suddenly former chief justice reynato puno is all over the place, even making headlines. ‘Bribery’ voids Corona impeachment — Puno screamed the manila times yesterday. and i can’t help wondering if he is why the president felt compelled to go on nationwide primetime tv last night. unfortunately the prez didn’t say anything new. on social media people talk about having made abang, expecting something huge, something that would halt the fall, change the game, level it up. alas. back to the streets it is.
so, does the palace have reason to fear puno’s call for people’s initiative and referendum vs. PDAF, DAP, and all discretionary funds? the logistics are difficult and complicated but, still, doable, and puno even has a timetable: he will be done drafting the petition sometime this november, and sees the referendum happening in january 2014. (hmm, alam na kaya ng comelec ito?) i suppose puno knows what he’s doing, he knows what went wrong with pirma’s chacha attempt via initiative in 1997, and there is every possibility that he might do fvr better.
and there’s the catch. is puno thinking anti-pork lang or is there a chacha scenario farther on? oct 8 it was when puno first sounded the call for a people’s initiative to abolish all pork. just eleven days later, oct 19, carmen pedrosa announced in her philstar column that puno had agreed to become the symbol and advocate of “crowdsourcing a new Constitution for a new Philippines.”
alarm bells ringing and all that. i’ve made no bones about it on this blog, i’m against charter change that seeks (1) to shift us from presidential to parliamentary/federal system and (2) to delete economic provisions that limit foreign ownership of land atbp. this is not to say that i would not welcome a serious public debate on these two issues via a website that might inspire and inform debates on print, radio, and television. but i’m not sure that this is the right time for it. not until the pork issue is settled, how ever long it takes.
besides, puno’s reputation is not all that sterling. he has some owning-up to do if he hopes to win hearts and minds. read ‘Unmitigated hypocrisy’ by lawyer democrito c. barcenas and then go back in time to President Puno? and Who’s Hot, and Who’s Not by antonio c. abaya, 2009. the comment threads are also quite enlightening.