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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

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
President Aquino Should Fly to Saudi Arabia and Pay His Last Respects to King Abdullah

Presidents and prime ministers, kings and queens; from Prince Charles and Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain, President Francois Hollande of France, President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and many other heads of state from all corners of the globe have gone or are headed to Riyadh to pay their respects to the late King Abdullah. Even U.S. President Barack Obama cut short his state visit to India to fly to Saudi Arabia. Published 1/27/2015
After the Pope's Visit: What We Filipinos Now Must Do

We put on a good show for Pope Francis. He loved it; we loved it; the world loved it. Now the long and painful task of bringing about the changes the pope asked for begins. Start with the Philippine Catholic Church. It should refocus its efforts towards the poor. As we wrote in previous editorials, many priests and bishops see themselves as members of the rich and privileged class. They feel more at home in country clubs and dining in expensive restaurants, than they do helping the poor who live in the squatter communities that dot most cities in the Philippines. Published 1/22/2015
Pope Francis Admonishes Pinoys to End Scandalous Inequalities

We had a feeling this was coming. In his first major speech in the Philippines, Pope Francis called for an end to 'scandalous inequalities' in the country. And what better example of a scandalous inequality is there than that a preposterously ridiculous wedding of Dingdong Dantes and Marian Rivera which was officiated by 8 bishops and 7 priests. In addition, this crass wedding featured a 12-foot high wedding cake, a 2-million-peso wedding gown with an exaggeratedly long train that seemed to go on forever...you get the picture. Published 1/16/2015
An Open Letter to Pope Francis; Please Read It Before Coming to the Philippines

Dear Pope Francis, your much anticipated visit to the Philippines is just a few days away. We expect that you will have been adequately briefed about the Philippines by the time you arrive. However, there might be a few things your Vatican handlers might have missed—or intentionally "forgot" to mention to you so we hope this letter reaches you in time for your historic visit. Before anything else, welcome! Published 1/9/2015

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