Peace council: last gasp of a lame-duck presidency

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This could be President Aquino at his weirdest.

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Throughout his five years in office, his excellency has adamantly refused to convene the National Security Council (NSC) and the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) – two councils that are part of our governing traditions and were created by legislation and executive order to help the president in decision-making and administration. Neither body has convened even once under Aquino’s watch.

But, from out of the blue, as if wakened by divine revelation, he announced on March 27 the creation of a new peace council, which he has tasked with persuading Congress and our people to support and hasten the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL).

In a flash, we have not just one, but an army of convenors.
Aquino does not like the councils that are engraved in decades of Filipino constitutional practice. He will only accept councils that he himself creates and begets as father of the nation.

No doubt encouraged by advisers who fancy themselves as strategic thinkers (like the now departed Ricky Carandang), Aquino sees the ad hoc council as a formula for addressing grave problems of national life.  It is a balm for wounds. It can be used as a shock absorber.

Councils to assist the president

It would be an unforgivable hyperbole to describe the NSC and the LEDAC as venerable institutions. But they exist by law and executive construction.

And they were explicitly designed to assist the Philippine president in decision-making and administration.

Until BS Aquino came along, every president of the republic found much value in their usefulness in the making of policy. They did not doubt whether council members possessed “the wisdom and integrity” that Aquino considers essential for anyone to sit in an advisory council to the president.

The National Security Council is the principal advisory body to assist in the proper coordination and integration of plans and policies affecting national security.

In the US, the national security council has a much broader charge of coordinating national security policy – encompassing foreign policy, intelligence collection and evaluation, and defense policy.

Our NSC  is a collegial body chaired by the President. It includes as members, the vice-president, members of the Cabinet (foreign affairs, defense, interior, justice and labor), top leaders of Congress, and all living past presidents of the Republic.

The Council was created during the Quirino Administration and was reorganized in 1986 by President Cory Aquino. President Gloria Arroyo amended the executive order on the NSC to include past presidents.

Ironically, this could be one key reason why Aquino has refused from the first to convene the council. He does not want to listen to the former presidents’ views and to acknowledge their greater grasp of statecraft.

The Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) is the consultative and advisory body to the President on the government’s legislative agenda, particularly programs and policies affecting the economy. LEDAC was created through the Republic Act 7640 and approved by President Fidel V. Ramos on December 9, 1992.

LEDAC is composed of 20 members, from the Cabinet, Congress, and the private sector.

The council is supposed to meet at least once every quarter but may be convened by the president to special meetings if necessary. Aquino never found it necessary to convene LEDAC.

Aquino Peace Council has tough task

It is in the same spirit of tapping broad counsel and assistance that the President has created the peace council.

He said at its creation: “I am fully aware that the events in Mindanao, together with the incident in Mamasapano, have sown doubt in the minds of our countrymen. The result: it has pushed aside the objective evaluation of the BBL.”

“To address this, I am inviting citizen leaders known for their wisdom and integrity to stand as independent convenors.”

Appointed as members of the council were Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr, businessman Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, former Philippine Ambassador to the Holy See and Malta Howard Dee, and founder of Teach Peace, Build Peace Movement Bai Rohaniza Sumndad-Usman.

To put the best face on this initiative, it is not unusual for a president president to look beyond the Cabinet for policy advice in addressing a thorny problem, especially a crisis.

In the Mamasapano tragedy, Aquino clearly faces the biggest crisis of his presidency.

In the deliberations over the BBL in Congress, this linchpin of the GRP-MILF peace agreement faces rough sailing. Sentiment against the measure is running high.

The task of the council is not propaganda or public relations; it is to come up with availing ideas to ensure that the nation will stay on the road to peace, and that the vision of Muslim Filipinos for a Bangsamoro entity will receive a fair hearing.

Kompre was a precursor

The peace council scheme is actually not the first time that the Aquino administration has gone to this well for water.

