Cha Cha: The Philippines' Ides of March    

WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez - The Freeman

Today is the fifteenth of March and in Latin, this is Idus Martiae, which, under the Roman Empire, was the deadline for settling of debts. This is also a notorious date because on March 15, 44 BCE, Julius Caesar was assassinated by a group of senators, including his best friend Brutus. The Philippines’ national debt has reached a staggering P13.7 trillion, inflation rate has reached a devastating 14% in January, people are suffering. And the politicians are plotting to "assassinate" our nation by allowing our national patrimony to be acquired by foreigners.

Julius Caesar, the Roman consul, served Rome for no less than eight years by conquering the entire region of Gaul, today's territory of France. He was so successful as a conqueror that the politicians in the Roman Senate were so jealous of his popularity. The senators demanded that Caesar disband his army but Caesar refused. He crossed the Rubicon plunging Rome into a civil war. But he defeated all opposition. He was proclaimed a perpetual dictator. Thus the trapos of Rome plotted his murder, and they were able to convince Caesar's trusted friend, Brutus, to join the plot. Indeed, Julius Caesar was slain, after having been stabbed 23 times right in the corridors of the Roman Senate. Our country today is like Julius Caesar, betrayed by the politicians and being abused by greedy businessmen.

I am drawing historical analogy between the slaying of Caesar and the emerging plot to slay the 1987 Philippine Constitution and open our fundamental law to the merciless greed of people whom Chief Justice Reynato Puno called the factotum of the ruling class, and I may add, the proxies of the economic moguls and the oligarchs. Congressman Rufus Rodriguez of the House and senator Robinhood Padilla in the Senate are pushing the country to become an open city to be preyed upon by foreign predators.

They want our industries and sectors to be open for foreign ownership, not only foreign investment. They want our lands, our mines, our natural resources to fall into the hands of Chinese, Japanese, Americans, and Europeans. We wonder who are the true masters of our senators and congressmen, the Filipino people or alien predators?

Tampering with our fundamental law can bring the whole nation into grave and imminent danger of instability. Who will be entrusted to tinker with the Philippine Charter? The trapos and extensions of political dynasties whose only motivation is to protect their family business empires and political and economic turfs? The dummies of foreign interests whose only goal is to get their hands on our natural resources, to own our lands and marine resources, ravage our natural habitats, and rape our forests? While the country has P13.7 trillion in debit, why are trapos diverting the focus of our leaders? Our president and legislature should come together and focus on the economy.

Changing the Constitution to allow foreigners to enter and control our trades, finances, and industries is like opening the doors of our old and dilapidated house, when in fact, our roofs are leaking, our floors are cracking, and our walls are falling down. We should put our house in order first, make our economic, social, and political institutions stronger. We do not need to amend our Charter. We cannot destroy the whole foundation of the house when we cannot even afford to repair the leaking roofs and the short-circuiting electrical connections. The problem with most of our politicians is that they behave as if they are members of parliament of Great Britain. They are blind to the realities that our country is poor, and that they, the politicians, are making it poorer.

Our country is like Julius Caesar in the Ides of March. Betrayed by our own elected leaders who want to slay our national patrimony and give up our ancestral domains and offer them to their foreign masters, we are being fooled again to change our Constitution. We are going to face a world famine. More natural disasters are coming due to the worsening climate change. China never stops gradually annexing our territories in the West Philippine Sea.

What are congressmen and senators doing? Instead of focusing on urgent and critical problems, they want to entertain us with another zarzuela of Cha-Cha. At the end of this masquerade, we shall end up losing our country to China and other predators. The nation, like Caesar, will be slain again by the many Brutuses, ready to stab us more than 23 times.


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