President Aquino Should Go Ahead, Amend The Constitution!

A cacophony of discordant voices were echoed over the issue of proposing amendments to the 1987 constitution to clip the powers of the Supreme Court and  to allow the President  Benigno Simeon Aquino  to run for a second term.

The 1987 constitution allows amendments to the constitution.  It is within the power of the legislative branch to propose amendments to the constitution to clip the power of the Supreme Court because it is within the accepted principle  of “checks  and balance.”  If the court now is perceived as imperialistically  overreaching the two other branches of government, the court should be checked and powers  of government should be balanced.

The idea of proposing for a second term for President Aquino works along the same line.  The constitution is not written in granite, and the document itself says that amendments can be made to it.  The people will vote anyway for the amendments in a plebiscite. They can reject the amendments or ratify them. There is nothing undemocratic or autocratic about the whole shebang contrary to what the doomsayers would like us to believe.

The constitution as it is, contains a perpetual libel against the Office of the President in supposing that no President can sustain a prolonged, dedicated and genuine public service, hence he should be barred from reelection.  The constitutional commission that voted for such term limit was  reeling from the trauma of Marcos martial law, and most of them were lawyers. The term limit was meant to deter a bad President from holding over. The term limit, while meritorious at the time it was promulgated, does not hold its wisdom now that you have a good President.  Why fire an exemplary CEO because he was just contracted to manage the corporation for six years when you can simply redraft the contract to hire him for additional six years?  Does that look like incomprehensible to anyone of you? Heck No!

I would add also that the lawyers who drafted the 1987 constitution while shackling the Office of the President and Congress with term limits, did not do so in the case of the members of the Supreme Court by allowing them to serve for life or until they retire at age 70.  On top of that, the framers (who were mostly lawyers) invested the  judicial department with “overreaching power” under the guise of “abuse of discretion” and “judicial review” which shattered the structural contour of a truly republican form of tripartite government with checks and balance in full play.  While they punished future Presidents by barring them to seek for a reelection, the same group of people rewarded the judicial department that made possible a Marcos power-grab in 1972 with tremendous power as a reward.  This is what Thomas Jefferson said “loyalty to the corps.”

Former Justice Secretary Juan Liwag under the presidency of Diosdado Macapagal, at a time when the judicial department was still in its nascent power had expressed his misgivings already when he said:  “I dreaded to see the day the Supreme Court would virtually run the affairs of the government under the guise of judicial review.”(Marites Vitug, Shadow of Doubt, p. 39).

President Aquino or Congress wanted the power of the judicial department  diluted so we can truly enjoy a truly republican system of government where the powers of government are allocated in three branches of government with  effective “checks and balance” in place.

In her book, “The Supremacists” Schafly said about the U.S. Supreme Court:

The unique and brilliant design of the Constitution – the system of checks and balances, with each branch checking on the power of two other branches – has been replaced by the Imperial Judiciary.  Judicial supremacists have grabbed  unconstitutional powers for the courts, and Congress has failed to restrain their power grab.”

President Aquino, while still enjoying a moral ascendancy today over his critics, must reshape our government to  a truly republican form by going ahead with the constitutional amendments.

19 thoughts on “President Aquino Should Go Ahead, Amend The Constitution!

  1. Thank you for this wonderful blog. I agree also… in this particular case, six years is not enough to undo the mess and damages done to the various institutions by the previous regime. The concern by the noisy IBP, the left leaning group and other vested groups that PNOY will become a dictator is quite far fetched, I think he is mindful of the legacy left by his parents. He needs another term to complete his Development Plan – to see to it that what he begun will turn to fruition.

    I prefer a 2nd term for PNOY than a looming Binay presidency… will less than 2 years be enough to amend the constitution and pave the way for him to run again?

    The social media comments against Binay seem to fail to make dent on his approval ratings… I’m so frustrated just thinking of the masa vote that will surely install him as the next president…The thinking middle class is outnumbered by the unthinking, desperate, uninformed or blind, and the poor masa..

    Maybe, just maybe.. by the end of his 2nd term, the economic gains from his 2 terms would finally trickle down to the poor so they would not be so easy to deceive like now and voter education can be effectively done. Future corrupt presidents who will seek 2nd term will not succeed if we have a well informed and not so economically challenged electorate.

    Look at how Estrada became number 2 in the last presidential election, and now, he’s the mayor of Manila … the national economy is suffering because of his truck ban, surely national welfare takes precedence over local needs… why can’t he relocate the squatters along PNR railways (as suggested by an Inquirer columnist, Neal something) so goods from the port can be transported using trains. Oh, I forgot, those comprise his masa supporters and voters…

    So what will happen to these PDAF cases involving Binay’s political friends once he is elected? Another case of legalistic mambo that will stand in the way of progress…God help us all…!

  2. I agree. Amend now that our sitting president is the best.We all believe that he did not enrich himself while in office. His projects are designed for the long term development of the Philippines and we are now growing economically well with foreign financial institutions attesting to it. It is only now that we have seen these improvements…let’s institutionalize these improvements for a better Philippines. P-NOY na muna saka na yong iba, baka palpak pa mapili natin.Kay P-noy sigurado na tayo…

    • he is the only president that tackled the most secretive and powerful branch of the govt… the Supreme Court, jailed GMA and the powerful politicians in PDAF scam, and more are in the pipeline. not a simple achievement in a country where the culture of impunity is rooted.

  3. Jcc,

    Great piece. May I recommend that you write on the current trend of SC becoming a policy maker due to the overuse of the powers of judicial review? And how can this be cured? Thanks.

  4. In my mind the pres should have done this in the early part of his term as it is a lenghty process. But i guess there were so much more pressing issues to attend to.i am all for ammending the constitution now while we have a sitting president we can trust. Thank you, jcc for pointing out the advantages of ammending now rather than putting it on hold indefinitely. I agree that bec those who formulated the 1987 constitution were mostly lawyers, they naturally had to gain more in regards to power over the 2 other branches of government. Its time the Filipinos draft their own constitution for themselves and level the playing field for the good of the Philippines.

    • There is a current narrative that there is a more sinister kind of oligarchy than the economic oligarchy — that is the legal oligarchy led by the Supreme Court.

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