Our real candidate is named system change

18

Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno has promised to expedite the resolution of Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas’s five-year-old electoral protest against Vice President Jejomar C. Binay before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, i.e. the Supreme Court en banc. This has caught many, mostly non-lawyers, by surprise. We had thought all along that Roxas had given up his electoral protest when he accepted a position in the Aquino Cabinet, just as Miriam Defensor Santiago gave up her 1992 electoral protest against the election of President Fidel V. Ramos when she ran and won in the succeeding election for the Senate. It can be argued that if Roxas had been a Cabinet member when he ran for Vice President, the law would have required him to resign upon filing his certificate of candidacy; for that reason, he cannot and should not be sitting in the Cabinet now, while sill technically “running” for Vice-President, which is the equivalent of his electoral protest.

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I am not quoting any law here, simply appealing to logic, and it is for the High Court to decide. Under the Constitution, “the Supreme Court sitting en banc, shall be the sole judge of all contests relating to the election, returns, and qualifications of the President or Vice-President, and may promulgate its rules for the purpose.” The Court should have disposed of this protest years ago, but since it has failed to do so, it should terminate it now, before the disputed six-year term expires. We have seen too many electoral protests, involving members of Congress and other officials, which were resolved, hilariously, only on the last day of the disputed term of office, and the winning protestant did not even have a single day to sit.

In good weather, the PET proceedings could be terminated perhaps in just a couple of months. Independent of the Court’s just motive, this is apparently what Malacañang wants. More than that Malacañang wants to unseat Binay, if it can, and Roxas’ propagandists are already trumpeting in the grapevine that the PET will do to Binay what the unrelenting accusations against him and his family by Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and company before the Senate blue ribbon subcommittee and in the conscript media had failed to do— namely, drive him out of the presidential race and force him to go back to fight for the mayorship of Makati. There’s no denying that, but it’s just the beginning of a far graver scandal.

With Binay out, Roxas will be in. If Mar’s extraordinary luck holds, President B.S. Aquino 3rd could take a leave of absence until the end of his term, or actually resign and leave Roxas fully in charge. This would put Roxas in exactly the same position which the framers of the 1987 Constitution had wanted to avoid when they decided that no sitting president should be allowed to run again, for he would have the unfair advantage of using the powers and resources of his office to win a new mandate.

With a war chest that is said to run close to a trillion pesos, mainly from the regime’s corrupt dealings since 2010, and the present illegal lump sums in the 2015 General Appropriations Act amounting to P424,144,763 under the care of nine major departments and two agencies, and with full command and control of the PCOS, or its new version—the OMR, or Optical Mark Reader, naughtily translated by some into “Operation Mar Roxas,”— under Smartmatic, Roxas would be free to write his own ticket.

At the wake of a former classmate and friend, the writer-movie director Leonardo (Nardz) Belen, at the Loyola Chapel in Quezon City on Sunday, I met the Vice President, and he seemed unfazed by the relentless battering he’s getting from the attack dogs at the Senate and the Roxas camp. He seems confident of holding his own in the propaganda ratings game through sheer visibility at the hustings and in almost every wake. His recent appearance before businessmen at the Wallace Business Forum in Makati has earned him some mixed reviews for his statement in support of mining (a controversial issue), and on the exclusion of politicians from his Cabinet, should he win. I asked his senator-daughter Nancy how that anti-politician jibe ever crept into his speech; it was like saying the Binays would be opening a fine dining restaurant without employing a chef or anyone who knew how to cook. She said somebody had inserted it into the VP’s draft, but that he specifically discarded it when he read it, except that some unthinking functionary released the discarded text as though it had been read.

These problems are infinitesimal compared to what could happen should Roxas succeed in unseating him as Vice President. Mayor Rodrigo Duterte of Davao City apparently saw this coming when he finally announced on Monday that he is not running for president, despite the prodigious propaganda effort by native supporters to project him as the guy who will let those who fail to observe the anti-smoking law eat their cigarette butts in his presence.

