Lesson Not Learned

If there is one thing the Arroyo administration and its allies are surely notorious for, it would be about its failure to realize that charter change will not be possible under its watch — unless it does a Marcos, declares martial law, and come up with a new constitution all together.

Do they really think they could pull this off?  It doesn’t help that the President is one of our least popular leaders ever.  It does not help to know that the President will have a barrage of cases the moment she steps down — the list of charges grows longer and longer every year.  And most certainly, it does not help that the President’s son, Pampanga Rep. Mikey Arroyo is one spearheading this renewed effort to amend the charter.

Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago may be right then that the Philippines can suffer the same fate as Bangkok did.  If two attempts to grab power by seizing two different hotels did not work, maybe seizing the aiport may work finally.  I really hope this does not happen.  And I am certain, Malacanang is now making sure that such similar scenario will not happen.

Nevertheless, we have seen in the recent past the kind of political instability any moves to amend the charter will bring if done under President Arroyo.  We have seen the State of National Emergency in 2006 and the Manila Peninsula crisis in 2007.  The Palace is courting disaster.  Or hmmm… is the palace courting disaster to have an excuse to declare martial law???

For the record, I believe in amending the constitution because some provisions do need to be updated.  Personally, if I could have my say, I’d want a presidential-unicameral system to speed up the enactment of vital legislation.  I also believe that the Senate should be more representative of the regions.   The provisions on impeachment also need to be reviewed.

All things considered, I believe that a constitutional convention is more appropriate.  It may take longer.  But at least, people have a say as to who would be part of it.  Seriously, we cannot trust the ones who are currently seated in Congress or Malacanang to do the job for us.  And yes, it is expensive.  But we need to invest in making our democracy more stable — something which this administration has miserably failed to do.

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