Thinking second term
BREAKTHROUGH - Elfren S. Cruz (The Philippine Star) - August 28, 2014 - 12:00am

August is truly the Aquino month when the nation commemorates the martyrdom of Ninoy Aquino and the death of President Cory Aquino, the icon of democracy and People Power. This past month also provided a lot of topics that are fodder for observers of the Philippine political environment.

For those who continue to speculate on the reason why P-Noy suddenly said, last August 13th, that he was amenable to running for a second term, the latest issue of the Economist magazine has a theory. I use the word ‘theory’ deliberately because any public speculation on the motive for P-Noy’s statement is, at this point, pure conjecture.

According to the article, the Philippine president’s single six-year term and “their function as the fount of political patronage makes all Philippine presidents lame ducks in their last two years.” Most politicians will desert the lame duck president for whoever they believe will be the probable winner in the next election and who will then be the next major source of patronage.

By floating the idea that being amenable to the idea of amending the Constitution to allow him to seek a second term may also be an attempt by P-Noy, according to the magazine, “to hold the coalition together for a last gasp effort to keep his election promises. If this is the motive, it would seem that this would be considered a laudable strategy by many people who are hoping the Philippine economy will continue on his upward trajectory.

Based on the same premise, another motive might also be to try and hold the governing coalition together until they can find a winnable presidential candidate for 2016. Almost every political observer believes that the present presidential candidate of the Liberal Party has very little chance of winning the next electoral battle.

But no one can discount, at this point, the possibility that if there is really a strong clamor from his “bosses,” P-Noy may decide that a second term is needed if he is to make sure that the reforms he started still need to be institutionalized. Of course, this scenario assumes that the Constitution can be amended in time for the next election.

But, perhaps, the best political advice has come from two of P-Noy’s sisters. In a recent television interview, presidential sister Ballsy Aquino Cruz was asked who the family might support and whether they would campaign in 2016. Pinky Aquino Abellada, a presidential sister, said in the same interview that they were certainly open to campaigning in 2016. This was a very strong suggestion that not only P-Noy but the whole Aquino family will most probably endorse a presidential candidate.

However, when asked about a specific candidate, Ballsy simply pointed out that the presidential election was still around 21 months away. She reminded everyone that P-Noy surfaced as a presidential candidate in 2010, only nine months before the elections.

I can only wholeheartedly agree with her insight. It is much too early to know who will be the final cast in the 2016 presidential and senatorial elections.

In the meantime, political rhetoric should not distract us from other issues that are of immediate importance. For instance, when are we going to see the second batch of PDAF scam cases filed in court? The Commission on Audit (COA) has ordered Senator Ferdinand Marcos to return P10 million of his pork barrel funds which he channeled to a livelihood project through a foundation headed by whistle blower Benhur Luy.

The Marcos-funded NGO, the Social Development Program for Farmers Foundation, Inc. ( SDPF-FI) is one of the bogus foundations of Janet Lim Napoles. When will Marcos return the money? Does this mean he will be in the second batch to be charged by the Ombudsman? Also, when will Enrile and Gigi Reyes return the hundreds of millions of pesos they have been accused of plundering?

Another issue I am waiting to hear from are all the investigations that the Supreme Court are conducting on their fellow judges. When will the Ma’m Arlene investigation of corrupt judges be finalized? And what about all those accusations against Sandiganbayan Justice Ong that he was part of the Napoles scam?

By the way, I would like to ask my lawyer friends: If Justices are allowed to render final verdicts on the innocence or guilt of fellow judges, why can’t lawmakers do the same for fellow lawmakers? Or can the President appoint a committee to investigate and render judgment on members of the executive branch? I hope asking these questions will not lead to accusations that I am accusing the judiciary of overreach.

Finally, Senate President Frank Drilon has publicly said that there should only be one person to head the entire Agriculture Department and its affiliated agencies. I completely support this call. The agricultural sector needs unified leadership and a person on top with integrity and the courage to run after smugglers and hoarders.

A special invitation:  On Saturday, August 30, popular award-winning author and college professor Carla Pacis is the guest facilitator at the inaugural Write Away Weekend (WAW) series for 7-17 year olds  at the newly established Canadian American School, 6/f Alphaland City Club on Ayala Avenue cor. Malugay.  Ms. Pacis is focusing on a timely topic, “Surviving (and Enjoying) Writing for School.”

WAW is held on the last Saturdays of the month beginning in August and is a more intensive writing session, running from 1 to 5 p.m., than the regular Young Writers’ Saturday Hangouts. The guest will talk about her writing life and allow time for the participants to write, to critique, and to share their pieces.  It aims to have young writers interact with published authors to familiarize them with Philippine books.  In the process, they come away inspired and motivated to read and write.  The regular ongoing writing sessions which have gathered a community of interested writers began in May.

For inquiries, call/text 0917-6240196 or email

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