“One more term for PNoy”

POINTILLISMS - Mike Acebedo Lopez (The Freeman) - August 9, 2014 - 12:00am

I cringe. I cringe at the mere thought of eight more years. I cringe at the thought of people suggesting a patently unconstitutional idea. I cringe some more because in this land that has seen things stranger than sorcery, it is possible-possible in country currently plagued with a fiscal dictatorship, where the loyalties of the legislature are not with the people but with their benefactor, where the Supreme Court is bullied and threatened with impeachment when the co-equal branch refuses to cooperate.

The Facebook page "One more term for PNoy" has only a few thousand followers (I have friends who have more followers, and they're not even celebrities), yet in ABS-CBN's judgment, it is important enough to merit a news report. I would sometimes comment in threads to point out its unconstitutionality, articulating my thoughts on how a suggestion so impossible in our current setup flabbergasts, how the ignorance of those who created the page baffles. And though I take the time to opine and point out what is obvious (that it is demonstrably unconstitutional) on the one hand, on the other, it doesn't take a genius to spot the subterfuge.

Political pundits, myself included, were sure of it from the get-go, this effort in faking a clamor, in manufacturing a groundswell, this is nothing but another masterstroke of crisis PR (the only thing this government is ever really good at; i.e. "Tears for Fears" live performance at the #SONA2014) to arrest the tragic decline in Aquino's popularity and support, to electrify his base.

But when Mar Roxas himself, DILG secretary and presidential aspirant, spoke of this fabricated demand for PNoy to serve beyond his 6-year term in a television interview, it became clearer, it was a double-edged double entendre.  First, it was intended to impede PNoy's post-DAP decline in his approval ratings; Second, it was meant to set the tone for Mar Roxas, as can be gleaned from his own words highlighting the "continuance of Daang Matuwid." And since the constitution prohibits, how else can this "continuance" be had except through a candidate who will carry on PNoy's reform agenda – and who else to do so but Mar Roxas (at least that's what he wants people to believe).

But, like I said, in our country, stranger things have happened. And though this is basically a PR gimmick for the benefit of both PNoy and Mar, I am told by some insiders that there are some personalities from within the president's close circle who are seriously considering pursuing this.

Calling their own bluff

Noynoy did say repeatedly that he was against charter change, even if these are limited to the economic provisions (such as those pushed for by an ally, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte). However, his firm stance against cha-cha – presumably for sentimental reasons since the 1987 Constitution is also known by its nickname, the Cory Constitution, and is actually the only tangible legacy of his mother's lackluster and beleaguered presidency plagued by coups and brownouts – was made and expressed before portions of the controversial DAP was declared unconstitutional by a Supreme Court he supposedly controls. After the July 1 ruling, the landscape has been completely redefined.

And now, some people in the know are saying that the fabricated grounds well might actually be used as an impetus to pursue constitutional amendments to address term limit issues. Though two years makes things very difficult and highly improbable for charter change to succeed, post-presidency prison prospects can make any sitting president push beyond political limitations and make things possible, at all costs.

He has the support of both houses of congress, he can win over critics who have been raring to amend the charter and shift to a parliamentary and federal system of government, and if a plebiscite is held to ratify it, he has the PCOS machines on his side (as in the 2013 midterm elections). Plus, he has a Kris Aquino to cry on national TV to promote the new constitution and "institutionalize Daang Matuwid" push comes to shove (or if she feels like it). If PNoy succeeds, he can still sit as president when government transitions to the new system, and subsequently, when new system is in place, run again for president (head of state) while Mar Roxas can be prime minister (head of government) or vice versa (ala prime minister Virata during the Marcos years). Either way, win-win for these two lovebirds.

Not only does Noynoy preserve himself from going to jail (because, really, he can; there is even more evidentiary reason to have him arrested than Gloria Arroyo whose cases are extremely weak, and are being dismissed one after the other, despite the marching orders from PNoy to make sure she stays under arrest), charter change can also help with his Bangsamoro peace pact predicament.


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