As we enter the new year, it is good for us to consider how much ground we have covered, if any, in our journey toward our desired goal. Have we moved at all? Are we moving? Or have we just been running on a treadmill at an erratic pace? The question is moral, political, constitutional, economic.
Amidst the deluge of self-congratulatory press releases about credit upgrades, GDP growth, the epidemic of shopping malls, the growing number of Chinese-Filipinos entering the annual Forbes magazine listing of dollar billionaires, and “traffic like hell as a sign of progress,” millions among our people are every second of the day joining the ranks of absolute slaves.
Despite the hundreds of billions of pesos that were supposed to have gone into our beloved president’s dole-out program for our poorest families, and more hundreds of billions of pesos in “presidential pork” that could have lifted a few more boats, poverty and squalor have become infinitely more wretched.
They can no longer be masked by false claims and misleading statistics.
Indeed, the rise of discontent, despondency and despair is demonstrable, but because of the sheer wretchedness of their actual conditions, the poor find themselves too tired and too spent at the end of the day to think of taking any action whatsoever.
How long can it last? Is there no risk at all that the most desperate would be driven to imitate those characters from other, especially non-Christian, countries who just torched themselves to death in order to light the fire of popular revolt?
And what about the house, which our beloved president’s slogan on “anti-corruption” was supposed to have built? Is there anything left of it? Who, other than the lowest forms of life, share its remains? What can he say about it now?
Reexamination and self-analysis
For our part, we need to do our own reexamination and self-analysis.
We need to look back and see if the positions we have taken on the most important issues have been validated in any way, or whether we must now apologize to the nation and to our beloved president for any careless or deliberate excesses in judgment.
Specifically, we must ask ourselves if we have not overstepped the limit in demanding that B. S. 3rd step down, and all those involved in the unprecedented manipulation and misuse of the pork barrel system be prosecuted and removed from office, as the only way to end this long dark night of immorality, impunity, and lawlessness. As one who may have contributed a little more than others to this particular thesis, I now write to reexamine myself.
As a writer and public advocate, I have tried never to make any claims about anything, which are not supported by solid principle or fact. This goes back to my earliest days as a young journalist when I used to produce such big “scoops” for my paper from the diplomatic beat almost on a daily basis, without a single one ever being successfully disputed or challenged. But having convinced myself that I have said or done what was demonstrably correct, I always provided for the distinct possibility that I could, after all, be totally wrong.
This is the intellectual frame within which I now reexamine myself. For much of the period that followed our beloved president’s well-documented bribery of Congress in order to force the enactment of the clearly unconstitutional Reproductive Health Law, and the impeachment and removal of Chief Justice Renato Corona, I have argued that our beloved PNoy has committed crimes, which no other president before him ever had.
He has become the chief corruptor of Congress and on that account should be impeached and removed, barred for life from holding any other office. But because the members of Congress are his partners in crime, and they remain inside his pocket, they would never dare, and he would never be impeached. So he should be removed by other lawful means, unless he willfully removed himself.
I have said this again and again both in this space and in various public forums, notably the multisectoral and interfaith assemblies convened by the National Transformation Council in Lipa, Cebu, Butuan, Angeles, Davao and General Santos, which I had been asked to help facilitate.
The thesis has spread, and a big portion of the nation, and growing, is now talking about it. But Malacanang continues to pretend it has not heard about it.
So I ask now: Was this position—is this position—excessive or extremist?
Not only did the Supreme Court strike down the pork barrel system as unconstitutional. In Greco Belgica vs. Executive Secretary Ochoa, et al, and vs. President Aquino, it also directed the timely prosecution of all those involved in the manipulation and misuse of its two components, the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) and the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Discretionary lumps sums
But not only has the regime ignored the Supreme Court directive until now. It has also, in utter contempt, reinstituted in its P2.6 trillion 2015 budget, which the Congress passed without debate, all the discretionary lump sums outlawed by the Court—about half of the entire P2.6 trillion—and redefined the term “savings” to allow our beloved president to play around with any appropriation anytime at his will.
