Last week, I wrote that the admission of President Benigno Aquino 3rd now being “open” to a second-term in office revealed the height of his hypocrisy and the depth of his mental dishonesty. PNoy must be delusional to think that there is a clamor for him to continue beyond the six-year term limit when his popularity based on approval ratings have plummeted due to the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) scandal.
Why do I accuse PNoy of the brazen hypocrisy and mental dishonesty? It is because President Aquino’s position on any amendment to the Constitution has been consistent in the past four years: No way under his watch! This was the same position of his own mother, Corazon C. Aquino, when she was president and beyond in 1997 when she opposed the Charter Change that would extend the term of President Fidel V. Ramos.
In mid-2013, there was a clamor from the business sector to remove the restrictive economic provisions in the Philippine Constitution to attract the direly-needed Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). Thus, there is the imperative to amend the Constitution if the Philippines is to attract the foreign investments that have eluded our country in the past 25 years and instead went to our neighbors in Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
In a letter dated 19 June 2013 addressed to President Aquino, more than 13 business groups “strongly urged the administration to consider amending the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution, which restrict greater private-sector participation.” It added that “if granted, the country’s economic growth will be more inclusive.” The national newspapers published the petition of the business associations in their front-pages.
The Philippine Chamber of Commerce & Industry (PCCI) and the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce –American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and Korean signed the petition together with the Philippine business groups like
the Makati Business Club (MBC), the Management Association of the Philippines (MAP), and the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and other associations.
Opposition to any Charter Change
Unfortunately, President B.S. Aquino3rd did not respond positively to the overwhelming clamor of the business sector. He exposed his supreme ignorance when he naively asked what is the assurance that progress would be attained after the amendments are made. It seemed that the President has not read nor had been briefed by his Cabinet on how foreign investments in Asean countries alone have left the Philippines far behind.
Early this year, the leadership of the House of Representatives made public its intention to amend the economic provisions in the Constitution. House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte filed a House Resolution that would ease the restrictions on foreign investments, which was supported by the same business groups last February. However, PNoy reiterated his stubborn opposition to Charter Change of any kind.
Thus, the revelation of PNoy Wednesday last week that he is now “open” to a second-term in office as President of the Philippines came as a shock to many. Why the sudden change in his position anent amending the Constitution that he had opposed?
No less than former Senator Rene A. V. Saguisag, the former Presidential Spokesman and later Legal Counsel to Cory Aquino, has publicly opposed the second term, saying that he will campaign against PNoy when it happens. I share the same position of my good friend and Times colleague. Rene and I worked together during the presidential campaign of 1986 Snap Elections with Teodoro “Teddy” Locsin, Jr.
Transparency issue with Judiciary & PNoy
Two days after President B. S. Aquino 3rd disclosed his willingness for a second term in order to check on the powers of the Judiciary that he claimed appears to be using its powers without restraint, he targeted again the members of the High Tribunal on the Judicial Fund Development (JDF) and on their personal wealth.
PNoy told the Supreme Court justices that “the major issue here is transparency” and they should file their SALNs (Statement of Assets, Liabilities & Net worth). However, as it often turns out, President Aquino did not exactly know what he was talking about because the SALNs of the magistrates have been filed.
The Supreme Court spokesperson revealed that the justices have not only complied with the law, but have observed transparency. Their SALNs have been given to persons and entities who have requested for copies and complied with their “reasonable administrative requirements.”
The truth is that PNoy is the one who has miserably failed in the subject of transparency in the past four years. He did not keep his promises during the 2010 presidential campaign on the Freedom of Information (FoI) bill and signing a waiver on foreign currency account(s). Until today, with only less than two years left of his term as president, the FoI has not become a law and he has not signed the waiver!
PNoy refused to sign the promised waiver even after former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona signed his during his Impeachment Trial in 2012. In his Inaugural Speech on June 30, 2010, President B. S. Aquino announced the hallmark Policy of Transparency & Accountability of his administration and the Filipino people applauded it. Amazing hypocrisy and hubris from the only son of Ninoy and Cory Aquino!
Last Thursday, August 21, was the 31st Anniversary of the Heroism and Martyrdom of the late Senator Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, Jr. I listened to the recorded telephone conversation between him and the great Greek-Filipino patriot, Steve Psinakis. The conversation did not only show the sheer brilliance of mind of Ninoy Aquino, but also of his supreme love for his country and people.
The recognized leader of the opposition embraced his destiny, even if it meant meeting his own death at the airport that he was already warned of. He had a sense of urgency to go back home based on the confidential information he had received on the unstable moribund condition of then President Marcos.
Ninoy Aquino was willing to put his young life (only 50 years old) on the line to spare the Philippines of the possible chaos and anarchy that might ensue if he was unable to talk to Mr. Marcos before he died. Unfortunately, Ninoy’s only son, Noynoy, is a far cry from the father who offered his own life as a supreme sacrifice.
PNoy is now “open” to a second term as President because he is obviously afraid of going to jail after his term ultimately ends on June 30, 2016.