The power of one

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President Benigno Aquino 3rd has placed his faith in the brute power of numbers in Congress (as herded by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Senate President Franklin Drilon) to defeat any effort to impeach him.

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As a journalist and amateur historian, I think he has a lot to fear in “the power of one” to get the cause of impeachment rolling and succeeding in terminating his lawless presidency.

I’m appalled that this great controversy, involving P170 billion of taxpayers’ money and fundamental powers of government, is being shoehorned into a game of counting heads in Congress.

When did we agree to make decency and morality in government depend on a head count? Who was the rascal who authored this radical change in our public life?

How the nation is changing
Aquino should sit up because it’s the power of one, not the surface gloss of a sea of faces, that really brings change in society.

And this is how our nation will change and is changing.

With one superlative Supreme Court decision.

With one member of Congress successfully filing and endorsing an impeachment complaint against the President, and winning the support of colleagues in sufficient numbers.

With one party member or house coalition member bolting the dark side to join the forces of light and right.

With one senator deserting the discredited group that sold out to convict former chief justice Corona.

With two senators (Miriam and Bongbong) who refused to convict Corona declaring that this time they will vote to convict.

With one former congressman and now senator (JV Ejercito) disclosing that he received a P10-million incentive for signing the Corona impeachment complaint, and announcing his plans to return the money. This puts all bribed legislators on the spot.

Contributing to the tidal change is the print media, with the energetic support of bloggers and netizens. Forget about broadcast media, their shallowness has been exposed by the complexity of the DAP decision, and by the need for investigative journalism and serious analysis of the issues and developments.

I’ve never been prouder to be a columnist than at this time in our history, because of the outstanding work of so many peers and colleagues. Day by day their work is testing the ceiling of Philippine journalism.

Power of one in history
Again and again in history, we are reminded that successful movements for social and political change start with the power of one—one man or woman conceiving and bravely raising the banner of the cause.

That was the case with India’s historic march to Freedom—on the back of Mohandas Gandhi’s creed and program of non-violence.

That was the case with the American civil rights movement, which started with one woman, Rosa Parks, refusing to give up her seat in a bus, and which transformed into a nationwide movement in the hands of Martin Luther King, who declared, “I have a dream.”

That was the case with the long fight against apartheid in South Africa, which started with one man, Nelson Mandela, who from the confines of prison for 27 years, founded a new South Africa led by the overwhelming black majority.

The story is true everywhere, replicated in countless stories of change.

And the same, I daresay, will also be the case with the cause of Impeachment of President Aquino, which our current history has made the No.1 item in the national agenda.

SC decision set the stage
The reckoning has started with one Supreme Court decision, which ruled that the Aquino administration’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) is illegal and unconstitutional.

The decision as forecast is now serving as the tipping point for changes that will sweep the nation.

Some justices have become household words because of their memorable words in writing the majority opinion and some concurring opinions.

The decision has intensified the public’s demand for accountability, and the outcry for Aquino and Abad to be held liable.

Impeachment in the House
The power of one will be most dramatically felt in the House, where every vote or signature will count for the impeachment complaint to reach the Senate for trial.

The administration is conducting a loyalty check of House members to ensure that no impeachment complaint will secure the required number of signatures to clear the House.

I urge would-be filers of a complaint to include Alex Magno’s thesis of “economic sabotage” among the articles of impeachment. His column in the Star last Thursday (“Sabotage,” Star, July10) was devastating for the administration and has reduced Lacierda, Coloma and Valte to silence.

Magno’s point is powerful and persuasive. He contends that what Aquino and Abad did in the DAP scheme is nothing less than economic sabotage: To generate the billions for their nefarious program, they embarked on a deliberate policy of underspending, stopped infrastructure projects already approved for implementation, diverted the funds into their favored projects. This had the effect of plunging the economic growth rate from 7.2 percent down to 3 percent. And then they turned around to create a humongous stimulus to recover the lost growth.

Let me quote Magno’s words to give you an idea of his argument:

“There was neither rhyme nor reason to the projects wiped off the board to fabricate “savings.” Most of them were, of course, projects of the previous administration.

“By cutting our potentially robust growth rate, the insane effort to fabricate “savings” denied the jobless the opportunity to be employed. It pushed struggling small businesses to the brink. It probably foreclosed the possibility for our economic growth to be inclusive.

“In a word, the malevolent scheme to produce fake “savings” in order to fatten the President’s personal pork barrel inflicted great harm on the most vulnerable sections of our society. This is no ordinary crime. It is the economic equivalent of genocide.”

