At exactly noon today, President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. will take his oath of office before Supreme Court Chief Justice Alexander G. Gesmundo in the presence of his family, members of his Cabinet, foreign dignitaries and other invited guests.
This is what he will actually say: “I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God.”
The part about defending the Constitution is perhaps the most important, since laws emanate from its key provisions and it contains the broad outlines of the duties and responsibilities of all public officials.
The ceremony underscores a significant feature of a democratic set-up: the peaceful transfer of power from one leader to another after a generally free and fair election.
The Philippine president wields awesome powers. He exercises control over all executive departments, bureaus and offices.
Aside from being the Chief Executive, he is also the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces. As such, he can call out the armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion with the concurrence of Congress, a condition not found in the 1935 Constitution.
Apart from these, the president can contract or guarantee foreign loans on behalf of the Republic of the Philippines. He also has the power to grant reprieves, commutations and pardons after conviction by final judgment.
The oath of office of the President is in fact a covenant – a binding agreement – with the Filipino people to serve all of them, not just those who voted for him in the May 9 election.
The presidential election divided the people into political factions. But now that the people have spoken, it is time to end the division and work together to achieve a shared goal: to move forward with giant strides in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new administration starts from a position of strength with a landslide victory in the last polls.
But this strength must be channeled into determined efforts to revitalize the economy, institute the needed reforms to improve governance, and provide vital social services such as education and health especially to the disadvantaged sectors.
It is standard practice to allow a new dispensation what’s called a “honeymoon period” of its first 100 days in office to give it an opportunity to prove its mettle and start to deliver on its campaign promises.
We look forward to the first 100 days of efficient and effective governance by the new administration that we hope will be sustained in the next six years.