recollection of what happened in the early 70s.
Two years and two days (assuming we're using the Theory of Relativity here)- is still a long time and a lot of agony under a corrupt, inept, and
repressive regime. Even a day at the hands of the hangman is an eternity.
So...exactly what is Chiz trying to tell the people - "Konting tiis lang, at 2010 na...pagkatapos...mapapalitan din iyan." Whoa! Our politicians are just repeating history. In 1970, many of our so-called leaders were already positioning themselves for a run in the 1973 elections, they played along with Macoy, fooling themselves into thinking that, come 1973...his term would "expire". And with a Con-Con in the works, they were even more confident that a "Ban Marcos" provision could be inserted into the new constitution. And then...as corrupt and unpopular as his administration was...he was able to pull off an "auto-golpe", a "self-coup" via Proclamation 1081, while the wannabes were caught unawares, with their pants down.
"Tiis"? Iyong politico at elite makakatiis, iyong karamihan ay hindi.
And appended is former Chief Justice Panganiban's take on the same subject
of Arroyo after 2010
Can Arroyo reign beyond 2010?
By Artemio V. Panganiban
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:36:00 07/19/2008
PRESIDENT MACAPAGAL-ARROYO'S PRESENT term expires on June 30, 2010. Can she
legally extend her reign beyond that date? My answer: Yes, if our Congress,
Supreme Court, Commission on Elections and people will agree to a revision
of our Constitution.
Failed Cha-cha bid
Let me begin my thesis by recalling the most recent bid
for Charter change (Cha-cha). In 2006, during my term as chief justice, the
allies of the President, led by then Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., launched a
"people's initiative" to alter our form of government from presidential to
Armed with the alleged signatures of 6.3 million voters, the initiative's
visible proponents—the "Sigaw ng Bayan" and the Union of Local Authorities
in the Philippines (Ulap)—asked the Supreme Court to compel the Comelec to
authenticate the signatures and to schedule a plebiscite to ratify their
However, the Court—by a close 8-7 vote—refused. It described the Sigaw-Ulap
initiative as "a deception" and "a gigantic fraud" because the signatures
were gathered "without first showing to the people the full texts of the
proposed amendments." Equally important, a change from the presidential to
the parliamentary system is a "revision, not a mere amendment" that cannot
be authorized by an initiative.
The decision was penned by Justice Antonio T. Carpio, concurred in by
Justices Consuelo Ynares-Santiago, Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, Ma. Alicia
Austria-Martinez, Conchita Carpio Morales, Romeo J. Callejo Sr., Adolfo S.
Azcuna, and yours truly. Since then, three (Gutierrez, Callejo and I) of the
eight have retired.
On the other hand, the dissenting opinion was written by Justice (now Chief
Justice) Reynato S. Puno, joined by Justices Leonardo A. Quisumbing, Renato
C. Corona, Dante C. Tinga, Minita V. Chico-Nazario, Cancio C. Garcia and
Presbitero J. Velasco Jr.
Initiative—as a means of overhauling the Charter—is indeed problematic.
Hence, I believe the Palace allies will not repeat the mistake of launching
a new one. Neither will they avail of the more tedious constitutional
convention (Con-Con). Furthermore, the Cha-cha proponents may not be able to
elect enough partisans into the Con-con, due to the low popularity rating of
Weapon of choice
I think their new weapon of choice will be the constituent
assembly (Con-ass). Under this method, the shift to a parliamentary system
shall be proposed by "Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its
Members." Per Article XVII of the Constitution, the proposal "shall be valid
when ratified by a majority of the votes cast in a plebiscite which shall be
held not earlier than 60 days nor later than 90 days after the approval of
The big question is whether the two houses of Congress shall vote jointly or
separately. Voting separately, the Senate will—I believe—turn down the
parliamentary shift. However, if the voting is done jointly—meaning that the
votes of the senators and the representatives would be added and thereafter
the three-fourths count obtained from the total—then the shift may get the
How? GMA's ruling coalition lists more than 200 of the 240 House members.
Hence, in a joint vote, even if all the 24 senators would align with the
House's puny minority, the required "three-fourths vote of all Members"
could still be obtained. Will the Senate agree to convene a Con-ass? It
seems so. Sen. Aquilino Pimentel has already proposed to the Senate to
tackle his plan for a federal system. Once convened, nothing prevents the
Con-ass from dancing the parliamentary Cha-cha.
The Supreme Court will ultimately decide the validity of a joint vote.
Considering that the eight justices who rejected the "Sigaw" initiative have
been decimated by three retirements (four by Feb. 6, 2009 when Justice
Azcuna turns 70) and considering further that GMA has lately been winning
controversial cases, the high court may affirm a "joint" vote. It may wash
its hands and say: Let a plebiscite be held to determine whether the people
want the parliamentary system.
Ideally, a plebiscite determines the peoples' choice. However, the voting
process here will be easy to manipulate. Voters will simply choose between
"Yes" and "No." In fact, the Marcos Constitution was approved by a mere
raising of hands during "citizens' assemblies," a scandalous voting process
validated by a compliant Supreme Court.
Expect the GMA administration to use its full resources to secure a
resounding "Yes" from the Court and from the people. Hence, the Comelec's
role in counting the ballots (and those of Namfrel and PPCRV in guarding
them) will be critical.
Sufficient time for change
Will there be enough time to approve the
parliamentary shift? Yes, under this timeline: congressional approval by
Dec. 31, 2008, Supreme Court decision by June 30, 2009, and plebiscite in
The elections scheduled on the second Monday of May 2010 will then be held
for members of the new Parliament, not for president, vice president, or
senators. GMA will secure a parliamentary seat in Pampanga and then become
prime minister in a Lakas-Kampi-dominated Parliament after her term as
president expires on June 30, 2010.
Theoretically, it is possible to revise the Constitution and enable GMA to
continue her reign after June 30, 2010. But will our Congress, Supreme
Court, Comelec and people allow her? Realistically, can GMA—unlike Ferdinand
Marcos—extend her reign without martial law?
See my answer next week.