“And where were the aggregated “savings” used? Were they used to improve social services and rescue our decrepit educational system? No evidence suggests that.

“Malacañang to this day refuses to release a full accounting of the notorious DAP, claiming it might get into the way of a motion for reconsideration at the High Court. This could not be an excuse, unless unveiling the actual use of DAP might compound this administration’s predicament. In which case, withholding the information amounts to a cover-up.”

I totally agree with Alex’s thesis. That’s why in an earlier column, I flippantly suggested that Abad should be treated like a Nazi war criminal, who invented the Final solution. I had an ulterior motive for saying that. The final solution led to the holocaust. A great nation, Israel, rose out of the Holocaust. I am cautiously hopeful that a new Filipino nation will emerge from the ashes of the DAP.

The campaign for accountability will go forward if one impeachment complaint is properly filed in the House of Representatives, is endorsed by at least one member, and then endorsed by one third of the House membership (96 based on a total of 290 members). The complaint will constitute the articles of impeachment, which shall be transmitted to the Senate,and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.

The campaign for House support of the impeachment should begin immediately, to secure the needed votes to go forward.

I believe that when economic sabotage is listed as a an article of impeachment, there will be an erosion of support for the President.

Under these circumstances, House members will be hard put to justify to their constituents their refusal to support impeachment.

Trial could lead to Aquino resignation
If an impeachment complaint clears the House, the campaign challenge will become much lighter.

Mr. Aquino, I believe, will resign rather than face a trial that he cannot win.

With their shameful sellout in the Corona impeachment trial, many senators will seek to mend their ways. Many will prefer that the problem just goes away.

They have no incentives to look forward to. President Aquino will be worse than lame.

* * *

Aquino and Abad song-and-dance act

As I write this piece, there is breaking news that Abad has offered to resign, and that President Aquino has rejected his resignation.

This resign-and-reject act seeks to paint Aquino and Abad as still functioning public servants. Nobody believes a word of it.

To win any traction, Abad should tender his irrevocable resignation, so Aquino will have no room to reject it.

The president is in a dilemma here. If Abad leaves, Aquino will be left behind as the sole author and implementor of the DAP monstrosity. The plunderer-in-chief so to speak.

If Abad goes to trial, there’s no telling what he will say in court to save himself. Aquino could wind up with more mud on his face.

If Abad stays on, the people’s indignation will rise to fever pitch, and will become difficult, perhaps impossible, to contain.

It is better all around, and more neat, if the impeachment complaint pushes through all the way to the Senate.

Then Aquino’s resignation will end the nightmare for everyone.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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23 Comments

  1. Your piece on “the power of one” appears to me like the clarion call, summoning us to gear ourselves up for an all-out war against this present administration that brought nothing to our country but social-political-religious-cultural shame and embarrassment! Before so overwhelming a challenge, only the Merciful Lord could raise a Filipino with a courage like that of David who slew the enemy with but a slingshot; a Filipina who is blessed with the bravery like that portrayed by St. Joan of Arc. Since our foes from Malacanang, seems to have the backing of “demons”, liars and sycophants, that is, what remains for us is to have humble recourse to the God of History, who in the past delivered us from falling into the hands of Dutch invaders through the powerful intercession of Our Lady of the Rosary. Indeed, I am praying that someone with a courage like that portrayed by Alain Lefevre, portrayed by Van Damme in “Legionnaire”; for yet another, who would have the steadfastness and grim determination like that of Horatius who stood his ground at the foot of the bridge to save Rome from being invaded by barbarians. Mr. Makabenta, please, write something about demagogical leaders and their miserable and tragic ends. Thank you.

  2. If Abad was playing baseball in the Aquino league, he would already be on 2 STRIKES count. The first is when Abad refused to release documents on the PDAF use to COA, such that the COA audit for 2007-2009 was not complete. Only 100% of the documents related to Enrile, Revilla and Estrada were released to COA. Was this refusal on orders from Aquino? STRIKE ONE.

    Now comes STRIKE 2: Abad refuses to release (maybe on orders of Aquino?) on the list of items from the GAAs where the illegal “savings” came from. Abad also refuses, despite the clamor of the owners of the money, the taxpayers, to release the details on the 116 projects. Aquino and Abad keep on harping that they “did not commit anything wrong. No money was stolen, which is beside the point in discussion. The source of the DAP funds was illegal and according to Alex Magno was “deliberately withheld” or projects cancelled in order to create a slowdown on government spending.

