Category: history

When will we have ‘Philippines First’?

Rigoberto D. Tiglao

WHILE the new US President Donald Trump is inarguably a demagogic megalomaniac, he demonstrated a streak of genius, or a deep insight into his countrymen’s feelings, that made him win, when he made his campaign battle cries “America First” as well as “We will make America great again.”

Read on…

marcos burial, duterte, history

There are certain things that are better left for history—not this Court—to adjudge. The Court could only do so much in accordance with the clearly established rules and principles. Beyond that, it is ultimately for the people themselves, as the sovereign, to decide, a task that may require the better perspective that the passage of time provides. In the meantime, the country must move on and let this issue rest.”

that’s from the SC ponencia dismissing the petitions against the burial of marcos in the libingan ng mga bayani.  and here’s president duterte in the wake of that:

“Now the question about the dictatorship of Marcos is something which cannot be determined at this time. It has to have history. Kasi ho, ‘yung nasaktan, and it was a contention really of a political fight initially that turned sour because of the power struggle of the ruling political families in this country, and almost it deteriorated into something almost like a revolution. That part of the sins of Marcos has yet to be proven by a competent court. ‘Yung sabihin lang ‘yan nawala ‘yung pera that is altogether another different issue. As far as the right or the privilege to be buried sa Libingan ng mga Bayani, I simply followed the law. Wala tayong magawa diyan. … He was a president and he was a soldier. I am limited to that issue.”

clearly we have a president and nine supreme court justices who think we’re still in the dark ages and history can be written only after some fifty years, when the participants in a life-changing event or period are either dead or suffering from alzheimers or dementia, that is, with faulty or no memories at all, and by then bongbong or imee or one of their kids would be back in the palace and martial law would be celebrated as a golden age and the four days of EDSA ’86 would come down as a 9/11 kind of disaster for nation, as in, you know, a false flag kind of ugly thingy that unjustly interrupted marcos rule.

in fact, martial law pa lang, the martial law story, the unfolding, was already being documented by amnesty international and other human rights groups, and foreign observers were monitoring developments and taking notes, and soon after EDSA, testimonies of the tortured and the families of the salvaged were put on record, and then the books started coming out: primitivo mijares’s The Conjugal Dictatorship written in ’75, cecilio arillo’s Breakaway (1986), james fenton’s Snap Revolution (1986), raymond bonner’s Waltzing with a Dictator (1987), ninotchka rosca’s Endgame: The Fall of Marcos (1987), lewis simon’s Worth Dying For (1987), Dictatorship and Revolution: Roots of People Power edited by aurora javate de dios, petronilo bn. daroy, and lorna kalaw-tirol (1988), sterling seagrave’s The Marcos Dynasty (1988), stanley karnow’s In Our Image (1989), among many many publications into the ’90s, ricardo manapat’s Some Are Smarter Than Others (1991), mark thompson’s The Anti-Marcos Struggle (1996), paul hutchcroft’s Booty Capitalism (1998), alfred mccoy’s Closer Than Brothers (1999), to name a few, tracking not only the stories and numbers of human rights violations but also of the “rise” and fall of the economy, the ballooning of the foreign debt, the crony capitalism, the institutionalized looting, imelda’s jewels and mansions, the swiss accounts, atbpang kahindikhindik at kalunuslunos na mga kaganapan.

never has the marcos camp issued any categorical denials, issue by issue, with supporting documents — just a finger pointed at ver as the culprit in human rights violations, and another at the fabled yamashita treasure as the source of the marcos wealth.  deafening is the silence of FVR, honasan, and lacson on the stories of torture, murder, and disappearances.

president duterte insists that he is only following the law that imelda invokes, the one qualifying marcos, as former president and soldier, for burial in the libingan ng mga bayani, even as he and imelda et al. willfully ignore the exceptions laid down by the very same law.  read associate sc justice antonio carpio’s dissenting opinion:

AFPR G 161-375, which respondents rest on to justify the interment of Marcos at the LNMB, specifically provides that “personnel who were dishonorably separated / reverted/ discharged from the service” are not qualified to the interred at the LNMB. Marcos, who was forcibly ousted form the Presidency by the sovereign act of the Filipino people, falls under this disqualification.

In Marcos v. Manglapus (1989), the Court described Marcos as “a dictator forced out of office and into exile after causing twenty years of political, economic and social havoc in the country.” In short he was ousted by the Filipino people. Marcos was forcibly removed from the Presidency by what is now referred to as the People Power Revolution This is the strongest form of dishonorable discharge from office since it is meted out by the direct act of the sovereign people.

