Social Icons

Featured Posts

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Duterte -Left coalition means towards real change

Shortly after 1986, the Party underwent a series of self-criticism on its conduct and views about the EDSA revolution, which eventually led, after seven years, to an inevitable ideological split. This time around, the need for a convergence of forces for the sake of the Filipino People, is the call of the times. The imaginary line that separates the Rejectionists (RJ) from the Re-Affirmists should dissipate and in its stead, a more invigorated Socialist movement.

I agree with Ka Sonny Melencio, head of the Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM) that, instead of pursuing a critical collaborationist stance with the incoming government, the first order of the day really is the convergence of all Left forces into one powerful movement. The reason is two-fold: with numbers, the Left will re-assume its dominant role as change agents, thus, making it entirely possible for it to influence policy-making and two, as a strategy towards party and capability-building. A weak Left will only become a white elephant in Digong's government. The Left must become the most dominant force in Digong's government, able to provide leadership along the lines of ideological guidance.

Of course, some of us would criticize this and say that we are encouraging the transformation of our society from its present decrepit state to a Communist state. No.

But even if that is the reason for the transformation, so what? What is so bad with being Communist?

The fact is--we can actually create a new form of Socialism that is most suited to our present conditions and not rely on paradigms that had worked in other countries. It is also not accurate to say that we must embark on a "Socialist experiment" because a change in policy direction in government is not an "experiment" but more of an on the job training thing.

We are now at this juncture when we can actually create a genuine Filipino Socialism extracted from our historical experience. And I believe it is during Duterte's administration that this can be realized.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Review of Mayor Rody Duterte's cabinet appointments

Let's review Duterte's recent appointments to his Cabinet.

1. Former Defense secretary Gibo Teodoro re-assuming his old post. Though this is nothing new, many people see this as a good appointment because Teodoro is a highly intelligent man, principled and knows how the game is played there. Time for a civilian to head this department once more. He is expected to demolish the mafia controlling this department.

2. Andrea Domingo as PAGCOR chairman---Domingo was involved in that big-time PEA-AMARI deal, a scandal which the father of Duterte's vice presidential partner Senator Alan Peter Cayetano was also involved in. Why appoint someone with this kind of political baggage in a highly sensitive post?

3. Manny Pinol as Agriculture secretary---Pinol knows the state of the agricultural sector in the country. Though a politician, many people expect Pinol to do the right thing. Good appointment.

4. Jesus Dureza as peace adviser---Good choice because Dureza is really this country's expert in this field.

5. Sonny Dominguez as Finance secretary---If the goal is to "spread the love" so to speak in the provinces, then, Dominguez is a good replacement to Cesar Purisima. Highly respected by the business community, even by foreign investors.

However, if the goal of this appointment is to just maintain the country's economic progress, fine. Yet, if the goal is for this economy to benefit the people, this appointment is a disappointment.

The Dominguez Economic Agenda is a placebo, not a real medicine that would cure the economic ills of 30 million hungry and poor Filipinos. It benefits miners like him. It is intended to tell the business community that it is "business as usual"--nothing to worry about. It is a statement to the community that business risks under a Duterte administration are lower than previous fears show.

6. Peter Laurel as Deped secretary? Laurel is the president of Lyceum University. During his stint as president, students suffered from higher priced tuition fees. This guy is a businessman, not an educator. What we need at the helm is someone who would not represent the interests of private school owners.

7.  Mark Villar at DPWH----For six long years, the DPWH was kept pristine by a professional named Singson at the helm. Now, you appointed a politician there, with obvious conflict of interest because his family's business is specifically public works, infrastructure and real estate. Very bad appointment. Likewise, it exposed the weakness of Duterte as a leader. This appointment show him as a compromiser. He has a tendency to confuse his mission with political compromises.

8. Alan Peter Cayetano as Foreign Affairs or Justice secretary--- I really don't know why Cayetano is being offered a foreign affairs post. Is it a sign for him to just "back out" of the Cabinet? Was it a favor asked by Cayetano? WHY DFA? Still figuring out if this is a right appointment. Probably, Duterte sees Cayetano as a foreigner, anak araw? If Cayetano accepts this, then, it's goodbye to his presidential ambitions come 2022.

If Cayetano chooses the Justice portfolio, expect him to squeeze every publicity juice out of this post to propel him to the presidency in 2022.

9. Arnel Tugade as DOTC secretary---Tugade is an honest man. He is reliable and intelligent. He would do well there.

10. Salvador Panelo as spokesperson---Probably the post was given to Panelo to prepare him for a senatorial run in 2019. I don't remember how many times Panelo ran and lost a Senate bid. Public trust in Panelo remains sketchy.

11. Silvestre Bello III as chief peace negotiator--- good choice.

How I wish Duterte appoints these people at the following departments or bureaus:

1. Atty. Siegfred Mison either as Commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration just so he can continue his reforms there or at the Bureau of Customs.

2. Atty. Alex Lacson at the DPED, so that he can fix the problems of the education sector there.

3. Amina Rasul as part of the OPAPP or become head of the OPAPP. She is a nice partner to Jesus Dureza in this aspect.

4. Ariel Nepomuceno at the National Food Authority (NFA). This guy is a miracle worker and a hard worker as well. He would do good at NFA.

5. Jun Palafox at either DPWH or MMDA chairman.

6. Suansing at the LTO once more. Suansing has innovative ideas on how to further improve the transport sector. He must be given another chance.

7. Retain Berberabe at PAGIBIG.

8. Retain the current DOH secretary. She is very effective.

9. Appoint an effective and seasoned media professional at the Office of the Press secretary, particularly the post that manages PTV4 and media outlets. The media would play a very crucial role in this administration. If asked, I am willing to do it.

Villar's appointment at DPWH shows a chink in Duterte's amor

While we all wait with bated breath a new administration bearing new ways of doing things, here comes a shocker--an appointment of the son of a political heavyweight engaged in infrastructure works at the very department of public works-- a post which clearly shows conflict of interest.

