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Pushing the country to the edge

We all saw it coming, Santa Banana!

I refer to the plan of Congress to amend the 1987 Constitution, through constituent assembly, to pave the way for a federal form of government. This would replace the present republic and unitary system that we have.

The plan is to have both the House of Representatives and the Senate voting jointly to amend the Constitution any way they like, with the present lawmakers extending their terms of office.

And, with some 10 to 11 years for the transition period, the President in effect would become a dictator!

This is like making Dracula manager of the Blood Bank!

The effect? There would be no elections in 2019.

The cat came out of the bag when both Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez floated the idea of no-el, and the plan to have a Con-ass instead of a Constitutional Convention with elected delegates.

The supermajority in both chambers of Congress said no to Con-con because that would entail expenses of P10 billion.

And yet, members of Congress can afford to spend billions of pork-barrel money among themselves.

Will the people just stand by and do nothing?

Thank goodness President Duterte said he did not want an extended term. I have no reason to doubt him.

It seems, however, that the people are not protesting this plan of their so-called representatives.

This is the greatest tragedy of our time. Maybe it is because there is no single personality who can be a rallying point.

The greatest danger with what Congress is planning to do is that changing the Constitution could be a free-for-all. Lawmakers may introduce amendments for their personal gain.

This year could be the acid test for the Duterte administration to stop his allies from monkeying around with the Constitution. They mock the sanctity of the fundamental law of the land!

It’s not yet too late to protest this latest move of Congress.

This hangup with changing the form of government, which the President says will improve the lives of the people in Mindanao, raises questions.

First of all, with a federal form of government, political dynasties will be enhanced. Regions are often ruled by dynasties. According to studies, they number over a hundred.

A federal form of government can only strengthen the hold of political clans.

There is also fear that there will be greater inequality. There are rich regions and there are poor regions. The poorer regions will continue to depend on the richer ones.

These two arguments alone cannot be challenged by advocates of federalism.

I think we should have an information campaign so people would understand.

***

The Department of Information and Communications Technology reports that the third-party player in the telecommunication industry will arrive this March. The new player, China Telecoms, is set to break the duopoly of Globe and Smart in the telecom industry.

This does not mean other foreign telcos are not interested in competing with Smart and Globe. There are also reports that a local company is in in the advanced stages of negotiation with a Korean telco.

The Duterte administration must be sure that the Chinese company does not get involved in national security issues. It is, after all, owned by the Chinese government.

This third player may as well be the Trojan horse that resulted in the fall of Troy.

***

According to communications secretary Martin Andanar, President Duterte has already fulfilled four of his election promises except the adoption of a federal form of government.

Those promises, Andanar said, were the elimination of poverty, corruption, illegal drugs, and the restoration of peace and order.

I cannot blame Andanar for claiming the success of the President. That’s his job. But to say that the Duterte administration has erased poverty, corruption and illegal drugs is just too much.

***

The passing of Jake Macasaet is a personal loss. He was a dear, dear friend.

I truly respected and admired Jake. He will sorely be missed.

Topics: Santa Banana , Congress , amend , 1987 Constitution , constituent assembly , federal , government

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