Will Congress help PNoy create his Franken-state?

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By trying to turn Congress into a tool for treason and the dismemberment of our Republic, the Bangsamoro project is paradoxically serving as an emergency call for congress to look at itself in the mirror and stanch its prolonged institutional decline.

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Slowly but surely, many legislators are starting to realize that they are being conscripted for a Frankenstein project by the president.

Incompetent though he may be, President Benigno BS Aquino 3rd has had a profound impact on the nation’s legislature and has dominated more seasoned and better-educated congressional leaders.

Under Aquino’s battering, Congress has lost its traditional role as the linchpin of our constitutional system.

Treating Congress with contempt
You would think that having earned his rudimentary political education in Congress (in serving two terms in the House of Representatives and one term in the Senate), Aquino would be more respectful of the institution, eager to turn it into an ally or partner of his administration. But instead, he has treated it with contempt and has thoroughly corrupted Congress.

Aquino acceded to office in 2010 with no majority to speak of in either house of Congress. But to his surprise, members of the Senate and the House were awed by his electoral triumph, and were eager to defer to him.

In the House, Feliciano Belmonte, lusting for the speakership, cobbled together a congressional majority to support the president and his own bid to be speaker. In the Senate, the numerically superior independent and opposition forces, led by senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada, banded together and offered their cooperation and support, in exchange for presidential blessing on their leadership of the chamber.

In short order, Aquino exacted his price for the opportunistic and transactional arrangement. He demanded the passage of the Reproductive Health Law because of a $600-million package the US promised him. He ordered the House to impeach the Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. After the lady yielded without a fight, Aquino went for bigger prey. He ordered the two houses of Congress to impeach the sitting Chief Justice Renato Corona – the House by producing the articles of impeachment and the Senate by trying and convicting him.

To ensure success in the legislative mill, he greased it by increasing the congresssional pork barrel by 400 percent. And then to clinch it all, he created (with the assistance of Budget Secretarty Florencio Abad) the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), and used it to bribe senators to convict Corona.

Not even two Supreme Court decisions declaring as illegal and unconstitutional the pork barrel and DAP could deter Aquino from his lawless bent.

Aquino’s Frankenstein legacy  
Now, Aquino is turning to Congress to exact an even bigger price – this time, the passage of a Bangsamoro basic law that would create a Muslim state within the Philippine Republic and national territory.

He seeks from Congress a law that would create a Bangsamoro parliament to rival Congress itself.

In the agreements he has signed with the MILF, he has unilaterally granted to the rebel group the key elements for statehood.

The madness of the enterprise is mind-blowing, but this is exactly what Aquino is feverishly trying to build, seal and deliver in his final year in the presidency.

This Frankenstein creation – Franken-state, as I prefer to call it — will be his legacy.

The laboratory for the monstrous creation was the peace process and peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation front (MILF). Chief peace negotiator Miriam Ferrer and peace adviser Teresita Deles led the talks with Mohagher Iqbal who represented the MILF – and were totally outclassed.

In short order, the peace process produced a Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (FAB) and a Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB), which committed the Aquino government to work for the passage in Congress of a law creating a Bangsamoro autonomous government.

Congress sank under Aquino
Aquino and the MILF seek passage of the BBL in complete confidence that Congress does not have the spine and integrity to resist Aquino’s demands and proffered loot.

Leadership of both houses has never been weaker than it is today.

Tony Lopez of Biz-news Asia called Congress ‘the biggest criminal syndicate in the country,” and neither house bothered to respond.

Where legislators used to have Pride in their institution, there is now a weary skepticism and resignation.

Legislators see themselves as field lieutenants in the president’s yellow army, far more than they identitfy themselves as members of a separate and independent branch of government.

It is no coincidence that congressional self-esteem has sunk to its lowest point after five years of the Aquino presidency. It is no accident that legislators were easily manipulated and fooled by Butch Abad with his new schemes for extracting public funds to bribe Congress.

Aquino is banking on Congress being incorrigibly corrupt to ram the BBL through the legislative mill.

