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Revision or Revolution

January 15, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Revision or Revolution
Ronald Roy — 2013 January 15

Dictionaries clarify that “reformism” is the belief that gradual change is preferable to abolition and revolution. Ergo, in the matter regarding changing laws, a reformist may occupy himself with constitutional, statutory, regulatory and ordinance revisions by way of amendments or repeals.

In light of the foregoing, I recall a certain reformist named Thomas B. Read who once said that “an indefinable something is to be done, in a way nobody knows how, at a time nobody knows when, that will accomplish nobody knows what.” The erudite philosopher might very well have been referring to the intricacies of lawmaking that arise from the unpredictable vicissitudes of human behavior.

Simply put, a statute is enacted, say, to meet the exigencies of the family economy, but in a few years that law is overtaken by a new set of exigencies demanding its amendment or repeal. The same is true with the business of charter change.

Yes, Al (Montano), the people’s right to revolt against government is an absolutely sovereign one, and it is available at any time they see fit. But I believe that bad systems and laws must first be replaced with better ones before the citizenry resort to revolution.

As regards the controversial Manny V. Pangilinan, our constitution must be revised and an anti-trust law passed in order to stop his wanton pillage of our economy. MVP openly fronts for Indonesia’s Salim Group of Companies as Chairman of such corporate giants as Manila Electric Company, First Pacific Tollways, Philex Mining, ABC-TV5 and Metro Pacific.

However, the reformist move to neutralize Pangilinan faces the daunting task of restoring in the hands of the sovereign Filipino people the control that was once originally intended for their exercise over public utilities and other mass-based industries, among others, without curtailing certain vested contractual rights, such as are guaranteed against abridgement under Section 10 of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights.

By taking undue advantage of the weaknesses of our laws, Pangilinan can be regarded at least as a “technical transgressor” of the people’s sovereign welfare. An urgent appeal is hereby addressed to all reformist legal minds to come together to strategize an immediate interdiction of his technically plundering network that now insidiously debilitates our economy.

Yes, Freddie (Carlos), I agree that likewise needing legislative attention is the long pending Freedom of Information (FOI) bill. However, I do not agree that the “People’s Ownership of Government Information” bill, or POGI bill, is an immaturely worded title.

In fact, it aptly defines the people’s ownership of all government information as so sovereign that it reasserts the axiom that government is a mere creation of the sovereign citizenry, and as such, all its functionaries (elective and appointive officials, and hires) must consider themselves as public servants who are always obliged to be transparent with and accountable for their official acts.

Additionally, let it be stressed that government cannot be loath to reveal any information for whatever reason, on the logic that it has no authority to keep secrets from its creator. Essentially, government is duty-bound to explain before the courts, at its expense, its reluctance—should this be the case—to publicly bare any information sought. This way, this writer believes that the people’s sovereign nature is better postulated, and the imperatives of their servants’ transparency and accountability are better assured.

Further on people’s rights, Monina (Martel), it certainly is a let-down that the third and fourth highest officials of the land, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, respectively, goofed when they used the people’s money to give away as Christmas presents to the members or their respective chambers.

Enrile entirely missed the point when he insisted that one: he had the authority to give away ₱30 million   of public funds and, two: his purpose was not to bribe his colleagues into retaining him as the senate’s top honcho, but to spread Yuletide cheer and goodwill among them.

He had the authority, yes, but he abused that authority by doling out funds which did not belong to him but to the sovereign citizens who had elected him precisely to safeguard or use those funds in a way that would promote their interests and nobody else’s.

It sucks and shocks that a public servant of Manong Johnny’s stature breached the fiduciary relationship—i.e., a tie based on trust, implicit or explicit —which he had taken a solemn oath to honor and uphold as a senator, let alone as his chamber’s president. If he was aware of that relationship at the time of giving, his infraction was grave abuse of authority; if not, he was grossly negligent or incompetent. It us ergo clear he should step down in either case.

My reaction to texter #1771, who asked me what I would have done in JPE’s place, is this: Firstly, I would have given all my colleagues equal shares—unequal shares showed him up as immature for being a mean and petty senate president; then, I would have clarified to all the recipients that the amounts were for them to give to poor families, such as those rendered homeless by the recent onslaught of typhoons, and the like.

The humongous error committed by Speaker Sonny Belmonte is no different. His Christmas grant of ₱0.5 million   to each member of his House betrays his flippant (callous?) attitude towards public funds. It is disturbing that this attitude will surely afflict the presidency that he is reportedly salivating for this early.

The so-called traditional practice of tapping people’s assets as sources of gifts, in cash or kind, for government functionaries is a very lame defense. Anything wrong was, is and will always be wrong. Since old dogs cannot learn new tricks, Enrile and Belmonte cannot be expected to inspire new directions for reform.

I regard the two legislators’ misdeeds as morally wrongful, although not illegal or unlawful, since neither their chambers’ rules nor existing laws expressly prohibit their actions, hence, a need for amending, repealing, or otherwise revising them. The trouble is: they will not disturb the status quo of unbridled power and its perks, just as all but a handful of solons in both houses are expected to be resistant to change.

Quo vadimus mea patria? Have we reached the point of last resort? Do we take the road to revision or revolution?

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