In April last year, the government created the Koalisyon ng Mamamayan para sa Reporma or Kompre, to counter the public outrage over scandals hounding the government because of the DAP and the pork barrel.

Karina David, one of the convenors, declared that the coalition was launched to ensure that positive gains under the administration are continued beyond 2016.

Kompre was envisioned as a broad-based coalition of civil society groups, people’s organizations, political parties, social movements and reform-minded individuals to champion the institutionalization and broadening of reforms in government.

The movement lost steam when media charged that the government had conscripted personages enjoying fat salaries and contracts in government corporations, and who were beholden to the President for favors.

Kompre went silent overnight.

The Peace council could meet with similar skepticism with the media and the public, because several of the designated convenors have had long ties with the Aquino government be it in business or politics.

What is troubling is the thought that President Aquino is collecting on debts and favors he has extended. And the so-called citizen leaders of wisdom and integrity may not be falling in line out of a sense of patriotism.

At the first meeting of the peace council in Makati last  April 6, Justice Davide declared: “The hard work begins after BBL is passed.”

He is mistaken. The hard work of the council has already begun.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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21 Comments

  1. Yen can ridicule Pres. Aquinos’ last term but that should not deter the initiatives that his administration is trying to do for the betterment of the country. It’s never easy for first term or last term status because opposition will always use either term to downgrade its effect. The fact is, Pres. Aquino is not the only one described as lameduck, even the leader of the free world, Pres. Obama is experiencing the same underwhelming respect. Be that it may, the Filipino people and not Yen and his cohorst are the best judge for the success and failure of Pres. Aquino’s. term.

  2. Traidor na presidente, at traidor na mga cabinet members, peace negotiators. all!

    Anong klaseng gobyerno ang nakikipag-deal sa mga hindi pala nila kilala, or now that we know, mga criminals pala…? or perhaps even Malaysians…..!!!

    Stupid is as stupid does…nakakatawa sa sobrang ka-engotan…

  3. For Davide to state – “The hard work begins after BBL is passed.”, will only mean that the next administration and not this present administration, has to buckle down and come out with curative measures, to make peace in Mindanao work. Well, he is thoroughly out-of-sync on this one, because what is needed right now is to seek and work out an attainable solution for all stakeholders, for Mindanao to have a lasting peace, which is in this instance must be a preventive approach in forming a framework for peace.

    This peace panel convened by BS Cojuangco Aquino III, is nothing more than a window dressing, used to put a semblance of wisdom and integrity, which has no independence whatsoever from vested personal interest and ulterior manipulations, on what is an appalling excuse for degenerating the national interest of the Republic of the Philippines, on a whimsical and farcical ploy by a lame-duck puppet president.

  4. The more he opens his mouth the more our country is in danger. This is what we get in electing an obnoxious person in Malacanang. He wants to make only a statement but not a trademark where he can be proud of as his legacy to the people. His administration is infested with full of idiotic fools with no concrete plans to offer for the people. Shame on you!!

  5. jason bourne on

    As I said before we elected the wrong Conjuanco.

    Gibo – top of his class, valedictorian, top class of his class in law, board topnotcher, active in many pro-people activiies. Tried his best as Defenese Minister & was on the ball during the typhoon as head of NDCC. Active in Outdoor sports activities.

    BS Nonoy – lazy good-for-nothing congressman/senator who in in whole political never passed one(1) single bill !!!. The bills he sponsored/helped were all self-serving like the exit from the expressway to their hacienda Luisita ! Active in Video Games !

    ayan ang mapapla natin kapag ini-elect natin ang isang tamad na bobo pang Presidente. kung ginamit natin ang ating kukuti eh di sana tayo na-bulabog ngayon. Maganda na sana at pa-unlad paman ang ating bansa kahit maraming problema.

