Political dynasties must be removed
SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit S. Avila (The Freeman) - February 13, 2018 - 12:00am

I'm supposed to be reporting on the visit of Pres. Rodrigo "Digong" Duterte in Cebu City today, but then most of his activities begin after 2 p.m. and leaves me very little time to meet our daily deadline. So I would rather ask my readers to read what is being reported in The FREEMAN regards the activities of the president and I will only talk about this in our Wednesday column.

***

Over the weekend some 5,000 people flocked to the First District Assembly of the Cebu Movement for Federalism with Naga City Mayor Kristine Chiong in attendance. Also there was Tuburan Mayor Aljun Diamante, President of the Visayas Association of Federalism Movement seeking to forge a campaign for Charter Change and that paradigm shift to a Federal form of government, and Cordova Mayor Teche Sitoy-Cho who also lent her voice to this movement in the hope that Federalism would usher in the political change that this nation direly needs.

This pro-Federalism Group, which was launched last January 21 forms the backbone movement advocating for Federalism in Cebu. They are called the People's Movement for Federalism led by Jovi Zarate as their secretary general. This group began during the presidential campaign that launched then Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte into the presidency.

While this group has the numbers of pro-Federalist supporters, we need to educate these people that Federalism alone will not bring the political change that we have longed for, and the very reason why our current unitary form of governance has not worked for the greater interest of the Filipino people. It is why political dynasties continue. Let me say it here that this issue has not been publicly discussed in the pro-Federal discussions simply because many of our mayors or Local Government Unit officials belong to political dynasties.

This is why when former Supreme Court chief justice Hilario Davide Jr. declared to the media that "The 1987 Constitution was the best constitution we ever had" I laughed so hard simply because Davide was the "tuta" of the Aquino political family. Thanks to the 1987 Constitution, we had two Aquinos as president. And in the end Pres. Cory Aquino presided over the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP) and forced landowners (including my mother's family) to break up their farmlands supposedly to give to the landless.

But in truth, and later in hindsight, Pres. Cory Aquino kept their 6,000-hectare Hacienda Luisita from being CARPed like the rest of us lesser mortals with her controversial Stock Distribution Option. This was the very question sent to the Supreme Court that eventually, in an en banc resolution, declared that SDO was unconstitutional. The chief justice who presided the High Court was the late chief justice Renato Corona, who was removed from office by the next Aquino president, Benigno "PNoy" Aquino III, the son of the late Pres. Cory Aquino, in what most pundits say was a personal vendetta.

All this happened in the last 30 years under the so-called "best Constitution" that Hilario Davide Jr. declared. But it was a total farce and the Filipino people can see how the political oligarchy led by the Aquino political clan (who has Davide as their altar boy) manipulated the political power to remove a sitting Supreme Court chief justice for charges that could still have been corrected. The damage of political dynasties has become irreparable. Hence in the 2016 presidential elections, a man without a major political party and who did not come from the political elite from Luzon was elected as president of the land.

It is for this very reason why Federalism alone cannot change our country's political landscape. We must fight to break the stranglehold grip of the political elite on our nation's economy. Only then would Federalism work to its very best. To the Davides out there who insist that there is no need to change the 1987 constitution, I say to them the unitary form of governance has only created a political elite that has ruled the nation, with political names like Aquino, Marcos, Roxas, and Osmeña. I dare say that the time for real and genuine change has come in our politics.

vsbobita@mozcom.com

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