• We must now start thinking ‘post-Aquino’

    23

    The call on President B. S. Aquino 3rd to step down as a result of the Jan. 25 Mamasapano, Maguindanao massacre has now become irreversible. It has taken hold of our people’s consciousness, and is now sweeping across the nation. In Cebu last Friday, Cardinal Ricardo Vidal, archbishop emeritus of Cebu, flanked by Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu, Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Lipa, Batangas, Archbishop Romulo de la Cruz of Zamboanga, Bishop Ramon Villena of Bayombong, Bishop Filomeno Bactol of Naval, Archbishop Emeritus Fernando Capalla of Davao, and a special representative of Bishop Juan de Dios Pueblos of Butuan, plus some visiting leaders of non-Catholic Christian churches, read the latest statement reaffirming the moral validity of the call for PNoy’s immediate departure, in the light of the latest developments.

    Of the bishops present, only Palma, who presided over the Holy Mass in honor of the Cardinal’s 84 birthday at his private residence, prior to the statement, has not endorsed the call. Many members of the Cebu clergy, however, are sympathetic to it.

    Vidal’s statement was reported in banner headlines in all the Cebu dailies the next morning, and later featured as the number one breaking news on national television. Malacañang is now busy trying to say the Cardinal did not endorse the step-down call, as though it would change anything. This is wishful thinking.

    The cardinal’s words were very clear. He said: “Various assemblies convened by the National Transformation Council have strongly advocated that the President should step down. We, the bishops of the Catholic and other Christian Churches, have often been asked if there is moral basis to this growing demand. Recent developments have made this call even more urgent and imperative.

    “Gadium et Spes (The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World) made it emphatically clear that ‘at all times and in all places, the Church should have the freedom to teach her doctrine and to pass moral judgment in those matters which regard the common good and fundamental rights and freedoms.’ The Church and her pastors must never abandon their duty to denounce evil and to guide men, women and children in their active search for the truth and the good. Moral evil must be removed from the political and social system. This task, the Church and the political community cannot just live in the hands of politicians, no matter how virtuous they might be.”

    “We cannot be apathetic. In the face of attempts to glorify evil and undermine the life of grace,” the Cardinal recalled the words of Pope Francis to Filipinos during his apostolic visit. These words inspire us, the Cardinal said, to listen to God’s call to ‘pay greater attention to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away from it’ (Heb 2:1); to ‘approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need’ (Heb 4:16); and to struggle against sin, even to the point of shedding our blood (cf Heb 12:1-4). “

    Former supporters now also see Aquino must step down
    Even those who used to support Aquino blindly now seem convinced that by denying reinforcement to the Special Action Force police commandos, who were pinned down by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, the President sent the fallen 44 to their deaths, and made himself not only totally unfit to remain sitting in Malacañang but also a grave danger to the nation. He has to step down. There can be no other way of providing a closure to this bloody episode, and allowing the nation to move on.

    For us, citizens, we need to readjust our own perspectives now. For all intents and purposes, the Aquino regime is over, though not yet gone, and we must now begin thinking “post-Aquino.” We must begin planning our lives as a people not only under a new government but, if possible, also within a new system. The only remaining opposition to this seems to be coming from those who say we should not get rid of PNoy only to put Vice President Jejomar Binay in. The columnist Neal Cruz calls it “a cure worse than the disease,” and some others repeat it with some passion. But it is a false proposition.

    Through a subcommittee of the Senate blue ribbon committee, three Senate attack dogs, some local politicians from Makati, and the flagship of Aquino’s conscript media, Malacañang and the ruling Liberal Party have been trying to destroy Binay as a prospective candidate in the next presidential elections. Their ultimate objective is not just to prevent him from winning in the next election, if there is one, but rather to prevent him from filing a certificate of candidacy altogether. Thus the conscript media have made the anti-Binay campaign their daily fare, until the papal visit temporarily interrupted, and the Mamasapano massacre headlines now seemed to have displaced it altogether.