    I wonder, what STRIKE 3 would be for Abad and Aquino?

  3. You column Mr. Yen is like a song so beautiful that makes me strong and free. I hope plenty of our countrymen.

  4. The low to which the country has sunk, is pathetic…

    We have the son of “a hero” and a saint, and now we have the biggest, most widespread stealing in government, in all of our national history…!

    Pwede ba, in 2016, please do NOT elect anyone, even remotely yellow…

    NO Roxas, NO Binay…no anyone connected to the yellows! We must see justice
    served on these crooks, masquerading as tuwid na daan…

    Poetic justice, indeed!

  5. “Economic Sabotage” maybe that’s the reason why #KapalMukhaAbad don’t want to provide the list where the DAP goes. Abad and #ShamelessPnoy are fooling us and making us stupid. They should be hang together to death.
    #StepDownPnoy

  6. Excellent article! Now, all we have to do is dare that ONE who will start the ball rolling! Anyone who has guts? Come on, show us that one of you has the courage and the principle to stand up and the people will fight behind you! I REALLY HOPE SO!!

  7. basilio valdez on

    it is sad indeed on what is going on in the philippines…oh if only our beloved cardinal sin was still alive….THE POWER OF ONE….would have started to snow ball…now..but the current hierarchy of the catholic church, unfortunately, will not lift its finger …very disappointing….

  8. Very well said… But don’t you Filipino people haven’t learned and realized the lessons of People Power I and II? Who are the authors of this revolt??? In People Power I…after Marcos stepped down… Philippine Economy also stepped down… One of its author is already in jail for allege corruption. In People Power II… Erap Para sa Mahirap”… what is the cause of revolt? Economic Sabotage… Makati Banks were allege deliberately closed to show Philippine Economy collapse! What happened..? People panicked and marched on the street! Who are those behind this…? Influential businessmen! They put into post the economist! What happened next? Rampant corruptions, anomalous transactions, scams Like Napoles NGOs, extra judicial killings and politicians get richer! Talo ang Mahirap! Erap doesn’t pocketed people’s money. He was charged of plunder because of pocketing the gambler’s money.

    Now “Tuwid na Daan”… Who are those promoter shouting to bring Pnoy down. Who will benefit after the revolt? Another corrupt politician? Then… naisahan na naman tayo! Talo na naman tayo!

    PLEASE THINK ABOUT IT!!!

  9. Fred Elcazar on

    A powerful statement !!! The Power of One …. One Man One Vote … Let us all RISE UP and be recognized !!! We can in our own little ways be heard. Here in the U.S. we email our Congressmen and State Senators to be heard. We all can do the same in the Philippines. Text your Congressman, he’s supposed to represent YOU on this important issue as well as other issues. Text him to say that you will be watching his vote on impeachment. Do your part on the issue of CORRUPTION.

    Let’s all RISE UP and wield the POWER OF ONE !!! If YOU don’t, who will????

    Fred E

  10. jesus nazario on

    I reckon there are MORE THAN one sitting congressmen who CAN/MUST stand up and wield the sword of justice. NOW NA ! What are they waiting for ? Colmenares. Ridon. Romualdez (don’t worry being a Romualdez, Boy Pick-up/Bawang/Kargador will not react this time against another Romualdez). Abigail Binay. Lito Atienza (yes, Mayor !). And many many undecideds and un-compromised. Come on guys/gal ! This is a call of Inang Bayan to your courage, love of country and altruism.

    • I don’t see Colmenares’ logic of His principle. I heard His radio interview that he refused to accept the money when he learned it was coming from DAP fund. Now poor people who approach him to finance their project was dismayed. It may help for their progress but they failed.

      My question is??? Which will you choose? Your principle or people’s benefit of many? This is like a typical communist idea.

      This is no other than difference from NPA bulwarks. They fight for something on their principle but deprived the progress of the Filipino people living around their territories. No businessman will be willing to gamble their money in NPA’s infested area. They burn heavy equipments in building road to market projects! If you cannot pay expensive revolutionary tax they demand.. You better run away or die.. That’s why people living there is still below poverty. And they will blame the government for people’s misery.

  11. Jose A. Oliveros on

    A very perceptive analysis indeed. Truly, the “power of one” can be devastating in the same way that a single pebble thrown at a body of water can generate waves. And I like the choice of the word “herded” (instead of headed) to describe the subservience of Drilon and Belmonte to PeNoy

  12. Danny Dingle on

    In 1986, right after the successful EDSA I revolt, the world called us a nation of heroes. Today, in these morally-challenging times engulfing the government, let us pray that our leaders be enlightened and do the right thing. Let us be a nation of heroes again.

