is no longer true.

      Now I can say that: There are 999,999,999 “Brave Filipinos” and one BS plus Mar.

      Better resign now and immediately President Binay will pardon you BS.

      Like what President Gerald Ford did to President Nixon – Watergate Scandal

      Now PDAF & DAP Scandal = BS & A bad Scandal

      Siguro malambing ang tulog ni CJ Corana at nakangiti pa.

      Hoping and praying that Chief Justice Corona will be back at the Supreme Court under the new Administration.

    18. Roldan Guerrero on

      AQUINO knows what will happen to him after or before 2016. He is for sure sleepless all nights now as a result of his fear in suffering the consequences of his wrongdoings. I would like to view some of my opinions to the writer of this column by asking him one question, and answering it myself…maybe if the columnist, feel a sort of interest, he can make arguments. Mr. Makabenta, why do you think BSA is pushing so hard for the passing into law of the Bangsamoro Act? Undoubtedly, in my own opinion, BSA will use the place as his sanctuary after his term to avoid facing his jail terms. What can you say Mr. Makabenta?

    19. The tyranny of one man alone will not prosper without the help of congress. It is in this premise that I hold the legislative as the co-equal partner of aquino in destroying our country. These vultures in congress and senate are also instruments of distruction under the game of deception played by this mentally sick man in malacanang. I just hope that majority of the people wil be united in stopping such evil plan of this mad man in malacanang. The power of pen is mightier than the billions of taxpayers money. Keep writing Sir.

    20. Andres R. Samson on

      Faulty syllogism in all his public statements. For those who attended Ateneo, the pronouncements and announcements this Tenant has been making lately boils down to “Reductio ad absurdum.” Absolutely. Even when I did not even get close enough to the gates of Ateneo in Manila or in Loyola. And I thought all the while that the “C-label student” attached to his persona was only a wild joke. How can an intelligent electorate put him in the highest position of leadership in the land? Or was this really the design of the Grand Marion for societal control?

    21. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

      Aside from the destroying the independence of a co-equal branch of government
      this vindictive president continues in getting back at these who stand on his
      illegal way specifically the DAP & PDAP. This is yet the most vindictive, corrupt
      and incompetent president. He successfully bought and bribed his allies in
      congress and put these crocodiles who became subservient to whatever he wanted
      them to do. And, now he is going after the Supreme Court. Hence, the ball is now
      in the hands of the Filipino people. The sovereign power resides in the people.
      Hence, get rid of these corrupt, incompetent and vindictive leaders.

      • he is already living like hell! suffering and agonizing the thought of jail term when he steps down. that’s why he is hell bent to amend the constitution and pass laws through his lapdog congress to make his unconstitutional DAP to be legal, retroactive and curative.

      • Jesus indicated that those who practiced hypocrisy would be sent to hell.
        Complaining about other’s behavior when yours is even worse.
        “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.

        The news media loves to point out sin committed by the president without any basis. However, we are admonished that we need not judge individuals outside the church, since they be judged by God.

        Muriel, Ed and the rest of you hyporites…Let he who is without sin, cast the first stone.

        Amen