POSTSCRIPT / August 17, 2014 / Sunday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Opinion Columnist

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Con-Ass may moot Charter violations

MORE OF THE SAME: We are astonished by the audacity of President Noynoy Aquino in announcing that he is now open to amending the Constitution to allow himself a follow-up term and to limit the power of review of the Supreme Court that is getting in the way.

His self-serving idea of a second term confirms what many have long suspected – that Noynoy Aquino, an accidental president, may have thought in 2010 that he was being recruited for on-the-job training in Malacañang.

He has used up four years improvising from one crisis to another, and is coasting along on the remaining two years of his term. Now he wants us to sit back while he delivers more of the same desultory performance for another half-dozen years.

To ensure the collaboration of his allies in the Congress, there is hint of the lifting of their own term limits also. This can be done by jointly convening the Senate and the House as a Constituent Assembly (Con-Ass) to propose the desired amendments.

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GETTING BACK AT S.C.: But maybe we should thank President Aquino for being at least transparent and allowing us another insight into how he thinks and acts.

He has been slapped down by the Supreme Court on some of his major initiatives, including the Truth Commission, the Priority Development Assistance Fund, the Disbursement Acceleration Program, and the Reproductive Health law.

What sweeter revenge could he exact than watering down by constitutional amendment the powers of the Supreme Court, now headed ironically by his own appointee, and crippling the tribunal enough so it cannot check the whims and excesses of the Executive?

This interpretation of his having a vengeful motive is not speculative. The President himself said so by way of explaining why he wants the Court’s powers curtailed.

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ESCAPE ROUTE: Aside from confirming the resentful turn of the President’s handling of those who cross him, there is an interesting legal angle to his move to rewrite the Constitution.

If opened up, the Charter could be substantially amended to create an escape route from the serious consequences, including possible impeachment, of Aquino’s repeated willful violations of the 1987 Constitution.

In rewriting the Constitution, his operators in the Congress could dilute or delete the provisions he allegedly had violated. By amending these provisions, the impeachment and criminal cases that some of his critics are planning to file could suddenly lose legal basis.

Simplified, the logic appears to run this way: 1. Aquino violated the Constitution. 2. So, delete or amend the constitutional provisions violated. 3. Voila! No more cases against Aquino!

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RETURNING TANDEM?: Intended or not, by pushing himself as his own successor, Aquino confirmed what everybody has already noticed: that DILG Secretary Mar Roxas is not a viable Liberal Party candidate for president for 2016.

Trying to soften the insult to the Balay bet, some LP leaders pretended to accept the sudden realization that Aquino was still their best candidate. Roxas had to play along too, saying in so many words that he was amenable to an Aquino-Roxas tandem in 2016.

That would be fun watching — if LP operators are able to swing the Con-Ass plot to give Aquino another run for the presidency by amending the Constitution and thereby saving the face of sure loser Roxas.

Imagine a modified return bout of an Aquino-Roxas team versus, this time, an opposition pairing of Vice President Jojo Binay for president with a non-politician Businessman as his running mate!

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PRO MANAGER: Our mention of a non-politician businessman as Binay’s running mate is deliberate. We have long wanted to open a window to a fresh view of the mess we are in.

Having seen how hardened politicos (we nearly said “criminals”) mismanage this country teeming with human and natural resources, many of us have concluded that what we urgently need is a Good Manager, not crooked politicians.

We should be able to convince more of our competent and patriotic professionals to step forward and help save this country being robbed blind by politicians and mismanaged by amateurs.

If he succeeds in his quest for the presidency, Binay – or any Chief Executive for that matter — would be able to run this country better by having a highly qualified professional manager beside him as executive vice president.

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NAPOLES MIRACLE: The lawyer of Pork Barrel “queen” Janet Lim Napoles could be cited for perjury if he repeats under oath his statement that his client prays 2,000 Hail Mary’s every day while detained at the Taguig City jail.

But if lawyer Stephen David is telling the truth as reported, the authorities better be careful about Napoles wielding a truly miraculous rosary personally given to her in 1995 by the late pope, now saint!, John Paul II.

The miracle is that Napoles’ praying 2,000 Hail Mary’s non-stop every day using rosary beads means reciting one Hail Mary every 43 seconds(!) with her doing nothing else for 24 hours – no eating, sleeping, going to the toilet, donning a bullet-proof vest, talking to her lawyer, counting her billions, et cetera.

There are 86,400 seconds ticking in a day (multiply 60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours). Divide those 86,400 seconds by 2,000 Hail Mary’s and you get one Hail Mary prayed per 43.2 seconds. Try performing that miracle every day, pañero!

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 17, 2014)

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