    The wrecked constitutional order must first be restored
    But the real issue is not Binay’s right to run in the next election or to succeed Aquino if he vacates earlier. The real issue is the nation’s right to a functioning constitutional democratic order. If such an order exists, then Binay’s right to succeed Aquino, whatever his personal or political defects, can never be impugned. But if the constitutional order has been wrecked, and no longer works, then the law on presidential succession has also been abolished, and there is no longer any right to succession to invoke. The constitutional order must first be restored before we can talk again of presidential succession.

    This has been the position of the National Transformation Council and other groups demanding PNoy’s removal from the very beginning. They do not believe the 2010 and 2013 elections, which put Aquino in power, were legitimate and honest elections. They do not believe they installed a de jure government. Both elections were illegally conducted by the Venezuelan service provider Smartmatic rather than by the Commission on Elections, which alone has the constitutional mandate to conduct elections. Smartmatic used the precinct count optical scan machine, after it had been illegally divested of all the security features and accuracy mechanisms needed to guarantee fair and honest elections. The actual data, repeatedly shown in numerous NTC public presentations, confirm this proposition.

    Since both elections were illegitimate, and their results false, Aquino is no more than a de facto president, at the head of a de facto government. Thus the various general assemblies convened by the NTC in Lipa, Cebu, Butuan, Angeles City, Davao, General Santos since August of last year have repeatedly called for Aquino’s stepping down as the first requirement of regime and system change. Many others have since echoed this position. But none of them could ever be accused of wanting to remove PNoy just to install Binay or a single leader on top of the terribly conflicted political and constitutional system. They would all like to see the constitutional order fixed first, before they consider choosing a single national leader. This needs a thorough constitutional reform.

    Until a superior idea manifests itself, the NTC would like to put together the best qualified men and women from the strategic sectors of the society to form a caretaker government, completely nonpartisan and transitional in character, and functioning as a council, that would first fix the constitutional structure, and all relevant constitutional processes and systems, beginning with the electoral system, before calling upon the voters to elect wise and honest government leaders in an absolutely free and honest election.

    Those aspiring to lead the country through honest elections could become part of this process, simply by embracing its declared objectives and principles. But they cannot insist on holding another automated election in 2016 just because the Comelec has already signed its new midnight deal with Smartmatic in defiance of the massive citizens’ protest, or just because they have already made their own arrangements with the syndicate that will rig the next elections.

    There is need for all the political players to now embrace the call for system change. Unless there is a real effort at such change, the public outcry against the regime will simply intensify even after Aquino is gone.

    Police and military coup is a no-no
    As a result of the presidential meltdown at Mamasapano, the police and the military have become critical factors in pursuing the desired constitutional change. They just cannot stand there in support of a venal and wicked officialdom that has lied barefaced to the nation and the world about Aquino’s true involvement and actual culpability in the bloody encounter that had caused the death of 44 brave young men who did not have to die. Neither can they initiate any action that would have the appearance of a police or military coup, no matter how justified it might appear.

    But they could, and they should, enter into open dialogue with the NTC and the various other groups to make sure that whatever action the citizens decide to take could only enhance the nation’s drive for stability and peace. If the NTC and the other groups decide to declare that they have ceased to recognize the authority of the Aquino regime over their lives as citizens, the police and the military should be able to support such action, consistent with the constitutional principle that the Philippines is a democratic and republican state, that sovereignty resides in its people, and all government authority emanates from them. Thus if the citizens withdraw their recognition of the Aquino regime, the police and the military should similarly be able to withdraw their allegiance to, and support for the regime.

    fstatad@gmail.com

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    23 Comments

    1. The old homeland needs to hold a fresh election barring the incumbent “elected” officials that had been occupying the “elective office” for over six years, e.g., Vice President, Senate President, and Speaker of the House, Senators, and Congressmen from running.
      Only those who are proven competent, honest, trustworthy, and not greedy for gain must be deemed eligible to run for Presidency.