This is downright crass, to say the least. It also shows malleability on the part of presumptive president Rody Duterte. Everyone thought and expect him to be a principled leader, one who will not or never compromise the welfare of the people in exchange for politics.

The appointment of Mark Villar---son of real estate developer Manny Villar---is a clear indication that Duterte knows how to "play the game" and he would do so at the expense of the many. I doubt if Duterte does not know that the Villars are engaged in real estate development and infrastructure works. They haven't changed business for the past several decades or so. Appointing such a man, even if he is highly qualified for the post, is clearly a downer.

Duterte would probably defend himself by saying that he needs the Nacionalista Party, a party now controlled by the Villars, because, without the Party's support, it is unclear whether he can do what he's supposed to do as President. Is the people's support not enough for him--that he stands ready to kowtow to an oligarch such as Villar?

Now, if this thing happened, expect more of this to happen in the next few days. Unfortunately, Duterte is showing early signs of playing ball with Big Business, and compromising his pact with the people. Remember how Duterte lambasted the oligarchs at the top of his voice, every single time in his campaign? Remember how Duterte blamed these oligarchs for the present ills of Philippine society? Now, here he is, enjoying every single moment hob-nobbing with them, acting like royalty before them, while these Oligarchs fete him with honors and coax him with praise. See those photos? Duterte is enjoying the attention so much, he clearly is not considering himself anymore as an "ordinary Filipino"---but probably a king?

Of course, these things should be temporal. I still give him the benefit of the doubt. There is still time for Duterte to correct this appointment of Villar to DPWH. However, if Duterte persists, then, there is simply no reason why I will not believe the following things to happen in the next few days:

1. For Lito Banayo, who was accused of smuggling rice into the country, to replay what he did on a bigger scale either as head of the Bureau of Customs or re-assume his post at the NFA.

2. For Hermogenes Esperon to become the nation's top security adviser or at least become head of a law enforcement agency.

3. For political has-beens and the possible of recycling government officials of previous administration. They had their time and they evidently bungled it--why give them positions in government when at that time they were serving they failed in their jobs.

4. For Duterte to say something concrete one way, then change it the minute after. Duterte says he will give the DA posts to the Left then in a surprise revelation yesterday, the DA post went to Manny Pinol, a close associate. Probably Duterte's camp realized that DA is a most sensitive and most lucrative department.

Again, there is still time, Mr. Duterte, to do what is Right and shun what is Wrong. The people expect so much from you. Do not fail them. Otherwise, be ready to be lynched.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

A Villar at the DPWH???

Seems like what most people feel is beginning to take shape---the rearing of politics' ugly head. While most of Mayor Digong's appointments were met with either moderate approbation or even a sigh of rational satisfaction, one appointment did not suit with the people at all---the appointment of Mark Villar, son of real estate magnate Manny Villar as head of the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS AND HIGHWAYS.

What? This is a conflict of interest! I know probably Mark is not in any way connected with Vistaland or any other real estate company run by his father. Nonetheless, we are again going back to the Arroyo day's when a particular thing is accepted provided it is not illegal. This is the same line of argument pushed forth by several members of the Arroyo administration when they ruled this country for nine years, six years ago.

Legally, there is nothing wrong with appointing Mark as head of DPWH but really, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth. Ika nga, immoral. Why? There is a possible conflict of interest.

One would say---eh, how about when PNoy appointed Singson as DPWH? Is it not that Singson was a proxy nominee of the Ayalas and he was once managing Ayala's water utility company before he became head of DPWH? That was a pure and crystal-clear case of conflict of interest, right? Yes, and let me quality my agreement.

Digong's appointment of a Villar in this case is a CONFLICT OF INTEREST because the ex-Senate president is the active President and CEO of Vistaland and Villar Group of Companies. DPWH is involved in infrastructure projects, one of them, construction of roads. What would prevent Mark Villar from ordering the construction of roads crisscrossing their properties and their subdivisions?

That already happened in the scandalous Daang Hari project and others where government paid for the construction of a long road which was used to enable potential buyers in accessing subdivisions built by the Villars. The appointment would definitely be extremely met with derision.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Monday, May 16, 2016

Duterte is doing great, so far

It seems that presumptive president Rodrigo "Rody" Duterte is doing the right thing...so far. He created a team to ensure a smooth transition and his pronouncements so far meet the people's expectations.

Duterte must be very careful of his appointments because the minute one of them does a corruption thing, every single thing which he built throughout these months would all be for naught. The People especially those who voted for him, have set a very high standard and their  expectations were put on a very high level. I fear a lynching mob if there is a reported corruption happening in his government.

Based on what the voters' behavior this election, there is a collective sigh, a collective expression of anger, if you may, on what's happening all around. The people are very much aware and are involved in state affairs. They keenly await what would be those changes which the good mayor now president boasted during the campaign.

If they see that Duterte is just a puppet, a proxy so to speak, of Big Business, especially miners, then his political capital would surely nose-dive and that would spell an end to this democracy. Duterte must be very careful because all eyes are on him.

Likewise, Duterte's political allies must form a very strong coalition of political forces to ensure that his legislative agenda would pass the 17th Congress. The thing is, these presumptive Speakers of the House, particularly Congressmen Karl Nograles and Bebot Alvarez pale in comparison with Speaker Belmonte or JDV. By the way, Bebot had been involved in a highly publicized scandal before at the DOTC and I don't think he can get away with it, especially this time when everyone seemed to have attached a very high expectation of those whom Duterte would appoint in certain positions.

Bebot probably does not have the political muscle to effect a coalition but Karl does. Remember that in previous Congresses, Karl's father is a former Speaker of the House. He can surely ask his father how to create a rainbow coalition of sorts that would assist the New President in legislating his agenda.

We, the People, and even all progressive forces in Philippine society must come together and help Duterte in forming a very strong government that is able to stand before Big Business and say, enough is enough. Lest we forget---Government is the People's weapon against unscrupulous members of Big Business who want nothing more than rob us of our precious monies.

These are the most immediate concerns of the People:

1. High prices of goods. Duterte must give the task to the DTI to review all retail prices of goods and ensure compliance of the law. If it is possible to make some essential goods cut their prices, especially infant milk formula, and other essentials, do it. The People would appreciate it.

