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China Owns the Entire South China Sea? What are They Smoking—Opium?

any Filipinos today are realizing that the single, six-yearPresident Benigno Aquino III presidential term as prescribed in the 1987 Constitution is woefully inadequate for a good president like Benigno S. Aquino III. The delegates who wrote that provision in the Constitution must have still been reeling from the almost 20 years of “kleptocratic” rule of strongman Ferdinand Marcos when they decided that one term was enough for any future Philippine president. Four years—the presidential term at the time—would be too short; eight too long. So the delegates must have all arrived at the happy medium of 6 years and that was that.

Six years was just about right for Cory Aquino who in hindsight didn’t do much as president. Fidel Ramos could have accomplished more if he had a longer term—but he couldn’t “rock the boat” so soon after the Constitution was promulgated. For Erap Estrada, six years was certainly too long so he got booted out of office in two. Gloria Arroyo lasted a total of 9 years as president by hoodwinking the public into thinking she was working for them, but in reality her husband and her were working only for themselves.

So now we have a president who appears to be doing all the right things but his 6-year term ends in 2 years. Looking to replace him is Jejomar Binay who for all intents and purposes seems to be a typical Filipino politician intent on establishing a political dynasty just like most corrupt Filipino politicians try to do.

Aquino has so far brought about a lot of changes, but given the entrenched corruption inherent in the population, change is happening at a very slow pace. Much of what has been started by Aquino will remain unfinished when his term ends in two years.

The question many now ask is: should the flawed constitution the Philippines has be amended to give Aquino a few more years so he can finish what he started? DILG Secretary and presidential aspirant Mar Roxas believes it is the right thing to do. Roxas even is willing to put his presidential ambitions on hold to give Aquino a few more years in office.

The Ampatuan Massacre case, the indictment against Gloria Arroyo, the plunder cases against Senators Enrile, Revilla, and Estrada—for starters—are all still pending. Will a Binay administration (should he win the election) be as determined to see these cases through to their conclusion?

For many, amending the poorly thought-out sections of the 1987 “Cory Aquino” Constitution makes more and more sense as the 2016 election year draws near. The fear that all the hard-won changes of the past four years will be lost should a traditional Filipino politician (trapo) win the presidency.

And if the Constitution is amended and a Philippine president can once again be elected to two terms, how long should those terms be? Do we go back to the 4-year term we used to have? We’d like to hear all you have to say on this topic. Published 08/23/2014


RECENT EDITORIALS

Lee Kuan Yew and Ferdinand Marcos, What a Difference!

An Australian living in the Philippines published a book titled: “The Unlucky Country. The Republic of the Philippines in the 21st Century.” The author Duncan McKenzie came up with the title as the counterpoint to “The Lucky Country” a book written in the mid-sixties that refers to Australia. In his book McKenzie explains that the Philippines is unlucky because, for starters, it is an archipelago and therefore naturally fragmented. Published 3/17/2015


Will the Philippines Ever Speed Up Its Glacially-Slow Justice System?

We’ve all heard the saying “justice delayed is justice denied.” That maxim has been around since time immemorial. In fact the Pirkei Avot (Hebrew for “Ethics of the Fathers”) which dates back to the 1st century B.C. mentions an old rabbi saying that goes: “the sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied." In 1215 A.D. a clause from the Magna Carta similarly declares that “to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice." Published 3/17/2015
Amal Alamuddin Clooney Wants to Defend Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ...Why?

Okay so she's George Clooney's wife, she's got great looks, a law degree and ambitious enough to make a name for herself apart from that of her superstar husband. Fair enough. So Amal Alamuddin Clooney decides to take on high profile cases of injustice around the world. Even better. But filing a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? What's up with that? Better do your homework Mrs. Clooney. It won't take long for you to realize that Arroyo is getting exactly what she deserves. Published 3/12/2015
Manny Pacquiao Should Not Be Given a Tax Exemption

Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has proposed a bill to grant Manny Pacquiao a special tax exemption for the income he will earn from his May 2nd boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pimentel justifies his bill as a "fitting tribute" to the Filipino eight-division world champion adding that "Manny is now part of our history and of world sports history. Let’s give him this tax incentive in recognition to his invaluable efforts to promote boxing and the country around the world." Published 3/4/2015
With Negotiators Like These on Our Team, Who Needs an Opposing Side?

What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly  handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project? Published 2/27/2015
Why is the NBI Going After Those Who Uploaded the Sagonoy Video?

According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range. Published 2/21/2015
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano

The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed. Published 2/15/2015
No More Bangsamoro, Period!

With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea. Published 2/8/2015
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped

What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah. Published 1/31/2015

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