It also rammed through a P22.3 billion “supplemental budget” for 2014, to fund the illegal DAP projects which had been “defunded” after the Court declared the DAP unconstitutional. And this money is supposed to be expended by the end of today, the last day of December 2014.
Unless power has become a loose license to commit the most grievous crimes unpunished, I cannot see how one could be faulted for saying that our beloved PNoy has no business staying in office one minute longer. But there are those who want to have elections in 2016 at any cost, no matter how farcical, and no matter how it reduces us to a nation of sheep; and they argue that our beloved PNoy, having“won” a six-year-term in 2010, should be allowed to finish, unless removed earlier by impeachment, which option (as shown earlier) is now foreclosed.
This position would have deserved support, had our beloved president not committed such unconscionable crimes and escaped punishment only by corrupting the lawmakers who have the exclusive power to impeach and remove him—and also, if his legitimacy had never been questioned. But alas, his legitimacy is now morally, constitutionally, and technically assailed.
It has been pointed out that although the Commission on Elections has the exclusive constitutional mandate to conduct elections, in 2010 and in 2013, it was Smartmatic, a Venezuelan private company, that conducted the automated election. That rendered the election illegal and illegitimate.
Then Smartmatic used the precinct count optical scan (PCOS) voting machine, after the Comelec illegally removed all of its safety features and accuracy mechanisms, contrary to law. This rendered the results at best questionable.
PNoy had claimed that he would win by five million votes over his closest rival, but that he would be “cheated,” so he would have to use “people power” to install himself in office. Terrified, the outgoing Arroyo administration caved in to the threat, and cooperated in delivering the pre-arranged “mandate.” The result was the infamous “hocus PCOS.”
That said, no further demonstration is needed to show why our beloved PNoy should now quit. He occupies the presidency under the most highly questionable circumstances. Assuming for the sake of argument that the office was unquestionably his, he has violated its basic terms of reference, and has therefore completely forfeited it.
But as if this were not enough, he has allowed transnational crime, particularly the manufacture and traffic of illegal drugs, to turn the Philippines into a rogue state. The country is now regarded as a major manufacturing center and transshipment point of the global illegal drugs traffic.
Convicted big-time drug lords, serving time inside the old Bilibid Prisons, operate their crime ring right in the heart of Bilibid, not just under the nose, but rather with the full protection and support, of corrupt state authorities. And our beloved PNoy has shown neither the will nor the capacity to do anything about it. He has not even shown any awareness that this is not merely Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s petty dilemma, as suggested by the conscript press, but the biggest challenge to the presidency, and to the state’s continued existence as a state.
During martial law, Ferdinand Marcos ordered only one execution, among the many old convicts at death row. This was the Chinese drug lord Lim Seng, whose life sentence by a military tribunal Marcos ultimately changed to death by musketry, after he learned that the convict had paid off some members of the tribunal to get a lighter sentence. With that execution, Marcos wanted to nip in the bud the illegal drugs traffic and keep the country free from the menace that was destroying millions of lives in so many other countries.
That execution instilled fear among potential drug traffickers for years. But such fear eventually wore off after the death penalty was abolished and corruption of the political and criminal justice system became more thoroughly complete. We have now reached our lowest point. Inside Bilibid, murder, the manufacture and traffic of dangerous drugs, and other heinous crimes have put a criminal bureaucracy on top of the official bureaucracy running Bilibid.
It would have defied belief were this but a mere tale of fiction. But it is the ugly reality, fully documented for all to see, except for the Bureau of Corrections director who still wonders what he has done wrong. Just as we had not seen any other president ever corrupting Congress to get its members to do all the wretched things he wanted them to do, we could not think of any president before our beloved PNoy allowing anything like this. It was simply unimaginable. It’s like Batman putting Gotham City in the hands of his nemesis. But this is now our beloved PNoy’s presidency.
Without any deliberate design or extra effort, and without himself and many of our people realizing it, our beloved president has already sunk our nation into the deepest deep. We can no longer just let him be.
With all the love and mercy in our hearts, we must now tell our beloved PNoy, “it’s really time to go, Mr. President.” Happy New Year, Mr. President!