My Texan and American friends, this is a non-partisan article by which rational voters can decide which is the most qualified and capable choice for the U.S. Senate, the upper chamber of Congress. What follows are reasons for choosing Sen. Ted Cruz over Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke as the most suitable candidate based on facts relevant to the position.
Cruz is a trustworthy, anti-Establishment, public servant.
Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, there can never be a question of where Cruz stands, and if he will ever compromise his principles out of political expedience. Indeed, he has opposed both the Democrat and Republican Establishment equally whenever their agendas ran contrary to his mandate to Texans and the American people, even to the detriment of his own political career. Cruz’s renowned 21-hour speech on the Senate floor is an ostensible display of his passion, as well as his strong legs, large bladder, and enormous proverbial testicles. In spite of such fierce opposition from his own political peers, Cruz never deviated from his promises and mandate to the American people. Thus, he has been consistently principled, whereas others have been principled only until Election Day.
On the other hand, while O’Rourke professes to represent the oppressed and downtrodden, he (as city councilman) collaborated with his fellow cronies to exploit the eminent domain power to displace Segundo Barrio residents, while enriching his own family. As a result of losing their homes, constituents expressed their outrage at a city meeting. “We feel betrayed,” exclaimed one resident, “and we feel sad.” (Translated from Spanish) Another disenfranchised resident voiced to him that O’Rourke’s disregard of his constituents is “why the community doesn’t want anything to do with you anymore.”
Cruz has more vast experience in legal and constitutional matters.
Cruz was an attorney, law clerk for a U.S. appeals court juror and a Supreme Court chief justice, Texas solicitor general, associate deputy attorney general in the U.S. Justice Department, and is currently a U.S. senator. At roughly the same time when O’Rourke spent his time playing in a punk rock band in the 1990s, Cruz graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, served as Director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, and served as domestic policy advisor.
Such an extensive legal background gives him the competitive advantage to effectively author or vote for or against legislation on a wide range of issues with legal and constitutional implications—concerns of privacy, free speech, property rights, criminal justice, immigration, foreign policy, etc. O’Rourke would have to rely excessively on legal advisors or attorneys for their expertise or simply draw from his own limited knowledge and experience from being a lawmaker.
As a U.S. senator, Cruz has crafted and supported several significant bills.
He supported a bill which lowered taxes and increased income for the labor force (including wages and benefits), helped create thousands of jobs (some at record levels), accelerated economic growth, and contributed to America’s global competitive advantage; O’Rourke opposed it.
He supported a pipeline project which would create jobs and lower the price of goods and services due to the reduced cost of energy; O’Rourke opposed it.
He co-authored a law permitting the states to impose mandatory drug testing for federal unemployment benefit recipients.
He introduced legislation that, if passed, would ensure all pertinent agencies report convictions to the National Background Check Database, which would have prosecuted anyone who attempted to illegally purchase a firearm, such as the Texas church shooter. It also would have provided more school security, e.g., metal detectors and police officers.
In the midst of the fierce debate about separating undocumented parents from their children, he introduced emergency legislation that would permit them to remain together during detention.
He co-authored a bill allocating a few billion dollars in tax relief to Hurricane Harvey victims; O’Rourke opposed it.
He introduced the Expatriate Terrorist Act, which revokes the citizenship of any American who collaborates with Islamic terrorists and bans those who leave the country to join them.
As congressman, O’Rourke supported anti-poor legislation.
He supported an increase in the gas tax, which would be detrimental to the working poor, who do not have the luxury of driving an electric or hybrid car.
He supported legislation to impose a carbon tax which, according to the Institute for Energy Research, “has a greater negative impact on lower income people than on higher income people” because in other countries it has led to “job losses” due to business closures as a result of increased energy costs.
As an ethnic minority, Cruz’s achievements make him an ideal role model for other minorities in forging their own American success story.
He is the first Hispanic from Texas to serve in the U.S. Senate.
He was the first Hispanic to serve the longest term of solicitor general in Texas history.
He was the first Hispanic to clerk for a U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice.
At Harvard Law School, wherein Professor Alan Dershowitz referred to Cruz as being “off-the-charts brilliant,” he was a founding editor of the Harvard Latino Law Review.
In conclusion, my Texan and American friends, I urge you all to support Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate for the simple reason that he is a trustworthy, astute, accomplished public servant. That is precisely what Texas and America need. Therefore, choose Cruz, veto Beto.
My friends and countrymen, at the behest of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a constituent assembly (Con-Ass) may convene this month in order to form a Constitutional Commission. The focal point will be amending the Constitution to federalize the Philippines. Such a rare and significant event necessitates meticulous deliberation, which is why I propose that the members consider the reasons I have presented for the shift from the current Manila-centric, unitary form of government to a decentralized system of federalism. I have also addressed some of the major concerns of federalism’s critics and included a few pithy proposals on which the new government may be structured.
In this proposal, I have frequently cited America’s founders, since federalism (as a systematic study of governance wherein power is shared between a central government and state governments) is often attributable to them, and their intent is made manifest in a collection of their constitutional convention debates published in The Federalist. “On every question of construction,” states the American founder Thomas Jefferson, “carry ourselves back to the time when the Constitution was adopted, recollect the spirit manifested in the debates and instead of trying what meaning may be squeezed out of the text, or invented against it, conform to the probable one in which it was passed.”
Vertical Balance of Power
First and foremost, a federalist system would divide power between the national government and state or regional governments wherein such a dispersal of power would create a vertical, as well as horizontal balance of power. The American founding father Alexander Hamilton elaborates:
This balance between the National and State governments ought to be dwelt on with peculiar attention, as it is of the utmost importance. It forms a double security to the people. If one encroaches on their rights they will find a powerful protection in the other. Indeed, they will both be prevented from overpassing their constitutional limits by a certain rivalship, which will ever subsist between them.
Close Proximity of States to the People
Second, state autonomy enables each state to govern more effectively due to their close proximity to the people residing in those states. Jefferson wrote about the U.S., “Were not this great country already divided into states, that division must be made, that each might do for itself what concerns itself directly, and what it can so much better do than a distant authority.” After all, do not our local public servants have a more accurate perspective of affairs within their own jurisdiction than those governing from Malacanang Palace?
Even President Rodrigo Duterte miscalculated the duration of his war on drugs, originally insisting on a 6-month purging operation, which he now says will require one more full year. Such a reassessment is apparently due to his newly acquired national perspective and experience, as opposed to his provincial perspective and experience from being Davao City mayor for 22 years. Although federalism will benefit the people in general, according to Consultative Committee (ConCom) member Eddie Alih, it will be especially expedient to “the lost and the least because shifting to a federal setup will bring government social services closer to the poor.”
The Fifty United States of America
Accommodation for a Vastly Diverse Populace
Third, state autonomy more easily accommodates governance of a nation comprised of more than 7,000 islands, several religious groups, and more than a hundred ethno-linguistic groups. The conquests of Spain and Japan and the American occupation have also had a cultural influence on the indigenous people, as well as trade with the Chinese, Arabs, and Malays. Naturally such diversity entails differing interests, modes of production, and social-ethnic concerns, all of which may require differing regulations or laws designed for the unique circumstances of each state or region.
Now consider some actual examples of federalism taking effect in America, which betoken unique variations in law, taxation, economics, religion, individual liberty, and culture. The state of Utah is heavily populated by Mormons, while the mountainous state of Tennessee and Alabama are pervaded by evangelical Christians. Recreational marijuana is legal in California wherein same-sex marriage and a large Filipino populace co-exist.
Massachusetts has mandatory health insurance and permits open carry of a firearm. New York has the highest taxes, the most stringent gun control laws, business regulations, and the highest rate of fetal abortions. (Perhaps those are the “New York values” to which Senator Ted Cruz was referring in his 2016 presidential primary run against Donald Trump.)
Florida and Texas have the lowest income tax rates, no mandatory state income tax, and they happen to be the most favorable states for bass fishermen due to their numerous lakes, rivers, and streams. Philadelphia, the birthplace of America’s Constitution, levies a sugary drink or “soda tax.” For advocates of capital punishment, the options are varied—electrocution in Kentucky, gas inhalation in Arizona, firing squad in Utah, and hanging or lethal injection in Washington.
Cannot our countrymen relate to such varying factors? Consider similar issues of which some are controversial as well as divisive but could easily be addressed by the states or regions—the drug war, the Mindanao conflict, RH Law, the death penalty, marriage dissolution, same-sex marriage recognition and benefits, jeepney fare hikes, VAT, etc. In terms of core competencies or comparative advantages, Cebu is the exclusive producer of dolomite and graywacke, while Capiz and Ilocos Norte exclusively produce cotton. Palawan and Boracay are the top tourist destinations of the Philippines, due to their beaches and the latter’s party ambience.
Furthermore, possessing regional or state sovereignty under federalism, allows each state or region to address such issues pursuant to their unique geographical or demographical situation. “It is one of the happy incidents of the federal system,” contends American Chief Justice Louis Brandeis, “that a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country.” Indeed, impoverished regions can learn from and mimic affluent regions by scrutinizing their economy, tax system, business regulations, and commerce practices, while education administrators in one region can do likewise with successful schools in other regions. In turn, such competitive regions could eventually decongest Manila.
Such a diversity would naturally appeal to the marginalized or disaffected members of society (e.g., the New People’s Army, Abu Sayyaf, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap, the Lumads, and Cordillera). While there is much controversy over the constitutionality of the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL), the establishment of a Bangsamoro state or region (to replace the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao) via federalism would render the BBL obsolete, since all states or regions would be equally autonomous simultaneously, at least eventually.
Economy May ‘Go to Hell’
Apart from the ostensible advantages of federalism, critics commonly point to the findings of DOF Secretary Carlos Dominguez III who stated that the national government may incur a 6.7% deficit, interest rates would rise by up to 6%, 95% of national government employees may be laid off, and the country’s investment-grade credit ratings may “go to hell.” ConCom technical working head Wendell Tamayo estimates the cost of establishing 16 federated regions, Bangsamoro and Cordillera regions, four federal courts, and six constitutional commissions at P2.2 trillion, while Rosario Manasan of the Philippine Institute of Development Studies estimates that approximately P55 billion per year will need to be appropriated for the salaries of new federal state elected officials.
Some economists like Victor Abola (professor of the University of Asia and the Pacific) point to a few federal countries which are imperiled by hyperinflation and fear that a federal Philippines may be subjected to the same aftermath. Due to Venezuela’s current inflation rate of 25%, things cost 250 times more today than a year ago. Other federal countries like Mexico and Brazil have a similar result due to their localities’ reckless spending on elections, which Abola states is “the primary reason for their hyperinflation episodes . . . which exceeded 4,000% inflation.”
In spite of such negative financial analysis, there are potential measures which could preclude or mitigate some of the aforementioned effects. For example, ConCom spokesman Ding Generoso has proposed the appropriations for implementing federalism emanate from one of several sources: regional taxes/fees, share of top revenue sources, share of equalization fund, the General Appropriations Act, or natural resources income. Political scientist Antonio Contreras suggests that some of federalism’s additional costs can be compensated for by the lower costs of transactions, travel, and communication due to decentralization.
Another source would emanate from an expanded tax base due to increased domestic and foreign investments. In order to be competitive, the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) suggests the corporate income tax (CIT) be lowered from 30% to 20%. Although the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion 2 (TRAIN 2) law will lower the CIT to 25%, the average rate of the Philippines’ Southeast Asian neighbors is 22.7%. Hence, a more competitive CIT would attract more investors and create more jobs which, in turn, would translate into more tax revenue.
Also, fiscal incentives for foreign investors in economic zones should be maintained. For example, the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992 grants free port locators a 5% tax on gross income earned. Unfortunately, TRAIN 2 will repeal such incentives, which the AmCham claimed would “lead to an end to expansions by many foreign investors and a reversal of the success in recent decades in attracting thousands of foreign firms to invest in the country.”
Indeed, this concern is shared by Subic Bay Freeport Chamber of Commerce President Danny Piano who fears the prospect of “capital flight” and Charito Plaza, director general of the Philippine Export Zone Authority, who will continue to defend the fiscal incentives. Aside from retaining the 5% tax, the financial giant HSBC suggests loosening foreign ownership restrictions via charter change, which would increase the Philippines’ share (currently the lowest) in ASEAN’s “FDI windfall.”
Additionally, all business tax cuts and fiscal incentives should be made permanent, as well as repealing the protectionist clause of the 1987 Constitution in order to boost long-term commitments by investors. Indeed, such “productive investment,” stated UP professor Maria Bautista, “will generate future streams of income that will not only increase domestic output and income, but also allow the country to service its debt.” Perhaps the anticipated 95% of laid off national government employees can be reabsorbed into the revitalized private economy or continue their public service on a local level. Either way, different economic opportunities will abound due to the reallocation of capital precipitated by tax reform and economic liberalization.
ConCom Atty. Rodolfo Robles points out that the national budget is approximately P3.75 trillion and that 40% of it is illegally misdirected. “Sa simple arithmetic po,” stated Robles, “ayan ay 1.5 trillion, ang napupunta sa graft and corruption.” He continued to say that at least half of it can be retrieved with a sufficient supply of attorneys.
Recently, in the U.S., Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Mark Sanford introduced the “Penny Plan” or the “One Percent Solution.” It mandates Congress to reduce federal spending in all departments by one cent on the dollar. This would drastically curtail inefficiencies from wasteful spending and balance the budget over a period of five years. Surely, the Philippines can adapt such a plan in order to cap or mitigate the anticipated deficit as a result of instituting federalism. Call it the “Centabo Plan.”
