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Impeach epidemic

Why are all the so called macho allies of this administration so scared of women leaders they want them impeached? First they wanted to impeach VP Leni. Then Chief Justice Sereno. Now they also want to impeach Ombudsman Morales even if she has barely a year left in her term.

This impeachment epidemic seems like a warning. Some people may have intentions of undermining our democratic system. Just because some constitutional officials refuse to kowtow to them, they want them impeached. Indeed, they imprisoned a lady senator earlier because she had the balls to stand up to them.

If all the impeachment demands are processed by Congress, our legislators will have nothing to do between now and the mid-term election but hear the impeachment cases. The rubber stamp house that is easily bullied by its leadership will likely process the impeachment cases. But will the Senate bite?

I recall that even President Duterte is not happy with at least one impeachment call. Here is how one news report I googled recorded the President’s reaction to the call to impeach VP Leni:

President Duterte said early Thursday, March 23, he would not allow an attempt to impeach Vice President Leni Robredo… A reporter asked Duterte about his thoughts on the impeachment complaint against Robredo and whether he thought there was any basis for it.

Duterte replied: “Guys, lay off. Stop it. You can do other things, but do not tinker with the structure of the government. I will not countenance it. Elected ‘yang tao eh (She was elected).”

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“Why do you have to? Is it just because she keeps on harping on me? Hayaan mo (Let it be) because this is a democracy. Freedom of speech. There are no overt acts,” he explained.

“Kakatapos lang ng eleksyon, bakit mo sisirain? Malay mo ako, ‘di na ako magising bukas sa bangungot, eh ‘di okay na, siya na,” Duterte added.

I think all these impeachment talks are being fueled by people who are trying to bully the women to show the President how loyal they are to him. Mga kulang sa pansin, ika nga.

But the impeachment moves seriously divide the country even more than it already is. Three impeachment hearings will be bad for the country. Abusing the impeachment provision of the Constitution shows the world it is all politics and no governance in our country.

I am sure the President is perfectly capable of dealing with the three women leaders within the framework of the Constitution without impeachment. Those claiming to be his allies should let the President fight his own battles.

The thing is… the women holding constitutional positions haven’t really done anything that merits their impeachment. The impeachment cases being filed against them look like harassment of just about the only officials left in government ready to stand up to the administration. But they are merely acting the way the Constitution was designed for check and balance. That’s why their term of office is protected.

Curiously, the three officials and the lone senator in jail are all women. And the gutter language being used to demean the women, specially in social media, is even unFilipino. We are not like the Isis that demeans their women. We hold our women in high esteem.

In truth, we are a matriarchal society. We love our mothers. They run our households and they run our lives. Mothers… wives… our lives are ordered by them. If we men are allowed to run anything, like our country, we end up with such mess.

Indeed, we ought to consider ourselves lucky the watchdog positions in government are held by strong-willed women with good reputations. They are not likely to connive with colleagues for personal gain the way most men leaders do.

Come to think of it, even in the original Cabinet of President Duterte, the women like Gina Lopez, Judy Taguiwalo and Leonor Briones are the ones who have proven themselves worthy of the people’s trust. But two of them were not confirmed… likely because they would not play ball with the boys. Hindi batang klub.

We should be concerned the country is facing serious challenges. We ought not to waste time playing politics. Impeachment processes take a lot of time. Impeachments also divert attention best devoted to matters that will help us face the future with more confidence.

Perhaps the President should reiterate the position he previously publicly stated. Anyway, the Ombudsman’s term expires middle of next year. The VP is facing a protest case and the Chief Justice had clearly been minding her own concerns.

The LEDAC list of priority bills is rather long. That list plus all the laws that need updating to catch up with technology should get the attention of Congress, not headline-baiting impeachment complaints.

LTFRB

 One issue that merits top legislative attention is the modernization of the LTFRB. This agency is embarrassing the country with its antediluvian attitude towards new technology.

 Anyway, their handling of Uber has exposed weakness in LTFRB. And when the LTFRB chairman said that the solution to all our problems is to put a lot more taxis on our congested roads, it is clear he is hopeless.

 It didn’t help the LTFRB head when he was confronted in a television program with recorded cases of taxi drivers abusing commuters. His solution: commuters should be more assertive and insist the taxi drivers follow the law.

 Where did this chairman come from? I know people from Davao are more urban savvy than this lawyer chosen by the President to run LTFRB. Doesn’t he know arguing with a taxi driver is useless? It can also be dangerous because some drivers are armed with at least a metal pipe and sharp objects.

 The chairman missed the point of that television program. The point simply is, the system is damaged and he has the obligation to fix it. He can draw on lessons from the Uber phenomenon… like how to improve driver income by doing away with the boundary system. 

A colleague at the Foundation for Economic Freedom (FEF) wrote in his column in another publication one lesson the LTFRB chairman must address:

“An Uber driver I spoke with told me he earns more than twice what he earned when he was driving a taxi. Another driver told me she was getting P1,200 pesos a day from Uber as support while they were banned from plying the streets of Manila. 

“Why do drivers and riders in the Philippines and in many countries all over the world love Uber, despite its many faults?

 “Simple: in many of these countries, the transportation system is broken. Normal people are sick and tired of lousy, inefficient, expensive and dangerous taxis. Most of these countries’ regulatory agencies are rent seeking, corrupt and worst of all inept.

 “Uber gives the driver the perception of becoming their own boss, and the ability to own (finance) a car. Uber also gives the riding public convenient, reliable and safe transportation. Even with Uber’s many faults, to the average commuter, UBER is heavenly ride compared to the commuting Hell we had to endure before Uber.

 “Our laws have understandably not kept up with accelerating advances in technology in our globally wired sharing economy.”

 Does the LTFRB chairman have the balls to order a stop to the “boundary system” which is obviously abusing the taxi drivers causing them to abuse passengers in turn? The LTFRB is so obviously a captive of the taxi operators. Maybe Sen. Grace Poe should include provisions in legislation she is preparing to break up the honeymoon between taxi operators and the corrupt LTFRB.

 Change can’t come soon enough. And the LTFRB as presently constituted cannot deliver the kind of change we need.

 Boo Chanco’s e-mail address is bchanco@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @boochanco.

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