The fact of Marcos’ ouster is beyond judicial review. This Court has no power to review the legitimacy of the People Power Revolution as it was successfully carried out by the sovereign people who installed the revolutionary government of Corazon C. Aquino. The people have spoken by ratifying the 1987 Constitution, which was drafted under the Aquino government installed by the People Power Revolution. The Court has been steadfast in dismissing challenges to the legitimacy of the Aquino government, and has declared that its legitimacy is not a justiciable matter that can be acted upon by the Court.

As the removal of Marcos from the Presidency is no longer within the purview of judicial review, we must accept this as an incontrovertible fact which has become part of the history of the Philippines. This ouster, which was directly carried out by the sovereign act of the Filipino people, constitutes dishonorable removal from the service. Marcos was forcibly removed from the position as President and Commander-in-Chief by the Filipino people. In Estrada v. Desierto (2001), the Court reiterated the legitimacy of the removal of Marcos and the establishment of the Aquino government:

“No less than the Freedom Constitution declared that the Aquino government was installed through a direct exercise of the power of the Filipino people in defiance of the provisions of the 1973 Consyitution, as amended. It is familiar learning that the legitimacy of a government sired by a successful revolution by people power is beyond judicial scrutiny for that government automatically orbits out of the constitutional loop.”

The removal of Marcos from the Presidency, therefore, was a direct exercise of the sovereign act of the Fiipino people that is “beyond judicial scrutiny.” It cannot be said that this removal was an “honorable” one. Truly, there is nothing more dishonorable for a President than being forcibly removed from office by the direct sovereign act of the people. (pp3-4)

the cruelest and most condemnable cut of all is the way president duterte shrugs off EDSA ’86 as simply the culmination of a political fight between two families and nothing more, when in fact ninoy was mostly helplessly in jail, and then in exile, and then dead on the tarmac, while marcos’s people were mostly committing gross human rights violations with impunity, among other morally turpid stuff.  read marcos, kleptocracy, moral turpitude.

According to Amnesty International, 3,249 were killed; 34,000 were tortured and 70,000 were imprisoned during the Marcos dictatorship. The Human Rights Victims Claims Board, meanwhile, has already received more than 75,000 applications for compensation. http://bulatlat.com/main/2016/11/10/led-political-comeback-marcoses/

and someone please tell the prez that the “something like a revolution” that successfully ousted marcos was not even endorsed by cory until the third day of EDSA, feb 24, when she finally made a brief appearance in front of the POEA, and only because the sovereign people who were in the throes of revolution gave her no choice but to reconcile and join hands with ninoy’s jailer enrile vs. marcos.

it bears repeating, too, as often as i have to, that also on day three, the dictator marcos ordered the bombing of camp crame where FVR and enrile were holed up.  fortunately for nation, the marines (who did not join the rebel forces and were poised to fire from camp aguinaldo) refused to follow marcos’s orders because hosts of unarmed civilians inside and outside the camp would have been hit, too.  please read my first chronology (1996) here and/or EDSA Uno the book (2013), both fully documented, the latter available at the UP press bookshop in diliman and f. sionil jose’s solidaridad in malate.  or i could send the president a hundred copies for family and friends, cabinet officials and other allies, FYI lang, in the spirit of FOI, just say the word.

i concede that marcos did some good, particularly when he got the U.S. to pay rent for the military bases in subic and clark in ’76, even if it was less than (just half of) the $1B kissinger first offered (that he foolishly turned down) for a period of 5 years.  but land reform?  it was selective, to put it mildly.  infrastructure?  that’s par for the course, isn’t it.  though imelda’s babies — the CCP, the heart, lung, and kidney centers — were / are winners, and so too was imee’s short-lived ECP.

i draw the line though at rice self-sufficiency which was also short-lived.

Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte during his presidential campaign kick off rally in Tondo, Manila on Tuesday said the late Ferdinand E. Marcos is the best president the country ever had. He said Marcos was a good president before he became a dictator, praising his Biyaya ng Dagat and Masagana 99 programs.

