Weird and unconstitutional
A LAW EACH DAY (KEEPS TROUBLE AWAY) - Jose C. Sison (The Philippine Star) - February 15, 2019 - 12:00am

This is indeed the first time in our country’s history that we have a President who appears to be so engrossed in attracting the peoples’ attention to himself. He seems to be so obsessed in ensuring that people will focus their attention on his thoughts, words and actions even to the extent of proposing something so different, unexpected, unnecessary and even so weird because it seems to be coming from someone who is out of his mind.

Just recently, he attracted the peoples’ attention once more with his proposal to change the name of our country from “Philippines” to “Maharlika.” With so many other urgent problems besetting us, especially the continuing poverty in our land obviously due to graft and corruption in our government, it is really quite strange and unexpected that our President would come up with such proposal. To be sure, the topic has become so hot now and so much talked about as to prompt a lot of people to trace our history and find out when and how our country got that name.

As culled from the Library of Congress (https/, our country was named after King Phillip II of Spain way back in 1571, or more than five centuries ago, when the Spaniards defeated a local Muslim ruler and set up their capital in Manila. That was about 50 years after Ferdinand Magellan landed in the island of Samar while circumnavigating the world and claimed the land for the King of Spain but was killed by a local chief, named Lapu Lapu in Mactan Island. The Spaniard who gave the name “Philippines” was Commander Ruy Lopez de Villalobos as Spain continued to send expeditions even after Magellan’s death. In giving such name, the Spanish sought to acquire a share of the lucrative spice trade, develop better relations and contacts with China and Japan and gain converts to Christianity. Only the third objective was however eventually realized when Church and State became inseparably linked in carrying out Spanish objectives.

Since then, “Philippines” has been our country’s official name recognized the world over while our people have been called “Filipinos.” In fact, the name “Philippines” is the official name used by our Constitution particularly in Article I defining our National Territory, Article II on the “Declaration of Principles and State Policies” and in several other Articles and Sections therein.

Hence this latest proposal by no less than the President of our country has stirred up so much controversy and so much talk as to divert the attention of our people from the more pressing problems of the land. Foremost in the mind of our people especially the poor and the marginalized is the necessity of such change. Is there really an urgent need to tackle such proposal and to change the name of our country? What good or benefit will such change bring to our people? Will it improve their lives? Will it make our country more progressive and our people more cooperative and united? Obviously, the answer to all these questions is a big resounding “no.”

First of all, nothing good or beneficial will come out of it. It will just entail a lot of expense in terms of time and the peoples’ money. As it is now turning out, we are wasting a lot of time arguing and discussing the pros and cons of such useless proposal instead of focusing our attention, especially our President, on the more pressing problems of our country.

Secondly, more expenses will be incurred because such proposal would involve the amendment of our Constitution which is a tedious and expensive process. Changing the name of our country from “Philippines” to “Maharlika” requires so many changes in our Charter where the name “Philippines” has been repeatedly used. Besides and more importantly the name “Maharlika” itself is entirely contradictory to our existing government. As provided in Article II, Section 1 of our Constitution, “The Philippines is a Democratic and Republican State.” “Maharlika” on the other hand means “noble” and “aristocratic.” “Aristocratic” is directly incompatible with “Democratic.” So if our country’s name is changed to “Maharlika” it means that our government is no longer a government “of the people, for the people and by the people” but a government of a ruling elite or nobility.

Hence, let us not waste our time and our taxpayers’ money on this useless proposal even as it comes from no less than our President. Let us focus our attention on a more important and beneficial topic particularly our P3.757 trillion budget. It is really sad to note that in said budget, our Senators and Congressmen will share a total of about P99 billion in pork barrel funds.  These “pork” insertions are contained in a matrix of realignments made in Duterte’s budget proposal by the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Bicameral Conference Committee. Said matrix shows that the members of the Lower House have inserted pork barrel funds in the budget amounting to P23.9 billion, while the Senators have realigned a total of P49.6 billion and the Bicam itself had P25.2 billion insertions or a total of P98.7 billion. What is so unfortunate here is that the Supreme Court has already ruled in 2013 that these pork barrels in whatever form they are portrayed are unconstitutional.

Perhaps Duterte would be able to attract more attention and admiration if he would just examine this budget approved by Congress to find out the truth about these insertions and veto them in the valid exercise of his powers.

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