    2. We are the blind followers of the blind ,and the lied followers of the liar and the victims of the incompetent

    3. May I ask by what right goes NTC have to try and rule over the country, even if only on a transitional basis? Its the same right these MILF animals are invoking, that is by revolutionary rights, only in their case, they don’t need clerics to strengthen their claim as they have guns but this NTC makes up for lack of arms by cloaking themselves with a the usual yellow device called moral armor, courtesy of Catholic prelates. This is the same yellow trick pulled by the Cory Aquino’s Hyatt 10 when they broke away from GMA after the Garci tapes but this time it is BS Aquino’s irreversible radioactivity that they are insulating the yellow regime from. BBL will continue under the NTC as the Church’s acquiescence to this evil scheme is glaringly obvious. The hidden power attacking the people’s wallet through privatization, giving them the world’s highest power rates, and other oppressive programs, will not be curtailed but on the contrary will be amplified as the Church is a main pillar of the yellow regime that is the designated quarterback of the globalization agenda in this country. Its not this BS that is the enemy but the yellow regime. Remember it was the yellow CORY who revived the dead MNLF, which spawned this MILF, and it was the yellow FVR who GAVE them their camps all of which (40 plus if i remember correctly) were given back to them by the yellow GMA after ERAP drove them out in a two month war. The yellow BS shows nothing but disdain for fellow yellow GMA, but admires her policies so much he continues to kowtow to all the whims of these beasts like GMA did while at the same time pursuing all her economic agendas that do nothing but add needless financial burdens on the people, showing that their differences are only personal although disguised as moral but political and economic principles, and these are what really matters to Juan dela Cruz, have nothing to do with it. The NTC is the yellow regime. THERE CAN BE NO REAL CHANGE AS LONG AS THE YELLOWS ARE IN POWER!

    4. cowards die many many times like marcoses, estrada’s, revillas and all the corrupt govt. officials..

      go Pnoy put them all behind bars.

    5. I wholeheartedly support a complete regime change under the auspices of the National Transformational Council. Let us disband the Executive, Senate and Congress and the Comelec and make sure anyone in these sectors of government tainted by DAP/PDAP do not get a seat in the new regime. Let us not wait for the elections in 2016 !!!!!!

      Independence Day in June should be a perfect day to organize a monstrous demonstration in front of Malacanan and Congress consisting of free farmers, students, labor, the Magdalo group and all the poor and unemployed from all the adjoining provinces. Let us demonstrate to the Military that this is what the majority of the population wants and what the whole nation needs so we can win their support. Let us start mobilizing NOW!!!! If we were able to show the Pope support behind a crowd of 5mil, surely we can do better to assure that this corrupt and inept regime goes away and gets replaced with a brand new regime of the future. Mabuhay ang Filipinas !!!!

    6. Do you still remember this?

      Noynoy Flunks His First Test
      By Maria A. Ressa
      Posted at 09/08/2010 2:09 PM | Updated as of 09/08/2010 3:24 PM
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      Reprinted from The Wall Street Journal Asia © 2010 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved.