The election will be a complete farce, there will be no real contest at all. If Roxas picks up Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano as his vice presidential candidate, as reported in the conscript press, then it would further guarantee the end of all fairness and decency in our national politics. Alan Peter is likely to see to it.

Alan Peter first ran for the Senate in 2007 to join his sister Pia Cayetano, who was already sitting there, in utter disregard of the constitutional prohibition on political dynasties, just because it lacks an enabling law, even though the public thoroughly disdains it. The siblings have since stayed on with no apparent remorse. He capitalized on the “Hello, Garci” controversy against then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, which exploded in the headlines in 2005 after I exposed it, even though his sister Pia also benefited from it.

A lawyer-friend of mine remembers until now Pia’s lachrymose words after the 2004 election: she thanked everyone for their support, and consoled them for their loss, saying that even if they had lost the election, they had gained so much experience which would be useful to them in the future. A few days after conceding her loss, Pia surprisingly “won.” It was an electoral “miracle.” Of course, many winners lost in that election.

At the Corona impeachment trial, Alan Peter tried to use his legal and telegenic skills to score points win his TV audience. But he was eventually exposed as one of the 19 senator-judges who had each received P50 million or more from the constitutionally outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to convict former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona at his Senate impeachment trial. Alan Peter did not get as much as Senate President Frank Drilon’s P100 million or Sen. Francis Escudero’s P98 million, but he got enough to confirm his yet unconfirmed reputation.

Since then he has not hesitated to use the Senate blue ribbon committee to throw all sorts of accusations against Vice President Binay and his family in a bogus inquiry “in aid of legislation,” even without first having himself investigated and cleared of the Senate bribery scandal. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules—this is the most important Senate committee and his chairmanship makes him the Senate majority floor leader—he ought to be the first one to know that what Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Trillanes were doing to the Blue Ribbon committee or subcommittee was without precedent in the abuse of parliamentary procedure. His foremost duty is to preserve, defend and enhance the integrity of the institution, not join those who seek to bring it down.

It was clearly a mistake to give the man his present office. Would the LP now like to raise him to a higher position?

Many are genuinely relieved that Duterte has finally counted himself out of the race. For in the space of so short a time Duterte managed to create, fairly or unfairly, the image of a gangster-politician who will provide instant extra-legal cures to all our maladies. But despite all this, he alone in his “15 minutes of fame,” had the courage to talk of a constitutional shift to federalism and parliamentary government, as though this was within the power of the next president to implement. He alone had the spunk to announce that if elected president, he would declare a “revolutionary government.” That declaration was laughable at best, because nobody participates in and wins an election in order to proclaim a revolutionary government; one wages a revolution and wins in order to proclaim a revolutionary government.

But behind the absurdity of that declaration lies a fundamental truth, one which Duterte alone among our politicians, outside of the National Transformation Council, has dared to articulate, namely that the elections will not solve or change anything, and that a real revolution is what we need. This is Duterte’s real contribution to our present politics. This is his accidental legacy.

Thus, since Roxas cannot possibly represent the call for change, the candidate we must propose and support against him need not be a particular person but rather an idea or a movement that goes by the name of revolutionary or systems change. Since we cannot stop the electoral farce, we should nominate and support this particular candidate, so that at the end of the bogus electoral process, the Filipino people, in whom sovereignty resides and from whom all government authority emanates, not just the NTC or any group, should be able to proclaim a revolutionary government.

