Wednesday, August 20, 2014

PNoy: Lameduck He is Not and Reformist He Must Be

PNoy is determined to institute reforms in our society. Showing that “honesty is the best policy”, he unmistakably displayed it both in words and in action.  To prove that he was very serious in instituting “Tuwid Na Daan” (Righteous/Straight Path) in governance, he is following what I described as GPS (Grand Prosecution of the Sleazy). Working through first, the NBI (National Bureau of Investigation) and the DOJ (Department of Justice) and then the Ombudsman, we are now witnessing the prosecution and trial of public officials charged with plundering public funds and criminal corrupt practices.
He hoped to achieve as much reforms within his six-year term.  He further hoped that someone who would surely continue the reforms that he initiated would succeed him. Recent surveys are seemingly dashing his hopes, thus – imperiling the accomplishment of his envisioned reforms both short term and long term.
Reforms could be initiated in several ways: first, by Executive/Administrative Action; second, by Legislative Fiat; and third, by Constitutional Amendments.
PNoy has less than two years left to continue what he started and to lay the foundation for further reforms applicable within the next eight, fourteen, or even 20 years. 

His enemies include time and the perception promoted by his naysaying critics that he is a lameduck President who is no longer as effective. Such a perception usually generates more courage to oppose or take more independent stands that differ from those of the President’s.
Time is relative and depending on how it is used, it could be your friend as well. The truth is, if used effectively, efficiently, and smartly, reforms could be initiated by either or a combination of Executive, Legislative and Constituent actions.
There is time to propose and pass constitutional amendments. Proposals to amend some economic provisions of the Constitution, for example, have plenty of support in Congress. Acting as a Constituent Assembly, Congress could propose other amendments outside of the economic ones. It could propose to allow another six-year term for the President or to change from the current Presidential to a Parliamentary system.  

Floating the potential changes would erase the “lameduck” perception and reinforces instead the belief that the President and his coalition continue to control both the immediate and mediate political future.
PNoy still controls the disbursements of the appropriations of all the executive and implementing agencies of the government in the next two years. It remains a major leverage that affects the fate of ambitious politicians, be they local or national. The next President would still be his choice, whether he chooses himself, Mar Roxas, or a third alternative.
If a Parliamentary system is installed, the coalition led by the Liberal Party and those who remain loyal would really control the government for a long period of time. Then there would be a greater guarantee of instituting reforms by legislative fiat. It would also strengthen the notion that the “power of the purse” really belongs to the legislative department. PNoy or Mar could be the Prime Minister of the new legislature.
Meanwhile, aside from proposed constitutional changes, there are legislative initiatives that can also be achieved before the expiration of PNoy’s current term. Passing them would most likely endear him and his coalition to the people.
There are 91 constitutional provisions that require enabling or implementing laws. Two of those are the implementing laws for Anti-Dynasty and Freedom of Information.  Passing most if not all the required enabling laws would make the Cory Constitution really a living, dynamic, and meaningful document.
PNoy’s critics, naysayers, and so-called political analysts are making a big deal out of his supposed decreasing satisfactory or performance ratings. For them, such decrease weakens his endorsement or his push for reforms.
The fact is, while compared to his own record a decrease is noticeable, a careful analysis would show that compared to his predecessors, he still registers very high ratings to deserve the trust and confidence of the people who clamored for his leadership in the first place.
A majority (56%) remains satisfied with his performance. About 26% are dissatisfied but a substantial portion of them will always be dissatisfied regardless of PNoy’s performance. We call the latter as naysayers or negativists.
Let us consider what SWS’ Mahar Mangahas himself wrote:
The new rating is higher than: (a) all the eight ratings of the Cory Aquino admin for 1989-92; (b) 20 of the 24 ratings of the admin of Fidel Ramos (except for scores of +30 to +32 in September 1992, December 1992, July 1993, and July 1997); (c) eight of the ten ratings of the short admin of Joseph Estrada (except for a +36 in November 1998 and a +34 in March 1999); and (d) all of the 35 ratings of the long admin of Gloria Arroyo.
The new record low rating under P-Noy is far better than the worst ratings under previous presidents: -10 (Poor) under Cory in November 1990, -18 (Poor) under Ramos in October 1995, -8 (Neutral) under Estrada in December 1999, and -45 (Bad) under Arroyo in March 2010.”

Even the so-called 16-point fall of PNoy’s rating is not as bad as his predecessors: 27 points under Cory; 24 points under Ramos; 26 points under Estrada; and 29 points under Arroyo.

So, those who do not wish PNoy well are advised not to celebrate yet.  Even famous author and novelist F Sionil Jose had this to say:

“In spite of the dip in his popularity as manifested in the recent surveys, I think he is doing very well and is far from the dictator that he is being charged with by, of all people, those who helped legitimize that immoral Marcos regime. Above all, I have it on good authority that he is honest — a quality I cannot say of many of those who are vociferously critical of him.

In stating these, I disagree with the Supreme Court. The President has the right to spend government funds where they can do the most good. What the Supreme Court should have looked after was how the moneys were spent. Did the DAP enrich anyone?” 

PNoy became the country’s leader and he brought honesty and humility in governance as well as honor and hope for the Philippines.  At this point in our history, he deserves the Filipino people’s support more than ever.

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