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Friday, March 20, 2015

You can no longer threaten us, Sir



Still reeling from the deafening calls for his resignation following the January 25 Mamasapano, Maguindanao massacre, which took the lives of 44 elite policemen, after he denied them reinforcement, President B. S. Aquino 3rd took a swipe at his critics (“detractors,” said one newspaper) in his speech to the Philippine Military Academy graduates Sunday, saying he would not hesitate to “run them over” (the original Filipino word is “sasagasaan kayo”), if they continued to “put the people at risk.”
No more pathetic words have been spoken since Aquino last spoke to the nation about the ill-starred Operation Exodus. Once again Aquino was beside himself. Between him and the PMA class valedictorian, who also addressed the graduates, the latter was decidedly more presidential. Not only did Aquino show a manifestly inverted sense of reality, he also showed he did not know his audience at all, or the people he was threatening to run over.
None of Aquino’s critics have put the nation at risk. Their task has been to expose those who have done so or continue to do, wherever and whoever they are. Aquino happens to lead the pack. Just by being himself, Aquino has single-handedly disabled the Constitution and the rule of law, and sunk the nation’s international prestige and good name. Although he likes to claim credit for the economy, the economy has grown and continues to grow, almost entirely because of our 10 million-plus Overseas Filipino Workers and our call centers, not because of anything Aquino is doing or has done. At the same time, poverty and inequality have exponentially grown, largely because of the abysmal failure of government.
While claiming to wage war against corruption, Aquino has totally corrupted Congress and the political system with actual bribes, and cast a blind eye on the pillage and plunder by his relatives, cronies and sycophants. He has refused to comply with the directive of the Supreme Court to prosecute all those involved in the manipulation and misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund and the Disbursement Acceleration Program, both of which the High Court has declared unconstitutional.
His mere lack of presidential manners has embarrassed and hurt the nation. From his stubborn refusal to apologize to Hong Kong for the killing of eight Hong Kong tourists in a Manila bus hijacking incident in 2010, (which he reportedly watched on television from inside a nearby Chinese restaurant), to his equally stubborn and heartless refusal to respond immediately to the victims of super-typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, which flattened Tacloban on November 9, 2013, to his even more stubborn and heartless refusal to authorize reinforcement to the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force commandos who had run out of ammunition in Mamasapano while pinned down by the combined forces of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, Aquino has been one continuing reproach to us all.
Third World version of King George 3rd
In many places in the world today, the question is no longer whether or not Aquino is mad, but just exactly how mad he is. What kind of madness afflicts this Third World version of King George 3rd? Is it pure autism, Asperger’s, schizophrenia, some bipolar, delusional, anxiety, mood, impulse-control, or sexual disorder, etc.? Suppose it could be medically established that Aquino is, in fact, afflicted with a specific mental disease, what exactly could we do about it? Would Congress have the courage of the National Congress of Ecuador, which ousted President Abdala Bucaram, “El Loco Ladron” (The Crazy Thief), in 1997 for being mentally unfit? Or would there be enough Filipinos to say, “let’s keep him there until the next elections.”
Under the Constitution, a majority of the Cabinet could certify to the leaders of Congress that the President is unable to perform his duties, and immediately the Vice President takes over. But the so-called “Hyatt 10,” which is believed to lead this Cabinet majority, is said to have been running the government for the laidback Aquino since 2010, and could never want to lose their invisible hold on non-accountable power. Besides, they also want Vice President Jejomar Binay out, and that seems to be their first priority right now. We shall talk about this later.
In his speech, Aquino tried to show the PMA graduates some respect by not talking about Mamasapano or the Philippine National Police Board of Inquiry report which faults him for breaking the PNP chain of command and putting the ill-fated operation in the hands of his shooting buddy and former bodyguard, the suspended PNP chief Alan Purisima, who had no legal authority whatsoever to have been there. But it was insulting enough to have Aquino standing there as guest of honor. There is no honor left in his presidency, and he has nothing more to say to the nation or to the honored cadets, except, “I RESIGN!”
He threatens to crush patriots, devoted Christians living in the service of God, country and people
Nor did Aquino have any business threatening anyone with anything at all. He was threatening people who are not normally cowed by threats of any kind. And he was threatening them “like a dockside bully,” rather than like a president, “with justice,” to quote Thomas More in Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All Seasons.” These are not mere “detractors,” as the Bulletin banner headlines put it. (Detractors are those who expose somebody else’s private faults without any just public motive whatsoever.) These are serious critics, patriots, devoted Christians even, who are trying to live their Christians lives in the service of God, country and people. Some of them may in fact be seeking their own sanctity (martyrdom) through their calling. So how could Aquino or anybody else possibly threaten them with anything?
Because of his unusual mental condition, Aquino seems to believe that power is everything. He is blind to his own excesses and failures, but unforgiving when he sees them in others. In Baguio, he once again railed against martial law, which Marcos declared in 1972 to turn back the communist insurgency, which his late senator-father Ninoy Aquino had failed to oppose, without any thought that he himself had virtually taken over the three branches of government and become a law unto himself, without the benefit of a martial law proclamation, simply by intimidating the Judiciary and physically corrupting the members of Congress to submit to his one-man rule.
This power madness, which has infected his entire Cabinet, was on full display in Makati on Monday when close to a thousand policemen were deployed by DILG Secretary Manuel Roxas 2nd to serve a “suspension order” on Mayor Jejomar Binay Jr. This was thrice the number of SAF commandos sent to “neutralize” three international terrorists near the MILF camp in Mamasapano, Maguindanao. Since this was a simple legal process, two or three process servers would have sufficed to serve the order on Binay. There was no need for the overkill. And certainly no need to tarnish the luminous image of the SAF, by involving them in this cheap partisan operation.
Eventually the Ombudsman’s suspension order was stayed by a Temporary Restraining Order issued by the Court of Appeals. But Roxas managed to swear in the Liberal Party vice mayor to a non-vacant mayoralty position, resulting in another unnecessary legal quagmire for the administration.
Despite all these unconstitutional excesses, Aquino has consistently rejected calls for him to step down, raising pious objections against “extra constitutional solutions.” But there is nothing extra-constitutional about the call for the Aquino regime’s resignation or stepping down. Nor is there anything extra-constitutional in the National Transformation Council’s proposal that a caretaker council preside over the reforms after the Aquino regime steps down. This is because the illegitimate and fraudulent Smartmatic elections of 2010 and 2013 have replaced a de jure government with a de facto government, which has completely disabled the Constitution. There is no longer any working Constitution to violate; the NTC proposal is the one that seeks to restore and reinvigorate the Constitution.
For all their just grievances against their worthless President and Commander-in-Chief, the AFP and the PNP must be commended for reaffirming their allegiance to the values and principles that animate the Constitution by renewing their oath to “protect” Aquino from any possible move against him. But what if upon deeper reflection, the two organizations should come to realize that Aquino has in fact wrecked the Constitution, that the thoroughly corrupted electoral system could only guarantee another machine-made de facto regime by 2016, and that the chances of a total breakdown of the socio-political order needs definitive intervention? Will Aquino accept his fate, or will he expect these two institutions to save him against the pronounced interests of the Filipino people?
fstatad@gmail.com

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