The other day, our banner was “DU30 WARNS CONGRESS: ‘Do Cha-cha right or I will shut you down.’ He was actually telling Congress and the Filipino people that he would not hesitate to rule as a dictator if the lawmakers used Charter-change for their own advantage. He would “never allow it.” “I’ll close Congress. I’ll arrest all of you.”
That is what the late President Ferdinand Marcos did.
One now wonders about the state of President Duterte’s relations with the leadership and the majority of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Does he not have rapport with them? Is there no understanding between the President and the lawmakers about his legislative agenda and what constitutional amendments he seeks?
The other day he announced he preferred a Constituent Assembly — meaning the Congress — to be the Charter amendment body. Did he say that after holding a caucus with the key leaders of both houses? Or did he just speak aloud about a route that he later found out would not go according to his plan because congressmen and senators would insert their own amendments “to benefit themselves” — which is why he had to give Congress a warning?
The President has repeatedly said that all he wants is for the constitutional amendments to be truly for the benefit of the people.
In an important speech he delivered before he was elected, he said would never allow Charter change to be twisted by Congress for their personal benefit. “We will not allow this to happen and in the worst situation, I will close Congress if they cannot deliver to the people the services, serve their interests and welfare that they are sworn to serve as the people’s representatives.”
He gave the assurance that he would not impose Martial Law but would certainly close any government agency, including Congress, that would perpetuate the corrupt pork barrel system and continue to rob the government.
“I don’t want Filipinos to suffer long queues and we have to address crime, corruption and economics,” Duterte vowed.
He proposed to formulate one pro-people policy from the Office of the President and make all the government offices follow it down the line from the Cabinet departments to the smallest bureaucratic unit so that the people are directly benefited.
“I am a socialist, not a communist and will always get rid of anti-people policies because I am committed to serve the Filipino people and this is part of my vow before you,” Duterte also said in that speech.
This and other statements made by President Duterte indicate that he wants his good intentions to be swiftly and directly carried out — doing away with the niceties of observing every time-consuming requirement of laws.
Definitely, abolishing Congress is a draconian and unconstitutional act.
But President Duterte was elected by a large plurality precisely because he would change the way things are done in our country.
He should be allowed to do the good things he wishes to rid government of corruption and make it deliver its services to the people more effectively and faster.
He and his Cabinet should, however, first of all present to the people exactly what the total program is – covering all departments of governance – so we can know where we are going under the Duterte dictatorship.
They have not done this. They must.
Otherwise, we, the people, would be sailing on without a helmsman.