Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Chacha as a War on Popularity and Suffrage Waged By the Unpopular and Unelectable

Or, how Chit Pedrosa and Teddy Boy Locsin won't take the chaff with the wheat...

f all the things that would happen under a Unicameral Parliamentary system, taking away the right to vote for national leaders -- the President, Vice President and Senators -- seems to me the most objectionable. But nothing could be clearer. The replacement of the Bicameral Presidential system means a radical reduction in everyone's Right of Suffrage. That is the essentially elitist, and possibly fascist goal of the present Charter Change movement that its proponents have succeeded in obscuring from direct public view.

Chit Pedrosa, columnist of the Philippine Star, told ABSCBN News' Ces Drilon last night that she has been passionately working on Charter Change for a switch to the Unicameral Parliamentary system, because "only the popular candidates get elected to national positions even if they are mostly unqualified." Her crusade began with President Fidel Ramos, facing the end of his one and only six-year term, when they launched the first "People's Initiative" on the Constitution with the single purpose of lifting term limits so he could run again. Sensing the self-serving nature of this First Chacha, Media and Civil Society opposed FVR's desire for a second term, but would live to regret it. Miriam Defensor Santiago, who claims to have been cheated by FVR in the 1992 Presidential elections, stopped him and the Pirma People's Initiative in the Supreme Court case Santiago vs. Comelec (which has purportedly been reversed recently by a single sentence in a Minute Resolution of the Supreme Court!) The Media and Civil Society folks that opposed him in that First Chacha of 1997 were certainly abashed by what immediately happened next. In the 1998 Presidential elections then Vice President Joseph Estrada, buried his opponent -- then and still, House Speaker Jose de Venecia -- in a popular electoral landslide.

Realizing they hated Erap even more than FVR and JDV, and for very good reasons, that same Media and Civil Society helped to put GMA in power in the Regime Change of 2001. But don't be fooled. It wasn't "People Power" mainly that got rid of Erap in the end. It was the Chief Justice Hilario G. Davide, Jr. himself, together with Gen. Angelo Reyes, Jaime Cardinal Sin, Cory Aquino GMA, and aforementioned Media and Civil Society personalities, who, in Mob Rule and Coup D'etat assembled, decided what was really good for the 80 million Filipino people. Together, they conspired to, and succeeded in aborting an ongoing Senate Impeachment Trial of then President Joseph Estrada by the simple expedient of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Davide appearing at a religious shrine along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue with then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and suddenly swearing her in as President on the basis of HER claim that the President was permanently disabled as of 20 January 2001. Two months later, in the March, 2001 landmark decision, Estrada vs. Arroyo, penned by now Chief Justice Reynato Puno, the Supreme Court absolved itself and everybody else of ignoring the Constitution's explicit provisions on Presidential succession in January, 2001 by inventing a Deus-ex-Machina--"Constructed Resignation" or was it "Constructive Resignation". I have to look it up. After the Supreme court declared the overthrow of Joseph Estrada as "Constitutional throughout" the same aforementioned Media and Civil Society called it "the Edsa II People Power Revolution".

However, even after deposing Erap, the Problem of the Popular Idiot being elected to the Presidency remained. Indeed, the Intendencia immediately viewed the candidacy of Fernando Poe Jr. as another instance of "mere popularity" acing out some other purported virtue, like competence or experience which GMA certainly had in spades over FPJ. Her immediate problem was solved by Garci. But when Bunye's Bungle blew the lid on Garci, it threw the country into a political crisis that has not yet ended. With GMA teetering on the very brink of voluntary resignation, FVR and JDV construed and carpediemed their opportunity to control and shape events. Offering the solid stone wall of the House against a looming impeachment over the Garci revelations, Speaker Joe and FVR thought they had her on a string as she suddenly backed Charter Change initiatives as the centerpiece of her July 2005 State of the Nation Address. It was suddenly deja vu all over again with a People's Initiative launched to adopt a Unicameral Parliamentary system.

Here was a more systematic means of preventing the election of another Joseph Estrada to the Presidency by severely curtailing the people's right of suffrage and restricting them to electing purely local leaders. If they would vote for Idiots, in other words, take away that Right to Vote! But taking away national voting rights is an essentially elitist refusal to accept the chaff with the democratic wheat. As we all know the Second Chacha also failed right on the steps of the Supreme Court. Here is my detailed analysis of both legal landmark events showing how the two People's Initiatives were ruled unconstitutional for being Insufficient in form, one for not having the signatures with the initiative petition, the other for not having the initiative text with the signatures!

The Con-Ass Campaign and Teddy Boy Unilateralism

Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin has been saying very much the same things as Chit Pedrosa and Bhel Cunanan on charter change, and has led the charge to justify and rationalize a new way of accomplishing what FVR and the Pedrosas had failed to do with Pirma and what GMA and JDV have failed to do with Lambino/Sigaw and the Second People's Initiative.

