The decency of a term extension
DIRECT FROM THE MIDDLE EAST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - August 20, 2014 - 12:00am

The issue of a Constitutional amendment to extend the term of the incumbent President, and also to clip the powers of the Supreme Court is not a legal nor a constitutional issue. It is an issue of decency and of  ''delicadeza''. Would it be proper for an incumbent public official, especially if he is the overall leader of the nation, to use all the powers and resources of his position, in order to push for a constitutional amendment that would favor him? And weaken his perceived ''enemies''? It may be legal? But is it decent? Could it pass the test of ''delicadeza''? Has President Noy considered it a factor that, if President Cory and Senator Ninoy were alive today, would such move merit his parents' approval?

The Liberal Party commands the majority coalitions in both houses of Congress. Majority of the provincial governors and city and municipal mayors belongs to the administration party. As titular head of the party in power, he could very well issue the go signal for a constituent assembly to be convened. He has Senate President Frank Drilon and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte waiting for his instruction. In other words, technically, it could be done. If they could do it the way they did it to Chief Justice Corona, there is a strong reason to believe that the term extension and the clipping of judicial powers could be accomplished if Malacañang would only clarify the go signal.

But the problem is the growing disenchantment of the people. The Filipinos do believe that the President is an honest man. His sisters are all honest women. There is no serious controversy that had successfully cast aspersion at the integrity of the Chief Executive. But when he turned around from his previous stance against constitutional amendment, only because he wants to get back at the Supreme Court, then his motives become suspect. This column believes that the President has no selfish or pecuniary motives. His only discernible intention is to ''discipline'' the High Court which dared to go against his idea of a DAP, or his idea of how to accelerate disbursement in order to drive economic growth.

To give the impression that the President is now amenable, and even encouraging a CHACHA only to extend term of the incumbent, and to diminish judicial power, would be to go against the stand of the late President Corazon Aquino. This is also directly in contradiction to the principles of the late Senator Ninoy Aquino, whose death anniversary we celebrate every August 21. For the son, the incumbent President, to suddenly come out with such an unexpected move, we would be dishonoring the illustrious memory of his late parents. The move may be intrinsically correct, It may have its rationale and legal justification. But to pass it now and allow the extension to benefit the incumbent, that would be improper to say the least.

The President has all his lawyers and trusted advisers. But some quarters say that once he makes up his mind, nobody could change his stand. Not even Sisters Ballsy and Kris. But if he is a good leader and an astute politician, he should learn how to read the hand writings on the wall. This move can unmake his Presidency. The people are definitely against it.

attyjosephusbjimenez@yahoo.com

 

CHIEF EXECUTIVE CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA DRILON AND HOUSE SPEAKER SONNY BELMONTE HAS PRESIDENT NOY HIGH COURT LIBERAL PARTY PRESIDENT PRESIDENT CORAZON AQUINO PRESIDENT CORY AND SENATOR NINOY SENATOR NINOY AQUINO SUPREME COURT
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