I would add that with the regions assuming more fiduciary responsibility, the people will be able to retain more of their hard-earned income, while their region more effectively delivers services otherwise performed by the national government. Such an arrangement would also allocate resources more efficiently and fairly, since taxpayers residing in Manila would no longer have to fund the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) or condoms for lazy, mendicant perverts residing in Zamboanga City (presuming 4Ps and the RH Law get repealed, or the regions have the option to nullify them by virtue of federalism, just as the U.S. is currently in the process of repealing the unconstitutional Affordable Care Act, putatively “Obamacare”). Indeed, such decentralization echoes ConCom member Dr. Julio Teehankee’s sentiment that “the proposed draft federal constitution encourages the national government to go on a diet and the regions to go on a muscle-building regimen.”
In terms of hyperinflation, it is highly misleading and even disingenuous to attribute it to federalism per se. Indeed, Venezuela’s centralized federalism (an oxymoron) is simply a euphemism for its federalized socialism, whose perpetual budget deficits and inability to borrow money, has resorted to excessive printing of increasingly devalued money. Consequently, hyperinflation has become pervasive. In the case of Brazil and Mexico, it is ostensibly due to poor management and or flawed public policy in election campaign financing which has led to such high inflation rates. That could be remedied by transparency legislation or strict penalties for exceeding a fixed limit on campaign financing or outright privatization of campaign financing. Ergo, hyperinflation need not be attributable to federalism.
Comparing the Philippines to the U.S. and Germany an Apples to Oranges Comparison
Some opponents assert that presenting the economic success of advanced, western, federal countries like the U.S. and Germany is disingenuous, since the Philippines is generally still a developing, Asian country—an apples to oranges comparison. However, the eastern, federal states of India and Malaysia more closely resemble the Philippines and have a relatively stable government and growing economy. Malaysia’s economic growth is at 5% with a GDP of $863.3 billion and foreign direct investment (FDI) at $9.9 billion. India, whose history is also influenced by colonialism and the English language, has a growth rate of 7.3% with a GDP of $8.7 trillion and FDI at $4.5 billion. Compare those economic indicators to that of the Philippines with a 5.8% growth rate, a GDP of $805.2 billion, and FDI at $7.9 billion.
Increased Power to Local Dynasties and Oligarchs
Apart from the ostensible advantages, some are fearful that federalism will enable political dynasties to dominate the regions. However, a vigilant and informed citizenry can prevent such occurrences or take counter measures after the fact, such as passing and enforcing anti-dynasty and transparency laws as Senator Nene Pimentel suggests. However, as I wrote in my commentary entitled Why Manny Pacquiao’s Defeat Could Be a Win for the Country, “I do not oppose dynasties, insofar as their members are fairly and democratically elected and serve the interests of their constituents. However, when they are self-serving or hold power only for namesake, I oppose them and any office holder—dynasty clan or not.”
Anyway, should all remedies fail, citizens and businesses can simply migrate to another region, which is more congenial to their own interests, values, economic preferences, or lifestyle. Over whom would the dynastic oligarchs rule and depend on for tax revenue, if everyone migrated elsewhere? Would they then not be compelled to compete with other regions by providing quality government services, e.g., infrastructure, public safety, property rights protection, and contract enforcement?
Federalism Too New and Foreign to the Philippines
Some opponents stress that since federalism is a foreign concept or that the Philippines lacks historical experience in regional autonomy (in contrast to the U.S., Malaysia, and Germany), such a system would be inappropriate or not viable. However, I contend that El Filibusterismo, a sewer system, jeepneys, smart phones, and a Red Cross did not always exist, and, indeed, did change Philippine life for the better. Hence, should we have opted to never have introduced them as well? A prosperous nation demands openness to positive change, and education can accommodate any kind of change, despite its drastic implications.
Anyway, as Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban points out, “The idea of federalism is not really new to us. Salvador Araneta, a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention (ConCon), proposed it in his ‘Bayanikasan Constitution.’ Jose Abueva, the secretary of the same ConCon, has written several papers detailing his version of federalism.” Even as early as 1900, an Ilocano intellectual named Isabelo de los Reyes, envisioned a federal constitution with seven states comprising the Philippines.
A Sufficient Government Local Code
In terms of regional autonomy, critics point out that the Government Local Code renders federalism obsolete, since the Code is intended to devolve power and disburse internal revenue allotments (IRAs) to localities. “And yet,” stated Panganiban, “these do not seem to be enough because our Constitution mandates one national police to which the local police are legally beholden, and the Department of Budget and Management which could withhold IRAs.” Such local autonomy “with strings attached” makes them prone to corruption, or, at least, apathetically unresponsive to the demands of their populace. Federalism will cut those strings and enable the regions or states to determine their own future.
Neglected Poor Regions
Naysayers of federalism also raise the issue of impoverished regions worsening due to reduced national support. However, I contend that such dependency or mendicancy is precisely what has retarded their capacity to cultivate their own resources in order to produce prosperity. It is conventional economic wisdom that prosperous economies consist of most, if not all, of the following key variables: few or no entry barriers to trade, an educated labor force, access to natural resources, adherence to the rule of law, sustainable infrastructure, and high-scale technology. Those variables can be cultivated by an efficient, corrupt-free government, quality educational institutions, economic liberalization, and pro-growth tax policy.
Recent history is certainly instructive in providing the proper perspective. Consider the economic development and growth in post-World War II Japan after the atomic bomb converted its cities into ruins, yet the nation is currently the world’s third largest economy. Within our own borders, after the recall of American naval bases in Subic Bay and the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 (wherein the territory was reduced to an ash heap), it was shortly transformed and lauded by various world leaders as a successful trade port and a paragon for economic growth. I elaborate on Subic in my commentary entitled Why the Senate Needs More Dick. If Japan and Subic can prosper, under such overwhelming odds, why not any other region or state in the Philippines?
President Fidel Ramos considered Subic Bay such an economic success, he designated it (instead of Manila) as the location for the 1996 APEC summit, in which 18 heads of state met. Among them were Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, and US President Bill Clinton (at the far right).
Perhaps special concessions can be made to the more disadvantaged regions like Mindanao, which should be targeted and temporary as an incentive to be self-sufficient. Indeed, I would not be averse to Chief Justice Reynato Puno’s concept of “evolving federalism” by which the lesser developed regions remain in the status of “autonomous regions” until they are capable of graduating to the status of “full states.” In that case, benchmarks should be established instead of a timeline.
Having presented my reasons for the federalist shift while also addressing contrarian views, I also propose that the Constitutional Commission scrutinizes, adapts, and includes the American government’s model—in full or, at least, in part to the model of Resolution of Both Houses No. 8 (RBH 8), which was filed by Rep. Eugene Michael de Vera and Rep. Aurelio Gonzales Jr. First and foremost, America’s republic is comprised of the best historical ideas. Indeed, the founders scrutinized the governing systems of the predominant Western civilizations—ancient and contemporary. These include Greece, Rome, France, and England from which the founders derived the concepts of liberty, justice, trial by jury, separation of powers, democracy, republicanism, and self-government. The founders meticulously studied the rise and fall of tyrannical governments in those nations, as well as their own experience with King George III in framing a constitution which would preclude such occurrences in the U.S.
Preexisting Government Infrastructure
Second, since the Philippine government was largely framed after the U.S. government, the familiar preexisting federal infrastructure or apparatus of the separate executive, legislative, and judicial branches facilitates a more congenial transition to federalism much more so than abolishing it as parliamentary government advocates and proponents of PDP-Laban Federalism Institute’s model seek to do. Even the anti-colonialist Delegate Manuel Roxas defended the ratification of the 1935 Constitution (although it is a gross variation of America’s original constitution):
Why have we preferred the Government established under this draft? Because it is the Government with which we are familiar. It is the form of government fundamentally such as it exists today; it is the only kind of government we have found to be in consonance with our experience, and with the necessary modification capable of permitting a fair play of social forces and allowing the people to conduct the presidential system.
It must be noted that I do not oppose a parliamentary form of government per se. I simply would support it only as a last resort, i.e., when all reforms under a presidential federal system (e.g., the establishment of an electoral college to elect the president and a Senate elected by regional legislatures instead of at large) fail, but I digress.
Third, America’s system has proven to be the most resilient. Constitutional law Professor Hugh Hewitt points out:
The work of collective genius that is the Constitution has been tested by everything from an actual civil war that claimed 600,000 lives to various panics, two world wars, the Great Depression, and the Great Recession, not to mention impeachments and assassinations, political-judicial meltdowns like Florida in 2000, and dozens of scandals—and it does not break. It is more resilient than any other modern constitution, a remarkable, nearly perfect balance of competing powers and separated authorities that has endured and will endure. Those who fear it is off the road and in the ditch have to ignore history’s many examples of America righting itself after trauma and setback.
Consider America’s progress in the abolition of slavery, suffrage for women, and civil rights for blacks, all of which happened within 229 years of the establishment of the U.S. government. In spite of such turbulent occasions, the world’s oldest written supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution, remains largely intact. Contrast that with our three Philippine constitutions—of 1935, 1973, and 1987—all promulgated and implemented within a single century. Additionally, President Rodrigo Duterte has raised the specter of a revolutionary government, which all betokens the instability of the Philippine government.
Fourth, the language of the U.S. Constitution is very clear in distinguishing the powers of the federal government from that of the states. Article 1, Section 8 enumerates the federal powers:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States…To borrow Money on the credit of the United States…To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes…To coin money…To establish Post Offices and post Roads…To raise and support Armies.
The Tenth Amendment, the last of the Bill of Rights, betokens the threshold at which the states (or the people) are sovereign, which is the cornerstone of federalism. It states: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the People.” The American founder and principal author of the Constitution, James Madison, elaborates on the nature of these powers in Federalist 45:
The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the Federal Government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State Governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace negotiation, and foreign commerce . . . The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all the objects, which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the state.
Indeed, it is those “few and defined” powers of the federal government which accounts for a simple, comprehensible, and short constitution. Contrast that with our lengthy constitution of 1987, which manifests a government exceeding the size and scope imposed by America’s founders.
At the left is a printout of a 53-page copy of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, whereas to the right is a single replicated page of the U.S. Constitution.
Fifth, America’s founders brilliantly concocted two checks as a remedy for the states to counter an overreaching or tyrannical national government. The remedies are state nullification of unconstitutional federal laws and an Article V Convention of States (COS). The former is, according to Jefferson, “the rightful remedy” against “all unauthorized acts done” by the national government and was executed effectively in defiance of a federal embargo, the Alien and Sedition Acts, and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850. In my commentary entitled The Peak of Tyranny and End of Its Destruction, I cited two more recent examples in which Montana, Alabama, and Wyoming amended their state constitutions, nullifying Obamacare.
In defiance to President Barack Obama’s executive orders to banning certain types of firearms, several governors, state legislators, and sheriffs have taken measures to quell or nullify any presidential decree, which did not conform to their own state’s gun regulations. Some legislators have gone so far as to prepare legislation which would criminalize any attempt of federal agents to enforce the new federal gun ownership restrictions. One sheriff in Oregon (Tim Mueller) even wrote a letter to Vice President Joe Biden in which he declared that neither he nor his deputies would enforce any federal gun law, which he deems unconstitutional. Among the states which exercised such recalcitrant acts were Mississippi, Kentucky, Oregon, Minnesota, Alabama, Tennessee, Wyoming, Utah, Alaska, Florida, and Texas.
Convention of States
In Federalist 85, Hamilton alludes to the second remedy when he says, “. . . we may safely rely on the disposition of the state legislatures to erect barriers against the encroachments of the national authority.” He is referring to assembling a Convention of States (COS), which is actually embodied in Article V of the U.S. Constitution:
The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress ….
Put plainly and simply, thirty-four states of the U.S. must consent to deliberation in a convention of states (not a constitutional convention, which would be a formidable option) to propose constitutional amendments. Thirty-eight states must ratify the amendments in order for them to become binding and effective. In this way, the states can put the national government in check regardless of who occupies the presidency, Congress, or the Supreme Court. As of this writing, twelve states have passed a COS resolution. Furthermore, the aforementioned remedies as state nullification and an Article V COS are essential in lawfully preserving federalism, while precluding “mob rule.”
Article 5: The Amendment Process in the U.S.
In the Philippine context, a clause pertinent to regional or state nullification of intrusive federal laws can and should be annexed to the draft constitution in order to preclude jurisdictional discrepancies, wherein both the regions and national government purport to defend and uphold the Constitution. Unfortunately, such a clause is nonexistent in the U.S. Constitution, which has been the cause for the aforementioned discrepancies and can thus serve as an example of unintended consequences from which the Philippines can learn. In terms of annexing a COS clause to the draft constitution, the number of regions needed for deliberation and ratification will be smaller than our U.S. counterpart, since the number of regions created and established via federalism will be significantly smaller than the fifty states of the U.S. (e.g., eleven pursuant to LDP Institute’s model and eighteen pursuant to RBH 8).