2. High costs of electricity rates. Duterte must ABOLISH the mafia controlling PSALM. Members of this mafia should either be imprisoned or killed immediately.

3. Internet connection. Do we want to attract global companies in the Philippines? Then let's improve our telecommunications. We must stop these telecommunication companies from charging exorbitant fees from us in exchange for sloppy, very slow internet connection.

This is just three of a myriad of concerns, but if Duterte manages to work a miracle in just three of at least 12 major concerns, then, this will surely give us, the People, the confidence that we were not wrong in electing him as our leader.




Saturday, May 14, 2016

The Duterte Revolution---is this the one we are all been waiting for?

Thirty years ago, we were given a chance to get our things in order after a very tumultuous fourteen years under a dictatorship. Instead of treading a revolutionary path, what Cory Aquino and her horde of counter-elites decided were to re-create the pre-Martial law conditions in the hopes of bringing back the fortunes lost by her friends and economic allies. And for 30 years, we, the Filipino People, hinged our hopes in neo-liberal democracy, a democracy which instantaneously favors the already wealthy and those already given more economic opportunities prior to martial rule.

This crucial decision to "bring back the old glory days" had a significant impact on us for the past 30 years. In three decades, we saw the total dismantling of our industrial base, the sale of vital industries to private control, the encouragement of foreign investments, the proliferation of vice-related industries, the inequalities of justice, and the erosion of morals. Let's not go to technicals. Let's just base on our judgment to the way Filipinos view their lives under this neo-liberal democracy---a brutish, hellish life. EDSA promised us a new lease of life. Instead, we witnessed how we regained our civil liberties in exchange for the trampling of our economic rights.

Thousands more decided to go and live outside of the Philippines. The rest of us kept our patience. We grind our teeth every single day, trying to hide our contempt at the way government has  shortchanged us and how sub-standard public services are in this country.

The elites of this country think that we, the masses of the Filipino People, are masochists. That we are illiterate, that we can be easily satisfied with the things they give, and that we have no high standards at all. What they did not anticipate was the entry of the Internet in our lives. Suddenly, our minds were changed with the scenes of prosperity we saw in our little TV screens and PCs. We saw how prosperous our neighbors are; while we are left paying off the excesses of our leaders.

Since 1992, we, the people, tried to find the solution. We relied on a former general only to get disappointed with the way his administration still managed to rob us of our monies while lulling us to a belief of peace and progress.

In 1998, we tried to express our views of government by electing an actor into office. Since governance is a joke anyway, maybe an actor can be a good choice for president. After nearly three years, we realized our mistake and elected in his stead, a professor who came from an illustrious seed. For nine years, we were patient. What we saw during those nine straight years was all gloom and it nearly doomed us to a belief that change was just a mere lip-service among the ruling elites.

In 2010, the very son of the man who sacrificed his life for the restoration of democracy came into power. He rode on the crest of the change movement. For the first three years, people's hopes were very high, because this presidency exhibited the will to tread the right and righteous path. And then came the last three, which reversed whatever gains this government got in its first three.

And now this.

A mayor of a southern town rose from his bed and roused the masses from their stupor. He said the right things and expressed the things which were already in our hearts and minds since 1986.

He was full of promise and sometimes, of himself. And when election day came, everyone expected him to win. His victory was described as a collective expression of the people's desire for change.

Now, he stands to either make history or fuck the Nation to its knees. Whatever happens, we need to ensure his victory. Not one man can make a change---he can only inspire people to change themselves.

This is a victory to all those decent Filipinos who want nothing more than get what they deserve--a better government.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

What a Duterte presidency would look like

The Scenario of a Duterte presidency: a weak Chief Executive looms in the horizon
“ and why most of Duterte’s promises would not happen”

A Duterte presidency would not be as strong as what the Pnoy administration thinks it would be. The fact is—it would be the weakest presidency in the history of this Republic because the popular Mayor of Davao would be facing an “opposition-filled House and Supreme Court”—the two other branches of government that comprise this Republic. Without a synergistic relationship with these two branches of government, Duterte would be like a sitting duck. The minute Duterte loses his political charm, that would be the end of him. And history is replete with case studies of leaders who only last months politically because the leader depended only on the strength of his popularity, not on other variables of maintaining power.

That is why stable democracies do not elect leaders merely on the strength of popularity. The fact is—I do not even compare Duterte with Hitler. Duterte is a poor copy of the former German dictator.

Hitler rose to prominence not just because of his great oratorical skills---he was backed by an ideologically driven political party. That party was supported by eminent members of German society—highly esteemed members of both the civilian and military elite—that gave that party legitimacy.

In Duterte’s case, yes, he is popular because of his oratorical skills yet he does not have the backing of an ideologically driven political party. The minute Duterte loses his connexion with the masses, that would spell his demise as a political actor.

Now, on Duterte’s pronouncement that he would announce the closing of Congress if he would encounter great difficulty pursuing his legislative agenda, there is nothing in the present Constitution which empowers him to just unilaterally abolish Congress. That power was exactly the thing which the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution abolished when they created the present Charter.

Since the good Mayor happens to be a lawyer, Duterte probably meant the power as stated in Section 18 of Article 7. Unfortunately for the mayor, that section does not contemplate the grant of absolute power to the President—it does give the power to declare martial law or a state of emergency but subject to very strict checks by Congress and review by the Supreme Court. Hence, even if Duterte goes into a tantrum and threaten members of the House and the Supreme Court with death, his bravado would amount to nothing, and would even place him in a very delicate situation—that is impeachment.

Hence, this early, we expect a titanic battle between a strong-willed Chief Executive who would take an oath of faithfully executing the laws of the land (Section 17, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution) ranged against proxies of traditional oligarchs in the persons of people in both Houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. These three forces would use the law as their weapons to attack each other or use these laws as tools to pursue their own personal agenda. In all likelihood, expect no major or substantive change to happen within the first two years of a Duterte presidency because the three branches of this Republic would be “feeling each other out.”

