Only when the present proponents of constitutional change shall have realized this, will the time be ripe for the setting aside of past differences. Only then can a frank, but mutually respectful and productive, debate resume. But not before.I am not so optimistic that the dementia referred to has quite been cured by the exorcism of a mere Prayer Rally at the Luneta Sunday -- which drew a thin crowd and has apparently encouraged Ed Ermita to hint at the Ghost of Chacha Future. Well, the gnomes have found the Instruction Manual to the Ship of State and they shall never tire of the part that says they can change anything that a simple majority ratifies in a plebiscite.
PDI's Neal Cruz notes that fundamentally conservative, anti-charter-change sentiments are indeed widespread--People don't want to change the Constitution, period. Not Pee-Eye or Con-Ass or Con-Con.
This sentiment is reflected in the stand of the Churches who are gently but firmly closing the door on any Bum's Rush to amend or revise it. The chacha choochoo train has palpably slowed and come to merciful halt, at least for now, with huge puff of steam quickly dissipating in the tremulous aire of Christmas! Instead of Charter Change, the Churches are calling for Character Change--an explicitly conservative theme in the politics of many democratic nations. The Constitution has thus united the Churches and their common political interests to maintain the status quo of untramelled democratic freedom to express, practice and organize their religion, including spiritual and material benefits. That the Churches are the real political parties is not so far-fetched a simile, for it is they who have vetoed and pushed back the "constituent insurgency" of Jose de Venecia by their representation of the popular sentiment. Vox populi, vox Iglesia.
But to me, the recent defense of the Constitution by the Churches against the "demented sea captains" was a profoundly important historic event in the life of the Republic and the oldest constitutional democracy in Asia. For it is the root and stock of a new Conservative politics for the Philippines.
I am using here the term conservative in direct opposition to the term liberal as it refers to the belief that a Bigger, Better Government can and should transform societies by changing the Law, changing the form of government, expanding its reach into every aspect of people's lives and claiming to be able to solve all or most of their problems with some special kind of enlightenment. This WAS the dementia that MLQ3 excoriates and against which the Churches demand a "mutually respectful and productive debate."
From now on in other words, more and more of the people cannot be fooled, period. Skepticism is a virtue more powerful than intellectual fantasy. Every proposed change must first be successfully navigated around the shoals of "the Constitution, common sense and public opinion" before the people are asked to shell out billions on somebody's pea-brained phantasm of the Next Great Leap Forward.
Such a healthy skepticism and suspicion of Big Government could spread beyond the arena of Constituent Power into Legislative Power, the Executive and the Judiciary and provide a fresh perspective for Filipinos on just what it is the People should realistically expect from the Government.
San Francisco's Fil-Am broadsheet Philippine News has republished my view point on this matter --
I think that in the Archipelago events have shown that most people want NO change at all now in the Constitution after seeing the wholesale revision of the form of government that chacha boosters actually wanted and the lengths they were willing to go to get it, including canceling the elections.If you can't beat them, join them! No one practices the politics of surrender with more finesse and plastic smoothness than the President. The tactic has apparently worked, due to her intimate familiarity with what the Good Fathers and Holy Sisters expect of their contrite and obedient daughter to gain their forgiveness and compassion. Her unerring sense of just how far politicians can go, almost, but did not quite fail her this time. She had to cancel the ASEAN and her House allies are badly discredited, perhaps fatally.
But a very good thing has happened. Even common tao now realize how one or two tiny words can change everything, and how easily the politicians can do it. Thus has the seed of a healthy suspicion and skepticism of the govt been planted!
Maybe it is the blessed birth of conservative politics.
Most simply do not believe that it is the form of government that is at fault, but the fact that the Law is not enforced and the Constitution is regularly violated by the highest officials.
Time to stick to one and make it work. Fine tune and evolve it yes. But revise and re-invent it? NO.
So this is MORE than a flesh wound!