Based on Natural Rights
Sixth, it is the first written constitution based on our timeless, ubiquitous, natural rights, which intrinsically circumscribe the national government and betoken the vast range of our individual liberty. Indeed, the U.S. Declaration of Independence (upon which America’s constitution is based) betokens man’s universal and intrinsic equality and endowment of “certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Even the Philippine revolutionary and anti-colonialist Apolinario Mabini acknowledged such rights, stemming from “natural law,” when attributing the success of the U.S. government to the major work of two of its founders, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine:
The ruler’s success is always to be found in the adjustment of his practical measures to the natural and immutable order of things and to the special needs of the locality, an adjustment that can be made with the help of theoretical knowledge and experience. The source of all failures in government can therefore be found, not in (mistaken) theories but in unprincipled practices arising from base passions or ignorance. If the Government of the United States has been able to lead the Union along the paths of prosperity and greatness, it is because its practices have not diverged from the theories contained in the Declaration of Independence and of the Rights of Man, which constitute an exposition of the principles of natural law implanted by the scientific revolutions in the political field.
Furthermore, in spite of the ostensible advantages of federalism, it must be noted that it is not a “magic bullet” or the single, perfect solution to everything ailing the Philippines. Rather it is a remedy to address certain issues, which, in order to have maximum positive impact, must be executed in concert with other measures, e.g., the enforcement of current laws, economic liberalization to curb protectionist policies and attract direct foreign investments, the adoption of an electoral college to elect the president, and cultural changes in order to cultivate an informed, disciplined, industrious, and active citizenry which will strengthen preexisting, fundamental, social institutions. The latter is imperative, lest the electorate continues to elect incompetent or corrupt politicians, and that will occur under any system of governance—unitary or federal, presidential or parliamentary.
In conclusion, my friends and countrymen, I have herein presented my reasons for supporting a shift to an American form of federalism or, at least, an adaptation therefrom to supplement Resolution of Both Houses No. 8. I have also presented the safeguards to preserve such a system of governance to be included in the draft constitution. With such clamor for positive change—namely, the rapid creation of new jobs, the alleviation of poverty and poverty-related crime, the curtailment of corruption, the end to secession of Mindanao, a new sense of pride and civic responsibility to a responsive government, and the liberty to choose one’s life with one’s feet—coupled with a president with an iron political will and desire for federalism, a constituent assembly can take the essential measures by which Alvarez’s May deadline for a plebiscite may be met—the same month in which America’s founders deliberated in the 1787 Constitutional Convention. I now defer to the aforementioned Constitutional Commission to deliberate on behalf of We the People of the Republic of the Philippines.
Mabuhay ang federalismo! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!
Anastacio, Leia. (2016). The Foundations of the Modern Philippine State. New York, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Majul, Cesar. (1996). The Political and Constitutional Ideas of the Philippine Revolution. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press.
Featured Photo Credit: philstar.com
Last thing I need is someone to tell me, I have to give up x% of my income for the greater good – fuck it
My friends and countrymen, within 200 nautical miles of the exclusive economic zone of the Republic of the Philippines (RP) is a small cluster of rocks, encompassed by a body of water, known as Panatag Shoal to Filipinos and Scarborough Shoal internationally. It was the subject of dispute between RP and China. In 2013, President Benigno Aquino III filed a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) for which it ruled in RP’s favor in 2016. Predictably, imperial China does not acknowledge the ruling and insists on claiming 90% of the international waters via its own “nine-dash line” metric, which the PCA has invalidated pursuant to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The PCA also declared Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Recto (Reed) Bank, and Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal as “part of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Philippines, and are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China.”
Perhaps you all are pondering why we Filipinos should care about some cluster of rocks surrounded by water. If President Rodrigo Duterte defends it, will that put food on our tables, educate our kids, or improve the quality of our lives? If not, then why should any of us be concerned, especially since it risks provoking a war with China—a state of affairs which appears to be nothing short of a suicide mission? Indeed, these are all legitimate and ubiquitously relevant questions worthy of addressing.
First and foremost is the legal issue of sovereignty and constitutional mandate of the President. Since the PCA upheld RP’s sovereignty over Panatag Shoal, it is the government’s duty to defend it. Pursuant to Art. XII, Sect. 2 of the 1987 Constitution, “The State shall protect the nation’s marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone. . .”
Dereliction of this duty could be construed as betrayal of public trust, which is an impeachable offense according to Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio and Sen. Richard Gordon. Aside from that, forfeiting our sovereign territory will only serve as a dangerous precedent for other potential encroachments by China. What if China claims it recently unearthed a map indicating their sovereignty over Philippine Rise (formerly Benham Rise) or even the entire province of Palawan? Not only is ceding Panatag Shoal a slippery slope towards imperial tyranny, it calls into question RP’s adherence to the Constitution and the rule of law—international law—in this case.
Second, Panatag Shoal is abundant in fish and natural resources, including minerals and gas. Such resources can be utilized by consumers and businesses, while driving energy costs down, creating more jobs, raising living standards, and generating more tax revenue. Indeed, it would stimulate the economy and contribute to a prosperous future for our country’s youth. If, on the other hand, China is given free reign, there is a risk of irresponsible food shortages. As former assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs Wallace Gregson pointed out, “China stands harshly criticized in the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration judgment for ‘permanent and irreparable harm to the coral reef ecosystem.’”
Third, should China seize Panatag Shoal, freedom of navigation and overflight would be compromised. Indeed, one third of world shipping (valued at over $5 trillion) passes through this route annually. Hence, China has militarized seven reefs with runways, surface navy ship and submarine posts, hangars, radars, and surface-to-air missiles. “The fear,” states Asia-Pacific security expert William Choong, “is that China will start dredging, followed by militarization, thus creating a strategic triangle connecting Woody Island, the Spratlys chain and Scarborough Shoal that would dominate most of the South China Sea.” In order to prevent this, RP can and must assert its sovereignty.
Fourth, should RP decide to publicly acknowledge and enforce the PCA’s ruling, it would project fearless and determined leadership. Not only would ASEAN consider RP an economic partner, it would be respected for defending its sovereignty, vis-a-vis an imperialistic juggernaut. Indeed, it would be a successful model for Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan to emulate, since those ASEAN members also have maritime disputes with China. Incidentally, RP happens to be one of ASEAN’s founders and is the first country to defend its sovereign territory against China via the PCA (and won), which puts it in a historically unique position. Unfortunately, Duterte squandered a perfectly good opportunity to invoke the favorable PCA ruling at the ASEAN summit in which he himself presided as its chairman.
Perhaps you may understand and concur with my factually based points. However, skeptics may reiterate Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping’s war threat and Duterte’s rationale that RP cannot win a war against China, due to its inadequate military capability. In that case, I must defer to the authority of Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, some of whose practical advice I conveyed in my letter to Duterte on May 2017:
The Philippines should “bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal, to secure an order directing China to comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared the Reed Bank part of Philippine EEZ.” He added that the “Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ.”
The Philippines should persuade the U.S. to declare Panatag Shoal as part of Philippine territory, which would protect it under the 1951 Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty. Such action would add clarity for legal ramifications, since the shoal was known to be under Philippine jurisdiction as early as the American colonial period and even under Spanish rule.
This map was composed in 1734 showing Panatag Shoal within Philippine jurisdiction under Spanish rule. It is highlighted as “Panacot.”
The Philippines should send the Philippine Navy to patrol Panatag Shoal. Should China stage an attack on any Philippine navy vessels, the Philippines can invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty, since it covers armed attacks on such vessels, pursuant to Article IV. Of course, that would prompt the U.S. Navy to intervene.
The Philippines should resume joint naval patrols with the U.S. in the West Philippine Sea in order to project military might, which could deter China from continuing its island-building activity on Panatag Shoal.
In spite of such recourse against China’s war threat, some contend that China would renege on its commitment to financing a $180 billion infrastructure program in RP (including two railways, a hydroelectric dam, and an irrigation system). It must be noted that its impact is not confined to transportation exclusively. Indeed, it adversely affects commerce, the rate of employment, and the price and quality of goods and services.
However, this is a maritime dispute which need not alter trade or financial relations. “I would take the approach of Vietnam as the model,” stated Carpio, “because Vietnam is very strong in resisting China’s encroachment but they continue to have very strong trade relations with China.” Former national security advisor Roilo Golez even raises a 2014 incident in which Vietnam asserted its maritime sovereignty against China, leading to battle. Ultimately, “after two months of that kind of encounter, watched by the entire world, China backed out. That is something that we can study, how they do it.
Even if China’s financial commitment is fully dependent on RP’s forfeiture of Panatag Shoal, China does not possess a monopoly on capital. Alternative financing could be secured from Japan, South Korea, Australia, Sweden, EU, UK, or the U.S. Otherwise, some of the funding can come from tax reform or liquidation of confiscated assets of prosecuted drug lords. In the U.S., Sen. Ted Cruz proposes the Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act which would allocate seized assets of drug dealers (like “El Chapo”) towards funding President Donald Trump’s border “wall.”
Furthermore, the significance of Panatag Shoal should not be underestimated, nor should our country’s capability of defending it against China, in spite of President Xi Jinping’s war threat. In fact, defending the shoal would display our country’s resolve to effectively enforce its constitutional mandate and would serve as a model for other ASEAN maritime claimants to follow. Additionally, the shoal’s bounty can provide food and jobs for citizens and be a reserve for our country’s energy needs—now and for our youth’s future.
Finally, should the aforementioned reasons be insufficient, ponder this. Last month marked the 119th anniversary of our independence from Spain on June 12, 1898. Today is our 61st anniversary of independence from the U.S. on July 4, 1946 and this year, the 75th anniversary of the Bataan Death March in 1942. Indeed, they are all appropriate occasions in which to contemplate the sacrifices of our soldiers. After all, did they not shed their own blood for the entire Philippines, including Panatag Shoal? Ergo, is it not incumbent on us to cherish and protect what they fought for, so that their deaths shall not have been be in vain? Surely, my friends and countrymen, for this reason alone, I submit we Filipinos should give a damn about Panatag Shoal and implore, nay, demand that the President defend it!
The Bataan Death March was a 65-mile trek into which over 76,000 Filipinos and Americans were coerced by Japanese captors during World War II in 1942. Many died of starvation, sickness, and bayoneting by the Japanese. Their death in serving and defending the Philippines gives them the highest honor.
From Freedom Wall:
From Asian Alliance Against RED CHINA :
Lawrence MarkPinoys do care about Panatag…. Unless youre a dutertard… 😂
Al Giorgio SyWhy just now? because US mongrels aka liberal party said so? if they really did care about the place, they would have set infrastructure there way before china did. pinoys need to suck up their pride and whining when they get outmaneuvered because of their incompetency.
I am writing you with the utmost respect and as a concerned citizen of the Philippines. Like you, Mr. President, I only seek to serve the interests of our countrymen as well as protect the sovereignty of our country pursuant to the Constitution. Therefore, I appeal that you keep an open mind and take no offense to my grievances and unsolicited recommendations.
Mr. President, many Marawi City residents have had their lives drastically disrupted and have been displaced as they have evacuated their homes, due to your declaration of martial law in Mindanao. Meanwhile, some foreign investors are losing confidence in the economy and the stability of the Philippine government as a result. This may deter other potential investors and cost our country many current and potential jobs. In fact, Philippine Airlines has already offered refunds to travelers fearful of flying to Mindanao.
For that reason, it is in the best interest of the Philippines to swiftly quell the terrorist threat, restore the rule of law, and draw an end to this period of martial law as soon as possible. That is precisely why I suggest you request Pres. Donald Trump increase American troop presence in Mindanao. Such a move would allow the police and military to continue fighting Islamic terrorists without compromising their focus on other priorities, such as the NPA (who have already announced they would utilize the current crisis to their advantage). Since both the Philippines and the U.S. share a similar problem of having porous borders, thus enabling foreign Islamic terrorists to enter both countries (some of the killed Maute terrorists were from Indonesia and Malaysia), perhaps you can collaborate to find solutions.
Indeed, the U.S. would relentlessly curtail the escalation of Islamic terrorism. In conformity with your desire to be “harsh,” Pres. Trump is willing to use practical, effective methods to counter the insurgents, such as enhanced interrogation techniques. He is also willing to adopt Gen. Pershing’s method of using bullets dipped in pig’s blood, which quickly ended the war between the Americans and Moros during the early 20th century.
In light of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s threat on your desire for the Philippines to extract natural resources from the disputed West Philippine Sea, that “if you force the issue, we will go to war,” I must invoke the authority of Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio. He states that “the threat of China to go to war against the Philippines if the Philippines extracts oil and gas in the Reed Bank, or in any area within Philippine EEZ in the West Philippine Sea, is a gross violation of the United Nations Charter, UNCLOS, and the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia to which China and the Philippines are parties.”
That is why, Mr. President, I implore you to discuss this issue with Pres. Trump. After all, the U.S. also has a strategic interest in maritime security and maintaining freedom of navigation along the West Philippine Sea, which is one of the reasons Pres. Trump seeks to scale up the American navy.
Mr. President, it is indisputable that America’s military is the most powerful in the world, and wherein the U.S. refrained from full scale war, it has maintained a fairly stabilizing counter balance against hegemons like Russia and China. In fact, just a few days ago, a U.S. warship sailed within 12 nautical miles of Mischief Reef unimpeded by China—a deliberate attempt to demonstrate that “Mischief Reef is not entitled to its own territorial sea regardless of whether an artificial island has been built on top of it.” Indeed, according to Justice Carpio, “the Philippines must strengthen its alliance with the United States, the only country with whom the Philippines has a mutual defense treaty.” Even the astute patriot whom you called “President Gordon” concurs on utilizing the presence of American troops in order to develop a “strong and credible defense capability.”