A Strong Chief Executive cannot exercise complete power

The 1987 Constitution was created in such a way that power is evenly distributed in various state institutions such as the Chief Executive, the legislative, the judicial as well as constitutional commissions. There are sufficient provisions which bar one organ of power from exercising an excess of power. A strong President can be checkmated by the Supreme Court, as is a strong Chief Justice, admonished by a strong Speaker of the House or a Senate president.

Yes, the President holds the power of funds allocation yet this is checked by the House. If the House uses government funds not in conjunction with what the Charter says, then, the Supreme Court enters  the fray and exercises its power of judicial review. This very same process applies when a strong President exercises his appointive powers. Both Congress and the Supreme Court can use their powers to publicly dissuade a President from appointing such a person which could even reach a point of an actual confrontation, such as what happened between President Aquino and his appointees whose appointments were stalled by the appointment bodies of both Congress.

An Opposition-filled Congress and a Yellow Supreme Court

What backers of Duterte failed to see is that, in the end, they would find it extremely hard to effect the promises Duterte gave to the people during the elections. Duterte may yet win this election, but lose big in the end.

This early, Duterte stands to lose Congress as an ally because most of those running for Congress are members of the Liberal party. Will I mention the Supreme Court, a majority of the members owe their sinecures to President Aquino? Just look at how the Supreme Court decided in the Poe case and that would show you how “yellow” this Court is. Would be it easy for Duterte to just flick a switch and thereafter see the dissolution of this Court? You wish. That would never happen.

The judicial department is managed and is being controlled by big firms, most of which do not count Duterte as a client. “ The firm” which is composed of two factions, is highly influential in the judiciary because partners of this”firm” have used their influence over five administrations to appoint their own men into highly sensitive judicial posts. There are other law firms which compete with the “firm” in this arena, and they have the interests of their clients in their minds. Obviously, these legal carpet baggers would surely flex their muscles and oppose Duterte if this president begins to maneuver. There are sufficient laws to counter whatever changes Duterte wants to effect.

Duterte’s camp has put all their marbles in one basket that they failed to see that for their candidate to succeed as a president, he needs Congress to be on his side. The PDP-Laban has no solid numbers at both houses. The fact is—it is a minority political party. For Duterte’s presidency to last, Duterte has to have a strong backing in Congress.

At this juncture, it is too late. The Liberal party and other political parties in opposition to Duterte would surely fill up these seats in Congress—both the Lower and Upper houses. Of course, Duterte’s camp always show several politicians migrating from their traditional political parties to Duterte’s but this is an expected political phenomenon. Eventually, these people would shift back to their parties after the election. Some would probably stick it out with Duterte but if push comes to shove and the heat turns extremely hot or this public adoration for Duterte wanes due to frustration or, worse, unfulfilled promises sore Duterte’s relations with his constituency, these politicians would eventually abandon him.

This is the fault of Duterte in the first place---he did not build a party out of this people’s movement. For Duterte to succeed and for him to politically survive Manalacanan, he needs an ideologically driven party, a party that exists with one goal---effect real change in the government. What he has right now is a messy organization united behind his persona of which he derives strength only thru his popularity at this point. The minute Duterte loses his charm, that would eventually spell his political demise.

Even if Duterte emerges as a majority president, he cannot exercise his own personal will against what the present Constitution provides.

This early, expect a titanic battle of wits and resources between Duterte and civil society groups aided by big business interests. Big business interests here are controlled by traditional political families with substantial monies to effect a destabilizing environment. They can probably accept a momentary loss of income for at least three years while preparing the groundwork for Duterte’s impeachment.

Now, if Duterte expects to exercise proto-dictatorial powers upon the business community, that would eventually lead to an ouster scenario similar to what happened to former president Joseph Estrada.

For one, a President Duterte would use his appointing power to influence the conduct of members of the Legislative department. We all know that politics here is just a tool of pursuing Oligarchic influence.

On proclaiming a revolutionary government

If Duterte accepts and is sworn into office under the present Constitution, the good mayor would definitely find it extremely hard to declare a revolutionary government. For one, the Constitution does not have a provision for a declaration of a revolutionary government, even in the most difficult of situations such as lawless violence or the absence of law and order. Yes, there is a provision of a declaration of martial rule or a state of emergency but it is subject to a review by Congress and the Supreme Court.

How then can Duterte fulfill his promise of creating a revolutionary government? Sincerely, nothing in the Constitution states that.

In the event though that Duterte tenders his resignation as President, he cannot use it as a pretext for declaring or transforming the government from de jure to de facto. If Duterte resigns, then, the Constitution has sufficient succession plans in place. Duterte cannot just dictate the terms of his succession like how he envisions it in his mind right now. The Vice president replaces him should he resigns.

Two years of listless growth, uncertainty

The first test for Duterte would actually be when he exercises his power of appointment. With an opposition dominated Senate, his appointees would surely encounter rough sailing in their confirmation.  The second test would be the passage of the 2017 national budget. Again, with an opposition-filled House, Duterte would surely find it extremely hard for his proposed budget to pass the scrutiny of Congress. What would probably happen is the passage of a re-enacted national budget for the first year.

With a re-enacted budget, expect several big ticket items or projects to encounter delays in their implementation. Surely, Duterte’s backers in big business would entice him to give them several concessions, most of them, these big government items. And we all know what would happen if these business titans fail to get what they want---they shift political alliance as fast as how politicians do it. Duterte would not have any option but to delay implementation so as to frustrate these business backers. Or, he may opt to give them these concessions by which he stands a great risk of sacrificing his own political fate or capital with his constituency who expects much from him.

Of course, Duterte’s very first project of which he salivates much is his highly popular goal of anti-criminality. On the first few months, Duterte would create another presidential anti-criminality task force of which he expects to lead.  If Duterte unleashes and uses full state power against organized crime which includes those within the bureaucracy, expect a full destabilising situation because several business interests would surely be affected by this campaign. If Duterte expects to encounter just street smart alecks running these vice groups, he must be prepared to be shocked to his wits. These vice lords have the power to effect both street-level violence and national violence. They have their own backers in the bureaucracy, probably even as high up as those in the military, police and Executive and judicial departments. Killing them all would be extremely hard. These vice lords are expected to unite, and together create a force that would just destabilize a Duterte administration.