“On hindsight, kung balikan ko ang panahon, noon at ngayon, kung hindi lang siya tumagal ng pagka-presidente, kung hindi lang siya naging diktador na matagal, pinaka the best na presidente na dumaan, Marcos,” he said while the crowd cheered.

thing is, both masagana 99 and biyayang dagat were credit programs that failed, according to this article on AIM’s website:

In the early 1970s, the main challenge was providing credit to the poor; there were market imperfections most experts concluded. If the private service, particularly private banks, didn’t want to provide credit to the poor, could the government do it then? Thus, the government implemented many credit programs for the poor. Even government agencies that were not financial institutions were implementing credit programs to address what was perceived as market imperfections: there was Masagana 99 (Bountiful Harvest 99) which provided loans to help farmers harvest 99 canvas of rice per hectare; there was Biyayang Dagat (Ocean’s Gift), a credit program for the fisherfolks, and Tulong sa Tao (Help for the People), loans for livelihood projects. But all these government-managed credit programs experienced very low repayment rate among the borrowers, even if government agencies were offering subsidized credit programs with minimal or no interest rates. There was also the mindset among those borrowers that what the government agencies were offering were dole-outs. Government credit programs failed. Director Almario teased, “Masagana 99 became Masamang 99, and Biyayang Dagat became Buwayang Dagat.” 

and both were programs launched during martial law, not before.  i have praised president duterte for his sense of history, declaring the little lectures priceless, but only about the moro story and american imperialism.  about marcos, martial law, and EDSA, i dare say the president needs to read up, rethink, and reboot, and so do the nine justices of the supreme court.

it’s not too late, mr. president.  it doesn’t take rocket science, or a crystal ball, to see that a marcos burial in the libingan ng mga bayani will not bring healing, rather it is certain to deepen worsen exacerbate the wounds and divisions that already afflict nation.

i would address the same appeal to the marcos family, but a mutual friend, leslie bocobo, who cheered the SC decision of nov 8, has done me better with this facebook status of nov 12.

It is my personal opinion that after the Marcos family, led by former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos, VP Bongbong Marcos, Gov. Imee Marcos and Irene Marcos Araneta, acknowledge and thank the Supreme Court for finally giving its affirmative decision to allow a controversial remains a befitting final resting place in the LNMB, that the Marcoses, as a family, decide thereafter to bury FM in Ilocos Norte. There, a park-like shrine may rise so that the Filipino people may visit him without being interrupted by occasional vandals and rabid Marcos haters that I foresee may happen at the LNMB. The affirmative decision of the SC is enough. That makes it official and a sort of burying the issue (pun unintended) once and for all, thus granting Marcos the accolades and honors for a Filipino soldier. Burying him instead in Ilocos raises him to a higher level. After all, most of our past presidents are buried elsewhere. Rizal stands majestically alone in Bagumbayan. Let Marcos lie in peace in his hometown, but with a monument erected to perpetuate his memory where he too can stand alone – far away from those who hate him, but closest to all those who acknowledge him as a great leader.

duterte and history

in gina apostol’s President Duterte and our revolutionary history and sylvia mayuga’s The politics of memory, the thinking, basically, is that the president’s anti-imperialist rants are not worthy of attention, much less of celebration, not because he has his facts wrong but because his “indiscriminate” and “chilling” war on drugs makes him as bad, even, as morally bankrupt, as the powerful ones that massacred our people in the filipino-american war, and as the recently powerful ones that have taken over our territories in the west ph sea and killed our coral beds, among other depredations.

i get it naman, the outrage over the lack of due process for victims, guilty and innocent, especially the innocents caught in the crossfire of the president’s war on drugs.  but the prez also speaks the truth about the enormity of the shabu problem.  as my brother, a balikbayan doctor who has been living in the boondocks of tiaong quezon for some 20 years, and who has seen it up close, wrote 10 years ago:

… the illicit drug market has successfully gained inroads into subcultures of users, into collegiate life, and deep into the bowels of Philippine rural life, burgeoning into a raging epidemic of drug addiction…

and recently, in Duterte and the War on Shabu:

…the scourge swelled and raged on
brought stories of despair, violence and deaths
ho-hum stories of day-to-day life.
thousands of sons and daughters
trapped in the quagmire of addiction
countless petty crimes to buy the high.
drugs paid for by sex favors.
the violent turf wars
the salvaging of drug pushers.
there was frustration among the tanods,
the police and local folk who cared.
di pa tapos ang barangay report,
naka-piyansa na.