However, as we await the fortification of that alliance, Justice Carpio advises that the Philippines “bring China’s threat of war to another UNCLOS arbitral tribunal, to secure an order directing China to comply with the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral tribunal that declared the Reed Bank part of Philippine EEZ.” He added that the “Philippines can also ask for damages for every day of delay that the Philippines is prevented by China from exploiting Philippine EEZ.”
In following Justice Carpio’s lead, I also recommend that you persuade the U.S. to declare Panatag Shoal (universally known as Scarborough Shoal) as part of Philippine territory, which would protect it under the Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty. Such action would add clarity for legal ramifications, since the shoal was known to be under Philippine jurisdiction as early as the American colonial period. The Japanese did precisely that with their Senkaku islands , which the U.S. declared as part of Japan’s territory for purposes of the U.S.-Japan Mutual Defense Treaty.
Meanwhile, Mr. President, you can send the Philippine Navy to patrol Panatag Shoal. Should China stage an attack on any of our vessels, you can invoke the Mutual Defense Treaty, since it covers armed attacks on such vessels. Of course, that would prompt the U.S. Navy to intervene.
I also recommend, Mr. President, that you express to Pres. Trump your gratitude for America’s contributions to our country’s welfare, including being an old, reliable ally whose troops fought alongside our troops against the Japanese invaders during World War II, providing foreign aid (in the form of funding, disaster relief supplies and manpower, and military assets and training), and U.S. legislation that currently supplements the income of our World War II veterans (in addition to their compensation by our own government).
The Oldest Philippine Alliance
Mr. President, Gen. Douglas MacArthur is one of Pres. Trump’s favorite commanders. That is why I also urge you to give him a tour of the Leyte Landing Memorial Park, which is adorned by the American icon’s statue next to Pres. Sergio Osmena’s. Perhaps such a setting would be appropriate to even hold a press conference wherein you can announce the fortification of Philippine-U.S. relations.
MacArthur Landing Memorial Park
I recommend the announcement be made on June 12, which is shortly upcoming and a historical date. Indeed, it is the day Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo declared our country’s independence from Spain in 1898, for which a war by both Americans and Filipinos was fought. Such a chosen time for the announcement would certainly send a chilling message to imperial China on their limits vis-á-vis a powerful, ironclad ally.
In conclusion, Mr. President, I welcome you forging new alliances with other countries. However, new and dubious allies are no substitute for a single, loyal ally, especially since that ally according to Justice Carpio, is the “only one power on earth that can stop the Chinese and that’s the U.S.” With that said, America is our greatest ally and an invaluable asset in combating Islamic terrorism and keeping China restrained. Moreover, the world will respect us, and our enemies will fear us. Thus, it would serve our country’s best interest to take full advantage of this opportunity.
Mr. President, I appreciate your service to our country and to our countrymen and look forward to the day when peace and order will be restored, federalism will take effect, our economy will grow at record levels, and our country will reach first world status. May you have a successful presidency.
Marcial Bonifacio Nagagalak akong malaman iyan, kaibigan ko. I must admit I was pretty restrained dahil sa directly addressing Duterte. 🙂 Marahil his surrogates may read it and bring it to his attention. LikeShow more reactions · Reply · 1 · May 30 at 1:28am
Marlene Damolo Howe I agree with Pres. Duterte’s declaration of Martial Law in Mindanao in order to bring back law and order for the safety of the residents. The president has been fighting enemies from all fronts, both foreign and domestic. So Martial Law is sometimes necessary. Your suggestions are sensible and doable. But I can also understand where Pres. Duterte is coming from as far as working diplomatically with China and Russia, the two other superpowers adversarial to the United Sates. It doesn’t mean that he abandons the country’s alliance with the U.S., but only to explore diplomatic relationships with the other two since the Philippines is in a precarious situation and having very little resources for defense. The U.S. has a vested interests in the Philippines geographical location to keep navigation passage free in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea, and China’s interest in the Philippines is for its agressive “expansionism” agenda. China claims that ALL of South China Seas is hers, regardless of the UNCLOS provision of 200 nautical miles EEZ.
So what does a Philippine president has to do? Pres. Duterte is a smart strategist. He has a history of outsmarting his detractors being street smart and pragmatic. After previous American president (Barack Obama) tried to undermine his presidency, Pres. Duterte moved to seek “diplomatic” alliance elsewhere. Hence, the two other superpowers, Russia and China. It puts America on notice! But Pres. Trump is NOT Barack Obama. He is not an ideologue but a PRAGMATIST that only wants to do what’s best for America. And that means, WORKING WITH ALLIES and gain their trust. Under Barack Obama, OUR ALLIES NO LONGER TRUSTED US AND OUR ENEMIES DIDN’T FEAR US. Presidents Trump and Duterte have the same goal for their respective countries, to make it a better place where people are free to live their lives as they see fit and in peace. They had a good rapport when they talked while the opposite is true with Barack Obama.
So I hope that President Duterte will get your message and take your suggestions in consideration. We all want peace and better Philippines. So I hope that the self-serving obstructionists and disruptors will cease in their undermining the Duterte presidency and instead, help the president succeed in his efforts to combat the BAD ELEMENTS befalling our country; corruption, war on drugs and terrorism.
Marcial Bonifacio Magandang punto, kaibigang Marlene! Notwithstanding your points that Duterte is a smart strategist, I concur with everything else. Naisip ko impulsive at short-sighted si Duterte dahil he forged ties with Russia and China before consulting with Trump or Clinton tungkol sa paksang Panatag Shoal and their economic policy. Even before the U.S. presidential election was over in November of 2016, he could have ascertained both candidate’s proposals. If Obama were serving longer, then I might have some sympathy for Duterte’s decision. Gayunman, even then, it seems that Duterte may have been bent on forging new alliances just to spite the U.S. I have pointed out his anti- American inclination sa huling paliwanag ko titled “Digong is no Dick”:
Although Duterte has given mixed signals about his position on America and so-called “independent foreign policy” with other countries, his numerous rants and actions indicate he is, indeed, anti-American. For example, Duterte prompted the Supreme Court to deliberate on the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), in spite of its benefit to RP. He said that 2016 would be the last year the Philippines would participate in joint military patrols and exercises with the U.S., although he recently requested China’s assistance in sea patrolling as a pre-emptive measure against piracy. Duterte has constantly condemned the U.S. for the atrocities of the Bud Dajo Massacre in 1906, prompting former Pres. Fidel Ramos to characterize such anti-colonial thinking as “20th-century thinking” from which we must detach ourselves.Furthermore, Duterte has shifted RP’s arms supply source from the U.S. to Russia and China, in spite of what political scientist Richard Heydarian addresses as “problems with configuration” in which it could take “years for the Philippines’ army to reorient itself with new technology. ”https://www.marcialslaw.com/digong-is-no-dick-dick-gordon…/
Gayunpaman, sana Duterte will heed Carpio’s advice. Gayunman in so doing, he will have to strain ties with China to some extent, but he will regain some credibility for finally defending Panatag Shoal.
Jocel Mendoza I am one with the President. If the people who actually live in Mindanao support the declaration of Martial Law, why complain when we are not the one caught in war? Peace talks didn’t work and the enemies here are terrorists, we cannot talk sense to these people. Those who are against ML fear of power getting abused, but that is why the 1987 Constitution imposes limits to prevent it from happening. Martial Law then is different from Martial Law now.
Turning to Russia and China I think is the President’s way of bringing balance to Asia and neutralizing the tension in the region. We are not in the best position to declare war. Why would we fight China when even the US won’t. The most viable solution in the sea conflict – joint exploration. LikeShow more reactions · Reply · 2 · May 31 at 2:00amRemove
Marcial Bonifacio Kaibigang Jocel, sang-ayon ako sa punto mo ng martial law—that the 1987 Constitution has safeguards which differentiate it from the previous one. Gayunman, Duterte did not make such a distinction. Sa kabilang banda, sabi niya, “Martial law is martial law. So to my countrymen, you have experienced martial law. Ito, it would not be any different from what the President Marcos did. I’d be harsh.” Fortunately, Duterte’s surrogates have attempted to walk such statements back and make the distinctions which you made. Aside from using martial law for quelling Islamic terrorism, he should do so to neutralize the NPA as well, since peace talks with them have also failed.
Tungkol sa paksang bagong alliances, Duterte is not helpless in defending Panatag Shoal. The Mutual Defense Treaty obligates the U.S. to engage in war should RP’s navy vessels get attacked by China. SC Justice Antonio Carpio has even stressed that sa sulat ko. Gayunpaman, Duterte would set a good example for the other ASEAN members with similar disputes dahil RP’s sovereignty is legal sa pamamagitan ng ruling ng Permanent Arbitration Court.
Marcial BonifacioI have tweeted this letter to Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana, Foreign Affairs Sec. Alan Cayetano, the DOJ,the Philippine Coast Guard, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Sen. Richard Gordon, and even Mocha Uson. Hopefully, Ines, they all will understand the significance of America’s alliance and will try to persuade the President.
USA is our true ally – from World War II to present. There are thousands of Fil-Ams in the US Armed forces- from the lower ranks to the highest ranks. Thousands of Fil-Am families in US. How many Filipinos in PLA? Probably none. Free speech in USA allows Fil-Ams to lobby and represent the Philippines in economic, political and social issues. If only Filipinos think like the Japanese, Japan was nuked twice, was an enemy of both US and CHINA, but the WISE Japanese chose USA. USA will help protect RP than Red CHINA. Red China is making RP their FRONTLINE BATTLEGROUND. We will be like Tibet and N. Korea. Red CHina is bringing the war to the Philippines WHETHER FILIPINOS will fight or not fight. Filipinos might as well fight with a strong ally and closer ally – USA. Filipinos have NO VOICE in RED CHINA!
Marcial BonifacioExcellent points, Thor! What’s ironic is that, as I pointed out in my last commentary, Duterte “has defied all conventional logic by shifting loyalty from an old, reliable ally—sharing similar ideals and aspects of civil liberties, human rights, democracy, and military culture— to a hegemonic, dubious foe—sharing no such ideals or cultural facets.”
My friends and countrymen, ever since Rodrigo Duterte entered the presidential race in 2016, some of his most fervent supporters, including some of my esteemed colleagues, have held him with such high regard tantamount even to their high regard for Sen. Richard Gordon. In fact, many voted for both public servants believing they would be an ideal tandem, one for president and the other for senator. Many of our citizens who voted for Duterte in the 2016 presidential election are the same ones who voted for Gordon in his 2010 presidential race.
Perhaps such electoral behavior is due to the perception that they both are “no-nonsense,” maverick leaders, who “think outside the box.” Hence, it is indubitable that they would govern similarly, if not identically. However, such a conclusion has little basis in fact, considering their views, policies, and overall knowledge differ drastically. Please allow me to illustrate.
On the issue of the drug epidemic, Duterte seems content in executing his plans by literally executing people—drug lords and addicts—just as he did as mayor of Davao City. He has even encouraged civilians to follow his lead, whereby he would give them a medal or cash in return. “If you know of any addict,” stated Duterte, “go ahead and kill them yourself as getting their parents to do it would be too painful.” Duterte has reiterated to the PNP (Philippine National Police) that he would take the fall for any policeman prosecuted for “doing his duty,” even to the point of incarceration.
Gordon, on the other hand, has a comprehensive approach to the drug problem. For instance, since China has failed to effectively enforce its anti-drug smuggling laws, he suggests they be condemned. “We should shame China,” advises Gordon, “They’re not only taking our land. They’re also bringing in drugs to our country.” He urges the Foreign Affairs Department to “launch a strong protest” against the imperial power.
Additionally, Gordon proposes that schools provide highly trained guidance counselors and facilitate active Parents-Teachers Associations in order to detect and prevent potential drug addicts. He supports the establishment of village watch groups that would coordinate with the police and has been proven to be effective in Olongapo City under his mayorship. Gordon also proposes establishing police courts for handling drug-related crime and extrajudicial killing cases and body cameras for the police to promote transparency.
Upon the event of extrajudicial killings, he proposes the immediate suspension or dismissal of all policemen involved, just as he initiated as mayor. I might add that as an infrastructure project and extra border security, the Philippines can emulate American Pres. Donald Trump’s proposal of erecting a “wall” for which China will pay, but I digress. 🙂
American Foreign Policy
Although Duterte has given mixed signals about his position on America and so-called “independent foreign policy” with other countries, his numerous rants and actions indicate he is, indeed, anti-American. For example, Duterte prompted the Supreme Court to deliberate on the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), in spite of its benefit to RP. He said that 2016 would be the last year the Philippines would participate in joint military patrols and exercises with the U.S., although he recently requested China’s assistance in sea patrolling as a pre-emptive measure against piracy. Duterte has constantly condemned the U.S. for the atrocities of the Bud Dajo Massacre in 1906, prompting former Pres. Fidel Ramos to characterize such anti-colonial thinking as “20th-century thinking” from which we must detach ourselves.
Furthermore, Duterte has shifted RP’s arms supply source from the U.S. to Russia and China, in spite of what political scientist Richard Heydarian addresses as “problems with configuration” in which it could take “years for the Philippines’ army to reorient itself with new technology.”
He did all this in spite of the 70-year alliance in which the Americans fought alongside our countrymen against the Japanese imperialists during World War II, invested billions of dollars in private capital (much of it accounting for a booming BPO industry), defended RP’s right to use arbitration for maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea, and has provided foreign aid in the form of disaster relief goods and services and military equipment and training against Islamic terrorists.