TODAY IN PH HISTORY. In Abra and in various parts of the country, the Paredes family, which has for generations produced statesmen, patriots, intellectuals, writers and artists of note, is celebrating today the 131st birth anniversary of Sen. Quintin Paredes, one of the grand old men of Philippine politics. Not all the achievements of this giant from Abra have been documented. But a book written by his own daughter, Justice Lourdes Paredes-San Diego, in 1985 tries to fill the void, and a more recent book, “Escape to Manila,” by Frank Ephraim, with a foreword by the distinguished journalist Stanley Karnow, reveals for the first time Paredes’ key role in facilitating the migration to the Philippines of German Jews fleeing Nazi persecution in Germany during the war. Credit for this has long been given to President Quezon alone, but Paredes turns out to be a major but unacknowledged actor.

fstatad@gmail.com

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18 Comments

  1. Nancy Bulok Cake on

    I would like to vote for anybody qualified but the most CORRUPT Binay and trapo Poe. I am just wondering why Tatad never mention in his column anything about the Binay’s ill-gotten wealth. Binay used to be a college teacher with no car of whatsoever and just asking fellow teachers to have a “share a ride” and his son’s sarcastic Jun-jun -gunggong Binay having an elevator to his house. Even a college teacher with 25 years in service cannot afford the lifestyles of the thieves Binays. I would appreciate it very much Tatad if you can mention in your columns the Catholic church’s message “Huwag kang magnakaw” to the Binay family. It’s obvious that you and other Manila Times columnists are for Binay for a promised ambassadorial positions that you might get from Binay.

  2. Mario Sandoval on

    I like Bam Aquino but he should inhibit from the SET proceedings on Poe’s disqualification case out of delicadeza. He’s a known admin ally who will likely vote against Poe to crush her presidential ambition.

  3. Before the Senate electoral tribunal begins its hearing on Grace Poe’s residency issue, it should weed out biased members like Pia Cayetano from the body. Pia is sister of Alan Cayetano, a rumored vice presidential bet of Mar Roxas. She will likely disqualify Poe just to boost Mar’s candidacy.

  4. Can the Senate Electoral Tribunal appoint new members to the body who are independent and objective? I think that Justice Carpio, senators Pia Cayetano and Bam Aquino will disqualify Grace Poe to heed the request of their true boss — Mar Roxas.

  5. Atty Tatad, please run for the Senate now that one Cayetano is retiring! We need people like you there!

  6. Let us all support the developing attack being led by JPE against the Comelec/Smartmatic in relation to Andy Bautista’s confirmation as Comelec cheating chief. Let us help him establish the truth. The military as soldiers of the Filipino people, the police and all those who sympathize with SAF 44, together with all barangay officials who being the country’s only grass rooted institution and therefore should be at the top not the bottom of the political totem pole, should mass at the Senate and/or Comelec to show their solidarity with JPE in this effort. The NTC and the INC should cast aside their religious differences and pour out all their resources in the streets to demand this system change. This is the rare opportunity that is just waiting for those who are willing to go all the way for the country and the people, Comelec/Smartmatic is the perfect target because it is the regime’s achilles heel. The time for unified action has come. Kilos Na !

    • Why is it the achilles heel? Because as a cheating machine it it indefensible! Not even all the combined genius of the world can defend it before a fact-finding committee dedicated to the truth. The only thing the regime can do is to black out the news of the investigation in the media, but how will they do that if people are massing in the streets in support of it? Kaya Kilos Na !

  7. AGrace Poe is suffering from ” delusion of power grandeur” owing to her top resting survey polled by her adopted uncle Mangahas for her incentive to run for presidency. She knows she is not qualified for lack of experience and proper education yet she insist it is not the required element but her honesty and truthfulness and love of the poor! This is a falsehood because she is not truthful snd honest about her citizenship qualification but trying to twist her birth and making it appear she is a legit natural child of Susan and FPJ though the couple were not married yet when she was found in Jaro Iloilo. The mystery of her upbringing is no doubt affects her personal trait, character and moral upbringing. She is so upbeat and excited about running and even will promise the moon for the poor. Even without thinking she proposed to build an international airport in Pangasinan even when she knew how impractical it is since there is an airport in Clark, Pampanga, only just to get sympathy from the Pangasinese, the province of her adopted parents (Susan and FPJ). Grace Poe has no acumen to manage a business and how much more the entire nation with complicated financial, social, economic and bureaucratic problems. She lacks the exhaustive relevant education and hands-on experience of government administration yet her ego is so inflated to claim she can tackle everything. Poe is no comparison to Len Robredo who knows her capacity and adequacy called for in a higher position in governance.
    If Poe is really concern about the welfare of the poor and the country, Poe should CEASE AND DESIST from throwing her weight in the national highest position snd instead ” throw the towel” and stop even entertaining to run for the Presidency. Poe does not know that Escudero is just fooling her to run with Escudero as the running mate, knowing that Poe will be disqualified and Escudero will get reinstalled hoping her place. That is the devil’s political strategy of Escudero so he will just be a kibitzers with the fate and possibility of winning without any expenses but riding only on the coattail of Poe. Anyway, both Poe and Escudero are opportunist trapos and if they do run, in a Three-way fight, BINAY will win, but will be impeached and again Escudero, if he wins will become President, as the accidental fate governs.