For one, Duterte would even find it extremely hard to reform the very executive department (the bureaucracy) of which he is expected to lead. The bureaucracy, as I described it, has become a humongous louse of a syndicate controlled by mini-gods who thinks only of their personal fiduciary interests rather than the interest of the nation.

Creating a National Unity Government

Duterte promises to bring back his old mentor, Jose Maria Sison into the country and create what he calls a “national democratic coalition government.” In all honesty, this is a good proposition. For one, if it succeeds, it may probably bring lasting peace in this fragmented nation.

However, we all know what this 40 plus year old insurgency have already created for this country—a highly pro-status quo military--majority of which are composed of staunch anti-communists. Bringing back Sison would actually be a highly emotional issue with soldiers of this Republic, much the same way as most opposed giving land to the Bangsamoros thru legal means.  The AFP would probably accept a conclusion of the insurgency through the negotiating table but giving plush or juicy posts to these insurgents would surely create antipathy and animosity among the troops.

Personally, I do not believe that it is entirely safe for Joma to come back at this time or even when Duterte wins. For one, there is simply no assurance even under a Duterte or a Poe administration that the Leftist ideologue would be given sufficient security. Even during the most liberal of administrations—that of Aquino and Arroyo—Joma Sison’s safety was never assured. The fact was, under Arroyo, several die-hard anti-Sison elements close to the former president even conspired to deploy assassination squads abroad just to liquidate Sison. How much more in a Duterte presidency where active elements of Norberto Gonzales, an anti-Joma and former National security adviser and promoter of the Filipino version of nationalist socialism here, expect to once more occupy sensitive government posts via Peter Lavina, Duterte’s propaganda man.

The only way a Sison can come back here is for Duterte to dominate the armed forces in an ideological manner and control the AFP and transform it into his own personal force. Basing on the present situation, this is entirely far fetched. There is no indication that Duterte is a raving ideologue of a person. Of course, Duterte has the charisma to rouse people to take action yet he does not have the skill to inspire and deepen the belief of the people to follow him wherever he wants to go because of his lack of ideological grounding.

Besides, how can you even control a fragmented military? As of this time, Duterte’s backers are former military men. There are probably some still in active service yet these people have oppositors also in the lower ranks who exercises real control and power over the troops. These lower ranked officers are the most staunch anti-Communists due to their experience fighting these insurgents in the field, especially those who saw their own comrades killed during encounters. Will they still follow the chain of command in the event of a Duterte presidency?

Instability for the next two years

This early, indications are rife that Davao city mayor Rody Duterte would win this elections. There are just three things that would bar his anointment as the People’s President: first, electoral fraud which would result to the proclamation of an unacceptable winner. Second, failure of elections due to widespread violence which would frustrate the electoral results and lead to a non-proclamation. And third, massive disfranchisement of voters who would mostly vote for him.

This early, it would seem that the public has been conditioned by Duterte forces that he would win. The truth is—both this administration and Duterte forces have used these surveys as tools for conditioning the minds of the people that there are only two contending forces with sufficient forces to win the elections. In reality, there is a legitimate third force---the political machinery of the Vice President—that expects a win in the ground war. Digressing a bit, it is only Binay that is the most acceptable winner of this highly-contested elections.

Of course, people would say that Grace Poe stands a big chance of winning after surveys show that she is the acceptable “second choice.” The thing is, for that to become a reality, Poe has to have what Binay has—a strong grassroots political machinery. Unfortunately for the vice president, he does not have what Poe has—popular trust. Yes, both Poe and Binay have high popularity ratings yet Poe’s numbers are better than Binay because he lost some of the trust of the voters. Clearly, the baseless accusations hurled by his political enemies have stuck to Binay like glue that he encountered great difficulty convincing his own core voters several of whom transferred to Duterte.

It very unlikely that Rody Duterte would be able to establish himself as a dictator once he wins this elections. For one, Duterte would not have the entire support of the incoming Congress. It is evident that support for Duterte comes from local government officials, not exactly from elected members of Congress. Second, Duterte would be facing a Supreme Court filled with pro-Pnoy justices and a faction of the previous Arroyo administration.

Thus, we are seeing an “isolated” Chief Executive at this early.

In all likelihood, the 17th Congress would be filled with pro-Pnoy legislators. Basing on the surveys, even the Senate would be populated by Yellowtards. Since Duterte does not have his own political party (remember that PDP-Laban is just his endorsing party), there is a strong possibility that majority of the senate would not be supportive of the incoming administration. The Liberal Party would still be the strongest opposition party in Congress, both in the Upper and Lower chambers.

Of course, some would say that the Senate would actually follow the “banner” of the winning presidential bet. It is possible that its members would “configure” just to allign with the Chief Executive. I don’t see that happening.

There would be a sizeable number of oppositors against Duterte.

Duterte faces not just a pack, but packs of hungry dogs

Duterte pictures the presidency as a “strong one.” In reality, it is not. While being president entitles you to powers which is otherwise not enjoyed by a Chief Justice or a Senate president, these powers are subject to checks and balances under the present Charter. For a president to get what he wants, he needs to maneuver in a political manner. Duterte needs to wade in the political pond.

Duterte wants to picture himself wading in the political waters with the masses in his back. The reality is, Duterte would actually do that alone. Of course, his experience as a city mayor would probably be of help especially in the “wheeling and dealing”. What would Duterte face after winning the presidency is beyond him. Being president is a daunting task, a delicate balancing act.

For sure, Duterte faces a pack of hungry dogs. At the start, Duterte needs to satiate those hungry packs of dogs from his own group. If you look at his backers, these people are hungry for political vendetta, mostly people who were relegated at the sidelines during the Aquino administration.  They have invested not just time but their monies and their financial backers’ monies for Duterte. They would seek political concessions, mostly concessions that would allow them to recover their financial investments.

