Friday, June 5, 2009

Constitutional constipation

It’s amazing how P20 million of chicharon can bring together what one radio pundit calls hijos de-putados for a night’s quorum at what could be appropriately called “The House of Representa-thieves.” Like thieves in the night, they will again rob us of our constitutional right to change, at appointed intervals, those whom we, as a people, have entrusted to control the levers of power of the state. When such an instrument is taken over by those without loyalty to either “people” or “sovereignty,” then the nation is screwed. But it didn’t just start the other night, or back when these “representa-thieves” repeatedly stole the people’s right to kick out the most hated regime to date. It started with the 1986 Constitutional Commission, when unelected, handpicked delegates created a hodgepodge Constitution aimed at maintaining elite control of the country.

Reviewing our three most significant Charters, i.e. the 1935, 1973 and 1987 Constitutions, the last one turns out to be the longest, yet most convoluted and contradictory. Thanks to the miniscule 50 unelected, elite and trapo commissioners like Jesuit Joaquin Bernas, we have a hodgepodge Constitution full of contradictions and ambiguities, like surreptitiously inserted terminologies never discussed by the body, as evinced by the word “any” in the no presidential reelection provision. Now comes this controversy in the interpretation of the constitutional provision on “Amendments.”

Article XV of the 1935 Constitution refers to “The Congress in joint session assembled, by a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately” while Article XVI of the 1973 Charter says, “Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by the National Assembly upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members, or by a constitutional convention.” Article XVII of the 1987 Constitution, meanwhile, states: “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.” And it came to pass that in a record time of four months, the 1986 Constitutional Commission finished the draft and presented it for a plebiscite.

As Atty. Alan Paguia points out, and one that even Bernas admits, the 1987 Constitutional Commission simply copied the 1973 Constitution’s provision on “Amendments” and replaced the unicameral “National Assembly” with the term “Congress,” without clearly defining, as the 1935 Constitution did, the two separate bodies, i.e. the Senate and the House of Representatives, in the bicameral system either voting jointly or separately. The Arroyo-appointed Supreme Court has thus been handed by the likes of Bernas the easiest way to interpret that provision today in favor of Gloria’s Cha-cha designs.

Bernas charged that Arroyo’s lapdog Congress “gang raped” the Constitution with its Cha-cha vote, yet he and his ilk opened the door for the rapists by their kind of haphazard drafting of the 1987 Constitution. Of course, constitutional rape isn’t new as Bernas had already blessed it with the 2001 coup against an elected president!

We have to constantly expose the sophistry and fakery of Bernas because he’s touted by mainstream media and the socio-political establishment as a fountain of constitutional wisdom, which is an absolute falsehood. We should also expose, at this crucial moment, the real ultimate force behind the Cha-cha and Con-ass on which Gloria will be hitchhiking her parliamentary term-extension scheme. Every Filipino should take note of the vigorous hard-sell of Cha-cha, repeatedly aired over radio by Gloria lapdogs, Speaker “Nog-Nog” and Cong. Rodolfo “Snoop Dog” Antonino, that it is only the “economic provisions” they seek to change. These economic provisions, by the way, refer to the protection of Filipinos’ national patrimony, which Cha-cha would dismantle by opening our land and natural resources to foreign ownership, as well as, through the federalization of our country.

“Reform of only the economic provisions,” as a mantra, is also aimed at the ears of foreign powers who are earnestly watching this Charter charade. Everyone should note that Department of Agriculture Secretary Arthur Yap was already shown on Al Jazeera signing agricultural lands over to Arab parties for exploitation, as mining rights are being given to foreign companies left and right, with only the constitutional cover remaining absent. Likewise, the US Embassy is eagerly awaiting the removal of the last constitutional obstacles for the hastening of its Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain for the MILF and its oil companies. With these, the path to Gloria’s rider that will place the country under a parliamentary system--leading up to her prime ministership--has been smoothened out.

Gloria’s Supreme Court will likely approve of the Con-ass, which the nation can still defeat via a popular “No.” We have done it time and again and won--against FVR and others who sought to repeat the “hands up” approval of the 1973 Constitution. But naturally, Gloria has her “Plan B.” This is where Mancao’s return comes into the picture, with reporter Raissa Robles, in a news analysis, speculating: Mancao will falsely accuse President Estrada of involvement in the Dacer kidnap-murder, have him arrested, use the upheaval to declare emergency rule and proceed with Cha-cha. If, however, Estrada manages to keep his 11 million diehard supporters calm, Gloria then shifts to “Plan C,” which Comelec Chairman Jose Melo and former CJ Art Panganiban hinted of as “No Proc” or “failure of elections,” owing to the computer voting breakdowns and electoral protests.

Is there a solution to the worsening political-economic crisis under the present constitutional (dis)order? Every time the people expect the use of the Constitution’s good provisions to introduce positive change, corrupt vested interests use its inherent contradictions for their own ends. This has caused “Constitutional constipation,” a case in which only a revolution can expel the poisons. And this should be the real cure, unlike the vaccines and Tamiflu Big Pharma has been pushing for the Influenza A (H1N1) virus which, to date, our trusted writer-investigator William Engdahl yesterday said, “…neither the WHO (World Health Organization) nor the US Government’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have succeeded to isolate, photograph with an electron microscope and chemically classify…”