Former Chief Justice Reynato Puno says this is the “better time” to shift to a federal form of government. He didn’t say what he was comparing today with (a better time than when?). But he did claim that it’s because there’s enough public support to realize it.
Puno didn’t say this because the public opinion polls say so. No survey on what people think of federalism has so far established if there is indeed widespread support for it. The former chief justice instead based this assessment on the results of the 2016 presidential elections, which Rodrigo Duterte won with 16 million votes.
Since Duterte the candidate made the shift to a federal government from the present unitary form one of the planks of what passed for his campaign platform, Puno concludes that his victory indicates popular support for federalism.
If morality in politics and governance sounds like an oxymoron, it’s because of the way politics has been practiced in this country and how it’s been governed by what’s proving to be the most rapacious and most shameless political class in Asia.
Although she couldn’t stop many of those around her from grabbing what they could while the grabbing was good, Cory Aquino did demonstrate that it’s possible to be honest even while being President. But so rare is a President who didn’t enrich herself in power that her case has tended to prove that you can’t get corruption and dishonesty out of politics and governance. Just like her predecessors, her successors seemed the rule, validating through their example the common view that everyone cheats to win power, and steals once he or she has it.
Practically everyone who’s not part of the Malacanang Mafia of conmen, plunderers, congressmen you wouldn’t buy a used car from, and relics of the martial law period has weighed in with his or her opinion on why there are plans afoot to impeach Chief Justice Reynato Puno. Mostly they’ve linked it to the wide-ranging conspiracy to keep the present Palace occupant in power beyond 2010.
Former Senate President Franklin Drilon thus said it’s part of a “grand scheme” to force amendments to the Constitution so our cross, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, can extend her term. In his own statements Senator Panfilo Lacson echoed Drilon’s take, as did Makati Mayor and United Opposition chair Jejomar Binay.
They could very well be right. Although the retirement of seven justices this year (Ruben Reyes retired last January 3, while Adolf Azcuna will retire next month, followed by Dante Tinga on May 11, Consuelo Ynares-Santiago on October 5, Leonardo Quisumbing on November 5, Minita Chico-Nazario on December 5 and Ma. Alicia Martinez on December 19) will give the Philippine Bush the opportunity to further pack the Court, she’s running out of time as far as charter change is concerned.