‘The Constitution is just a piece of paper’ – Roxas
FROM A DISTANCE - Carmen N. Pedrosa (The Philippine Star) - January 13, 2019 - 12:00am

When asked what he thought of constitutional reform in a press conference with STAR, Mar Roxas scoffed “the Constitution is just a piece of paper.” For politicians like himself it is. That is how we got into this goddam situation in the first place. Government is used by the oligarchy, to which he belongs, to own the country.

Constitutional reform aims to change all that. We have to restructure government to stop US neo-imperialism supporting oligarchic government.

The announcement of Mar Roxas that he will be an independent candidate in the coming senatorial election is the mask he will use in the campaign. But do not be misled. He will continue to perform his role yet again to promote the interest of the oligarchy and their American backers using the generic name of “liberal.”

He follows the footsteps of his ancestor, Manuel Roxas of the Liberal Party, whom the American chose as their front for neo colonialism after the recognition of independence in 1946. For this we have to go back to history.

“On July 5, 1946, representatives of the United States of America and of the Republic of the Philippines signed a Treaty of General Relations between the two governments. The treaty provided for the recognition of the independence of the Republic of the Philippines as of July 4, 1946, and the relinquishment of American sovereignty over the Philippine Islands.

The US retained dozens of military bases, including a few major ones. In addition, independence was qualified by legislation passed by the US Congress.

For example, the Bell Trade Act provided a mechanism whereby US import quotas might be established on Philippine articles which “are coming, or are likely to come, into substantial competition with like articles the product of the United States.”

It further required US citizens and corporations be granted equal access to Philippine minerals, forests, and other natural resources.

In hearings before the Senate committee on finance, Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs William Clayton described the law as “clearly inconsistent with the basic foreign economic policy of this country” and “clearly inconsistent with our promise to grant the Philippines genuine independence.” (Wikipedia)

In other words to be formally independent but not free. This is the background we must keep in mind about Mar Roxas. He belongs to the Roxas family, the descendants of President Manuel Roxas. This is the Filipino dynasty US imperialists used as the figurehead of the country to maintain their hold.

The post colonial period began under Manuel Roxas lasted from 1946 (when Philippine politicians were servile to American foreign policy) until the election of President Rodrigo Duterte. We did not become independent in 1946 but in 2017, when Duterte announced to the world that from here on the Philippines would adopt an independent foreign policy.

“We will be friends with all countries when it serves the Philippine interest.” Of all places he chose to make the declaration in his first visit to China, US rival for superpower. There was thunderous applause from the audience most of whom were Filipinos.

Since then Duterte has had many accomplishments – his war on drugs, his Build, Build, Build  program, and the impact of his socio-economic programs for the poor.  But to me his independent foreign policy is the most significant. Through his new foreign policy, Duterte was praised by leaders of other countries similarly affected by American superpower but did not have the courage to say.

That Filipinos agree with Duterte’s independent policy is backed up by his recent ratings. Duterte’s rating is a six-point increase from the previous quarter. Only 13 percent were undecided over the president’s performance in the last quarter, while 7 percent disapproved.

Duterte’s approval ratings are the highest in Mindanao with a 96 percent rating; followed by the Visayas at 86 percent; then Luzon at 74 percent, and 69 percent in the National Capital Region.

In a coffee talk with some members of the American embassy once I asked them what happened to the original plan to set up Roxas as the Liberal presidential candidate. It was an indirect question asking them why they had acceded to changing Roxas with Aquino.

With Roxas in the Senate if he gets elected expect the same servile policy of these American Filipinos. But you can’t say they didn’t try.

His oligarchic background was hidden with an unfortunate ad campaign to make him a candidate of the masses. He carried sacks of rice on his back as if we did not know that he is heir to the vast Roxas empire.

It was laughable. But even more hilarious were pictures of him as a tricycle driver. Since when did tricycle drivers wear Gucci shoes? The masses were not fooled.

Indeed every propaganda tactic was tried including his romance with Korina Sanchez, an ABS-CBN anchor. Their wedding was designed to push the Mar and Korina wedding as a marriage of media and politics. It would have been ideal but as far as Filipinos were concerned they were no longer interested in marriages for political purposes.

There may be some who were enamoured with the media play-up of the wedding as nation’s most celebrated power couple. But those who were aware to play-up were not impressed. So what? It was dismissed as another attempt to make Roxas popular to the masses. Most interesting was the presence of the US Ambassador to the Philippines Kristie Kenney in the wedding.

What use would a constitutional reform be to a Liberal candidate who would simply resort to oligarchic tactics like a grand wedding? Or pretending to work hard for a living with little reward? All this we must consider in assessing Roxas’ return to the Senate. If democratic election is the will of the people, for the people and by the people, I cannot see it in this Manuel Roxas descendant. Connect all the pieces together and the whole picture will emerge.

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