    Kaso nga lkang ang Pinoy ay madaling madala sa “That’s Entertainment’ kind of government. Kahit na ngayon na bistado na ang kapalpakan, ay ang mga tao ay “Okay lang”.

    Kaya nag we deserve our own government. Repleksyon ito ng kababawan at katangahan natin.

    • If we recall, before Pnoy becomes a president, there was a psychological report about his mental health. But his PR, was able to downplay it as mere political attack on his candidacy. Now, with the way P NOYis acting, this report eventually proved the truth abou Pnoy’s mental make up.I’d rather recommend that in order for us not to elect an insane president in the future, all presidential candidates must submit themselves for nuerological examination..Pnoy if ever should be the last one.

    • Hinde natin ma blame si Pinoy na parang bina bale wala ang problema sa WPS kasi sa bloodline niya sa chinese na mas malapot pa sa Pilipino niyang dugo!!

  6. In the old game of – ‘if you were likened to a car, what would it be’ – Fantasist Pnoy Aquino would no doubt fancy himself to be a porsche, but in reality a jeepney more closely fits the bill – old, americanised, rusty, paint peeling, slow, adorned with symbols, cheap, noisy, a bumpy ride, smoke bellowing from the front & his rear, and soon to be on the scrapheap. An ageing relic.

    Kris Aquino would be an Omnibus – ‘All aboard!’

    • Ibig mo sabihin ay meron ng naimbentong sasakyan na ang tawag ay Kris? Marami na bang sumakay sa kanya? Mas maganda siguro tanungin natin yun dispatcher kun may mga pasahero na nagngangalang Philip, James, etc. Baka meron pang gusto sumakay.

  7. Vicente Penetrante on

    BS Aquino the 3rd loves his blame-game. How can he make use of NSC, which includes all living past presidents?

  8. We are loosing territory our heroes and ancestors fought and died for…Sabah mischief reef the spratleys…. No content with that we are goving others away theBBL…. Weight as well raise arms to get money and territory for free and let the fools work hard , follow the laws, and pay taxes

  9. Every time Aquino finds something in his way, he bends the straight path. He creates things to push his ideas in the press and to the people. Every time he does that, we can see that he is wrong. He is plain wrong.

  10. An exercise in futility for PNoy. Impossible already for him to reverse the public’s perception of his failed presidency, of his incompetence, lack of skills (whether soft or hard) – describing his ‘tuwid na daan’ as TUWAD na Daan, a more fitting description.

  11. Anima A. Agrava on

    Weird, liar, corrupt, hypocrite president running or maybe not running a weird, liar. corrupt. hypocrite administration.

  12. I agree!!!! Your prognostication (meaning your guess) is probably on-point (meaning ‘right’). “….. one key reason why Aquino has refused from the first to convene the national security council. He does not want to listen to the former presidents’ views and to acknowledge their greater grasp of statecraft.”

  13. Samuel Santos on

    At a time when we most need a strong and determined leader, what we’ve got is a weakling and a good-for-nothing President.

  14. sonny dela cruz on

    B.S. Aquino must be removed now. He is more interested on his BBL than the whole problems of the country. The media should start the call for his removal for whatever means. The country is in a mess with corruption, hunger, China’s intrude to Philippine sovereignty and unemployment. The media should wake up the Filipino people at large to save the country from the destruction by the President. The media should use all the influences in the military, businesses and the religious groups. It is time for them to do a PATRIOTIC DUTY for the first time aside from reporting. Why no one can take him out, how powerful he is against the 100 million population of the Philippines. The country needs to move forward, to uplift the economic level of each Filipino people, many are hungry and uneducated. The Filipino people needs the government to work for them NOW.

  15. P.Akialamiro on

    The peace council has come too late. I still hope for the best, but the ‘damage’ after 5 years is beyond repair. Especially, with the kind of leadership there is.

  16. Alejo Rosete on

    Ayaw niya ang NSC at LEDAC – why?
    He can not dictate to the members
    the results he want.