… as the drug cancer continued to spread
the powers that be turned a blind eye
government wore blinders
as drug syndicates came to our shores,
from nearby and faraway,
setting up shop in our gated communities
and countless small towns across the land
under the guise of legal commerce,
cooking shabu to feed the addicts of the world
while they fed the greed and filled the coffers
of the corrupt and the powerful
who provided protection
who for the price of a million or ten or fifty
would turn a blind eye
would provide sanctuary and deliverance.
make evidence disappear.
provide passage on the next boat to china.
the masa watched helpless
as the drug commerce prospered.
emboldened by decades
of government apathy
impotence and corruptibility
the masa resigned in collective sadness
at the ruination of their communities.
it was a sad commentary, often heard
kay marcos, di mangyayari iyan…

and then came duterte, and like my brother i grieve the wrongful deaths, but what’s the alternative?

… shabu is a gold mine of immeasurable riches
to fuel the needs of power and greed.
shabu will merely recede into the shadows
selling clandestine highs
while kingpins and drug lords
figure out their next moves
patiently waiting and reassured
at their chosen sanctuaries
that duterte will not win his war
or that he will not last the war
or that six years is an easy wait
for them to reclaim the land.
unless we see kingpins
dangling on a noose
or strapped on a chair
unless we hear
the cracking of firing squads.

… we stand conflicted at this crucial crossroad
but we have seen an alternative to apathy
and the possibility of change.
i pray, hope duterte survives the bounty on his head,
and i dream, wish for his victory on his war on drugs.

and i get it, the outrage over the marcos burial, the cursing and the jolog ways, the many extemporaneous speech boo-boos that he has had to back out on, at kung ano-ano pang utterances and behavior deemed unpresidential and uncivilized and unacceptable by his critics.  maybe prof. antonio contreras is right:

President Duterte is postmodern in the sense that he escapes any attempt to be named and labeled. He is unpredictable. He is an iconoclast in that he challenges conventions in almost everything. His identity rests on fluidity rather than on certainty. He forces people to pay attention to the nuances of language if only to make sense of what he says.

He interrupts the usual, subverts the conventional, and challenges the traditional, and deploys a kind of unpredictability that becomes his own weapon. This is why the elites and those who lived comfortably in the certainty of the “daang matuwid” and black and white politics hate him.

He is the master of simulations, in the sense that one could no longer distinguish his image from his reality. Unlike his predecessor who lived on contrived imaging courtesy of staged narratives by media spinners, Duterte’s obliteration of the divide between joke and hyperbole on one hand, and serious policy statement on the other is so organically rooted that it acquires enormous political power, to the consternation of media and the elites so used to predictability and plasticity of messages.

but also, too much is going on behind the scenes that we are in the dark about.  where is the promised transparency.  i pray that the duterte admin gets its act together, inspires some confidence that the changes the prez promises are indeed doable.  i have yet to get a sense, for instance, of how the president plans to lift the masses from poverty and to make OFWs and the diaspora things-of-the-past.

most disturbing is the charter change move via con-ass towards a shift to federalism, something our elected representatives are themselves ill-informed about and ill-prepared for and which threatens to fracture further our divided nation.  there has to be a smarter way of giving our moro brothers and sisters the self-rule they deserve.

just as sinister is the plan to change the economic provisions of the constitution.  read bobi tiglao’s The big lie: ‘Charter’s restrictions have limited foreign capital inflow’.

The move to lift the Constitutional restrictions on foreign investment in public utilities and media is based on false arguments repeated over and over again in the Hitlerian fashion of the “Big Lie.”

… Sadly, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez seemed to have believed this Big Lie, based on his statements in a forum with Japan’s big businessmen in Tokyo recently. I don’t think President Duterte, with his strong sense of nationalism, would follow the cue of Dominguez, who is after all, the sole big capitalist in his Cabinet….

Dominguez should first clear such policy announcements with the more nationalistic Duterte. It is he who was elected to office, not Dominguez.”

as for the pivot-to-china at the expense of our “special relations” with the US, my question always has been, why did america stand by and watch as china took over the west philippine sea?  and did china dream up that nine-dash line as a response to the return of US troops and bases to the philippines?  anyway, it’s really more like a pivot to asia.  read malou tiquia’s The Duterte Initiative.

