Friday, May 15, 2009

Kudos to Kiko

I was really hoping something like this  would happen with a post last January entitled, The Vice Presidency As a Sword of Damocles.  In what I believe to be a brilliant and laudable political move, SENATOR FRANCIS "KIKO" PANGILINAN has just announced his intention to run for the Vice Presidency in the 2010 national elections.  He was flanked by his wife, Megastar SHARON CUNETA (who is now a likely shoe-in to become Second Lady if the hordes of loyal Sharonians have anything to say about it) when he made known his plans at Get-Out-Vote Rock Concert.   The move suggests a savvy appreciation of the huge potential for a 2010 youth vote with that sector now accounting for reportedly 60% of the electorate. Whoever gets  them registered and involved, as Kiko now intends, will reap huge benefits unavailable to the less imaginative.  Kudos to Kiko for a move that has political ambition writ in the large letters of democratic statesmanship, a rare combination in these demoralized times!    

A curious feature of the 1987 Constitution is that the President and Vice President are not elected as a team or ticket, like they are in the United States, but instead, run in simultaneous but separate elections for the two posts.  Therefore,  it is always possible for the people to elect a President with an opposition Vice President that could replace him or her in case something goes wrong, in effect placing a Sword of Damocles over the throne in the Palace in case Damocles rules unjustly.  This makes the Vice Presidency a worthy and separate goal of  lofty, or craven,  political ambition. Who would make a good fiscalizing vice president in 2010?  

In 1998 Joseph Estrada beat Jose de Venecia for President, but his running mate, Edgardo Angara lost to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for Vice President.  Of course, we know what happened soon after that when Erap was impeached and virtually acquitted, yet said Vice President was sworn in as President by someone wearing the official uniform of the Chief Justice of SCoRP, but who had no conceivable personal or official business being there on that particularly bright Saturday in January 2001.  But the legality of the Edsa Dos transition is a separate issue, and is in some sense a smaller point of significance than the demonstration of the vice presidency's full potential for "regime change." In 2004, the other side of the coin showed and the people (or was it Garci) elected Gloria and Noli together.

This larger point is that the electorate can hedge its bet on the President by choosing a Vice President who may not be inclined to just sit back as a Spare Tire,  but may be determined to act as a super-fiscalizer to the President with his or her own Bully Pulpit.  Although the Vice President would not have the resources or immediate command of the executive as the elected President, nonetheless he or she could pose a threat, or perhaps a check and balance to the President.
Article VII The Executive Dept
Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines.

Section 2. No person may be elected President unless he is a natural-born citizen of the Philippines, a registered voter, able to read and write, at least forty years of age on the day of the election, and a resident of the Philippines for at least ten years immediately preceding such election.

Section 3. There shall be a Vice-President who shall have the same qualifications and term of office and be elected with, and in the same manner, as the President. He may be removed from office in the same manner as the President.

The Vice-President may be appointed as a Member of the Cabinet. Such appointment requires no confirmation.

Section 4. The President and the Vice-President shall be elected by direct vote of the people for a term of six years which shall begin at noon on the thirtieth day of June next following the day of the election and shall end at noon of the same date, six years thereafter. The President shall not be eligible for any re-election. No person who has succeeded as President and has served as such for more than four years shall be qualified for election to the same office at any time.

No Vice-President shall serve for more than two successive terms. Voluntary renunciation of the office for any length of time shall not be considered as an interruption in the continuity of the service for the full term for which he was elected.
It is well worth noticing also that the possibility of serving for more than six years as President can only be attained under the 1987 charter by first becoming the Vice President and somehow succeeding to the higher office through death, resignation, permanent disability or impeachment, conviction and removal from office of the President.  This feat has already been achieved by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, with disastrous effects.  But the larger point is that it can be done again, intentionally.

Considering the large number of presidentiables already semaphoring their intentions to run for President, perhaps some of them ought to look with more imaginative eyes at the Vice Presidency and the unique possibilities of that office.  The younger or less winnable candidates for the Presidency might find it profitable to aim a little lower, though it is likely the crowd for that office will grow and the race for veep even more competitive.  The reason being that whether a vice president behaves in opposition to the President or not, another rule of thumb seems to be that the Vice President is an automatic top contender for President in the next election cycle.

The big, portentous question now is: who might he run with??


LCB said...

I'm thinking of another title: "Kapal mo Kiko" Noted.

DJB Rizalist said...

I too hated that episode. But do you think Kiko Pangilinan was actually IN on the cheating, including Garci and all that?

john marzan said...

but why would kiko not allow any rechecking of some disputed COCs in some of the "troubled" areas?

john marzan said...

he was once one of the promising young leaders, but that "noted-noted" incident hurt his credibility.

what he did wasnt as bad as garci's, but people have higher expectations of him.

now, he's just another pol...

DJB Rizalist said...

I guess I can only appeal to the notion that he may yet be the lesser of many evils. BTW, who else is clean enough, good enough, smart enough for you? I'm not stuck to Kiko, but do you have some ideal person in mind?

john marzan said...

who else is running for VP? i may leave the VP space blank.

DJB Rizalist said...

More than likely those not chosen by their parties to run for President will opt for Veep. But Kiko is smart to declare now because those guys will be way behind by October!