Assassinated by the Marcos regime 20 years ago, Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. had seemed, in the first 40 years of his life, a most unlikely hero. Known before the martial law period as a glib, fast-talking senator likely to be president at 40, nothing had suggested that he would be other than just one more addition to the parade of traditional politicians that had lorded it over the country since independence.
Its advocates may think that amending the Constitution now would solve the country’s legions of problems by putting in place a supposedly gridlock-free system of governance. The eagerly prospective members of the Constituent Assembly in the House may believe that a “Con-Ass” would assure them an unlimited number of years in the parliament they’re almost certain to create. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo may look at the shift to a parliamentary system as affording her the “dignified exit” come 2006 Fidel Ramos promised– and as even allowing her to run as a district MP (member of Parliament) from Pampanga and whatever opportune post comes along, the premiership and presidency included.
The rest of the country may be debating the issue, and going through the motions of seeming to decide whether charter change is timely and necessary, and if so, how much change there should be, or whether the changes are likely to mean anything. The usual pundits may also be saying that Ramos’ proposal for charter change by 2006, which Arroyo publicly adopted during her July 25 State of the Nation Address, won’t go through because of Senate opposition. Continue reading
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was, as planned, the center of attention during her fifth State of the Nation Address last July 25. She was applauded 32 times by administration congressmen and senators and their wives, in most cases for no apparent reason, but exactly on cue. It was to demonstrate, of course, that she remains popular, except that it was town mayors, governors, and the members of the majority in Congress–most of them Jose de Venecia loyalists expecting to reap the political benefits of the shift to a parliamentary system and to a federal form of government–who were jumping up from their seats and clapping.
She was in fact most applauded when (1) she argued for a supposed “change in the political system”; (2) she said this should be through constitutional amendments; and (3), in a turn-around from her often-announced position that charter change should be through a constitutional convention, she announced that she preferred that a constituent assembly should do the deed. Continue reading