    • laguatanlawzen.com on

      Grace had been misled into believing that she qualifies for highest office. This is a lot of baloney.Poe-Llamanzares is basically inexpeerienced,she doesn’t have a clear academic credential to back up her delusional ambition. If she wins the election, she is even worst than ABNoy, more stupid. She will surely bungle her job.As to Chiz Escudero, he is an opportunist, through and through. In the case of Roxas, he doesn’t have a genuine personality of his own. He kowtow Aquino’s way of playing politics. He obsessed with color yellow just because ABNoy’s color is yellow. He is the “oto-oto” of Aquino. What kind of President will he become?

  8. Jaime Dela Cruz on

    Funny, everytime I see and hear Roxas as he ” listens” to his bosses around the country, I think of the ABS-CBN show, ” Your Face Sounds Familiar”. He should really shave part of his head and practice that insensitive grin to correctly emulate Pnoy.

  9. adonis b. rocha on

    Dont worry Mr. Tatad, its not your Jojo “Nognog” Binay nor Grace P.Llamanzares nor Mar “teka teka” Roxas who will fit your take of total overhaul of the Philippines politics of service. Its none other than a real action oriented man in the name of; PANFILO “PING” LACSON. he is the white knight and dark horse come the filing of candidacies for 2016 in October, 2015. Good riddance that Duterte woke up from his delusion that presidency is national not local governance, with laws to uphold. A tandem of Ping Lacson- Ernesto Herrera for 2016 election would be possible. However, when the result of 2016 election reveals a Ping Lacson as president and a Leni Robredo or a Vilma Santos as the vice, that will be the start to usher the Philippines into a visionary government with firm leadership and service oriented governance, towards a peaceful, orderly and developed meritocratic society, respected by nations and able to uphold its national security.

    • laguatanlawzen.com on

      Mr. Rocha, I agree Ping Lacson but not Vilma Santos. What is she going to do as VP? She appear like a clown. Leni Robredo, yes because she is a lawyer. For Vilma? Oh, my goodness she did not even finish college. I doubt if she ever finish high school. If you want this country to succeed, choose a candidate that is highly qualified – not a political clown. Use yur head not your emotion.

  10. Siguradong pangulo na si Mar Roxas!!sa 2016 kasama ang lahat ng yellow anay!
    Sapagkat religion ang gagamitin nilang pang-akit!
    Kapag hindi ka kay Mar, hindi ka katoliko!! INC ka!!

  11. Yellow media has started Personal Politics already since Binay was investigated by the senate a year ago the longest investigation in aid of legislation in world history!!Sensationalised by yellow media, the old case. old stories been thrown to Binay few years ago..!

    • laguatanlawzen.com on

      ABS-CBN is identified with the yellow mobs.Notice that every death anniversary of Ninoy, Cory, or even EDSA i anniversary, thed ABS-CBN gives premium airtime. During Martial Law anniversary, or the downfall of Marcos, , abs-CBN gives so much airtime to seemingly inflame the people’s hatred on the Marcoses. Why? Is this a big deal? ABNoy is the beneficiary of sympathy votes from the YELLOW MOBS who help PNoy catapult him to the Presidency. Between Binay and Roxas (I don’t like both) but Binay will beat Roxas again.