I have yet to mention the billions of dollars of remittances from American OFWs (which comprise approximately 43% of total remittances). Does this sound like Duterte merely seeks an independent foreign policy, or does this manifest his entrenched animosity towards the U.S.?
Gordon, on the other hand, has consistently supported the U.S. as early as his Olongapo mayorship. He vehemently defended the U.S. Bases Treaty in 1991 as well as EDCA. In an interview during his 2013 senatorial run, when asked if he supported EDCA, he responded, “EDCA, yeah. Our air force is all air and no force.” More recently, Gordon pointed out that “Japan and South Korea have used the US military bases there as their defense umbrella, while they funneled resources to rebuild their ravaged economy to build up their society to first world status” and that RP “must do the same.”
On the issue of Panatag Shoal, a Pulse Asia survey (taken Dec. 6-11, 2016) shows that 84% of its participants want the government to uphold the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), favoring RP’s claim and invalidating China’s nine-dash line as contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Perhaps that is why many cheered at Duterte’s proclamation that he would jet ski all the way to the disputed territory on which he would plant the Philippine flag. However, since he has forged an alliance with imperial China, he has refrained from discussing the matter with them. Instead they discussed trade deals, financial aid, and arms supplies.
Though Philippine fishermen are now able to return due to China’s permission—not its acknowledgement of the PCA ruling, which Rep. Tomasito Villarin says will “subject us to international ridicule”—RP appears to be China’s lapdog. How ironic considering Duterte, in condemnation of America, clearly stated, “I am not a tuta (lapdog) of any country!” Even more perplexing is that about 55% of our countrymen have “little trust” in China, according to an SWS poll. Indeed, Duterte has not only contradicted himself and thwarted the will of the people, he has defied all conventional logic by shifting loyalty from an old, reliable ally—sharing similar ideals and aspects of civil liberties, human rights, democracy, and military culture— to a hegemonic, dubious foe—sharing no such ideals or cultural facets.
The U.S. has already hinted that it will make preparations to block China, if it continues militarizing Panatag Shoal. However, Duterte still refuses to collaborate in defending RP’s legal claim. Gordon called such neglect of the PCA’s ruling “dangerous because anytime you have a claim, you must assert it,” and “if China steps on Scarborough Shoals, that is a red line and we’ll have to fight.” He also agrees with Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio that, “if Duterte concedes sovereignty, it is a culpable violation of the Constitution, a ground for impeachment.”
With such a serious charge pending, what could be the rationale for such illogical behavior? Is Duterte simply focused on the economic bounty RP will derive from China in exchange for Panatag Shoal? Perhaps I can appropriately adapt Mark 8:36 as “For what shall it profit a nation to gain the whole spectrum of prosperity (in banana exportation, increased tourism, financial aid for infrastructure, and foreign direct investments) but lose its own sovereignty?”
On the death penalty, Duterte seeks to reimpose it. Gordon opposes it on the grounds that it violates international conventions to which RP has agreed and the risk of mistaken identity. In fact, the Free Legal Assistance Group conducted a research study in 2004, which revealed that “71 percent of death sentences handed down by trial courts were wrongfully imposed.” The same study also showed that “70 percent of the 1,021 inmates on death row earned less than P10,000,” essentially indicating the death penalty to be anti-poor.
On the economy, Duterte styles himself a “socialist” and the “first left president of the Philippines.” As I pointed out in my commentary titled “My Concerns about a Duterte Presidency,” Duterte has been sympathetic to the communists and has offered them Cabinet positions in his administration. While it is uncertain whether or not he himself is a communist—especially since he recently rebranded the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as a “terrorist group” and declared an “all out war” against them after breaking a ceasefire—he has not replaced his appointees, three of whom are from the National Democratic Front (NDF) and one (Leonicio Evasco Jr) of whom is from the New People’s Army (NPA) and currently supervises 18 Cabinet agencies.
There are various theories from renowned commentators on the matter, and I am open to any and all of them without a firm conviction as of yet. For example, many people think that Duterte has appointed communists to his Cabinet in an effort to make peace after 50 years of enmity. Perhaps, but following that logic, should he not also include members of the Abu Sayyaf, ISIS, and Maute terrorist groups, since they are equal adversaries of the state?
Some think that since the founding chairman of the CPP, Jose Sison, was Duterte’s close friend and political science professor at the Lyceum of the Philippines, they are simpatico in their vision of a communist RP. Others, like political columnist Francisco Tatad, speculate a grand scheme is at play in which Evasco is behind the peace talks of the CPP, NPA, and NDF for the “eventual communization of the Philippine government.”
However, some even believe that the current war on the NPA establishes a predicate for Duterte to declare martial law, since the communist movement can be construed as a rebellion, especially since they recently broke the ceasefire by killing some AFP members. That may explain why he has visited various military camps throughout RP in order to garner support for such a drastic measure.
In spite of Duterte’s dubious intentions and association with communists, Gordon’s economic platform is pro-growth and pro-free trade. His legislation proposals include lowering taxes, increasing savings and investments, and enabling entrepreneurs to be more competitive with big corporations for government contracts. Gordon has frequently condemned government handouts as merely a Band-Aid solution to a deeper problem, which he says will only perpetuate “the attitude of mendicancy among our people” as has been the case “over the last four centuries or so.”
In speech, Duterte is impulsively forthright, vulgar, and excessively foul-mouthed. Indeed, such ostensibly undiplomatic verbiage has had national and international repercussions that have been adverse and the subject of universal media scrutiny. Although a few of his spokesmen have publicly dismissed Duterte’s crude remarks as mere hyperbole or public misperception, “perception can be more damaging than reality” as Gordon pointed out.
On Duterte’s offensive remarks, Gordon insists “we have to protect the country from bad statements, and the President has the duty to be a statesman.” As for his most frequently used expletive, Gordon suggests Duterte “not be heard saying all bad words” lest RP’s new tourism slogan be “Welcome to the PI” or “Wow PI.” Even Donald Trump has displayed more oratorical discipline, since his election as president to the astonishment of many, including myself.
In contrast to Duterte’s unrefined oratory, Gordon’s is forthright but professional, eloquent, and with scholarship—in a word, most presidential. View the following speech in which he presents his perspective on reopening the senatorial probe into the alleged Davao Death Squad with new testimony from Senior Police Officer 3 Arthur Lascañas. Observe his diplomacy in articulating his disagreement with some of his senatorial colleagues. Was he effective in conveying his points without using expletives?
Although Duterte’s public service and patriotic achievements (as prosecutor and 22-year mayor) cannot be denied due credit, they were largely confined to Davao City and its residents. However, as president, I must at least credit him for persuading more than 700,000 drug-related criminals to surrender themselves to the proper authorities. However, it can be disputed that the drug epidemic is simply the symptom or consequence of the more profound problems of psychological instability, poverty, and corruption, and should thus not be considered such an impactful achievement for the country as a whole.
After all, a liberal measure of the number of drug users is calculated to be a mere 4.74%, which is below the global average of 5.2%. Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank rates the poverty level at a whopping 25%. Should not the “war on poverty” be prioritized over the “war on drugs”? Would it not be more laudable, if Duterte contributed more to job creation, expanding the tax base, and creating prosperity—which could decrease drug abuse—not to mention would have preserved the lives of the 7,000 killed suspects in the drug war?
Gordon’s public service is far more diverse and has profoundly impacted the entire country. For example, he was a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, authored the Automated Elections Law as a senator, and has helped save the countless lives of natural disaster victims as a Red Cross volunteer for nearly 50 years. Hence, while Duterte may have contributed to the safety and prosperity of Davao City, Gordon was instrumental in framing the supreme law of our country, modernizing and automating the electoral process in order to curb voter fraud, and helping create prosperity for the whole Philippines in the tourism industry.
By now, it should be ostensible that Duterte and Gordon would govern very differently because they are very different public servants with different views on different issues, some of which are in direct contradiction. If the name, “Digong,” were partially covered in such a way that only the first two letters, “Di,” could be seen, it may be innocently misconstrued as “Dick.” However, such an error could easily be prevented by simply viewing all the alphabetical letters as a whole, just as we should examine all our public servants in their totality before electing them into office.
In conclusion, friends and countrymen, I submit that Rodrigo Duterte may be the first Mindanaon president of the Philippines, a former prosecutor and 22-year Davao City mayor, whose voice mesmerizes his admirers and strikes fear into the hearts of drug lords. He may even be a maverick with drastic policy proposals and changes, which contradict conventional norms and even tradition. Perhaps Duterte has a genuinely pure heart, good intentions, and is very passionate about our country as well as our countrymen. Indeed, Digong may be a hero to many people, but he is certainly no Dick . . . Dick Gordon, that is.
Marcial Bonifacio The comparison shows the difference between Gordon and Duterte in general and in their approach to China in particular. While the former would stand up to them, the latter has sacrificed our sovereignty to them, Josephus, which is an impeachable offense. Like· Reply · March 8 at 8:58pm
Marcial Bonifacio Talaga, Alwyn? Name one policy in which they agree. I have pointed out several in which they are in direct opposition. Tungkol sa gobyerno ng ating bayan, alam mo ng mga accomplishments ni Gordon. Gayunman, Duterte’s only national impact has been in the drug war. Even then, as I pointed out sa paliwanag ko, that has little effect on poverty, unemployment, or development.
Also, the future of our country seems bleak when the President cannot even protect our sovereignty sa Panatag Shoal. Sa kabilang banda, he has sold it for China’s money. That was one of the key issues I pointed out, wherein Gordon and Duterte disagree. Like· Reply · March 8 at 7:50pm · Edited
Alwyn Balingit I cannot list and paste everything here, but you can scour the Richard Gordon FB Page, all posts that are supportive of Duterte. And yeah, while they have things that they agree on, there are also things they disagree about, for example, yung pag-away noon ni Duterte kay Obama. Like· Reply · March 8 at 8:44pm
Marcial Bonifacio Please post the link sa Gordon’s FB page here, para I can check it. Tungkol kay Obama, that is probably the one thing wherein I disagree with Gordon sa kasamaang-palad. Are you referring to Chicago, Alwyn? Like· Reply · March 8 at 9:52pm
To those who wish to bring the President down, a word of caution, just because you say it, it doesnt mean it’s the truth.
You need evidence. It must be proven. Proof is not spoken, it is shown.
To the President, I say once again, loose lips sink ships. Make your actions speak louder than your words.
Like· Reply · March 8 at 10:15pm Marcial Bonifacio Salamat, kaibigan ko, para sa mga links. While Gordon may appear supportive of Duterte, meron mga ambiguities. Halimbawa, when Gordon says, “If we want our country to succeed, we need our president to succeed,” he is making a general statement that the president and the other branches of government need to work coherently. It is Gordon’s way of trying to unify the people behind Duterte in so far as everything he does is lawful and constitutional. Like· Reply · March 11 at 2:51pm
Marcial Bonifacio Gayunman, sa specific, major policies, I have listed several quotes from Gordon indicating clear opposition to Duterte. Halimbawa, sa China, Duterte coddles them, nguni’t sabi ni Gordon RP should fight them.
Sa Amerika, Duterte constantly reiterates the Bud Dajo Massacre, which happened more than a century ago, before Obama was born. That means anti-Amerika siya. Gordon has only blamed Obama specifically, but he has openly embraced America’s alliance, even since he was Olongapo mayor.Sa Panatag Shoal, Duterte appears disinterested. Gordon wants RP to assert its legal claim ayon sa ruling ng international tribunal. He even goes as far as stating that not asserting RP’s claim could be an impeachable offense.Anong palagay mo, kaibigang Alwyn? Like· Reply · March 11 at 4:07pm · Edited
Emma Morgan I rather to see Gordon as a president, he is true to his job, never get involved with any corruption, killing etc. This is the person should lead the country not someone who’s been involved with massacre. Like· Reply · March 7 at 11:57pm Gilbert Menchu Its much better if Gordon is President.He knows better what our peoples need.They need descent job and money if we want our people lives a better life they need a better job.Other things changed automatically. Like· Reply · March 8 at 6:45pm · Edited
Like· Reply · March 7 at 6:49pm Jeffry Dy Very long analysis and well yeah different styles,different leaderships and oh boy at times pres.is pro China which is something Both us and phl leaders need to talk bout since they support one another although i disagree w the vulgar rant there. Sometimes it has to and he understands the frustrations of everyone around us thristy for a real Change something no ordinary leader has done.So yeah great points and excellent view Like· Reply · March 7 at 7:24pm · Edited
Jeffry Dy Also on the ejk part on digong its all pure exagerration and all bs when did the media ever find any figures on 7,000 plus when in our normal lives everybody does the crime everyday and that’s a fact.
My estimates on the so called ejk is massively lower than that and this whole sherade on him a dictator and all that is plain wooey.If hes ever like that would u think for once social media or all the modern things u need are still exist??Think bout that even hypocrites are ranting it out on digong too I call it smarks for all i care.
I can smell the party of digong resign right bout now hypocrites want him that.
Marcial Bonifacio Salamat, Jeffry. Actually, I did not plan for my commentary to be this long. However, as new developments occurred, I had to update it. Anyway, I do appreciate Duterte’s aggressiveness and political will, but I think he should direct them against China and the NPA. Those are the real threats to RP, since they undermine our sovereignty and ability to govern pursuant to democratic ideals.