      Filipinos have high hopes for President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, who took power two months ago with the largest margin of victory in two decades and an 85% approval rating. His popularity rested mostly on promises of good values and cleaner governance—promises his mother, democracy icon Cory Aquino, made too. Yet his first major test in office shows how early political compromises are exacerbating problems in the weak institutions he’s promised to reform.
      On Aug. 23, a disgruntled former police officer took a tourist bus hostage and after a long stand-off, killed eight passengers, all Hong Kongers. The government’s response was an exercise in incompetence. In public hearings that began Friday, police and politicians admitted that untrained, ill-equipped forces were used while elite units were put on standby; that national leaders played no role in the crisis response despite foreigners’ involvement; and that ad hoc, unclear lines of communication between local politicians and local police complicated matters. To add insult to injury, the authorities in charge left the scene to eat in a nearby Chinese restaurant precisely when the killings began.
      The incident sparked outrage in Hong Kong, where the government has called for an independent investigation and compensation for the victims’ families. But Mr. Aquino only belatedly realized the gravity of the situation. His first instinct was to blame the national media for covering the event live, a sentiment that citizens in the blogosphere and on Twitter quickly echoed. When the hearings did little to quell public anger on Friday—two weeks after the fiasco—he claimed responsibility “for everything that has transpired.”
      There is truth in that assertion. The agencies tasked with resolving the hostage crisis—the Department of the Interior and Local Government and the Palace Communications group—are divided into two political factions, both of which are competing for political influence. Instead of choosing between them, Mr. Aquino rewarded both with high cabinet offices.
      The first, the Samar faction, is named after the street where one of Mr. Aquino’s campaign headquarters was located, and includes former aides and officials with long personal ties to the president and his family. Many of them, like National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, served under Mr. Aquino’s mother’s government in 1986. The second, the Balay faction, is associated with the Liberal Party and former cabinet secretaries who publicly challenged Mr. Aquino’s predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Younger and perceived as more professional, the Balay group is also associated with Senator Mar Roxas, Mr. Aquino’s vice-presidential candidate who did not win election.
      These factional splits played a big role in last month’s bungled response to the hostage crisis. The Department of the Interior and Local Government is in charge of both local government and security, and the secretary of the interior usually controls the Philippine National Police. But in July, President Aquino stripped Secretary Jesse Robredo, who belongs to the Balay faction, of his powers over the police.
      Mr. Aquino handed leadership to an underqualified member of the Samar faction, his personal friend and “shooting” partner, Interior Undersecretary Rico E. Puno. During the crisis, Mr. Puno exerted almost no leadership, preferring to let the local police handle the situation. There was little crowd control, and a local radio station was allowed to speak to the hostage-taker in the final moments of the crisis. During the later hearings, Mr. Puno said, “I am not capable of handling hostage situations. . . I am not trained to do that.”
      The factions also played a role in the management of public information and press coverage. The Palace Communications Group, which in the past was headed by one press secretary, now has three leaders with cabinet secretary rank: the Samar faction’s Sonny Coloma and the Balay faction’s Edwin Lacierda and Ricky Carandang, the latter of whom is a former television anchor for my news organization. Thus on the fateful day, the administration had trouble deciding what to say and how to say it. Local officials were left to handle messaging, focusing on the details rather than the broader substance and impact of the day’s events. Hong Kong’s chief executive Donald Tsang was even prevented from talking to Mr. Aquino.
      For many Filipinos, this bungling is wearingly familiar. The country has a famously weak system of law and order which often sees criminals go unpunished. Mr. Aquino ran for office promising to clean up this culture of corruption. That’s why the hostage crisis was so disturbing: It was a disastrous example of incompetence, political factionalism and lack of national leadership.
      All of which points back to the president’s office. Like his mother, President Aquino is easy-going, well-liked by his peers, and shies away from controversy and conflict. That manner of governance might have worked in the House and Senate, where he failed to initiate or pass any bill, but it doesn’t work in the president’s office. The Samar and Balay factional split represents a real test of Mr. Aquino’s leadership—between familiar, highly valued personal loyalty and generational change and professionalism.
      The president’s indecisiveness has already indirectly led to one tragedy. The coming weeks will show whether he can learn from his mistakes, or whether the Philippines is in for another Aquino presidency that has good intentions but bungled outcomes.

      Ms. Ressa is the head of news and current affairs at ABS-CBN Broadcasting and the author of “Seeds of Terror” (Free Press, 2003).

    7. “This task, the Church and the political community cannot just live in the hands of politicians, no matter how virtuous they might be.”

      Shouldn’t “live” read “leave.”

    8. As pointed out by noli I am also wondering why the death of marwan supposedly a notorious international terrorist even referred to as the bin Laden of Asia has not been reported in cnn or BBC. I have a sneaking suspicion that we have again been taken for a ride here and all this hype was just to glorify an imbecilic commander in mischief.

    9. I think we did too much talking already how PNoy lied,how Purisima lied, how :PNOy fooled the Filipino people, and now let’s ACT and force Abnoy out of Malacanang, the sooner the better for all of us. Marami na tayong satsat. Seguro and taong bayan panahon na sipain si PNoy. He is a de facto President under a de jure government. He has no moral decency and right to lead this country. ACTION NOW!!!!!!!!!!

