Coming back full circle
Call it karma or whatever but what is happening to former President Benigno Aquino III teaches us a lesson in life. And that is whatever you wrought, you shall reap.
Take the case of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno who is facing impeachment at the House of Representatives. It is only a matter of time before the articles of impeachment are forwarded to the Senate for trial. That CJ Sereno is now embattled brings back memories of how Noynoy Aquino harnessed all his presidential powers to help impeach and convict former chief magistrate Renato Corona who was appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Corona died a broken man after being unseated as Supreme Court Chief Justice. The same thing is now happening to Aquino’s appointee, CJ Sereno.
Then there is (call it poetic justice) Senator Leila de Lima who had former President Arroyo arrested and placed under hospital detention for four years. Arroyo was stopped at the airport on her way to seek medical attention abroad. De Lima was arrested at the Senate and presently held at the Taguig detention center.
Indeed the gods, if not fate, have a way of dispensing retribution. Aquino is facing a raft of more serious criminal cases including use of the illegal Disbursement Acceleration Program which former Senator Jinggoy Estrada claimed was used to secure the conviction of Corona.
Noynoy Aquino is also being held accountable for sacrificing the lives of 44 commandos of the Philippine National Police Special Action Forces in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Aquino was in nearby Zamboanga with his top Cabinet officials and Armed Forces top brass but he didn’t sent in reinforcements to the beleaguered SAF 44 who were butchered by combined forces of the MILF, Abu Sayyaf and the BIFF.
Add the recent scam in the P3.5-billion purchase of the Dengvaxia vaccine. If PNoy’s culpability is proven, he’s looking at prison for life. A change of address from the Aquino house on Times Street to the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa may not be at all remote.
More bad news for Aquino. His appointee as Supreme Court Chief Justice Sereno could be unseated in a Senate trial. Another ally’s —Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales—term of office expires in July next year, adding to the dire prospect of prosecution and conviction. The last but the most scary scenario is that President Duterte is appointing PNP Director General Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa as the next Bucor chief in Muntinlupa.
“Bato” for sure will not allow the former president to bring along his cook, yaya and hair stylist (?) whom he mentioned in his last State of the Nation Address. Not even brother –in-law Manolo Abellada as butler if Noynoy is given his own kubol.
On another front, a joint session of Congress approved the extension of martial law for another year. Although the final vote was an overwhelming yes,( 240 to 27 .) those who voted against the extension of military rule in Mindanao warned that allowing martial law could condition the people’s mind to learn to live in an abnormal situation. What if martial law in Mindanao was extended not only in duration but in scope to include the whole country? This was the concern of Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Francis Pangilinan , Paulo “Bam” Aquino . Magdalo Party List Rep Gary Alejano Rep. Tom Villarin, and Buhay Party List Rep. Lito Atienza.
Atienza questioned the basis for the length of martial law extension in Mindanao. He aired his concern it could be a prelude for the proclamation of martial law nationwide. While he supported martial law during the Marawi crisis, Atienza said he cannot accept its imposition for the entire year of 2018 as he cited the constitutional provision that military rule can only be imposed for 60 days.
Villarin voiced the same concern the one year extension of martial law would desensitize the citizenry into accepting it as the new normal. This poses a danger to the holding of a free and democratic elections, said Villarin. The lopsided vote did not come as a surprise to the opposition which called Congress a rubber-stamp pad of the Palace.
Martial law was declared in Mindanao when Maute/ISIS terrorists laid siege on Marawi City. It was extended for five months to the end of this year. Another year of martial law in Mindanao up to December 31, 2018 is stoking suspicion on what President Dutere’s real game plan is. Is the Duterte playbook laying the ground for a nationwide imposition of martial rule to extend his term?