The insidious and the blind
Glimpses

The insidious and the blind

/ 12:30 AM March 01, 2024

I have been wanting to move towards more essential and relevant concerns, especially those affecting the daily needs of most Filipinos like food and productivity, jobs and wages, homes and communities. Instead, our leaders in both houses of Congress are fixated on Constitutional change. What am I to conclude? Are our lawmakers mindless, narrow-minded, or, in the case of some, really that insidious?

Why are so many members of Congress unable to set their priorities according to the realities of daily living in the Philippines? When has it ever been proven that protective economic provisions of the Constitutions are restrictive enough to have caused the corruption and poverty in our society and nation? Or is it to precisely divert the accountability for corruption and poverty away from the most responsible, which is governance, to the innocent, which is the Constitution?

Can the lawmakers of our land please explain to the people they are sworn to serve that the corruption crippling the potential and mandate for good governance, and perpetuating the poverty of the Filipino, can be corrected by amending economic provisions in order to allow more foreign participation in our businesses?

Why is it that we cannot get our leaders in government to accept the simple fact that bad governance in the specific area of corruption is the cancer eating away at our national soul and polluting the noble culture of the Filipino people?

Why are we treating cancer with cosmetic surgery? Or why is Congress in denial that it is the cancer of corruption that is the most life-threatening disease of the nation and the government, including Congress, is what we must first confront and correct?

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Instead, why is the attention being moved away from corruption and immediate government reform? Why not identify which provisions of the Constitution are being sidelined or wantonly violated without consequence? Surely, the Constitution would have in its heart of hearts a strong set of provisions to ensure good and effective governance, and to demand the application of values and ethics sacrosanct to the nobility of Filipino culture and traditions.

If the itch for charter change cannot resist being scratched, then let us open the discussion for Cha Cha wide open. Why keep it in the chambers of the House of Representatives and the Senate? Why not have a national conversation about it and get the Filipino people to participate in it actively?   

The national conversation can begin with a massive attempt to summarize the key elements of the Constitutions, translate them to the major local languages, format them for dissemination in all DepEd and CHED institutions, and most especially, in modalities for barangay communities.  

So many surveys and simple common sense in the streets have affirmed that most Filipinos either know nothing or very little about the Constitution after almost 40 years. As such,  there can be no intelligent conversation, discussion, and debate about it until a massive informational drive is done by both government and civil society. Even more, there can be no informed choice by the majority of the Filipino people in any ensuing plebiscite about specific constitution change.

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Unless it is the deliberate intent of our national leaders to keep most Filipinos in either ignorance or confusion from their non-understanding of the Constitution.

It is hard for me to imagine that our national leaders, led by the Legislative Branch of government, do not know the level of low or no understanding by the majority of Filipinos on the present Constitution that they are interested in amending. When I watch mainstream media or monitor social media platforms, many lawmakers themselves do not sound as though they know enough of the Constitution.

This is the reason why I say that some of those pushing for charter change can be insidious. For the review of those who hear the word, “insidious” most often means 1. Stealthy, cunning, or treacherous, or 2. Working in a subtle or apparently innocuous way, but nevertheless deadly.

There is little that we can do about leaders who are insidious. They do so deliberately, and they are driven with objectives that they cannot admit publicly, yet reek like foul air that cannot be seen, only smelled.

But we can appeal to those who are only being fooled, even if they are legislators themselves. They only need to ask themselves if they believe that the majority of the Filipino people know or understand enough about the 1987 Constitution in order to stay informed about the process of change of every affected provision. More importantly, to ask themselves if most of the Filipino people can make an informed choice during plebiscite time.

If in their hearts, they know that most Filipinos are not capacitated with enough knowledge and understanding about the present Constitution, then to proceed as though the people know is to actively join in a terrible act of deception.

I make a special appeal to the so-called experts of the Constitution, many of them having served in lofty positions of influence for decades. I know they are the experts, but I wish to appeal to the special expertise of patriotism and nationalism. They know that the Constitution is more than the set of laws they know so intimately. They know the Constitution is the heart of a people’s value system, the promoter and protector of the nobility and character of both tradition and aspiration. The legal framework they build around it is simply to affirm in formal language the spirit of the Constitution.

To the experts of the Constitution, please defend the heart, spirit and purpose of its very existence. Please do not become unwitting tools for an effort to deflect accountability for the poverty and corruption of our nation. Because when you speak, your presence and willing participation can very well legitimize a horrible attempt to lay the blame away from perpetrators to an innocent Constitution.  

Though wiith a heavy heart, I remain stubbornly hopeful, nonetheless. 

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TAGS: charter change, Congress, daily needs, opinion

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