    • Only the Manilenos take part of the Edsa 1 and 2… Their number only representing 0.001% of Philippine population. They are not far enough to represent the whole Filipinos. How about people living in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao? Do they agree? That’s why no wonder during 2010 presidential election… Erap’s vote was next to Pnoy especially in Visayas and Mindanao… Let’s not be a fallen heroes again…

  13. I still believe in the moral sense of the members of congress not to consider themselves supporters of Noynoy Aquino by hook or by crook. Their strong sense of values will help them favor Noynoy with the acts of approval whenever he accomplishes worthty endeavors but certainly with acts of displeasure whenever the highest law of the land denounces his acts as unambiguously unconstitutional regardless of whether or not he acted in good faith.

  14. I agree with aquino being investigated to see if he personally gained from any governemnt funds, i think all politicians at any level should be investigated to see if any have stolen any money. But i cant see where you keep saying corona had done nothing wrong. Let me tell you the chief justice should be above reproach, he more than anyone should set the perfect example, but he flouted the laws of this country. He used the bank secrecy law to hide ill gotten wealth. But for some reason you say he did nothing wrong. I dont know the womans name but she had a low paying job in public service & didnt declare her small market stall in her saln & he made an example of her. She lost her job & is never allowed to work for governm,ent again, she lost all her benefits & all her future pension rights. But corona who had P180,000,000 in his dollar account that was undeclared on his saln according to you was treated so unfairly. I ask you why do you think he was innocent of any crime, please write an article on it so we can all know.

    • Bro, can you still remember the reason why CJ Renato Corona was impeached? If I am correct, the reason is because of a faulty SALN, which, as what was said according to law, can be rectified. But all the Senathieves but 3, voted for impeachment because of faulty SALN. In fact, during his statements, Senathief Juan Ponce Enrile mentioned that they found that Corona had no illegal wealth, meaning to say that the source of his deposits are legitimate. Note also the manner how Heidi Mendoza, Carpio-Morales and Pulido-Tan masterminded bloating Coronas bank deposits and fabricated some to appear that he has millions of millions of peso and dollar deposit. You must also consider how angry the public was seeing how the administration crucified Renato Corona is such an unfair manner. Hence, look at what is happening now. Because Sexy Jinggoy had the goods, it is now exposed how King PNoy and Prince Abad bribed all legislators but very few, to be assured of the Corona conviction. We should think and ponder, had PNoy not bribed and corrupted the legislators, especially the Senathieves, do we think Corona will be convicted?

  15. He still have the money to bribe even the oppositions as they did to Corona so it may not prosper at all. (BUT ALWAYS REMEMBER the 3 senator stooges accepted the bribe now where did they ended up?).

  16. JV Ejercito must return the P10 million if he really is a straight person. It will also be a great act for him to do.

  17. Alejo Rosete on

    I predicted in my response in a previous column – If President Aquino is impeached he will resign like President Nixon. In short President BS Aquino is President Nixon in the making.

    Vice President Binay will assume the Presidency, he being the Vice President. President Binay will surely pardon the President, he (Binay) being a Cory man. Binay owes Cory of what he is today. And if not for the president resignation – He (Binay) will not become president this early.

    Similarly, President Gloria Arroyo immediately pardoned Erap. If Erap did not resign, Gloria might not become a President. “Otang na loob?”

    I think this is a “Filipino Culture” – madaling magpatawad.

  18. SALVACION CAHAYAG on

    Bullseye Mr. Makabenta. This administration is by far the worst. No other
    president in the past short circuited the constitution. No other president in the past
    squandered the peoples money than this tandem abnoy and abad. No other
    president in the past bribed these crocodiles in congress into voting for the
    impeachment of corona to satisfy the whims of this king or pork abnoy. Doctrine
    of operative fact or good faith? How in the world can this corrupt and vindictive
    president invoke good faith when he, knew very well that what he did was
    illegal. Where in the world can this thick face abnoy invoke good faith when he
    knew that he bought members of congress to impeach his enemy corona?
    How can the say that what they did was good faith when all along, they were
    violating the fundamental law of the country, the constitutioin. How can they
    say that they were ignorant. If that is soo, we have yet to see a president who is
    ignorant, does not know the law and therefore incompetent.