Still on term extension, new Solicitor General

Ej Lopez

Ej Lopez

“WE are still in the process of consulting our ‘Bosses,’” so the statement goes from the people who are “clingy” to the president. In truth and in fact, they see the real threat of being out of grace the moment the president’s term ends in the next two years. As early as now, they foresee the end of their political career, because it is as clear as day that nobody on their side possesses the political potential and popularity of PNoy to be elected. They are looking at all other avenues to the extent of changing the Constitution just for the sake of personal interest presented in the guise of the people’s interest.

What we see are tell-tale signs of a panicky group of people with interest that has been satisfied the past four years, after many years of drought, and now may possibly disappear with the term of the president about to end in two years’ time. And now these people, who have drawn themselves far from the voters’ minds because of their own doing (or undoing), are trying to move heaven and earth in order to give themselves another shot at their long lost political ambition.

To them, only PNoy can save them from the doldrums of political melancholy. For even without admitting it, they know for a fact that their political party is doomed to extinction, at least in 2016.

Who would ever think of tinkering with the Constitution just to satisfy and make possible one’s political desires? And to think that this political interest group would justify it by declaring that the people are clamoring for it. As political leaders, you should have the initiative to explain the limits set by the Constitution to the people. The Filipino people have a deep pool of talent who possess the skills and insights that would deliver the country to growth and prosperity; so why the need for a term extension? That is purely political monopoly by insinuation and definition.

Remember that the country has had bad experiences from term extensions. Take the case of former President Ferdinand Marcos, who ruled the country for 20 years; he abused his self-proclaimed dictatorial rule, and Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, who was the president for almost two terms. Both of them had their series of good deeds before the end of their constitutional terms but their leadership quality had deteriorated because of familiarity, a testament to the cliché that “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

As what Fr. Joaquin Bernas, a member of the 1986 Constitutional Commission has stated, that lifting the term limit of the president is not only against the spirit of the Con-Com but also against the wishes of former President Corazon C. Aquino, the mother of PNoy. True or not, term extension should not even be entertained in our thoughts because it is going to create a dangerous precedent, where every president who gets elected will have that power to create constitutional amendments to extend his term; if PNoy can do it, then why not other presidents that come after him.

Makati Business Club on term extension
The Makati Business Club (MBC) in its recent gathering of members has also expressed its opposition to the possibility of a term extension for the president. They were reacting to speculations started by the Liberal Party camp, believed to be because of the lack of a viable political bet who can run for president in 2016.

The Makati Business Club said 71 percent of their members are against a term extension of the presidency and added that such an action would only undermine whatever gains have been achieved by the administration in the past years. This factual information should be enough for the administration to reconsider its stand (if there is any) for a lifting of the term limit of the president.

New Solicitor General
Hats off to Atty. Florin Hilbay, the newly appointed attorney general of the government. Attorney Hilbay is a former student of yours truly in Economics at the Faculty of Arts and Letters, University of Santo Tomas (UST). He graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1995, after which he took up his law degree at the University of the Philippines (UP).

I was just starting my teaching career then when I came across this guy who showed flashes of brilliance in reasoning and argumentation on some economic issues and theories during his time. Young as he is, I see the potential of this guy to shine in his career soon. We took him as a part-time faculty member in Economics in the mid 90s after he graduated with a degree in Economics, at the same time that he was a student of law at UP. From then on we lost contact with this guy until we read and heard that he topped the bar in 1999.

One of the rare breed of young people who will define the future of this country as far as the judicial arena is concerned, Atty. Hilbay at the young age of 40 will provide a mixture of Thomasian values and leadership acumen that only UST and UP can provide.

Cheers to the new Solicitor General, Atty. Florin Hilbay!

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