Together with Constantino Jaraula, Butch Pichay and Luis Villafuerte, Teddy Boy Locsin launched a most interesting campaign upon the novel Unilateralist Theory that with the right numbers, the House could resolve to convene the Congress into a Constituent Assembly for the purpose of proposing changes to the Constitution.

Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin poses a rhetorical question about Constituent Power that I think captures the conceptual foundation, the ideological kernel if you will of the Unilateralist Programme by expressing the philosophy that justifies the House move to abolish the Bicameral-Presidential system and establish a Unicameral Parliament. (This is a very short clip, 24 seconds, so you may want to play it several times to understand the points that follow.)


Teddy Boy Locsin is asking "If we can propose to abolish the Presidency and the Supreme Court, why do we need the Senate's permission to propose abolition of the Senate?" The basis of for these seemingly awesome powers is of course the 1987 Chacha Provision in which the first few words really say it all...
Art. XVII Section 1. ANY amendment to, or revision of this Constitution may be proposed by (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A Constitutional Convention.
In Ed Lacierda's comments on Teddy Boy's point to ABSCBN News' Twink Macaraeg, he believes that the reason the House cannot abolish the Senate is that they both possess the Constituent Power, but I'm not sure I see why that means the Senate cannot be abolished in a ratified new Constitution. Instead I submit that if both Houses concur, the Congress CAN propose to abolish both or either the House and the Senate, and the Presidency and the Supreme Court as Teddy Body says, since the Constituent power is almost unlimited. Although it is virtually impossible that the present Senate would agree to their effective abolition in the switch to a unicameral parliamentary system, there is nothing that prevents a future Senate, that may, for reasons of its own or the conditions of its hour upon the stage of history, agree to adopt a new form of government in which it indeed disappears after ratification by the people.

Teddy Boy Locsin, Constantino Jaraula, Luis Villafuerte and Butch Pichay all apparently believe that the Constitution vests the Constituent Power NOT in The Congress but in all the individual Members of The Congress. I believe this is the premise for Teddy Boy's rhetorical exasperation at the House having to seek the Senate's permission to abolish it. In his view three-fourths of all the Members of the Congress is ALL that is needed for the Congress to propose some change to the Constitution, like abolishing the Presidency, the Supreme Court or the Senate. But Teddy Boy and the Unilateralists mistake what the Constitution plainly establishes to be a NECESSARY condition (the three fourths voting rule) for a SUFFICIENT one to exercise the constituent power.

The Congress may propose ANY change, but it must do it as the Congress! Doing it as individual Members of the Congress leads precisely to the absurdity that Teddy Boy was expostulating about with Butch Pichay and Korina Sanchez. If we assume however that the Constituent Power is vested in the Congress and not its individual Members, not even a proposal to abolish both Houses of the Congress is a priori disallowed which is what the establishment of a Unicameral Parliament amounts to.

I must thank Rep. Teddy Boy Locsin for producing the question that actually reduces to an absurdity the premise of the unilateralists and unicameralists that the Constituent power is an individual right or power.

Who's side is Teddy Boy Locsin on? I'm beginning to wonder if what we are seeing in him is a very special kind of "performance art" by which he is actually demolishing the Majority's philosophical foundation from within with his implacable logic and mastery of the English language in dropping certain bombshells.

Like, "Face it Butch, this thing is dead "

20 comments:

HILLBLOGGER said...

Magnificent post, Dean!

One of your most incisive and depth charged pieces.

Congratulations.

Rizalist said...

Why thank you Hillblogger! Glad you enjoyed it. The saga ain't over either, It's Con-Con, conyo, as my Spanish neighbor just texted me.

Dominique said...

Hi, Dean: I echo Hillblogger's comments. Great post.

I was wondering about Teddy Boy Locsin. The fellow was particularly derisive of Fr. Bernas during the interview.

Rizalist said...

Dom--Thought you might like the audio clip I just added at the end of this post. enjoy!

john marzan said...

If they would vote for Idiots, in other words, take away that Right to Vote! But taking away national voting rights is an essentially elitist refusal to accept the chaff with the democratic wheat.

good point.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean, the audio isn't working...

Btw, I have video/audio clips of the human rights rally held last night in Brussels "Stop the killings in the Philippines" attended by almost a thousand European participants from all walks of life who braved the heavy rain and the cold for two hours at least and covered by media here but I don't know how to set it up for publication in a blog I created for the purpose.

Could you give me some tips on how to do it? Thanks.

If you want to see the pics I took of the rally, they are at www.the-philippine-vigil.blogspot.com.

mschumey07 said...

