What did we learn from the extra-judicial ouster of an elected president? The 1987 Constitution? Our generation was fooled into believing that the late former President Ferdinand E. Marcos was evil and the late former President Cory Aquino who seized power from him in 1986 was a saint. We were naive then but for those who were critical thinkers, 1987 was the turning point.
Once such critical thinker back then is PhilStar columnist Alex Magno who, in his piece today, recalls the exasperation he felt over the flawed thinking that went into the 1987 “yellow constitution” the outcome of which now find us “stuck with a constitutional framework that saps the vitality of our nation’s progress”. Magno issues further indictment citing, in particular, its two key anti-progress features…
In response to criticism the system of representation that dynasts will be revived, the framers of the Charter we now have introduced term limits. That was a harebrained idea. Term limits prevented our voters from retaining good leaders. The dynasts simply maneuvered around term limits to maintain their stranglehold over political power.
Term limits did not reward good performers and did not at all foster constant transfusion of the political class. We have the current political elite as testimony to that failing.
I disagreed with restoring a Senate, elected at large. This was a ploy by Quezon to strengthen his party’s dominance during the Commonwealth period. Post-1987, this system favored celebrity politicians. With a weak political party system, actors and athletes who already enjoyed name-recall dominated senatorial elections.
Just a couple of years into this experiment with the Yellowtard charter, we found ourselves advocating Cory’s ouster through the efforts of Juan Ponce Enrile (JPE) and the Reform the Armed Forces Movement (RAM). It was Uncle Sam who saved Cory at the last minute in 1989. It was also Uncle Sam who got Fidel Ramos “elected” in 1992 by the thinnest of margins.
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The 1987 Constitution is 37 years old this year and since its ratification, we haven’t achieved much other than to reclaim our title as the Sick Man of Asia, as Magno put it. Indonesia and Vietnam have zipped past us. Our economic growth is consumption-driven instead of the ideal manufacturing-driven. The definition of employment is suspect and the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) doesn’t publish any underemployment numbers. We’re still beset by basic Third World problems despite our supposed nearing middle income status. Ask the average Pinoy and he will say he’s barely surviving. Our farmers and fisher folk are still the poorest of the poor despite agrarian reform being implemented since 1972. Our agricultural productivity continues to decline instead of increase.
The move to amend the constitution may be self-serving but we should grab it by the horns lest the opportunity passes again. We don’t need the Senators anymore. But they can only be dragged out kicking and screaming from that new “state of the art building” they will be moving into. Nonetheless, we should push for constitutional amendments not only of the economic provisions but also the political structure because these are the foundations of any hope for the future of the country.
The calls for the resignation of President Bongbong Marcos don’t do anyone any good except for the obvious direct beneficiary, Vice-President Inday Sara Duterte. I don’t think Inday or even her father, former President Rodrigo Duterte, has sanctioned this call. This pettiness seems to emanate from an utterly ill-informed and misguided community of Tards that form one or the other of the cults of personality that infest the political discourse today. It’s about time we exercise political maturity and stay within the bounds of the law as our past experience with the false people power has burned us twice already.
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