Congress today does not study with care the initiatives of the administration. It shies away from criticism of presidential performance. The sclerosis of Belmonte’s leadership of the House and Drilon’s pork-addled leadership of the Senate have combined to produce a legislature that is too lazy to do its work.

The exertions of Trillanes in crucifying vice-president Binay are not proof of vitality, but a symptom of decline.

Between harsh realities and false hopes
Aquino’s Franken-state project strikes at the heart of the malaise afflicting Congress. It challenges our legislators to do the right thing, instead of taking the easy way out.

It forces a choice between confronting the harsh realities of a separate Moro sub-state and the false hopes of peace in Mindanao.

The timing of the challenge for Congress could not be more critical, because today there is no strong sense of an independent legislative authority. There is a pervasive sense of Congress being a subsidiary body to the presidency. Weakness and subservience are much more pronounced today than in previous administrations.

The problem posed by the franken-state is elemental. Congress has nowhere to hide. It must choose: approve this lunatic scheme or become irrelevant.

To find the right answer, Congress must turn to the ways of deliberation and debate. It must return to the core value that political ends do not justify legislative means. And there is no substitute to legislative statesmanship in making good law and public policy.

yenmakabenta@yahoo.com

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15 Comments

  1. Indeed, the present congress is a 2000 version of a 1970 congress we had before and Mr. Marcos was right in dissolving that Congress which was just full of filibustering and grandstanding. In fact, the biggest granstand operator was the congenital liar himself. I just hope our AFP follows the lead of the Thai military and show their balls and just arrest simyon for high treason.

    REPLY:
    Have martial law again? With PNoy’s men Gazmin and Catapang at the helm of the armed forces? With commanders on the ground who allowed their own self-interests and fear of PNoy to rule their decision-making power and followed PNo’s nonsense stand-down order out of love for the MILF?

  2. Sana, meyron botohan bago matapos ang 2015 para ma-abolish ang congress(lower house) — senate na lang dapat!

    • john says:
      May 28, 2015 at 8:19 pm (Edit)
      Sana, meyron botohan bago matapos ang 2015 para ma-abolish ang congress(lower house) — senate na lang dapat!
      = = = = =
      e sinu representatives nila, kaya bang lahat nang senate sa dami, baka senate dapat alisin

  3. What a waste of time and money for this House of Representatives. Allowing a self- centered President. to corrupt them , who pimps his idea of peace without discernment? The braggadocio, the lies being purveyed, the railroading by the most
    abusive political party and its president must not be allowed. .

  4. We have a serious problem with China and a minor problem with the MILF. What did we do? We gave the MILF every single thing they demanded with our “Peace at any cost” policy. We won’t even talk with China. We take them to every international forum and claim they are agressors. So Aquino has established a policy of working with terrorists and not talking with neighboring countries to work out solutions. We can all see that is wrong on both fronts. What in the world are we doing?

    • Both are a serious case of short-sightedness in our foreign affairs department but obviously a huge input from Benigno, who likes to take the path of confrontation, inspite of being so under-prepared for war and conflicts. We should seriously consider the beneficial road of diplomacy in our dealings specially with China. Behaving like small brother to the US and hoping that we will be protected as a result, is not a guarantee that the country will escape unharmed. Better we improve our diplomatic relationship with China, and take the neutral road of seeking a joint exploration of resources, by which we stand to gain, rather than lose. Besides, with China having unveiled the silk road project that will run from India and Pakistan to Central Asia, and Russia, connecting to Europe, we stand to gain more. Think of the markets that will open for us, the jobs and economi opportunties that will open beginning with the construction of bridges and roads alone, of supplies to and from those destinations, of all those opportunities which will pass us by, if we choose instead to take that small-minded option of defending a reef and taking a fighting stance against a power giant. Many nations, including the big powerhouses of Australia, Canada, most of Europe, and most of Asia but not the Philippines have signed in with the AIIB that China has established for the purpose of investment and related projects dealing with their grand plans to connect the east to the rest of the world. Are we going to allow ourselves to be isolated in this endeavor?