Derisively called mad man by his critics, there is serious thinking in his “madness.” Visiting Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Brunei, China and Japan, PRRD has set the stage for a peaceful region, lights on for Asia and ASEAN and a face-to-face diplomacy that has never been seen from a David like the Philippines. There is rhyme and reason where he went and the key messages he called out in those visits. The Duterte Initiative has made the Philippines top of mind. Apart from Manny Pacquiao, foreigners meeting Filipinos have been asking about Duterte. Seriously, the “mad man” is a rockstar.

and if he’s serious about ending the visiting forces agreement and EDCA, a joint advocacy of senator miriam defensor-santiago and partylist rep walden bello in 2012 and 2014, he can easily do it.  read LEADER OR BLUFFER? | How the President can send the Americans packing as early as April 15, 2017. 

Article IX, titled “Duration and Termination,” of the Visiting Forces Agreement reads:

This agreement shall enter into force on the date on which the parties have notified each other in writing through the diplomatic channel that they have completed their constitutional requirements for entry into force. This agreement shall remain in force until the expiration of 180 days from the date on which either party gives the other party notice in writing that it desires to terminate the agreement.

Since VFA is an executive agreement, Duterte does not need Congress’ approval for his action. If the president wants the United States out of the Philippines by, say, April 15, 2017, he can simply give written notice to Washington by October 15.
As for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, the Supreme Court in its decision on the constitutionality of EDCA on January 12 of this year stated:

The admission and presence of US military and civilian personnel in Philippine territory are already allowed under the VFA, the treaty supposedly being implemented by EDCA. What EDCA has effectively done, in fact, is merely provide the mechanism to identify the locations in which US personnel may perform allowed activities pursuant to the VFA. As the implementing agreement, it regulates and limits the presence of US personnel in the country.

The Court’s words are crystal clear: since it is merely an implementing mechanism of the VFA, EDCA loses its character as a legal agreement once the VFA is terminated. With VFA terminated on April 15, 2017, EDCA will be null and void on that date.

…It is time the President proves to the nation and the world that he is really serious about asking the Americans to leave. The action required is simple; it is a notice from the Department of Foreign Affairs that does not even need his signature. Not following through will not only translate to a loss of his credibility among his constituents. It would lead to his being dismissed as a bluffer, a “tin pot” ruler, by Washington, which can easily adjust to living with his curses and his tantrums.

meanwhile, i have finally seen the sense in, and have stopped scoffing at, the president’s speeches, never mind that he repeats himself from one gig to another, almost ad nauseam.  he is, after all, addressing himself each time to a different group of filipinos, whether the soldiers, the police, the OFWs abroad, or the masses here at home, from one local event to another, and indeed it behooves him to explain again and again about his roots and worldview, about mindanao and the moro problem, about how and why we were colonized by america, and why we continue to have this relationship with the US that is special only in a lopsided sense.

except when he speaks (rarely) of marcos as the best president we’ve ever had who deserves burial in libingan ng mga bayani, which thankfully he leaves up to the supreme court, digong lifts my spirits with his lectures on philippine history, especially our history with america.  the elephant in the room whose continued intervention in our affairs past presidents have never dared question or criticize, much less speak about in public.  how spain, without consulting our lolos and lolas, simply sold us to america for 20 million dollars.  and after and beyond the massacres of our patriots and heroes, how they took over our educational and cultural institutions and turned us into caricatures of themselves, shaped us into little brown brothers who would rather be americans than filipinos, the better the easier to take advantage of us, to manipulate us into unquestioning submission down the century, past “independence”, all the way to the new millennium.

rare history lessons that no doubt the filipino masses are hearing, learning, for the first time.  this to me is priceless.

and so when gina apostol says filipinos are “gaslighted”, i.e., manipulated, deceived, by duterte when he invokes historical facts — an abuser condemning an earlier abuser of the nation in order to sanction his own abuse — i can only say, take a second hard look, please.  it is america, the master manipulator, that has been gaslighting our people for the last hundred years.

The big letdown

Ernesto P. Maceda, Jr.

We have had two chances in our history to write a Constitution (1934 and 1986) and one to revise it (1971). All three were done through the mode of having a dedicated group, elected or appointed, working solely on the Constitution and nothing else.

The most recent attempts at Charter change (under the Arroyo and Aquino presidencies) thru the con-ass mode failed to harness popular support. This was largely due to the perception that they were self serving efforts: perpetuation in power, no genuine political dynasty resolution. They would originate usually from the House (De Venecia, Nograles-Puentevella, Rodriguez, Belmonte).

