More powers? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 June 2017 14:25

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

San Jose, CA. — El Presidente has been enjoying almost unchecked, uncontested powers even as the “yellow army” is dauntlessly regrouping to contest his iron-fisted rule inch by inch, inside and outside the courts of law. Now that he has imposed a state of Martial Law in Mindanao to quell a rebellion while the battle to regain all of ravaged Marawi is still fiercely raging, and as he simultaneously takes on his political critics and opponents, will he need more powers to have more control over a country ready to erupt in more violence and hate?

Everything — a new constitution, the Mindanao railway project, investment capitalism — has come to a standstill until the Marawi siege comes to an end. El Presidente’s declaration of a state of Martial Law in Mindanao has heavily divided the country, even among the critical clergy.

El Presidente’s mouthpieces justify that he needs more powers to reinstate stability in all fronts. The opposition rejects it as a brazen move toward dictatorship. The debate on a new system of government may start in late July or early August, depending on the mood of El Presidente which dictates the behavior of the mighty congress.

The question: when the time to vote on the proposed federal system of government is whether a deeply divided population will ratify the new system. Much will depend on the “mobilization fund” that El Presidente, the speaker of the House and the senate president can generate from their political benefactors and how freely can the opposition congressmen and senators campaign against the proposal. At least one of them is in jail, so far, and the critical media are being accused to spreading fake news and lies. The opposition contend that the new system, as proposed, will end Philippine democracy as we’ve known it since Quezon’s “unFilipino” speech. Let’s see what happens when the time comes.

This may be the reason why El Presidente has been trying to strengthen trade and diplomatic relations with China and opening up a new partnership with Russia. He will need as many “friends” and commercial partners as possible as we possibly go through a new system of government. That’s the significance of his visit to China and Russia. These were huge pivots toward future trade deals and long term loans in the billions of dollars to “build” the Philippines.

El Presidente’s first year in office is about to end. The next five years, or beyond, will be tougher as he will be confronted with pressing economic issues, seemingly uncontrollable problems with communist insurgents, terrorists and rebels, controversial policies on energy, mining and climate change, uncertain foreign policy, and a do-nothing congress loaded with brawny whelps that need spanking.

Turkey is doing the exact opposite of what we’re about to do. It has a constitutional referendum that will replace its parliamentary system of government with a presidential system. We will eventually vote for a system that will give the executive department more control over everything, from health care to gun control.

Malacanang’s spin doctors have always been trying to say this about El Presidente’s flip flops: “Don’t watch what we say. Watch what we do.”    Well?