April 23, 2018, 12:27 am
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Revolutionary government

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte aka Digong has vowed to quit the presidency if an amended Constitution could be crafted that would be “inclusive”, “improve everything” and approved by the people in a referendum.
That’s a tall order, but assuming such a basic law is attainable, I do not believe at all that Digong quitting his post would be a desirable next move – unless the present constitutional provisions on succession is revised as well.
Otherwise, what would happen? The current vice president whose election is under protest will take over. I do not think the Filipino people would want that for reasons known to one and all.
Of course, it would be a different story if what Digong meant by an “inclusive” and “improve everything” Constitution is one that would adopt a federal system of government.
The question is how do we go about revising the Constitution? 
Digong has indicated he is not inclined to having it done through a constitutional convention. 
However, a recent survey showed more people would rather have a constitutional convention with members elected by them, rather than a constituent assembly which will be comprised of the present members of Congress.
I’m afraid that speaks volumes about how the people regard members of Congress.
As far as I know, Digong has not expressed preference for a constituent assembly.

CONSTITUENT
ASSEMBLY

Last week, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he wants the two houses of Congress convened as a Constituent Assembly next month to change to a federal system of government.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III promptly agreed with Alvarez’ proposal “but we have to agree at this time about the model we will push”.
Alvarez also said he would support calls by Digong’s supporters to form a “revolutionary government if opponents keep on blocking the President’s agenda”.
 “This is not new. If you will recall during the campaign period, (the revolutionary government) has already been pushed by President Duterte. He said that he will do real change to our country and if he cannot do it because of outside factors then he has the option of establishing a revolutionary government,” Alvarez said.
 “He won and the masses gave him this mandate so this means that they are all agreeing with his proposal during the campaign period,” he added.
The assumption is that the Congress would be abolished under a revolutionary government. Alvarez said he would then happily step down (will he have a choice?) “for the sake of change”.

REVOLUTIONARY
GOVERNMENT

I personally am wary about having a revolutionary government. But I am not totally averse to it – provided the situation in the country demands it and it is for a specific and reasonable, repeat, reasonable period, i.e., up to the time when the ills that plague the government and society in general would have been effectively addressed.
I realize that complying with the proviso on the duration of the revolutionary government would be very difficult to guarantee, but I think it is a risk worth taking. 
Needless to say, abuses by the leader, his cronies, the armed forces and the police should be avoided at all times.
Let us not forget the old adage: “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

SERENO IMPEACHMENT

Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno who is facing an impeachment complaint insists she is not resigning because “nakakahiya po kay Andres Bonifacio o Emilio Jacinto”.
Huh? I don’t understand. There appears to be a disconnect there somewhere. The two heroes were fighting for independence from Spain. She is facing impeachment on charges that appear to be compellingly valid.
Could it possibly have something to do with her psychiatric make up? 
According to the two psychiatrists, Dr. Dulce Lizza Sahagun-Reyes and Dr. Genuina C. Ranoy and the two psychologists of the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) who examined her when she was nominated as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sereno received a rating of 4. 
On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the lowest, a grade of 4 means: “The negative defenses are predominantly present that may reflect in a clinical observation as difficulty in adaptive functions in several areas of the person’s life.”
Sereno who, as Chief Justice chairs the JBC, reportedly has since removed the two doctors from the Council’s list of regular psychiatrists.
The JBC supposedly considers a grade of 4 means “not recommended”, yet the Council recommended Sereno’s inclusion in the list of aspirants to the post of chief magistrate. Go figure.
Two members of the JBC at the time who voted in favor of Sereno were Senator Francis Escudero and Congressman Neil Tupas, Jr. Perhaps they can shed some light on the matter.

SERENO’S MISSING SALNs

Everybody knows that what did the late Chief Justice Renato Corona in was his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN). He did not include his dollar account in it.
Now, it is reported that Sereno’s SALNs for the years 2001 and 2003-2009 are missing from her 201 files in the University of the Philippines where she was working before being appointed as an associate justice in the high tribunal. Could there be something in those missing SALNs that’s relevant to her case?
The person in charge of the Human Resources Department in UP said her predecessor might have turned over the missing SALNs to the Ombudsman as is usually done yearly.
The chair of the Congress committee hearing Sereno’s case has since requested the Ombudsman for copies of the subject-SALNs.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Ombudsman Conchita Morales either denies the request or simply says she doesn’t have the SALNs.

SWEDISH MEDDLING

Another foreign “pakialamero” blew into town recently ostensibly to improve bilateral trade between Sweden and the Philippines.
However, his position in his government was a dead giveaway as to the real purpose of his visit.
Swedish Deputy minister of trade and European Union affairs, Oscar Stenstrom, said in an interview with the Philippine Star:
“I have raised the issues of human rights, about the possible reintroduction of capital punishment. The questions on human rights and especially how law enforcement has been conducting the war on drugs concern us. It’s an issue which I brought up with the government of the Philippines.”
I have no idea how Foreign Undersecretary Enrique Manalo and Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez responded to Stenstrom. I hope they gave him a mouthful of Digong’s tirade against the European Union and other foreign meddlers.
Incidentally, I would like to reiterate my suggestion that visiting foreign government officials should only be received by their counterparts in every department they visit, as Usec. Manalo has done. Perhaps, the DFA could issue a circular to this effect.
***
Today is the 215th day of the eleventh year of the enforced disappearance of Jonas Burgos, son of the late press icon and founder of this newspaper.
After the acquittal of Major Harry Baliaga, Jr., the only person formally charged with Jonas’ kidnapping, I guess what happens next is now up to Divine Providence.
***
From an internet friend:
Three explorers became lost in the jungle and wandered for days with no food and little water... 
One day, just as they were finally about to give up, they crawled into a clearing and there right in front of them stood a Cannibal’s restaurant. Out front near the entrance was a large menu board. With the little energy they had left, they dragged themselves across the clearing and looked up to see the following menu: Marinated missionary - $7.99; Roast Lion Hunter - $12.00; Steamed Politician - $198.50.
They struggled into the establishment, dragged themselves to a table, and a waiter came to take their order. Before they ordered, one of the explorers asked the waiter, “Can you help me understand your menu? The first two items are priced about the same, but the third item, the politician, is priced so much higher. Why is that?” 


“Are you kidding?” replied the waiter. “Did you ever try to CLEAN one of those suckers?”
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