In the end, every political decision begins with, “what’s in it for me?” That is why patronage is usually the lifeblood of politics.
So granting someone may not care about right or wrong -and resents right and wrong being discussed as an irritating example of people being “holier than thou”- and even assuming one insists on avoiding personalities because to focus on the personal is to reveal the complete undesirability of a leader in question. And add, for the sake of argument, that to take sides, which is inevitable in everything from sports, to board decisions, and politics, is undesirable because of some kind of mythical “objectivity. And include, just for the hell of it, the inevitability of having the pot call the kettle black, on the assumption that if you yell it often enough, it becomes the truth- will someone please explain how on earth Charter Change as defined by the administration will make life better? For whom? Tell me how it will increase my salary, lower my taxes, decrease the price of gas and groceries, stop inflation, ensure fewer potholes on the roads, cheaper and more efficient telecoms, improved health care, a more dynamic and responsive bureaucracy, better and more affordable education, improved sanitation, genuine peace and order?
ThirtySomething points to the cost of living. How can giving the President a blank check, politically, improve their lives? She will repeal the law of supply and demand? (an old political joke). OFW Living in Hong Kong bats for entrepreneurship -how can Charter Change help?
Tell me, with the same crew already at the helm for five years, with OFW’s only having begun to express themselves at the ballot box and soon enough, under a purely local system, to be deprived of that hard-won and only partial (at present) right, with a system being pushed forward that would (assuming you are anti-Estrada) turn the country into an iron-clad system for perpetuating a nation composed of San Juan-style bailiwicks, how Charter Change would improve anything politically?
I don’t see how. Not under the scheme being peddled at present. When the Senate, about a decade ago, was poised to pass an anti-dynasty bill (its provisions being: a congressman or mayor or governor can’t be replaced by a wife, however defined, or a child, however defined; a president cannot have any relative within the fourth degree of consaguinity in political office for the duration of their term; and the only offices in which people from the same family can compete for the same position are the Senate, which is national and thus, relatively immune to the lock dynasties have on local politics, and councilors, who are so plentiful it’s also difficult to view them as dynastic preserves), the House advised the Senate to forget it because it would never, ever, even be calendared for deliberation in the House.
And add, further, that proposals from the Senate to legislate that 60% of local income from taxes remain in local government instead of being sent to the national, the House again objected because it would decimate the influence congressmen have over their rivals, the mayors: which would have been as meaningful a step towards freeing the provinces from national control. And yet there are those who would not only abolish the Senate, but merge the executive with the legislative?
If the alternative that is proposed is along the lines of replacing Jojo Binay with Lito Lapid, I mean, come on: granted there are those who dislike Binay but is Lapid any kind of solution? And what does it say about those -the President and her husband among them- who view him as a solution? And you trust her with the economy, placing the country’s business center under Lito Lapid?
I’ll tell you what the pro-amendments arguments boil down to: if you eliminate all checks and balance, if you remove all controls on having a one-party state, if you remove all hindrances to a president-for-life (or prime minister-for-life), if you remove any possible limitation on the will and whims of the incumbent President, and recognizing those assuredly in line to succeed her (and we know who they are), if, in other words, you trust the President, then you can be for Constitutional change. After all, the only assurance you have, are not on paper, or in the system, but dependent on one single thing: that given absolute, unlimited, unquestionable power, Mrs. Arroyo can be trusted -and expected- to use it only for the public good, never for her own, and surely not for the benefit of her political allies. Under the circumstances, it boils down to faith.
So if the Palace asks self-serving questions, as ThirtySomething and Philippine Commentary examine in some depth, they will get self-serving replies. But they aren’t the replies that really answer the question, “show us the money!”
Big Mango, though we disagree on some particulars, on the whole expresses it best: there’s no balance in the current amendments efforts.
Carl Garcia’s right: everything in life boils down to politics. Accept it.
In the blogosphere:
Pinay Nanay and Madame Chiang on circumcision (as one ad I saw posted in a Mercury on Session Road put it, “Summer treat!”). According to Mike Tan at last Saturday’s Ayala Museum Docent Training Program session, circumcision is a holdover from our Islamic past -the Spanish tried to forbid it, but obviously, failed.
World Famous in the Philippines lobbies for Writely. I agree, it’s awesome. Vote for it.