“The Constitution is an experiment as all
life is an experiment. Every year, if not every day,
we have to wager our salvation on some
prophecy based on imperfect knowledge.”
—Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes
It is not only the Constitution that is an experiment. Life itself is an experiment into the trackless unknown. It is only when you get there that you can claim the experiment is successful. Thus, I insist on saying that victory or defeat is determined at the edge of the graveyard. Any judgment before that time is not final.
So I urge our people to embark on an experiment results of which are determined by the intensity by which we pursue our goals.
What is the experiment? The answer is: the organization and implementation of the goals of our people for a better life for all by organizing a Constitutional Transition Government – CTG for short.
What is a Constitutional Transition Government? It is a government based on two specific provisions of the Constitution. The first provision is Section 1, Article II of the Constitution which is denominated as the “The Declaration of Principles and State Policies” which provides, as follows:
“The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”
The second provision states:
“Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.”
Section 1 of Article II of the Constitution is referred to by constitutionalists here and the United States of America as the right to revolution. The right to revolution in modern constitutional law has been set and immortalized in the American Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 written by a noble genius, Thomas Jefferson, who later became the third president of the United States of America, its pertinent contents read:
The American Declaration of Independence
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, – That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
The second provision, section 3 of Article II of the Constitution is referred to among constitutionalists as the protector provision of the Constitution. The concept is nothing new in the world. It also exists in many countries in Latin America and Africa. The difference between our Constitution and that of the other countries is that the word used in our Constitution referring to the armed forces as the protector of the people and the State while in the other countries they use the word guardian of the people and the State. But they are one and the same.
The rationale of this provision is to legitimize Edsa I, the basis of the assumption of state powers by the Corazon Aquino government which was spearheaded by the armed forces with the support and protection of the people. I was one of the few who objected to this particular provision since it would legitimize a coup d’etat to uproot a democratically elected government, especially if the motive of the military men is to grab power for themselves. The objection has legitimate basis since in Latin America and Africa, this is the kind of provision that legalizes a coup d’etat and, as a rule, considering the cultural environment that creates military officers in the Philippines, the generals cannot be trusted with the use of State power to give justice to the people.
The Constitution was ratified by the people and there was nothing much I could do about it then. But the people with us can do something about it now – create the CTG.
How to create the CTG
Based on the afore-quoted provisions of the Constitution, there are three institutions in this country that can create a Constitutional Transition Government. First, the President of the Philippines! Why? – Because under section I of Article II, as the Chief Executive of the country, he represents the people and under section 3 of the same Article, he is the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and is on top of the military establishment.
He can do it. But will he do it? Taking into consideration the rules of probability, it would not be sound to conclude that he will do it for several reasons. First, doing it means he admits the system that elected him into office has failed. Second, it is admitting that the matuwid na daan is a total failure as a solution to our problems. Third, it is an admission that his KKK formula does not work as an instrument for effective national governance.
Fourth, it would mean that he admits the government is hopeless to effectively help our people to live fruitfully, meaningfully and happily. Fifth, it would be an admission that we have to adopt the extreme solution to solve our age-old problems. Sixth, it is an acknowledgment that elections are useless to choose leaders of our country.
So, it is unlikely PNoy will organize a CTG since he would not know how to do it. Besides, he does not know the parameters with which to choose the new leaders.
Will the military do it? It is also unlikely because the military officers are career-oriented. The last thing they would do, considering that the officers did not come to the rescue of the distressed SAF 44 at Mamasapano when they were at smelling distance from the beleaguered police officers and men for fear that their careers would suffer if they disobey the treacherous stand down order of PNoy, is play the standard operating procedure of the three monkeys – see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil.
Another strong reason why the military will not do it is the fact that the American government may not support the move. As a rule, top leaders of the military in the Philippines will not move without making sure that they have American support. However, it is not improbable for some patriotic military officers to move, fired by love of country and in the correct appreciation that there is no future for generation of Filipinos under the present system.
People – the imponderable factor
In this game of organizing a CTG, the most imponderable factor is the people. Will any leader among the people have the courage to start the initiative of organizing a Constitutional Transition Government? Maybe, since you can never underestimate the Filipino. Our immediate past experiences show that. They said it was impossible to remove President E. Marcos but he was deposed – by the people. They said it was impossible to impeach Erap but he was impeached by the people.
In the famous line in Sohrab and Rustom, “Only the events will teach us in each hour.” The first move is a dialogue within this month on the CTG. Next is the creed, the composition of the National Coalition for a CTG and the CTG goals and programs. These will be the subject of the next column on Saturday, September 12, 2012. Then, you can never be sure of the magic of September morn.