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Shall I believe the President?

I must have left hanging those who read my column last Sunday. Both time and space ran out. I hope they can find a space in their heart to forgive me for introducing a controversial item, in the latter part of my Sunday article, which I failed to clarify. Let me attempt to round up that issue in this column today.

President Rodrigo Duterte, one day, said that the moment we have a new Constitution ensuring a government free of corruption, he will resign from the presidency. Let us divide that declaration into recognizable parts: 1) new constitution; 2) corruption-free; and 3) resignation.

1.There are three ways our Constitution may be amended. First, Congress, acting as a constituent assembly, by a qualified majority, may propose amendments to our charter. Second, a constitutional convention may do it. Third, the peoples' initiative, a special mechanism believed to have been borne out of the EDSA revolution.

Since the start of Duterte administration, he has been conditioning the minds of his supporters to believe that federalism is best for our country. He somehow succeeded. After all that is the characterization of fanaticism. But, if only to have a change of government, our 1987 Constitution cannot just be amended. Technically speaking, it has to be revised and it can only be done by a con-ass or a con-con.

Amid the choreographed assault on the Supreme Court Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno by the House of Representatives-that I watched as a telenovela-I read that the Senate was readying the draft of a new Constitution. I wanted to believe that these separate moves were uncoordinated but I have to describe the timing as master stroke! My grandson, Christian Anthony, has a term for such-AWESOME-but which can also be applied for the seeming coordination among the heads of the executive department and the two houses of Congress. So with the perceived barrier in the highest magistrate being removed, the march towards a new Constitution has no obstacle.

2.I have read three of our Constitutions. When I was a freshmen law student, I studied the 1935 Constitution. Martial law overtook my study and I took the bar, with the subject Political Law, focused on the 1973 charter. Presently, I teach constitutional law based on the one drafted by the 1986 Constitutional Commission, which we ratified on February 2, 1987.

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There was nothing imbedded in the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions that promoted corruption. The distinguished men and women who crafted our present Constitution made sure that corruption, in any form, cannot find support in any of its provisions. I can say that all our charters, past and present, are written and freed of corrupt ways.

I detest the insinuation aired by Duterte when he said that the new Constitution he visualizes is free from corruption. In effect, he connotes that the 1935, the 1973 and the 1987 charters were written by corrupt minds for corrupt ends, thus desecrating the haloed memory of those patriots.

3.Duterte, when still a candidate for president, got interviewed in a television sit com. He admitted some kind of responsibility for the deaths of about 1,600 persons. Later, he denied it. And I believed him. Then, Duterte accused Sen. Trillanes of maintaining a dollar account offshore with specifics on the name of the bank, account number and remaining balance. Yes, I believed the president's revelation. But, when Trillanes secured a clearance negating the president's charges, Duterte admitted that he lied. I also believed him.

Now, Duterte says he will resign if there is a new Constitution that ensures the state free of corruption. While this might be another falsehood, I am inclined to believe him. But why will he do that?

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