First off, Duterte’s big financial backers from the business sector would ask his blessing to take part in government projects. Some would probably ask him to turn a blind eye or loosen the regulatory environment a little bit to accommodate the business interests of his financiers. Obviously, these concesssions would impact on the economy, and eventually affect the very constituency of Duterte which he gave much hope behind his.

The second pack of hungry dogs Duterte would face would be those outside of his close circle but compromised their political stance in exchange for electoral support. These are the political turncoats who would expect their close associates to be given positions in government under Duterte.  Duterte would need to balance the interests of his close supporters with those of these big time political turncoats. At this juncture, Duterte would probably lose some supporters in exchange for giving in to demands of these political turncoats. These spurned supporters would form their group to assail him.

The third pack is Duterte’s affiliated political groups---those who are not within his close circle but made political alignments with him just for him to win. These groups have their individual agendum, most would probably clash with what Duterte promised to the people, that is a clean government.

The fourth pack of dogs Duterte stands to face is his political enemies who would now work to shorten his political life. These would comprise all groups which he alienated due to his political insensitivities and worse, his crassness. This pack would be his most serious political nemesis because most of these groups are driven not by business interests but by ideology. When Duterte’s political honeymoon with the electorate fades beginning on May 9, the good mayor would now face the political realities more daunting than the threat and violence of those vice groups which once dominated his Davao.

What would save Duterte from his own self

Allow things to deteriorate. When the country reaches its tipping point, use the Office of the President as a rallying point for a true revolution. That revolution would be the tool for changing the Constitution. It is only thru Constitutional change that would allow Duterte to fulfill what he promised during the elections and what the people expect him to do. Will I see Duterte hanged by the very people who elected him? Of course, this would never happen under our “democratic” society. But of course, there is always a first time, and that is if things boil to such a point that Duterte loses control and the people turn into a lynching mob. History is replete with such stories.



The Scenario of a Duterte presidency

The Scenario of a Duterte presidency: a weak Chief Executive looms in the horizon
“ and why most of Duterte’s promises would not happen”

A Duterte presidency would not be as strong as what the Pnoy administration thinks it would be. The fact is—it would be the weakest presidency in the history of this Republic, because the popular Mayor of Davao would be facing an “opposition-filled House and Supreme Court”—the two other branches of government that comprise this Republic. Without a synergistic relationship with these two branches of government, Duterte would be like a sitting duck. The minute Duterte loses his political charm, that would be the end of him. And history is replete with case studies of leaders who only last months politically because the leader depended only on the strength of his popularity, not on other variables of maintaining power.

That is why stable democracies do not elect leaders merely on the strength of popularity. The fact is—I do not even compare Duterte with Hitler. Duterte is a poor copy of the former German dictator.

Hitler rose to prominence not just because of his great oratorial skills---he was backed by an ideologically driven political party. That party was supported by eminent members of German society—highly esteemed members of both the civilian and military elite—that gave that party legitimacy.

In Duterte’s case, yes, he is popular because of his oratorial skills yet he does not have the backing of an ideologically driven political party. The minute Duterte loses his connexion with the masses, that would spell his demise as a political actor.

Now, on Duterte’s pronouncement that he would announce the closing of Congress if he would encounter great difficulty pursuing his legislative agenda, there is nothing in the present Constitution which empowers him to just unilaterally abolish Congress. That power was exactly the thing which the framers of the 1987 Philippine Constitution abolished when they created the present Charter.

Since the good Mayor happens to be a lawyer, Duterte probably meant the power as stated in Section 18 of Article 7. Unfortunately for the mayor, that section does not contemplate the grant of absolute power to the President—it does give the power to declare martial law or a state of emergency but subject to very strict checks by Congress and review by the Supreme Court. Hence, even if Duterte goes into a tantrum and threaten members of the House and the Supreme Court with death, his bravado would amount to nothing, and would even place him in a very delicate situation—that is impeachment.

Hence, this early, expect a titanic battle between a strong willed Chief Executive who would take an oath of faithfully executing the laws of the land (Section 17, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution) ranged against proxies of traditional oligarchs in the persons of people in both Houses of Congress and the Supreme Court. These three forces would use the law as their weapons to attack each other or use these laws as tools to pursue their own personal agenda. In all likelihood, expect no major or substantive change to happen within the first two years of a Duterte presidency because the three branches of this Republic would be “feeling each other out.”

A Strong Chief Executive cannot exercise complete power

The 1987 Constitution was created in such a way that power is evenly distributed in various state institutions such as the Chief Executive, the legislative, the judicial as well as constitutional commissions. There are sufficient provisions which bars one organ of power from exercising an excess of power. A strong President can be checkmated by the Supreme Court, as is a strong Chief Justice, admonished by a strong Speaker of the House or a Senate president.

Yes, the President holds the power of funds allocation yet this is checked by the House. If the House uses government funds not in conjunction with what the Charter says, then, the Supreme Court enters into the fray, and exercises its power of judicial review. This very same process applies when a strong President exercises his appointive powers. Both Congress and the Supreme Court can use their powers to publicly dissuade a President from appointing such a person which could even reach a point of an actual confrontation, such as what happened between President Aquino and his appointees whose appointments were stalled by the appointment bodies of both Congress.

An Opposition-filled Congress and a Yellow Supreme Court

What backers of Duterte failed to see is that, in the end game, they would find it extremely hard to effect the promises Duterte gave to the people during the elections. Duterte may yet win this elections, but lose big in the end.

This early, Duterte stands to lose Congress as an ally because most of those running for Congress are members of the Liberal party. Will I mention the Supreme Court, majority of the members owe their sinecures to President Aquino? Just look at how the Supreme Court decided in the Poe case and that would show you how “yellow” this Court is. Would be it easy for Duterte to just flick a switch and thereafter see the dissolution of this Court? You wish. That would never happen.

The judicial department is managed and is being controlled by big firms, most of which do not count Duterte as a client. “ The firm” which is composed of two factions, is highly influential in the judiciary because partners of this”firm” have used their influence over five administrations to appoint their own men into highly sensitive judicial posts. There are other law firms which compete with the “firm” in this arena, and they have the interests of their clients in their minds. Obviously, these legal carpet baggers would surely flex their muscles and oppose Duterte if this president begins to maneuver. There are sufficient laws to counter whatever changes Duterte wants to effect.

