Friday, May 22, 2009

The only alternative: Estrada

Our alert Christian communities in Cotabato City , serving at the forefront of the nation’s successful exposés on the GRP-MILF Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MoA-AD), are now alerting us to new and alarming developments. The MILF, they say, is getting new, sophisticated arms from American sources. So pressing is this that a number of retired AFP generals have even come forward to confirm this, with one personally travelling to Mindanao to assess the conditions himself. So, as we look at this situation in light of the early presidential hustings, we ask: Who among the self-proclaimed candidates can really stop Mindanao from being Balkanized in the next round of US-MILF attacks? 
Is there anyone among them who can stand up to the pressure that will be brought to bear on the winning candidate, assuming we do have elections in 2010? Villar has never stood for anything other than his vested interest as a real estate tycoon, especially in using state resources to further his financial empire, which Senate investigations into his “C5 at taga” case are proving beyond doubt. Noli de Castro, meanwhile, can’t stand up to his old network bosses for they catapulted him to political fame even when that conglomerate has continued to suck the blood of the electricity-consuming masses dry. Chiz, on the other hand, cannot be expected to bite the hand that shepherded him to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington , as well as, those in local Big Business who are grooming him for the top post. 
For sure, Mindanao is doomed to be lost unless we can install a leader who is tried and tested in fighting for our sovereignty and national integrity all the way. Only one presidential timber has that political will. Only President Joseph Estrada-- who had once defiantly crushed the US ’ proxy army, the MILF--can defeat the machinations of a global superpower and its Trojan Horses in Mindanao . We remember the raising of the Philippine flag on the MILF’s headquarters after its leader, the late Hashim Salamat, was driven off to Malaysia . We also recall the price exacted by the US for that defeat--the ouster of Erap, which was facilitated by its local oligarchic surrogates when they instigated ex-General Angelo Reyes to betray the Republic and the duly-constituted authority of the land. 
While President Estrada has not yet proclaimed his final intention to run in 2010, the nation is already debating his eligibility. The debates, however, have only centered on constitutional and legal gibberish, led by the “Heswitik” Bernas, who’s been conjuring up impediments through sophistry and deception. Ditto for the rest of the Edsa II parties such as the Inquirer, which ran a recent editorial claiming that Estrada is fooling the people anew with a new run for the presidency. Certainly, these quarters think that they can fool the people again; but proof of their eroding credibility is Estrada’s growing ability to win against the odds, which must be striking terror in their hearts. 
President Estrada is eligible to run again if the people so wish and vote for him. There is no higher power in a democracy than the sovereign will of the people, and what the legalistic gibberish simply shows is that they, the few, want to usurp the will and the power of the people once more. Bernas had been doing this even at the 1987 Constitutional Commission (Con-com) which, it must be noted, was an appointed body and not an elected and representative forum. Because of its elite-controlled set-up, even if there were principled individuals trying to ensure the democratic character of the commission’s mandate, black ops were always at work to safeguard the interest of the elite. 
Bernas and his ilk repeatedly refer to the phrase, “The President shall not be eligible for any re-election,” stressing the word “any” to imply each and every election. Constitutional experts and researches, however, have pointed out that the term “any” was not discussed at all in the drafting of said provision. The term was inserted only by a “style” committee’s sleight-of-hand to change the entire meaning of the intended provision that should have read: “The President shall not be eligible for re-election,” where “re-election” means “to run and succeed oneself in a position,” as I have gathered from various Internet sources, including Black’s Law Dictionary. 
I am continuing my own layman’s research into the terms involved, which I will complete in Part II of this column. I believe that we cannot leave the matters of our democracy and the survival of our Republic to the arbitrary, sophistic legal interpretations of so-called experts like Bernas or to a handful of Con-com delegates who constitute clandestine committees. UP Law Dean Pacifico Agabin correctly said in last Wednesday’s Ciudad Fernandina Forum that even delegates to the 1987 Con-com cannot supersede the intent of the people who ratified the Charter to prevent the abuse of power by a sitting president who seeks re-election--and not to disqualify a non-incumbent former president. 
President Joseph Estrada must run again to lead this nation as President for only he has the will and the experience to overcome the daunting forces threatening to dismember the nation; the profit-predators exploiting and sucking the economic life out of our people; and the forces laying to waste this Republic that our 1896 revolutionaries fought and died for to establish for all time. 
(Tune in to 1098AM, Sulong Pilipinismo, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Monday with Atty. Alan Paguia, Wednesday with former Mayor Jun Simon, Friday with UMDJ’s Ver Eustaquio / May Pag-asa, 10 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; Talk News TV, Destiny Cable, Channel 3, 8:15 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Tuesday; also visit