The plot to force a constituent assembly (Con-ass) to change the Constitution and shift to a is no idle talk. The facts speak for themselves.
If you were President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and your term is coming to an end, and you know that when you are out of power, a deluge of cases will be filed against you, what would you do? You can no longer run for reelection; the administration will almost surely lose; strong candidates do not want you to endorse them because, unpopular as you are, your endorsement would be a “kiss of death” to the candidate; so not only would you have no protector in the next administration but the chances are the next president would come from the opposition who has already publicly said that if he succeeds to the presidency, he would prosecute you. In fact, these presidential aspirants who announced their intention to prosecute include the lone administration presidential hopeful, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro.
Given this situation, what would you do if you were Ms Arroyo? You would try to hang on to power, ’di ba? It’s the desperate thing to do, apart of course from emigrating to a country that has no extradition treaty with the Philippines, like Portugal.
But how do you hang on to power when you can no longer run for reelection as president? Run for another public office, such as for representative of Pampanga province where she will win hands down. And if we have amended the Constitution and shifted to a parliamentary system, she can run for member of Congress. which she can also win. And even if the push for a parliamentary system does not succeed, she would still be immune from arrest as a
But how do you amend the Charter when the Senate and almost the whole nation is against it? Let the House of Representatives do it through a Con-ass without the senators. Congressmen are more malleable than senators.
Is that allowed by the Constitution? The Supreme Court might allow it. If the House succeeds in convening a Con-ass, the Senate would surely question it before the Court. But by the time the Court needs to come to a decision, Ms Arroyo would have appointed all the sitting justices. Even assuming that not all of them would rule against the Senate, doesn’t that increase the chances of having a majority vote in her favor?
And even if the Court does not vote according to her expectations (or persuasions), it is still worth a try. The repercussions of not trying is too horrible to contemplate.
But is there still time to change the Constitution? Time is running out.
You will be surprised what bulging shopping bags can do to congressmen. They will stay until morning at the session hall to pass a Con-ass resolution if they know there are pots of gold waiting for them at the end of the rainbow.
And if, in spite of all the plotting and manipulations, she still fails, then she can shift to Plan B: flee to another country.
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