The prism of self interest. President Rodrigo Duterte was an avowed proponent of the con-con mode for his prized shift to federalism. He confirmed this before, during and after the campaign. Like the public, he believed the con-ass mode to be self serving. Other No-Chance proposals under a con-ass would be the FOI law, political party reform.

Plus, of course, would you seriously expect Congress to vote to diminish its own power? This surely happens under the federal form where the National Congress castrates itself and shares responsibilities (and funds) with the state legislatures. As for the upper house, I don’t see Senators consenting to possibly playing a lesser role in legislation much like the House of Lords in the UK or, worse, being abolished outright if no separate voting by chamber takes place. The model federalism resolution of Senate President Nene Pimentel actually proposes the election of 75 Senators and 350 Congressmen at the national federal level. Incumbents voting for a proposition that dilutes their power? That’s novel. Its also absurd to expect it would happen.

Revision by con-ass may likely bring out the worst in the Legislature. And this likelihood is doubled with the current supermajority in Congress. I can see it now – suspensions of Rules, calls for closing the period of debate, drowned out points of order, calls for a vote. Might of muscle over might of merit. Personal heroes were routinely created or unmasked by the ANC coverages lasting deep into the night of the House’s many blatant and dishonorable past attempts at con-ass. The tyranny of supermajorities on display.

Unparalleled opportunity. No one trusts the House to decide in favor of con-con. It was such pleasing news then that Speaker Alvarez, in his first press conference, turned out to be pro con-con like his friend, the President. And with the Senate firmly on board, the Filipino people had, for the first time since Charter change was openly debated (began in 1997 nearing the end of FVR’s term), an honest chance at meaningful reform.

Opinion ( Article MRec ), pagematch: 1, sectionmatch: 1

This may even have been the best opportunity at crafting the Constitution that we will need for the future. The 1934 draft was intended for a commonwealth government. The 1971 version was not given a bona fide chance. The 1986 output was rushed by a President who did not want to rule by revolutionary fiat. There would be no such pressures for this 2016 or 2017 iteration.

The populist President Duterte who, time and again, in just this first month in office has shown himself to be the emblem of popular sentiment, has made a decidedly unpopular choice in this con-ass change of heart. Virtually every sector of society has come forward favoring con-con over con-ass.

Expensive if Amendment, a bargain if Revision. Our own personal position is that the economy, efficiency and expediency of a con-ass are valid arguments only when the proposal is for mere amendments – whether of one or a group of provisions, e.g. economic. For constitutional amendment, it would be inadvisable to spend the P 7 billion price tag of a Con-Con (the price goes down dramatically to around P1 billion if Con-Con elections are synchronized with the Barangay or 2019 elections).

But a Revision of the Constitution deserves more than just the sideline attention of Congress acting as a constituent assembly. If the proposal would be to adopt a new federal structure or to try out the parliamentary form, this would mean throwing out virtually the entire Constitution and all of our present constitutional history. We would be starting blind.

Not as exhaustive. A con-ass that will be taking this on as an added duty will not be as thorough as a con-con with this as its only duty. We should make sure we get the best debate. We will not be served by Congress, with its supermajority, rubber stamping the President’s telegraphed message.

Public opinion is equally crucial. But trimedia is informal and space and time compromised. Essays and researches are sterile efforts where the author, even if attempting a balanced output, basically just debates with himself.

There is no substitute for well reasoned positions presented in an impassioned debate – without the time limitations and whose only guideline is to come up with a majority after making sure all sides are ventilated. Even those with full belief in Federalism should welcome the open, thoughtful and enthusiastic exchange one gets in a Convention. This will only serve to fine tune and produce not only the best version of a Constitution but one that is strong and solid having survived the crucible of intelligent debate. In this sense, a con-con is priceless.

In the previous conventions, we were well-served by the articulate expressions, stentorian tones and ardent convictions of men like Rodrigo, Recto, Bernas, Concepcion, Munoz-Palma, Manglapus, and more. We have to listen to all arguments even if we disagree for this will create a critical history and a rich record to aid in its better understanding later on.

Not democratic. These imperatives are best served if we send delegates who, having presented to us their intentions and their qualifications (matapos mamanhikan), are entrusted with our own sentiments on what we feel we need to see in the document they will be crafting. Did we elect our Congressmen and Senators to do that for us? No. This, above all, is why the President’s change of heart was surprising. Because it confiscated from our hands the one opportunity we had of a meaningful participation in writing the next chapter of our country’s history.