    10. With Binay out next to destroy is Erap thru well-paid lawyers i.e. Macalintal who also a senatorial candidate under Money Villar. At the end of the day Villaroyo will dominate the Presidential survey withou Binay and Erap.. This will happen but not necessarily, he will win.

    11. With Pnoy gone, reading the road map of events earlier that is happening, conscious and concerted effort to destroy Binay by 3 senators ( Trillanes-Nacionalista Party (NP), Cayetano-NP and another NP in LP camouflage Koko Pimentel). Remember Gwen Pimentel is the sister of Koko who ran us senator in 2010 under NP “for the funds of it” although Koko and Nene, their father are active officers of PDP of Nene and Binay.”Traidor” talagang tatak ng mga Pimentel, Tanungin ninyo ang mga yan sa Cagayan de Oro City. Yan si Nene Pimentel, apo yan ng hapon na at ni Limahong. Pakitingnan ng husto ang kanilang mga mukha.

    12. Dennis Fernandez on

      Mr. Tatad, who will comprise the caretaker government that NTC is proposing? The names of those individuals must be disclosed before we, citizens, could decide on whether to support the idea or not. We should be sure that said individuals have the track record to lead and govern and have no hidden agenda.

    13. I support the idea that the NTC to put together the best qualified men and women from the strategic sectors of the society to form a caretaker government, completely nonpartisan and transitional in character, and functioning as a council, that would first fix the constitutional structure, and all relevant constitutional processes and systems, beginning with the electoral system, before calling upon the voters to elect wise and honest government leaders in an absolutely free and honest election. Those aspiring to lead the country through honest elections could become part of this process, simply by embracing its declared objectives and principles but should be disqualified from being part of the caretaker government. And to me this is a very important but.

    14. You are right, there must be no police military coup. But patriotic PNP and AFP brass must begin talking to the National Transformation Council.

    15. Pnoy himself will have his turn to be investigated by Ombudsman just like his pal Gen. Purisima after it is all said and done. This is what happens when the public interest is ignored over personal gains.

    16. Ano man ang sabihin ng lahat!alisin si Aquino,ito ay hanggang salita lang!-
      Ano man kapalpakan na nagawa ni Aquino ngayon ay dapat siyang imbestigahan!ngunit hindi ngayon,hintayin ang araw ng pagtatapos niya ng termino-!upang sa ganoon maging mapayapa ang buhay ng mamamayan!
      Isang taon, siguro di na mataggal yun! Easy lang kayo!!!maayos pa namang namumuhay ang pamilya ko,kayo ba hindi na!!?hindi pa naman siguro dahil may. Nagproprosisyon ng mga santo at maayos pa naman nagpipista ang mga pinoy!alergic ako kapag mga pari na ang pumapapel dahil hanggang ngayon puro problema ang naranasan natin simula ng ang mga pari ang nakialam!!

      • noong maupo si cory sino ba ang namuno? di ba mga pari. bakit hahayaan natin na palalain pa ni pnoy ang sitwasyon ng bansa? sobra na, tama na at palitan na. kung may malasakit kayo sa bayan at sa mamamayan.

    17. Muriel Magtanggol on

      No to Binay as replacement. Noy should definitely go and be punished. Better a Transitional form if govt., however that can be formed legally! But no to Binay, Drilon, Belmonte, et al!

    18. I truly support the NTC action!
      We need change in the system of government and the people that comprises it. Get rid of the corrupt and immoral politicians. We should start now!!!!!

    19. When a President lies and tries to cover the truth, when he allowed Purisima to conduct a mission while suspended by the office of the Ombudsman and when he did not even explain to people why he did so is just flat out ignorance of the law coming from the highest official in our government.The way he breached the trust of Mar Roxas and OIC Gen. Espina by not including them and denying them the informations needed to help with the mission to capture Marwan and Usman just shows the whole Philippines that we can not trust him to do what is right! He’s shown similar traits in the Yolanda aftermath and now very similar tendencies are in full display.It is fine with me to move on and think past the Pnoy administration.