Too much freedom

    June 12. Araw ng Kalayaan. This could mean a lot of things among Filipinos. For the private sector workers and laborers, it means double pay since it is a regular holiday. As for the government employees, it means “no work with pay.” And since it fell on a Friday, all government workers enjoyed the long weekend.

    As for the Congress, especially for the House of Representatives, the commemoration of our 111th Independence Day could mean more freedom to move the Constitution Assembly (ConAss) even at the expense of the people’s ire.

    While the whole nation raises its voice against the proposed Charter Change through ConAss, the House insists that by virtue of their constituent power under Article XVII, Section 1 of the Philippine Constitution, they can propose amendments to the charter “upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members.”

    The House further argued that while the prescribed method of enacting constitutional change in the 1935, 1973, and 1987 Constitutions are different from the method of enacting ordinary legislation, there is a very distinct and notable difference between the 1935 and the 1987 Constitution, which respectively provides as follows:

    The 1935 Constitution:

     “The Congress in joint session assembled, by a vote of three-fourths of all Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately may propose amendments to this Constitution or a call a convention for that purpose.”

    The 1987 Constitution:

    “Any amendment to, or revision of, this Constitution may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A constitutional convention.”

    They are now insisting that the House and the Senate need not vote separately based on the 1987 Constitution and should the votes of the whole Congress be counted as one, all they have to do is to get three-fourths. And since the House representatives have larger number than the Senate, of course they could get the needed number.

    Kawawang Juan dela Cruz. Ang kalayaang ipinagmamalaki sa buong mundo ngayo’y ginagamit upang kitilin ang sarili nitong buhay. Nang dahil sa kasakiman ng iilang mapagsamantalang kaluluwa, ang kapakanan ng inang bayan ay naisasantabi.

     If we seriously think of it, our government has provided too much freedom to all the government institutions to do just what they want. We have too many laws protecting them and giving them enough room to manipulate the bureaucracy.

    And as we reflect after 111 years of supposed freedom, we ask ourselves what has the Philippines achieve so far? The freedom is just an illusion. Too much of it makes us less independent because we are slaves of our own leaders. We pamper their individual desires and interests by electing them into office despite the empty promises. We sustain their greed by allowing them to do telenovelas and zarzuelas at the Congress. Yesterday they were investigating Garci and the NBN-ZTE deal, the next day they are all ears to sexy star Katrina Halili.

    A nation ruled by grandstanders and people reeking of political gimmickry, that is what we have. So we ask what independence are we celebrating for? Until now, the Arroyo government is still beholden to Uncle Sam in the guise of international relations and anti-terrorism. But don’t forget Nicole. Who negotiated for her immigration to the United State? Ate Glo, nagtatanong lang po. Parang telenovela talaga.

    But in all of our telenovelas, who are the villains and who are the heroes? Look around and see who gets the highest and most prestigious posts.


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