Of course 7,000 killings is only an approximation of the total number of victims of the drug war. The conventional estimate of police killings is about half, while the other half is likely due to vigilantes and other drug-related criminals. However, don’t you think that if Gordon were president, that number would be drastically reduced?
Marcial Bonifacio Perhaps, Hill, but there is a political remedy to deal with LP. The violent nature of the NPA and imperialism of China can only be remedied by force, not appeasement as is Duterte’s way. Indeed, If he used the same fervor as he does with the drug lords, China would think twice before infringing on our sovereignty. Recall that even you started an FB group promoting the boycott of Chinese products kanina, hindi ba? Like· Reply · March 8 at 2:27pm · Edited
Marcial Bonifacio I definitely agree that both are forthright, abrasive, and perhaps, no-nonsense in their approach. However, their differences are not confined exclusively to their oratory, but extends to their policies as well. For example, they are in direct opposition on American foreign policy, death penalty, and Panatag Shoal, Melchor. Like· Reply · March 8 at 9:22pm
Sari Aya Malaya Certainly, Digong is no Dick and will never be. Sen. Dick Gordon is Pro-Life, Pro-Peace and Pro-Constitution. Digong is the exact opposite. Kudos to the PR and marketing geniuses who made and repackaged him during the time when Davao was an experimental area of the left. They made him look and sound “cool” especially to the business sector and from then on he made history. But they should had known any better. They may had put Davao on the business map but on one end, created a Frankenstein called Duterte. Frankenstein in contemporary debates on bioethics provided lessons which are seemingly clear: don’t play God, don’t over-reach, don’t unleash uncontrollable forces, don’t treat humans as material, don’t act alone. Such a fitting metaphor for an empowered, unfeeling man who decides on the life and death of his so called “masters”, the ordinary citizenry over allegations of illegal drug use. He put too much attention to the war on drugs and criminality, but where are the big fishes? What about our war on poverty? Our security from external threats? We need real and tangible government policies that will help us in our day to day struggle for survival. Like· Reply · March 15 at 3:02am · Edited
Marcial Bonifacio Frankenstein, indeed? Hahaha! That’s the first time I’ve heard anyone refer to Duterte as such, Sari. However, using your analogy, I don’t think his supporters see him as a monster. On the contrary, they see him as ridding RP of monsters (drug lords and drug addicts), although there are mass casualties as well, which Duterte’s undiplomatic rhetoric masks.
I don’t think he expended much effort or money in his presidential campaign. Instead, I think he acted naturally, which is what caused much of what Gordon called “noise” and gained him so much media coverage. He basically capitalized on the people’s frustration with traditional politicians, spoke his mind unencumbered, and many of our kababayans took solace in him as a “different” type of public servant, much like Donald Trump in America.
I infer that Duterte’s assertiveness on the drug-related criminals, his unrefined oratory, and his perception as a non-traditional politician are what mesmerize his supporters, even to the point that they are so distracted from other issues of significance as you pointed out. Unfortunately, many of the people who voted for Gordon in the 2010 presidential election paradoxically voted for Duterte last year. I view that as our country transitioning from progress to regression.
Sari Aya MalayaHis supporters are bunch of hypocrites. They see the truth, know the truth but still choose to believe the lies his strategies have deeply embedded in their systems. Duterte is a masterful tactician and strategist. His Opening Strategy. Remember how everyone was in suspense until he delivered his coup de grace? His middlegame Strategy. How he uses his weakness as his strength, his cursing and the deliberate showcase of his rough edges. And his Endgame Strategy, the very popular “you can oust me if I abuse power”.
Two things though, first, our nation is teeming with patsies, he capitalizes on their vulnerabilities, thirst for change and ignorance. Second, our nation losts its moral ascendancy. He is destroying the moral fabric of this nation and making us rise against each other. He broadened the gap of division and misunderstanding among Filipinos than bridging it. Worse is, most Filipinos consented on it, in fact, applauded it.
They have not realized that this is all about “brand-is-crisis’ strategy, the political landscape are made to keep shifting, ever changing. The powers of the State apparatus are made to be trained at moving, unstable targets, for the President to be the first to call it a crisis, then he becomes a hero, instantly seen to be part of the solution itself. This strategy is traditionally effective in keeping leaders in power. Crisis branding is supply-driven rhetoric. Now, for instance, it’s focused on illegal drugs then illegal gambling – then his political imagination would be limitless.
They keep on saying they are the majority but the truth is that they are just loud. Noise is essential and is used for the purpose of deflecting attention to an imagined hot button issue while the proponent quietly works upon another.
Crisis branding can be an effective political campaign strategy because it draws power from frightening people, but it has no place in day-to-day governance. What we need today is to maintain respect, implement policies that ooze with common sense, and take a long-term orientation in regional stability and cooperation.
Marcial BonifacioExcellent points, Sari! Another name for what you described is the “politics of fear.” I just watched Duterte speak at the First General Assembly of League of Municipalities. He had a 2-minute speech already prepared, but discarded it and decided to speak for more than an hour about killing drug lords again. He even displayed another list of drug-related criminals.
I noticed a few people in his audience were dozing off. Perhaps they were bored or intoxicated themselves in preparation for Duterte’s usual speech.
When he said he does not think of himself as a president, but as a mayor, I thought that is precisely his problem. He is using his limited, parochial perspective for a post that requires a broader, national perspective. For a city and a mayor, perhaps the drug epidemic was a necessary focal point, but the country as a whole has other, more urgent concerns as poverty, unemployment, and the specter of China’s intrusion on our sovereignty.
Doray Ramon Inayinay Simple lang yan. Ang mga Hindi adik nakakatulog Na ng mahimbjng sa Gabi. Sorry Na lang sa mga kapitalistang di nakakapang gago ng ordinaryong pinoy. Like· Reply · March 14 at 6:33pm Evangeline Mejia sa lahat ng analysis nyo kay duterte at sa problema ng kung ano anong salot na nangyayari sa bansang Pilipinas, mayroon bang pangulo o kung sino man sa taga panguna natin na nagbigay ng kalutasan ? WALA PA, at ngayon na merong pangulo na kahit papaano may ginagawa pra kahit papaano ay malutas o papunta sa kalutasan ay kung ano anong analogy o katawagan ang ibinabansag sa kanya, pati mga supporters nya ay kung ano anong masasamang tawag ang inila-label nyo sa kanila, magaling lang kayong mag-analysis at magsalita ng English pero wala din naman kayong ginagawa pra sa bansa, for all you know itong Sari na ito ay hindi naman Pilipino pero parang alam na alam ang kalagayan ng Pilipinas pero hindi naman, baka naman in your perspective lang Sari ang tingin mo sa lahat…baka ikaw ang hypocrite kasi ang galing mong magbigay ng pagsusuri sa iisang side, hay naku, panay na lang kayo analysis …ano kaya ang maitutulong nyo sa PILIPINAS? Like· Reply · March 14 at 7:40pm · Edited Sari Aya Malaya Mawalang galang na po, Ginang Mejia, pinoy na pinoy po ako. Wala po akong ni isang patak na dugong banyaga. Tubong Batangas at Bulacan po ako. Nakapangibambansa man po ako ng ilang beses, di ko iwinaglit ni minsan ang pagka Pilipino ko. Magaling lang po talaga siguro akong magmasid at kumilatis ng kabalintunaan at kasinungalingan. Gising po ang diwa at mulat ang mga mata ko sa bawat hinaing, paglibak at pagkabigo ng ating mga kababayan. Araw araw po akong nakikipagsiksikan sa MRT, lumalanghap ng maitim na usok ng EDSA at nagpapakasaya sa isang tuhog ng kwek kwek sa paanan ng tulay ng Boni. Isa po akong buhay na saksi sa bawat pagbabagong nagaganap sa bayan natin. Isa po akong payak na manggagawa, na halos kalahati ng kita ko ay kinaltas para sa buwis. Aba, malaking halaga na rin po yun dahil labingwalong taong gulang pa lang ako nang maging kapakipakinabang na akong mamamayan. Lumalaban po ako nang parehas at hindi po ako nanlalamang ng kapwa. Hindi man po ako nabigyan ng pagkakataong maglingkod sa bayan gaya ni Duterte, ang maliliit na ambag kong tulong sa sambayanan ay malayo-layo na rin ang narating. Hangad ko lang pong gisingin ang diwa ng mga kababayan kong tila himbing pa sa uyayi ng mga mapagbalatkayong ugoy ng pagsasamantala. Turuan silang maging mapanuri. Kilalanin ang totoong naglilingkod sa bayan, gawing huwaran si Sen. Gordon at magsilbing pamantayan ng isang magaling na namumuno. Like· Reply · March 14 at 9:55pm
Marcial Bonifacio I appreciate and understand your perspective, Evangeline, kaibigan ko, and I have been observing Duterte for eight months now. If, as you say, Gordon is not perfect, then Duterte falls far below mediocrity.
Please understand that I am only being objective in comparing the two public servants based on their policy positions and even according to Gordon’s own criticism of Duterte. Therefore, my premise that they would both govern very differently and even in opposition to each other, is factually based.
For example, I have pointed out numerously that Duterte’s neglect of defending Panatag Shoal violates the sovereignty clause of the Constitution, and is an impeachable offense. Even Gordon acknowledges that as should my esteemed colleagues of law, Atty Taipan Millan, Jose Camano, Gretchen Mae Ortega, Alexander Yalung, and Lester Nazarene Ople. This is the most important issue for me, since one of the primary functions of government is to protect the sovereignty of its territory.
If the President fails to perform such a fundamental function, then anything else he does is in vain. It is analogous to having all the prosperity in the world, except you are someone’s servant. It appears that is precisely the position that Duterte has put the Philippines in with China.
Gordon, on the other hand, would never let that happen as president. He has even said that RP would have to engage in war over Panatag Shoal in order to assert its rights. Why would any of our kababayans support Duterte’s position over Gordon’s? This is a sincere question, kaibigan ko.
Like· Reply · March 18 at 5:36pm · Edited Marcial Bonifacio Also, I did give Duterte credit for “persuading” more than 700,000 drug-related criminals to surrender. However, I also mentioned that drug abuse is about 4.74%, which is below the global average of 5%, while the poverty rate is about 25%. As a simple man, I can’t help but wonder why Duterte has prioritized drug addiction over job creation. Does that seem logical to you? Do you really think Gordon would do the same as president? This is another sincere question, kaibigang Evangeline. Like·Reply · March 16 at 5:56pm Philip BasilioMarcial Bonifacio Senator Gordon is much deferent I work with him when he is the mayor of olongapo Like· Reply · March 16 at 6:06pm Evangeline Mejia kaibigang marcial,I agree and I must say that Gordon would indeed govern differently if not better, pero kasi hindi siya ang presidente ngayon kya sana tumakbo siya sa susunod at alam ko na ang mga pinoy, including me ,ay susuportahan siya… Like· Reply · March 16 at 7:22pm Evangeline MejiaSari Aya Malaya , ganun din naman ako SAri , pero nga kasi, walang maitutulong sa bansa natin ang mga negatibong batikos, lalo na pag ang mga supporters nya ang pinagsabihan mo ng masakit na salita, it would only create division,katulad mo din sila na umaasa ng pagbabago, sabihin mo man na nagbubulagbulagan which I think not (,hindi ako supporter nya, I didn’t vote for him), pero I think with all the crime and corruption in the country, we become an evil nation, so to speak kaya we deserve such president, we can only give him the chance to do whatever it takes to propel the country in a better state … Like· Reply · March 16 at 7:31pm Sari Aya Malaya I admire your patriotism, Evangeline. We may not see eye to eye with Duterte but we, undeniably, agree to support Sen. Gordon as he endeavors to take the country back to every Filipino, from the system or economy that has been rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful. We need his strong leadership to unify the country, to take the country to where it’s supposed to be.
Filipino people, per se, are not divided. Diversity in religion, political beliefs and other practices are the freedoms we enjoy under a vibrant democracy. It is our leaders and policy makers who are divided and can’t put their acts together for selfish reasons at the expense of the people they had promised to serve. And Sen. Gordon will change such political landscape and behavior. Like· Reply ·March 16 at 10:25pm Rabulan Corpuz Well said and factual kaibigan. Saludo ako sayo. Dios Mabalos and Mabuhay! Like· Reply · March 14 at 3:50pm
Marcial Bonifacio Salamat po, kaibigang Jocelle! I spent a great deal of time with research and fact-finding for this commentary. I even wrote it in English for my Bisayan friends and colleagues. My goal is to unify the Gordon supporters, some of which oppose Duterte and the others which ironically support Duterte. After all, if we can’t unite just the Gordon supporters, how can we unite the entire country? Like· Reply · March 14 at 6:46pm · Edited
Evangeline Mejia kaibigang marcial, hindi ka nakatira sa Pilipinas at laong hindi sa Olongapo, ibang iba angnlarawan ng Pilipinas pagdating sa ibang bansa kaya mahirap mag analysis …ang tanong, ano ba ang nagagawa ng mga katulad nyo para malutas ang problema sa bansa…
.both Gordon and Duterte are good leaders in their own right, taga gapo ako at alam ko ang pamamalakad ng mga Gordon doon,, maganda rin pero hiondi rin perfecto…si Duterte ngsisiskap lutasin ang mga problema sa bansa…I know, Gordon will be a good president and if he will run, uuwi ako pra bomoto at iboboto ko siya, but for now, l just want to give Duterte the benefit of the doubt…wala naman maitutulong ang mga batikos sa kanya at sa mga supporters nya…di makikinabang ang bansa kung tawagin siyang monster at tawagin din hypocrite ang mga supporters nya…. Like· Reply · March 14 at 7:49pm Marcial Bonifacio I wonder if Alejano and Trillanes got their idea of impeaching Duterte from my commentary. 😀
Marcial Bonifacio Marahil tama ka, kaibigang Evangeline, nguni’t hindi ko alam what is in his heart. I only know that his impeachment complaint has merit. Even Justice Carpio has warned that Duterte may be in violation of the sovereignty clause of the Constitution. Like· Reply · April 16 at 4:39pm
Marcial Bonifacio I’ve decided to insert the following quote into my commentary, Alwyn, directly after Duterte’s single remedy of killing drug-related criminals and Gordon’s numerous remedies.
