Desperate measures


    ‘Power corrupts. And when that power is about to be taken away by the force of the Constitution, it’s time to resort to desperate measures to throw out that Constitution.’

    THIS has happened three times before.

    The first time, as his second presidential term was coming to an end and the Constitutional prohibition on serving beyond eight years was clear, Ferdinand Marcos (history tells us) capitalized on the serious problems of the day to throw out the (1935) Constitution, rule by decree, and ended up remaining president until 1986. It was the “EDSA Revolution” that put an end to what could have been a tenure “for life.”

    The second time, as his single six year term was coming to an end, Fidel Ramos stood by as his allies tried to fan the flames of “PIRMA” meant to trigger a nationwide petition to amend the Constitution and provide Ramos a fresh mandate to remain in office. The opposition of the Catholic Church and Ramos’s own predecessor galvanized civil society into action and Charter Change (Cha-Cha) came to naught.

    Third time, there were strong murmurs that allies of GMA were going to push to convert the House and the Senate into a Constituent Assembly. The Assembly would then draft a new Constitution to replace the one drawn up in 1987. The talk was that our bicameral legislature was going to be made into a unicameral parliament and that GMA would become the first prime minister. Of course, prime ministers are not subject to set term limits, and could stay on forever for as long as he (or she) had the continuing support of the majority of MPs.

    But the Senate refused to agree, and the scandal-ridden administration had to bow out of office on schedule.

    Why is it that people in power (holding “thankless jobs”) have a hard time accepting that they are just TEMPS, or ENDOS, and that they are NOT God’s gift to governance? Why is it that they think only they can keep doing a good job (and that’s already assuming a lot) and that no one else out there in a country of 100 million can do as well, or even better?
    Because transgressions were committed and a new administration (if unfriendly) could uncover them and throw the perpetrators in jail?

    Because power corrupts? Because public office isn’t as “thankless” after all?

    Or because all of the above are applicable?

    I am no longer surprised at the blatant double standard that people in power have towards friend and foe. Friends can say whatever they want – even call for a Revolutionary Government, which means throwing out the Philippine Constitution – and it’s excusable as an exercise of freedom of expression. Or it was a figure of speech, or was just a joke – whatever sounds most plausible as an excuse. But if the advocacy is from some source other than a bunch of allies or supporters or donors or what, then it’s suspect; it’s destabilization; it’s treason.

    Power corrupts.

    And because power corrupts, those in power find it so very hard to accept the fact that one day soon they will have to leave behind the trappings of power they have gotten to enjoy.

    Bodyguards galore to shield them from the sovereign Filipino people. Expense reports that are not properly submitted to COA for audit. Taxpayer-funded meals and offices and transportation and trips – where possible, with the wife and kids in tow. In short, the royal treatment for what are supposed to be public SERVANTS.

    And that’s giving them the benefit of the doubt. For sure there are those who have used power to, say, enrich themselves and their friends. And who now wonder what would be discovered if and when they step down. And whether what could be discovered would result in criminal prosecution. Even abroad for transgressions that mankind treats as an offense against humanity.

    In which case the idea of RevGov takes on a different appeal. It’s not because it will make life better for the Filipino people; it’s because it will give some people a chance to either cover their tracks – or keep dipping their fingers into the cookie jar.

    Power corrupts. And when that power is about to be taken away by the force of the Constitution, it’s time to resort to desperate measures to throw out that Constitution.

    And that, plain and simple, is what the efforts to push RevGov are all about.