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Saturday, December 10, 2016

To change the Constitution, we must first change the system

 (The Philippine Star) 

It is a chicken or egg thing. Those who are for constitutional change that will change our system of government from presidential unitary to parliamentary federal are deceiving themselves if they think it can be done through the present system.
Why should senators and congressmen give up their powers and privileges as well as enrich themselves? That is the bottom line.
If President Duterte wants constitutional change we  cannot leave it to Congress and their vested interests. It will never happen and there are enough lessons in the past to show why. The only way, Duterte can change the Constitution as promised is to use revolutionary powers. Short of that nothing else will do.
When Imelda Marcos was “acquitted” in her trial in New York, I was seated behind Bongbong and Irene Marcos Araneta. The court was filled with their friends and relatives. There was a time when I was barred by security guards from entering the court room. He had not known that I was representing the Philippine government. Philippine embassy officials had to tell them it was a mistake. There was a special seat assigned for me. This was the day of decision and I did want a good vantage point from which to see the faces of those present. There was jubilation among the Marcos crowd and great disappointment among those who saw and heard a well documented case with evidence and witness corroborated by witnesses.
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I belonged to the disappointed. Bongbong and Irene embraced each other and jumped with joy. I could only cry and when asked what I thought of the decision, the only words I could say was “she may have won the battle but we have won the war.” It would take a long time before what I said would sink in among the Filipino citizenry.
It is only now that I myself have begun to understand the trial and acquittal. I was at a loss on how to describe my feelings but told the reporters that, the feeling is like “a death in the family.” You accept it but the thought of what else I could have done under the circumstances kept coming back in my mind. “Like a death in the family” you think over and over again, the minute details of that trial that there must have been something I could have done and did not do.
My quarrel was not only against the Marcoses but against impunity which has become a way of life in politics and business because of that acquittal. The overwhelming evidence presented by the prosecution in New York were thrown to the winds. It was hoped that in time Filipinos would get over Imelda’s acquittal.
Now the shoe is on the other foot. The Aquinos were not as squeaky clean as they pretended to be either. The mother was incompetent and governed for the sake of the oligarchy especially the Lopez family who boasted about their power to make and unmake presidents.
So we are back again to square one. But this time we have a leader behind us. We have a President Duterte who could change the mold of our politics and way of life. He is said to be held back by a friendship with the Marcoses to make drastic moves to pay the price for those who suffered under martial law. Can Duterte break the back of impunity by a proper trial of the Marcoses and the Aquinos under our justice system? It remains to be seen.  
There are many Filipinos who hope and pray that he will. He has delivered many of his campaign promises especially on his war against drugs and corruption. I received an email from Marietta Cuyegkeng which I think will help more people understand.
“ I do not understand why, in the debate re EJK, the Propagandists for Duterte do not call attention to the fact that in reality, Duterte is saving thousands of lives because of his single minded pursuit of Peace with the NPA, the MILF, The MNLF, the NDF.”...
He is being attacked for what Western media calls EJK (extra judicial killing) without any judicial proof of the accusation they make.
At the same he has improved the way of life for ordinary people. Moreover, his work is “visible, have tangible effects and results in streamlining bureaucracy and the speedy delivery of government services in License, Passport renewal and other basic services etc.”
The pathetic rallies against him just did not wash ie the Marcos burial, the EJKs (people know it is another  imperialist tool for the US to intervene).
 “Th DeLima Scandals, the President-VP parting of ways have hogged the limelight (only in the mainstream media). Seemingly, the Negative gets reported in lieu of the Positive, almost as if there is a deliberate attempt to distract the people from knowing the Truth. Why has media not touched on these issues. Because the oligarchs own media.”
 Not surprisingly the Western media like the NY Times, Time Magazine, the UN Commission on Human Rights ad nauseam follow that interventionist pattern masquerading as concern for human rights..
“All these past scandals can be traced to a failure of leadership and a failure of governance of BSA III and his Kaibigan, Kaklase, Kamag-anak, Kabarilan etc  all leading to  a Government of NO Accountability or Transparency.”

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