Duterte’s camp has put all their marbles in one basket that they failed to see that for their candidate to succeed as a president, he needs Congress to be on his side. The PDP-Laban has no solid numbers at both houses. The fact is—it is a minority political party. For Duterte’s presidency to last, Duterte has to have a strong backing in Congress.

At this juncture, it is too late. The Liberal party and other political parties in opposition to Duterte would surely fill up these seats in Congress—both the Lower and Upper houses. Of course, Duterte’s camp always show several politicians migrating from their traditional political parties to Duterte’s but this is an expected political phenomenon. Eventually, these people would shift back to their parties after the election. Some would probably stick it out with Duterte but if push comes to shove and the heat turns extremely hot or this public adoration for Duterte wanes due to frustration or, worse, unfulfilled promises sore Duterte’s relations with his constituency, these politicians would eventually abandon him.

This is the fault of Duterte in the first place---he did not build a party out of this people’s movement. For Duterte to succeed and for him to politically survive Manalacanan, he needs an ideologically driven party, a party that exists with one goal---effect real change in the government. What he has right now is a messy organisation united behind his persona of which he derives strength only thru his popularity at this point. The minute Duterte loses his charm, that would eventually spell his political demise.

Even if Duterte emerges as a majority president, he cannot exercise his own personal will against what the present Constitution provides.

This early, expect a titanic battle of wits and resources between Duterte and civil society groups aided by big business interests. Big business interests here are controlled by traditional political families with substantial monies to effect a destabilizing environment. They can probably accept a momentary loss of income for at least three years while preparing the ground work for Duterte’s impeachment.

Now, if Duterte expects to exercise proto-dictatorial powers upon the business community, that would eventually lead to an ouster scenario similar with what happened to former president Joseph Estrada.

For one, a President Duterte would using his appointing power to influence the conduct of members of the Legislative department. We all know that politics here is just a tool of pursuing Oligarchic influence.

On proclaiming a revolutionary government

If Duterte accepts and is sworn into office under the present Constitution, the good mayor would definitely find it extremely hard to declare a revolutionary government. For one, the Constitution does not have a provision for a declaration of a revolutionary government, even in the most dire of situations such as lawless violence or the absence of law and order. Yes, there is a provision of a declaration of martial rule or a state of emergency but it is subject to a review by Congress and the Supreme Court.

How then can Duterte fulfill his promise of creating a revolutionary government? Sincerely, nothing in the Constitution states that.

In the event though that Duterte tenders his resignation as President, he cannot use it as a pretext for declaring or transforming the government from de jure to de facto. If Duterte resigns, then, the Constitution has sufficient succession plans in place. Duterte cannot just dictate the terms of his succession like how he envisions it in his mind right now. The Vice president replaces him should he resigns.

Two years of listless growth, uncertainty

The first test for Duterte would actually be when he exercises his power of appointment. With an opposition dominated Senate, his appointees would surely encounter rough sailing in their confirmation.  The second test would be the passage of the 2017 national budget. Again, with an opposition-filled House, Duterte would surely find it extremely hard for his proposed budget to pass the scrutiny of Congress. What would probably happen is the passage of a re-enacted national budget for the first year.

With a re-enacted budget, expect several big ticket items or projects to encounter delays in their implementation. Surely, Duterte’s backers in big business would entice him to give them several concessions, most of them, these big government items. And we all know what would happen if these business titans fail to get what they want---they shift political alliance as fast as how politicians do it. Duterte would not have any option but to delay implementation so as to frustrate these business backers. Or, he may opt to give them these concessions by which he stands a great risk of sacrificing his own political fate or capital with his constituency who expects much from him.

Of course, Duterte’s very first project of which he salivates much is his highly popular goal of anti-criminality. On the first few months, Duterte would create another presidential anti-criminality task force of which he expects to lead.  If Duterte unleashes and uses full state power against organized crime which includes those within the bureaucracy, expect a full destabilising situation because several business interests would surely be affected by this campaign. If Duterte expects to encounter just street smart alecks running these vice groups, he must be prepared to be shocked to his wits. These vice lords have the power to effect both street-level violence and national violence. They have their own backers in the bureaucracy, probably even as high up as those in the military, police and Executive and judicial departments. Killing them all would be extremely hard. These vice lords are expected to unite, and together create a force that would just destabilize a Duterte administration.

For one, Duterte would even find it extremely hard to reform the very executive department (the bureaucracy) of which he is expected to lead. The bureaucracy, as I described it, has become a humongous louse of a syndicate controlled by mini-gods who thinks only of their personal fiduciary interests rather than the interest of the nation.

Creating a National Unity Government

Duterte promises to bring back his old mentor, Jose Maria Sison into the country and create what he calls a “national democratic coalition government.” In all honesty, this is a good proposition. For one, if it succeeds, it may probably bring lasting peace in this fragmented nation.

However, we all know what this 40 plus year old insurgency have already created for this country—a highly pro-status quo military--majority of which are composed of staunch anti-communists. Bringing back Sison would actually be a highly emotional issue with soldiers of this Republic, much the same way as most opposed giving land to the Bangsamoros thru legal means.  The AFP would probably accept a conclusion of the insurgency through the negotiating table but giving plush or juicy posts to these insurgents would surely create antipathy and animosity among the troops.

Personally, I do not believe that it is entirely safe for Joma to come back at this time or even when Duterte wins. For one, there is simply no assurance even under a Duterte or a Poe administration that the Leftist ideologue would be given sufficient security. Even during the most liberal of administrations—that of Aquino and Arroyo—Joma Sison’s safety was never assured. The fact was, under Arroyo, several die-hard anti-Sison elements close to the former president even conspired to deploy assassination squads abroad just to liquidate Sison. How much more in a Duterte presidency where active elements of Norberto Gonzales, an anti-Joma and former National security adviser and promoter of the Filipino version of nationalist socialism here, expect to once more occupy sensitive government posts via Peter Lavina, Duterte’s propaganda man.