  5. How come not even one leader is advocating for people power? This is where people power can be exercise at its best. We can no longer rely on this Tonggress. I think the only way to stop this is by force from the people. Tinatarantado na tayo ng mga leaders na ito, wala tayong ginagawang hakbang. Walang magagawa ang puro salita.

  6. Luis Torrente on

    Aquino wants to create the Bangsamoro to be his refuge after his term is over. If he goes to the US or other countries, he can be extradited. But if he seeks refuge in the Bangsamoro, the Philippine government and authorities cannot touch him – he will be protected by the BBL and the MILF. The irony is it will be the Philippine government that will support them, both financially and legally!

  7. genesisbughaw on

    1987 CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES

    PREAMBLE

    We, the sovereign Filipino people, imploring the aid of Almighty God, in order to build a just and humane society, and establish a Government that shall embody our ideals and aspirations, promote the common good, conserve and develop our patrimony, and secure to ourselves and our posterity, the blessings of independence and democracy under the rule of law and a regime of truth, justice, freedom, love, equality, and peace, do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.

    ARTICLE VII
    EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT

    Section 5. Before they enter on the execution of their office, the President, the Vice-President, or the Acting President shall take the following oath or affirmation:

    “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President (or Vice-President or Acting President) of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God.”

    ARTICLE XI
    ACCOUNTABILITY OF PUBLIC OFFICERS

    Section 1. Public office is a public trust. Public officers and employees must, at all times, be accountable to the people, serve them with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.

    Section 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.

    TRUTH WILL SET US FREE.

    Pnoy franken state of mind is the real problem.

    There are more transcending issues when it comes to National Interests than the Black Bug Legislative project of the yellow babes republic

    GOD BLESS THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES!

    John 3:17
    For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

  8. jose btaganahan on

    The people will be grateful to the Senate if it will not act on the proposed BBL and wait instead for the next administration to negotiate with all Muslim rebel factions with due consideration for the indigenous people and the Sultanate of Sulu which will be affected by the proposed Bangsamoro.

    Personally, I am against the BBL and instead I am in favor of strengthening the Constitutionally mandated Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM)

  9. Kale Alaskador on

    Mr. Makabenta,

    Do you really believe this president (BS Aquino 3rd) is capable of thinking for himself? I personally think he cannot!

    So who are the people “thinking” for him? Do the Americans fit into the picture?

    He is being manipulated for sure. Who is the puppeteer?

  10. If you elect clowns then government becomes a circus.
    If you elect thieves then government becomes a cash cow
    If you elect liars then government becomes a propaganda machine.

    Between non-existent reforms, rampant bribery, and sheer incompetence, the philippines has managed a hat-trick.

  11. P.Akialamiro on

    With all accounts on the BBL, it will be the ‘monster’ of the Philippine Government will have to face., created by BS Aquino. As I have always maintained, this government through its negotiators, is so naive, short-sighted and at best, ‘unpatriotic’. They have done a great ‘disservice’ to the country.

    First of all, why do we have to involve Malaysia which is another soveriegnty? Secondly, consulatations were also made from other Muslim countries. When this ‘Frankenstein’ created by the Aquino government cannot be ‘tamed’ in the future because of disagreement in the implementation of the BBL, from whom will the Bangsamoro leaders seek help? Not from the Philippine government; from their other Muslim brothers in Asia and the Middle East. With the oil money, they can readily be helped and strengthened militarily and economically. And, with the kind of discipline within the ‘Bansamoro’ army versus the corrupt Philippine army, enlistment in the Bangsamoro army would be very attractive for the young and loyal constituents.

    So, not unless the ‘safety valves’ are plugged, contrary to the ‘railroading’ desire of the president, the Philippines will be in a big trouble within its own territory.

    If nothing is done by the Philippine Congress, shame on its members. By then, we can say, the PDAF/DAP led to the demise of the republic. We will all go down in history as onetime citizens of the Republic of the Philippines. Dang!