As promised, I shall try to sum up in this column the main reasons why I believe President B. S. Aquino 3rd should go now—not in 2016, as some critic-defenders insist, but right now, without a moment’s further delay. This requires at the very least a book-length review. But having neither the time nor the space, I shall try to do what is possible within this column. So here we go.
Aquino has committed many crimes against the Constitution, which have long deserved his stepping down. Had the nation turned him out earlier, the Mamasapano massacre and the Bangsamoro Basic Law disaster might never have happened. Now, every moment that he remains in office adds to the gravity of his unpunished crimes, and creates an incalculable risk to the security, safety and sanity of the nation.
The good cardinal-archbishop of Manila, whose shoe laces we are not worthy to untie, has said that since PNoy is not eligible for “reelection,” (though possibly still open to “other options”), he should be allowed to “finish his term until June 30, 2016,” regardless of what he has done. And he should be succeeded by someone elected in the proposed May 2016 presidential elections.
It is injurious to our Republic to wait for the 2016 elections
This seems a perfectly reasonable proposition, except for three small material objections.
First objection. An increasing number of Filipinos, beginning with some of the good Cardinal’s brother bishops, some Protestant bishops and pastors, and Muslim ulama, especially those who are members of the National Transformation Council, have come to believe that there was no valid presidential election in 2010, and that not having been legitimately elected, Aquino is merely a de facto, rather than a de jure, president. So he does not have a valid six-year term to finish in 2016.
Now, if Smartmatic, the Venezuelan private marketing company that is the election service provider, which conducted the 2010 and 2013 elections on behalf of the Commission on Elections, in total derogation of the Constitution and in violation of the Automated Election law, were to do it all over again, using the same precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machine after it had been divested of all its security features and accuracy mechanisms, contrary to law, what chance would there be of holding a valid election to elect a legitimate (and hopefully worthy) successor to a failed de facto president? None whatsoever.
So what 2016 elections are we talking about?
The situation would not be helped at all, even if the Parish Pastoral Council for Responsible Voting, otherwise known as the personal NGO of former Ambassador to the Vatican Henrietta de Villa, were to gratuitously and unilaterally confer its “seal of good housekeeping” on our diseased electoral system for any reason whatsoever. The Times’ front-page editorial yesterday, (“Occupy Comelec!”), seems to anticipate the volcanic eruption that could occur if no attempt were made to overhaul the decayed electoral system. Nevertheless, obviously determined to claim that it represents the interests of the Catholic Church in cleaning up the process, the PPCRV now seems poised to give the corrupt process and players a clean bill of health, ahead of any rumor of official reform to make the next election less crooked.
This is what PPCRV did in the last two crooked exercises. Tomorrow, the PPCRV will launch its so-called “One Good Vote” project, with Cardinal Tagle as the announced guest of honor—(I hope he cancels, at the last minute)—obviously to preempt any official Church effort to subject any claims of probity and rectitude on the part of Comelec and Smartmatic to some rigorous questioning.
Second objection. From Plato and Aristotle to Augustine, Aquinas and John Rawls, among others, ancient philosophers and modern thinkers alike have pointed out that no society can exist that is not based on a common conception of justice. It is therefore thoroughly destructive of society for any moral or civil authority of any standing to propose that certain serious crimes against the people and the state could go or should go unpunished. The statement that less than 500 days remain before Aquino vacates the presidency, and that the nation could afford to leave him undisturbed assumes a lot that is both morally and constitutionally dangerous.
This wrongly and irresponsibly assumes, among other things, that we can predict that nothing untoward or evil could happen to us, to Aquino or to the nation under Aquino, during those next several hundred days. It seems more prudent to draw counsel from the wise Augustine who finds it absurd for anyone to predict that nothing untoward or evil could happen to them in the next several hundred days when they could not say, with any degree of certainty, that nothing untoward or evil could happen to them in the next few minutes.
The clearest illustration of this is what happened at Mamasapano. On the evening of Jan. 24, nobody ever imagined that Aquino would experience a mental breakdown in Zamboanga City the next day, which would lead to the massacre of the 44 PNP-SAF commandos so many kilometers away. What happened in Zamboanga, and what happened to him thereafter, have led people to believe that the President is suffering from a serious mental or psychological disorder that could recur anytime anywhere without any warning.
But since he will not provide the public the necessary information about his state of mental health and will not submit to any psychological tests, the nation, which has the right to know, is unjustly deprived of any knowledge about his mental illness, and cannot therefore protect itself from its wretched consequences. Since he cannot comply with this basic requirement of justice, his best option is to vacate his office.
Third objection. This antedates Mamasapano. This partially restates the first objection, with reference to Aquino’s legitimacy, but refers mostly to his crimes against the Constitution as a de facto president. Although most of his critics were initially disposed to grant that he was probably personally incorrupt, the avalanche fell when he personally decided to corrupt Congress by paying them off to enact the anti-life, anti-family, and anti-poor Reproductive Health Law, and to impeach and remove Chief Justice Renato Corona from the Supreme Court. This became crystal clear when it was revealed that 19 of the 20 senators who had voted to convict Corona had received P50 million or more from the hitherto unknown Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Not even the most venal of his predecessors had done anything like it. He became the first president to be known as the chief corruptor of Congress. Having bought Congress, and intimidated the Judiciary, he then imposed one-man rule without need of a martial law proclamation similar to what Marcos issued in 1972 to break the communist insurgency. In a rare show of courage, the Supreme Court struck down the DAP and the Priority Development Assistance Fund as unconstitutional, and directed the prosecution of all those responsible for the manipulation and misuse of the DAP and PDAF. This was roundly ignored. At the same time, the impeachment process became completely useless, as the Congress which has the exclusive power to impeach and try the President became his defense fortress.
Aquino has moved to weaken our country’s moral and spiritual crust
But whatever Aquino has done to weaken the nation’s constitutional foundations is nothing compared to what he has done to weaken its moral and spiritual crust. He has claimed powers he does not have in order to wage war on God-fearing Filipinos. Under the cover of darkness, he has unleashed all the powers and forces at his command to propose the legalization of same-sex “marriage,” divorce, adultery, and other devilish practices calculated to scandalize and offend innocent Filipinos.
Indeed, his greatest crime is not that he has sought to reduce the Philippines into a failed state, but that he has done so much in so little time to try to kill the true Christian identity of so many Filipinos.