The only way a Sison can come back here is for Duterte to dominate the armed forces in an ideological manner and control the AFP and transform it into his own personal force. Basing on the present situation, this is entirely far fetched. There is no indication that Duterte is a raving ideologue of a person. Of course, Duterte has the charisma to rouse people to take action yet he does not have the skill to inspire and deepen the belief of the people to follow him wherever he wants to go because of his lack of ideological grounding.

Besides, how can you even control a fragmented military? As of this time, Duterte’s backers are former military men. There are probably some still in active service yet these people have oppositors also in the lower ranks who exercises real control and power over the troops. These lower ranked officers are the most staunch anti-Communists due to their experience fighting these insurgents in the field, especially those who saw their own comrades killed during encounters. Will they still follow the chain of command in the event of a Duterte presidency?

Instability for the next two years

This early, indications are rife that Davao city mayor Rody Duterte would win this elections. There are just three things that would bar his anointment as the People’s President: first, electoral fraud which would result to the proclamation of an unacceptable winner. Second, failure of elections due to widespread violence which would frustrate the electoral results and lead to a non-proclamation. And third, massive disfranchisement of voters who would mostly vote for him.

This early, it would seem that the public has been conditioned by Duterte forces that he would win. The truth is—both this administration and Duterte forces have used these surveys as tools for conditioning the minds of the people that there are only two contending forces with sufficient forces to win the elections. In reality, there is a legitimate third force---the political machinery of the Vice President—that expects a win in the ground war. Digressing a bit, it is only Binay that is the most acceptable winner of this highly-contested elections.

Of course, people would say that Grace Poe stands a big chance of winning after surveys show that she is the acceptable “second choice.” The thing is, for that to become a reality, Poe has to have what Binay has—a strong grassroots political machinery. Unfortunately for the vice president, he does not have what Poe has—popular trust. Yes, both Poe and Binay have high popularity ratings yet Poe’s numbers are better than Binay because he lost some of the trust of the voters. Clearly, the baseless accusations hurled by his political enemies have stuck to Binay like glue that he encountered great difficulty convincing his own core voters several of whom transferred to Duterte.

It very unlikely that Rody Duterte would be able to establish himself as a dictator once he wins this elections. For one, Duterte would not have the entire support of the incoming Congress. It is evident that support for Duterte comes from local government officials, not exactly from elected members of Congress. Second, Duterte would be facing a Supreme Court filled with pro-Pnoy justices and a faction of the previous Arroyo administration.

Thus, we are seeing an “isolated” Chief Executive at this early.

In all likelihood, the 17th Congress would be filled with pro-Pnoy legislators. Basing on the surveys, even the Senate would be populated by Yellowtards. Since Duterte does not have his own political party (remember that PDP-Laban is just his endorsing party), there is a strong possibility that majority of the senate would not be supportive of the incoming administration. The Liberal Party would still be the strongest opposition party in Congress, both in the Upper and Lower chambers.

Of course, some would say that the Senate would actually follow the “banner” of the winning presidential bet. It is possible that its members would “configure” just to allign with the Chief Executive. I don’t see that happening.

There would be a sizeable number of oppositors against Duterte.

Duterte faces not just a pack, but packs of hungry dogs

Duterte pictures the presidency as a “strong one.” In reality, it is not. While being president entitles you to powers which is otherwise not enjoyed by a Chief Justice or a Senate president, these powers are subject to checks and balances under the present Charter. For a president to get what he wants, he needs to maneuver in a political manner. Duterte needs to wade in the political pond.

Duterte wants to picture himself wading in the political waters with the masses in his back. The reality is, Duterte would actually do that alone. Of course, his experience as a city mayor would probably be of help especially in the “wheeling and dealing”. What would Duterte face after winning the presidency is beyond him. Being president is a daunting task, a delicate balancing act.

For sure, Duterte faces a pack of hungry dogs. At the start, Duterte needs to satiate those hungry packs of dogs from his own group. If you look at his backers, these people are hungry for political vendetta, mostly people who were relegated at the sidelines during the Aquino administration.  They have invested not just time but their monies and their financial backers’ monies for Duterte. They would seek political concessions, mostly concessions that would allow them to recover their financial investments.

First off, Duterte’s big financial backers from the business sector would ask his blessing to take part in government projects. Some would probably ask him to turn a blind eye or loosen the regulatory environment a little bit to accommodate the business interests of his financiers. Obviously, these concesssions would impact on the economy, and eventually affect the very constituency of Duterte which he gave much hope behind his.

The second pack of hungry dogs Duterte would face would be those outside of his close circle but compromised their political stance in exchange for electoral support. These are the political turncoats who would expect their close associates to be given positions in government under Duterte.  Duterte would need to balance the interests of his close supporters with those of these big time political turncoats. At this juncture, Duterte would probably lose some supporters in exchange for giving in to demands of these political turncoats. These spurned supporters would form their group to assail him.

The third pack is Duterte’s affiliate political groups---those who are not within his close circle but made political allignments with him just for him to win. These groups have their individual agendum, most would probably clash with what Duterte promised to the people, that is a clean government.

The fourth pack of dogs Duterte stands to face is his political enemies who would now work to shorten his political life. These would comprise all groups which he alienated due to his political insensitivities and worse, his crass-ness. This pack would be his most serious political nemesis because most of these groups are driven not by business interests but by ideology. When Duterte’s political honeymoon with the electorate fades beginning on May 9, the good mayor would now face the political realities more daunting than the threat and violence of those vice groups which once dominated his Davao.

What would save Duterte from his own self

Allow things to deteriorate. When the country reaches its tipping point, use the Office of the President as a rallying point for a true revolution. That revolution would be the tool for changing the Constitution. It is only thru Constitutional change that would allow Duterte to fulfill what he promised during the elections and what the people expect him to do. Will I see Duterte hanged by the very people who elected him? Of course, this would never happen under our “democratic” society. But of course, there is always a first time, and that is, if things boil to such a point that Duterte loses control and the people turn into a lynching mob. History is replete with such stories.