Marcial Bonifacio My friends, here is another contrast between Duterte and Gordon—the issue of giving away the housing units to the squatters. Gordon has expressed his disapproval thus:
“My God. Kinukuha yung bahay na ginawa ng NHA [National Housing Authority]. Ibibigay mo dun sa mga nanggugulo. Bad signal, Mr. President. Again you are falling on your own sword. Nadadapa ka sa sarili mong espada because pagka-ganyan, that’s a ticket to what you call anarchy.”
Alwyn Balingit Already posted my comment about this on my wall days ago… Granted dapat talagang paalisin ang mga squatters, moving forward, wala na kasing red tape sa pagbigay ng mga bahay para di sila maunahan ng mga squatters; dapat preventive, may bantay.
Expect Digong to always err on the side of letting squatters live there; or at least, transfer them first to another place before removing them there. Yan ang stance nya kasi even sa mga Pre-Election interviews. Like· Reply · April 9 at 4:58pm Jeffry Dy Nice argument Marcial,if what u say is the alternative to what kadamay been bitchin and monin about then it’s all fare and equal no matter what the bias media says if Duterte or his cabinet have any brains on this matter then all is fare what not? Like · Reply · April 9 at 10:52pm Evangeline Mejia kasi naman laging ang mahihirap ang nahuhuli sa kahit ano mang social benefit mula sa gobyerno. maging dyan sa NHA kaya they resort to this, madala kasi yang mga nasa gobyerno ginagamit ang “legal” para apihin ang mahihirap…hay naku, you really have to be living in the Philippines to really know….. Like· Reply · April 10 at 7:12pm Marcial Bonifacio I have no problem with the process being swift, kaibigang Alwyn, nguni’t the rule of law should not be compromised. Once that line is crossed, that slippery slope can and will be used as a justification for any lawless behavior by any president.
It would also encourage more people with illegitimate grievances to emulate the Kadamay in their pantawid mentality. At least, Duterte could have imposed mandatory community service for those squatters in order that their housing will actually be earned instead of stolen from those who risk their lives to keep us safe.Sa totoo lang, such measures have been implemented in the US before Obama and even in some European countries, which have experienced lower unemployment as a result. Like· Reply · April 16 at 5:18pm · Edited Marcial Bonifacio Marahil totoo ito, kaibigang Evangeline, nguni’t abusing the legal system in one way should not justify abusing it in another way. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is still robbery, regardless of the good intentions. Even Gordon was critical of Duterte for this. Surely he knows better than Duterte. Like · Reply · April 16 at 5:56pm Axel Dholly mas matalino si Dick kay digong. ,,,,naging Pres. nga lang si Pdut. Like· Reply · April 9 at 2:00pm
My friends and fellow conservatives, this commentary on the election results has apparently been long overdue, since Nov. 9th—the day after the general election. However, various developments have prompted me to postpone it for fear of publishing it prematurely. After all, what if Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was correct about voter fraud, or the Russians influenced the presidential election, or that some of the electoral college members will change their vote on Dec. 19th? Regardless of such prospects, I have finally decided to publish my commentary.
Therefore without further ado, I am pleased to announce Donald Trump’s win. On the whole, Trump won 306 electoral votes, the largest Republican win since George H.W. Bush’s election in 1988. Clinton tallied at 232 electoral votes. However, Clinton’s total popular vote count is approximately 65,762,564 (48.1%), while Trump tallied at 62,914,474 votes (46.0%).
To the astonishment of leading pollsters and political commentators as Dr. Charles Krauthammer, Trump even won electoral votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Iowa, Florida, Ohio, and Michigan—states which voted for Pres. Obama in 2008 and 2012. Incidentally, it is the first time a Republican has won Wisconsin since 1984 and Pennsylvania and Michigan since 1988. The Michigan contest was the closest race in the state’s history with Trump’s count at 2,279,543 votes and Clinton’s tally at 2,268,839 votes. Such unlikely wins occurred, in spite of overwhelming odds and opposition from the Republican establishment, Democrat establishment, mainstream media establishment, and the short-sighted #NeverTrump conservatives. Indeed, this has been, as Fox News anchor Bret Baier accurately described “the most unreal, surreal election we have ever seen.”
To my astonishment, not only did Trump win the presidential election, but Republicans have retained power in both chambers of Congress which essentially establishes a national Republican trifecta. In the Senate, Republicans have 52 seats, while Democrats have 48. The House of Representatives is comprised of 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats. That essentially means the GOP will control all three branches of government, including the Supreme Court, whenever Trump fills the late Justice Antonin Scalia’s seat and replaces retiring justices with conservatives.
GOP victories extended to the state legislatures and governorships as well, just as during the 2014 midterm elections, which I wrote about in “Another Big Blow to Obama’s Tyranny.” As a result of nearly 6,000 legislative races, Republicans dominate 66 out of 98 chambers. They control both chambers in 33 states and hold 33 governorships. Finally, at least 25 states have Republican trifectas, while Democrats have only retained 5 trifectas (namely, California, Deleware, Oregon, Hawaii, and Rhode Island).
In Kentucky, the GOP increased their state house membership to 64 (from 47, out of 100) which has been controlled by Democrats since 1921. That puts 30 legislative chambers in the South in Republican hands for the first time in American history. Iowa’s state senate was won by Republicans, putting them in control of both chambers. Wisconsin’s Republican state legislative majority is the largest since the 1970s.
Phil Scott won the Republican governorship in Bernie Sanders’s home state of Vermont, which puts a check on its Democrat-controlled legislature. In Indiana, Eric Holcomb defeated Democrat John Gregg, which will preserve the state’s 12 year lineage of Republican governors. Before the race, the former was nominated to replace Mike Pence during his vice presidential run with Trump. Republican and former Navy SEAL Eric Greitens beat Democrat Chris Koster in Missouri’s gubernatorial race, making him the state’s second Republican governor in the past 24 years.
In order to continue this momentum of GOP dominance on every level of government, I have a few suggestions to offer Trump and his team. Notwithstanding his primary issues of border security and Obamacare, Trump must prioritize aiding the blacks (many of which are disgruntled Democrats) who voted for him. Since he garnered more black votes than John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, he has an excellent opportunity to start flipping the blacks, just as Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson began goading them into swelling the ranks of the Democrat Party in the 1960s. The only difference is that instead of appeasing them with a pittance, “just enough to quiet them down, not enough to make a difference” in order “to have them niggers voting Democratic for the next two hundred years” (as Johnson so blatantly put it), Trump will provide them with opportunities for a bright future via diverse educational options (public, private, charter, magnet, home schooling, etc.) and job and career options, especially for those who reside in the inner cities.
Since many black church leaders advocate family values aligned with the GOP (e.g., the right to life as opposed to abortion and traditional marriage), Trump must launch a massive outreach campaign to establish a dialogue with them as well as others in the black community. His meeting with black role models as former football stars Jim Brown and Ray Lewis and musician Kanye West to discuss gang violence, education, and jobs was a good start. Such a move can eventually undermine the agenda of the race hustlers like Rev. Al Sharpton, Rev. Jessie Jackson, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright., who have profited from the racially-based entitlement and grievance industry they help perpetuate.
Trump must also expand the Republican base by welcoming his blue collar voters (over 1 million of which are Democrats) to the “big tent”, just as Pres. Ronald Reagan did in the 1980s. However, he must refrain from his populist, protectionist rhetoric, and simply emphasize regulatory and tax reform as an incentive to dissuade businesses from outsourcing, at least on such a grand scale. It is a fact of economics that some outsourcing or automation (the primary cause of worker displacement) is essential to streamline the production process, which, in turn, will keep the price of goods low for American consumers, thereby increasing demand and output, which will create new jobs. It is the principle of what free market economists call “creative destruction” at work. For that reason, Trump should encourage displaced blue collar workers to either learn new skills or acquire knowledge calibrated to the predominant service and knowledge sectors of the economy.
Alternatively, many blue collar workers have become successful entrepreneurs either by starting their own businesses or by inventing products or services, which have allowed them to resign from their jobs or professions. You can easily view them on TV shows as Shark Tank or Blue Collar Millionaires. Indeed, such entrepreneurs and small business owners are the backbone of the American economy, which is why Trump should acknowledge them as successful examples of the free market system, rather than focusing so much on retrieving outsourced manufacturing jobs for big companies.
That is more practical and realistic than threatening companies with punitive taxes (namely, a 35% tariff) for outsourcing or subsidizing them in exchange for retaining their plants in the U.S., an arrangement which Gov. Sarah Palin says reeks of “special interest crony capitalism” as was possibly the case with Carrier. Incidentally, Mark Levin (constitutional scholar and former advisor to Cabinet members under Reagan) questions the constitutionality of “specifically targeting (or favoring) one business and possibly threatening that business, should they leave the country.” Meanwhile the Wall Street Journal editorial board criticizes it as “a mercantilist Trump trade policy” in which the Carrier CEO Gregory Hayes was “made an offer he couldn’t refuse.”
Anyway, after scaling back on regulations and reducing taxes for businesses and the working class, many jobs will be preserved. Others will be created as a result of outsourcing and automation, and many jobs will yet be created from the ingenuity of blue collar inventors, who will use their entrepreneurial skills or knowledge to form their own companies and employ others. Afterwards, Trump can rightfully take credit for a booming economy while winning over much of the blue collar Democrats. Although he has 4 years (or 8 if re-elected in 2020), Trump should set the deadline at 2 years after his inauguration in order to steer the 2018 midterm elections in the GOP’s favor.
Aside from what Trump and his administration must do, conservative voters must hold him, as well as other elected officials, accountable. That includes all the national and local legislators and governors. While it may be argued that many of these newly elected Republicans simply rode Trump’s populist movement into victory, we must see to it that this powerful force eventually converts into the conservative movement whose end aligns with the vision of America’s founding fathers and the restoration of constitutionally limited government.
For that reason, I advocate a mass, nationwide campaign to educate citizens on America’s constitutional history and its relevance today. In an age wherein the uninformed youth are easily mesmerized by the socialist rhetoric of Sen. Bernie Sanders or the populist rhetoric of Trump, constitutional literacy is the appropriate and perennial remedy. Indeed, Sen. Ted Cruz emphasizes this:
It’s easy to talk about making America great again. You can even print that on a baseball cap. But the critical question is, do you understand the principles and values that made America great in the first place?
Hillsdale College offers a free online course on constitutional studies, which is certain to impart such principles and values to anyone taking it.
Another effective thing conservatives can do to preserve and expand the GOP majority is become active in local politics. Whether by attending townhall meetings with the Tea Party, signing petitions, registering citizens to vote, running to be a precinct captain, or simply sharing conservative content on the social networks (like Facebook or Twitter), one can have a positive impact on a collective scale. American Majority is a conservative organization which trains activists in all these things.
My friends and fellow conservatives, in closing, I would like to express my appreciation to everyone who contributed to this turning point in the election of Donald Trump. That includes all pragmatic Cruz conservatives, blue collar Democrats, and former political rivals. I wish I could extend my gratitude and praise to the #NeverTrump conservatives with whom I endeavored to persuade in my previous commentary. Perhaps they will all eventually have a change of heart as it will soon be “morning again in America”—not because of Trump’s short-lived wave of populism, but because of the time-tested constitutional principles, which conservatives will revitalize within the party of Reagan and throughout the country.
Long live Liberty! Long live the U.S.A.!
Update: As of December 19—the day in which the electoral college members cast their votes for the final time—seven altered their vote. In Texas, one elector voted for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, while another from Texas voted for former Texas House Rep. Ron Paul. In Washington state, three Democrat electors cast their votes for former state secretary Colin Powell and one voted for Sioux tribe leader Faith Spotted Eagle. A Democrat elector in Hawaii voted for Bernie Sanders. Three other “faithless” electors from Maine, Minnesota, and Colorado had their votes barred. That puts the final electoral tally for Clinton at 228 and 304 for Trump.
My friends and American countrymen, both of the presidential candidates this election year are close to being equally weak. That is why I have surpassed the more trivial issues, which the media and others, have sensationalized. In order to simplify things, I have restricted the most relevant areas of concern to only two—accomplishments and criminal background.
Hillary Clinton has grossly mishandled classified information in that she has conveyed it to unauthorized persons, removed it from a secure storage area, failed to report its removal or communication, and retaining it at an unauthorized location. All of those are acts of felony, which have compromised America’s national security. Also, lying under oath before a legal inquiry is perjury.
Donald Trump has created a minimum of 34,000 jobs. Some factor in the businesses not owned by Trump but thrive due to related business activities, which could raise the number of jobs to 67,000.