I guess Teddy Boy knows he can never make it to the senate. Might as well float an absurd theory that might pass as logical and workable.

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

What I don't like is the arrogance and the chip on the shoulder of the people who think that they are more intelligent than others and all the others are idiots and are not capable of choosing the right leader for the country.

Well, they chose Gloria and ousted Erap. And they were patting themselves for a while that they made a good choice. But FPJ threatened them next and they just stood by as Gloria and his cohorts threw everything at him including the kitchen sink and the toilet and CHEATED him out of being elected President.

Well, Chit Pedroza, Teddy Locsin, % Bhel Cunanan, GLORIA turned out to be a bigger idiot of a corrupt President than Erap and FPJ put together. She is your unpopular choice to be President and the masses choice are better than yours. You will never take my right to vote directly for my President and SEnators who are turning out to be really wiser and better than your unicameral congressmen.

FPJ, at least helped people from the goodness of his heart and his own pocket without fanfare and publicity. He was our choice but Gloria is yours.

If JDV, Villafuerte, Nograles, Pichay are your unicameral choice, then to hell with the Parliamentary Form. What they have done is the best argument against what you want to happen.

mlq3 said...

I'm very disappointed in my former boss. he said he also opposes a con-con because it will be filled with "third rate" delegates.

Rizalist said...

No, MLQ3,
You should be proud of Teddy Boy. He exposed the absurdity of the House Majority by being the only one in it who was not himself absurd. I did not agree with his philosophy, but it was at least morally consistent with its arithmetic foundation.

BTW, I agree with him on ConCon. And he had an even better reason than me for opposing it: we cannot punish the Concon delegates, and they can do anything they want, with just a simple majority vote.

The thing about a ConCon is that because they were elected for the very purpose, there is a kind of presumption that their work will be ratified!

That scare me and Teddy Boy both.

My philosophy is fundamentally conservative where his is fundamentally liberal.

I don't want any change in the Constitution until we can make it work the way we know it can work.

Bernardo F. Ronquillo said...

DJB, I also do not want con-ass and con-con. It is not the constitution that is the culprit for the hole that we find ourselves in. It is Gloria and her cohorts! Take them all out. Or come to think of it, take out all those in public office now and lets have new batch.

But let's elect the President and Vice directly and yes let's have a nationally elected Senate who can look over the House of District Representatives.

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

HILLBLOGGER said...

Dean,

The ending of your post over at Mlq3's was quite hilarious!

"And so: BAA!

(In sheepish language, “In Gaaad We Trust!” and for Roman Citizens–”Vox Populi Vox Dei!”)"

Didn't think you had quite a cute sense of humour! Heheheh!

Abe N. Margallo said...

mlq3 said: “I’m very disappointed in my former boss. he said he also opposes a con-con because it will be filled with ‘third rate’ delegates.”

I always admire your straightforwardness Manolo. You don’t hesitate to cease as a “politico” and to speak your mind when it matters even with respect to someone whom I believe you once admired and who is a former boss. Our country needs gutsy people like you (and DJB and Hillblogger too).

ricelander said...

Someone has described Joe de V as one consummate salesman he could sell a ref to an Alaskan. Given that, I was expecting a better sales pitch of course because con ass is not exactly an un-sellable 'commodity'. But when he and his gang went into force-selling their commodity in a tone that goes "buy my product or else", I wondered: is this Marketing 101 I have not encountered because I was absent from class? Well, what I know is if your product is not doing well on the shelves, you could resort to sales gimmicks like offering add-ons to entice buyers. If they had asked my advise before the crisis I could have added my piece of wisdom with these add-ons:
1. GMA's resignation
2. all beneficiaries of con-ass to resign as soon as charter is promulgated

Tell you what, you put that as a come-on and even Erap would beg to participate.

HILLBLOGGER said...

Thank you Abe for the compliment.

manuelbuencamino said...

nothing happens when I click on the sound bte icom

Rizalist said...

MB,
I think you have to click it twice so the GO arrow is replaced by the PAUSE or STOP button.

manuelbuencamino said...

DJB,

ayaw talaga. maube the problem is with my Mac.

HILLBLOGGER said...

It doesn't work on my PC either.

HILLBLOGGER said...

When will the Philippines (well, RP Police technically that is) ever do this sort of thing (Police question Blair over shady Labour party dealing), question Gloria over, say, the Garci thinggy or some other questionable transaction?

Banner story in UK’s The Times:

Police question Tony Blair

Tony Blair today became the first serving Prime Minister to be questioned as part of a criminal investigation when he was quizzed at No 10 about the cash-for-honours scandal.

Critics said that the development was a huge embarrassment for Mr Blair, who came to power in 1997 promising to be “whiter than white”.

Story in www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2503302,00.html