THE HOLY GRAIL OF A SECOND TERM IN THE PRESIDENCY
The main argument for a constituent assembly aimed to amend the constitution specifically for an extension of the term of the Presidency, and greeted warmly by the legislature because in the process, their respective terms will likewise be extended too, is self serving and bordering on self preservation. The amendment, which the President does not mince words, intends also to clip the hands of the judiciary especially on matters where other branches have made a decisive pitch.
As it were, even if the intention of the Chief Executive or that of Legislature is beyond reproach but if the Judiciary in its estimation is erroneous, heaven falls, the axe drops on the very face of the two branches. The result is an embarrassing route towards judicial punishment for those who transgress the law, whoever they are.
These are limitations addressed in the 1987 Constitution largely influenced by Senator Benigno Aquino and institutionalized during the presidency of Cory Aquino. The constitutional restrictions were designed that way. It was there to clip and weakened the powers of the Chief Executive. It was a response to a powerful and largely unchecked powers wielded by President Marcos who used every provision in law to stay in power and dictate society in every way he can.
No way can this situation be obtained in the new Constitution unless we intend to slide back into the dark corners whence democratic challengers challenged its persuasion. The residual powers of the Presidency are still there, it can still be applied by any leader with a reasonable mind. That is one power which can be equated with that of England’s King or Queen, Prime Minister, Emperor or Sheik. It has all the hallmarks of authority and control. But of course, when it is checked, the impression is that the character of the leader has been undermined.
President Noynoy Aquino inherited this weakened post and his allies wanted a remake of the same powers that made Marcos a powerful leader. The presidents under the new constitution tried their level best to have lasting imprint on their administration but saddled with numerous provisions in law that would make them incapable to transcending into heights of greatness.
Presidents Fidel Ramos, Joseph Estrada and Gloria Arroyo had to contend with whatever powers they could use. Exceeding it would definitely invite prosecution. Ramos nearly was hailed in court for his Amari deal projects. Joseph Estrada was not lucky enough. Worst, for Arroyo, she is still in detention for what has been seen as committing acts violative of laws.
This is the same ghost that haunts present day national leadership. If the constitution could not be amended, after the presidential term comes the time of judicial reckoning. Meaning, PNoy may as yet be brought to the bar of justice, this time without immunity anymore, the suffer the same fate of his unfortunately detained predecessors.
For someone who literally dedicated his term with the purity of a monk, to be hailed and questioned before the bar of justice by people unabashedly with corrupt and questionable credentials, is the height of irony. PNyoy accepted the mantle of leadership to improve governance and bring to the fore the consciousness of righteous administration as a dedicated act hewed closely according to the principles of his heroic parents as his guide, only to be sidelined and later be charged for desecrating the same cause. These are all mind boggling and stressful a situation. A man with an exceptional intellect can ride on it and succeed in the process. Less than that would be tragic.
Let history therefore divine the succeeding events.