Which one do you trust more, and which one will have a more positive impact on the country?
My friends and American countrymen, I am a constitutional conservative and am no advocate for Donald Trump. In fact, I have been very critical of him in my two commentaries titled “Are Trump Conservatives Irrational?” and “Why Conservatives Should Cruz with the Best and Trump the Rest . . . including the Donald.” Anyway, I am also a pragmatist. As such, I view the leftist progressivism of Hillary Clinton (more so than Trump’s populist-nationalism) as an imminent threat to conservatism, namely in her Supreme Court justice appointees. Clinton herself clearly vocalized in the last presidential debate that she favors justices who would uphold same-sex marriage and the pro-abortion Roe vs. Wade ruling.
By contrast, Trump has vowed to appoint justices “in the mold of Scalia,” including the constitutional conservative Sen. Mike Lee, whom Sen. Ted Cruz said “would make an extraordinary justice.” This issue of the Supreme Court justices alone is sufficient reason to keep Clinton away from the White House because as political commentator Dennis Prager points out, “Left-wing judges pass so many left-wing laws that they render those who control Congress, and even the White House, almost irrelevant.”
Political reality is such that only Trump, not Gary Johnson or Evan McMullen, can beat Clinton. Some of Cruz’s staunchest supporters (who are #NeverTrump conservatives) have vowed to write-in Cruz’s name on the ballot. However, Cruz himself has said, “I am not encouraging anybody to write my name in. That is not something I am suggesting that anybody do. . . We lost the race. I recognize that. I respect the democratic process. I respect the will of the people.”
That is precisely the only reason why I, along with Sen. Ted Cruz, Mark Levin, and Dennis Prager, urge conservatives to vote for Donald Trump—not because he is the icon of conservatism and the champion of America’s founding fathers, but because as Cruz says, “Donald Trump is the only thing standing in her [Clinton’s] way.” For the #NeverTrump conservative whose conscience prevents you from voting for Trump, I must ask you: How can your conscience be clear, if Clinton wins the presidency due to your refrain from voting for Trump? Consequently, would her election make you feel better knowing the adverse repercussions it will have on your children and grandchildren (in terms of life, liberty, the national debt, the economy, etc.) ?
“The choice this November is tragic,” states Prager. “As it often happens in life, this choice is between bad and worse, not bad and good. . . When forced to choose between bad and worse, we supported Joseph Stalin against Adolf Hitler, and we supported right-wing authoritarians against Communist totalitarians.” Therefore Trump would be the less unfavorable choice in order to defeat Clinton.
Furthermore, if you are concerned that Trump’s newly adopted conservative positions are all a charade in order to get elected to the presidency, and he reneges on his promises as president, there is another course of action conservatives can undertake. The founders have established a process by which delegates can hold a Convention of States in order to propose amendments to the Constitution. It is designed to curb or restrain the power of the federal government in the event that it becomes unresponsive to the states or the people and serves as an alternative to another constitutional convention. The process is outlined in Article V of the Constitution and is advocated by Mark Levin, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Tom Coburn, Gov. Greg Abbott, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sean Hannity, Gov. Mike Huckabee, and other prominent conservatives.
Lastly, I suggest conservatives meet their delegates in the Rules Committee of the Republican Party to add a few clauses, which would make the GOP more effective in the next presidential election and others to come. For example, a “Closed or Republican Exclusivity Clause” would only permit registered Republicans to vote in the Republican primaries. Political commentator at RedState.com Michael Harrington has estimated that Trump’s voters in the primary were composed of only 3.3 million Republicans, while the rest were composed of 12 million Democrats. Many political analysts contend that if such a clause took effect in the primaries, Cruz would have won the nomination, instead of Trump, since the former tallied well in most of the closed primaries.
The additional amendment to the rules would include a “Conscience Clause,” which would serve as a safeguard against politically weak candidates as Trump. The proposal would allow the current 1,237 delegates to freely vote their conscience on the first ballot, rather than automatically binding them to their state’s primary or caucus. It would also help prevent discouraged conservatives from joining the #NeverTrump voters, and thus maximize votes for the Republican Party. Sen. Mike Lee has been at the forefront of this effort as well as being a prominent member of the Rules Committee.
In conclusion, my friends and fellow conservatives, if you want to defeat Hillary Clinton and restore constitutional principles to the American Republic, do not write in Ted Cruz’s name on the ballot, and do not stay home and refrain from your civic duty. Go to the polls on November 8th, and vote for Donald Trump. Join the Convention of States movement, and pressure your delegates to add a “Republican Exclusivity Clause” and a “Conscience Clause” to the election rules.
Long live Liberty! Long live the U.S.A.!
Jeffry DySo they r joining forces now trump will be humiliated and this goes for clinton to defend allies like iran and saudis once again oh beother its the season where women of both countries are once again having free will to discriminate women thats ur ally clinton well done
Joseph HindsYour points are well stated Marcial. Obama won a second term because so many Conservatives and Evangelicals disliked Romney and decided that their “principles” were more important than the good of the country and failed to turn out on election day. Hopefully, enough of them will have realized the folly of their actions and go to the polls this time. This is an election where pragmatism is the order of the day. Many of us didn’t support Trump in the primaries, but now he is the only realistic game in town. The next 25-30 years of the Supreme Court hangs in the balance and if we fail to keep Hillery out of the Presidency, the country will be forever changed by the courts.
Marcial BonifacioI appreciate the positive feedback, Joseph. Indeed, I wrote this commentary to prevent the same error many conservatives and evangelicals made in 2012. Hopefully, they will learn from it and decide to go to the polls this time and vote for “the lesser of two evils.”
Devlin BakerI read it, not sure what you were hoping from someone that is by definition a christian and constitutionalist to read someone that claims to be a constitutional conservative, then confesses he is really just a pragmatist.
Great appeal to the pragmatists with no convictions though
Marcial BonifacioI appreciate your perspective, Devlin, but is it not possible to be both? If your family is being threatened by an assailant, and the only practical way to save them at the moment is to shoot him, what would you do? Would you adhere to the Christian principle of refraining from killing, or would you take a more practical approach to save your family?
Life is full of such unfavorable choices. However, reasonable compromises are necessary in times when our choices are limited due to reality, are they not?
Kayleen KnisleyTrump is so unstable. So many issues are made of the Supreme Court, but big like decisions Roe v. Wade were made with a majority Republican Supreme Court. Too much “fear” is being played upon and not enough logic, in my opinion. The way I see it, is if Trump goes in, we lose the Senate, and will not gain the House. Also, if he wins the GOP will never recover. Look how he’s divided us. If Trump wins, the GOP will be too busy trying to contain him to be aware of what the other side is doing. Add to it, Trump only ran as a Republican because he knew he could not beat Hillary for the Democratic nomination.
Kayleen KnisleyI hear so many people trying to justify voting for evil because Supreme Court Justices are at stake. Do these people not realize that a majority of Republican nominated judges voted to pass Roe vs. Wade and many other abortion cases? Not to mention a Republican nominated judge voted in favor of Obamacare? The Senate can stop Hillary Clinton’s nominations if they so choose to do so. But I hear no one mentioning that fact.
We need to stop voting for parties but for candidates who will support Godly values and the Constitution. Secondly, we need Congress to do their job and impeach when necessary. Thirdly, we need states to step up and nullify unconstitutional federal laws and Supreme Court opinions.
Marcial BonifacioYou have made some valid points, Kayleen. However, conservatives are more informed and mindful of history, thus the prevalence of the Tea Party.
Anyway, in order to restore constitutional principles to the American government, it would be much easier to do so without a Clinton presidency. Even as much of a RINO as Trump is, the conservatives in Congress can put him in check, so that if he betrays them, they can simply vote against his progressive policies or impeach him. If that doesn’t work, then the American people can meet with their state delegates and propose a Convention of States, as I mentioned in my commentary.
In the meantime, we can at least prevent a Clinton presidency by electing Trump because with a Clinton presidency, conservatives will lose. With a Trump presidency, conservatives may win, even if only a little bit.
Marvin RemmersKayleen Knisley , if Hillary wins and Democrats take over Congress, then it will be like Obama’s first couple years where he was able to nominate radically liberal justices and was able to pass Obamacare. We need to vote for Trump and we need to vote for Republicans for Congress.
Dean Edward NicelyOh so now you want to urge us to vote for Trump?
First have Trump apologize then all you pieces of shit can apologize to me personally for your backwards ass inbred bullshit youall put us through with your vile crap.
Marcial BonifacioI agree completely with you, Dean, that Trump owes Cruz an apology, which I don’t expect him to ever give. However, we must now look beyond his flawed character and save the country from a Clinton presidency. Cruz himself said Trump is the only thing standing in her way, and Cruz will also vote for Trump.
My friends and countrymen, with Congress’ proclamation of Rodrigo Duterte as the 16th president of the Philippines (clenching 16,601,997 votes), I wish to convey some of my concerns. I have posed them based on his proposals, actions, and what he has said publicly. Such issues should be sufficiently addressed before any of our kababayans give him our full support.
First and foremost, the president must protect and defend the Constitution and respect the rule of law. According to Article III, Sect. 1 of the Constitution, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.” Duterte’s Davao Death Squad has executed over 1,000 alleged drug lords and murderers, all of whom were denied the fundamental right to due process. Duterte expresses no remorse and is even boastful he will continue that policy under his presidency.
He was even unapologetic for his daughter (Sara Duterte), who attacked and physically assaulted Davao City Sheriff Abe Andres a few years ago. Ironically, both Dutertes were attorneys, reinforcing the idiom that “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.” Such uncivil acts are slippery slopes to more lawless behavior, are they not? How can we feel safe and certain that Duterte will not infringe on our own rights and liberty due to his thirst for criminal blood or impulsive temperament?
Second, several factors, including self-reliance and free enterprise, are essential to transforn the Philippines into a prosperous nation. Unfortunately, Duterte does not seem to promote any of those principles. On the contrary, he is a self-avowed socialist, who proposes to expand the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program. That would only perpetuate what Sen. Dick Gordon said is “the attitude of mendicancy among our people, which we have had more than enough over the last four centuries or so.” I would add that such handouts (derived from hardworking taxpayers) would also prolong unemployment and encourage the systematic development of a welfare state.
Could Duterte himself be a communist? If not, then why is he negotiating with them and inviting them to join the national government? For someone known for his stringent form of justice (earning him the international reputation Time Magazine branded as “The Punisher”) even to the point of proposing the return of the death penalty by hanging, is it not inconsistent for him to be so lenient with terrorists who seek to overthrow our government?
My friends, I appreciate Duterte’s forthright oratory and maverick predisposition in opposing the oligarchy. Such can also be said of the American presidentiable Donald Trump, but I digress. Anyway, appealing rhetoric and opposition to the ruling class alone are insufficient in determining a suitable president. If they were sufficient, then it can be argued that Vladimir Lenin (Bolshevik leader of Russia), Fidel Castro (president of Cuba), and Robert Mugabe (president of Zimbabwe) should be heralded as great public servants. However, history indicates otherwise, and until my concerns are sufficiently addressed, I must deduce that Duterte will be no different.
Jocelle Rabulan CorpuzLet’s just watch and wait for the outcome of his leadership as The President. Give him the benefit of the doubts and consider his achievements in Davao City. May God save our Country and people for whatever consequence we may face for his actions and laws he will implement. I know he is capable to lead but my fear is his inconsistency and the people he has chosen for the cabinet position. Remember the past history my friend … the failures of great leaders lies on his men and the people whom they trusted. God have mercy.
Marcial BonifacioJocelle, are you referring to the alliance between Rodrigo Duterte’s father and Pres. Marcos or the financial contributions BB Marcos made to the Duterte campaign for his presidential run?
Jocelle Rabulan CorpuzKaibigan my apology … I choose to just be silent but be vigilant in observing and watchful for the outcome of the leadership of our new elect President. Praying he will acknowldege God above all and put my people’s welfare as well our Country first. God bless him and The Philippines.
Marcial BonifacioPaul, I really don’t know which is worse. On the one hand, we have a president surrounded by politicians, who seem either corrupt or inept in dealing with our country’s age-old problems. On the other hand, we have another perfectly capable president-elect who may be able to finally resolve those issues. However, he would maintain peace and order by suppressing our people’s most fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. At least, Pres. Marcos did so under martial law.
Marcial BonifacioDodong, I can only judge someone according to his track record. Perhaps Duterte seeks to revive the death penalty in order to deter current criminals and potential criminals, making the extra judicial killings obsolete. That would be a compromise I am willing to concede.
Joseph HindsMarcial, I share some of your concerns, but it is far too soon to tell what President-elect Duterte is going to do. He seems to be something of a chess player and a gambler when it comes to politics, so his methodology may be a bit unorthodox. At least in his case, we can see the results he achieved in Davao City. He may very well have broken some eggs, but the omelet turned out well. The extra judicial killing presents something of a conundrum because the judicial system has become so corrupt that the syndicates, oligarchs and drug lords can buy their way out of trouble even in the face of damning proof of guilt. If the system of laws no longer works for justice, then is it really an injustice when other means are used? Likewise the acceptance of the communists at the cabinet level is a novel approach. The Philippines have had a running war with the CPP for almost 50 years and have still not succeeded in getting rid of them. Perhaps by including them in the political process at the cabinet level, their position as revolutionaries can be undermined and cause them to loose some of their appeal to their followers. They may also be more willing to disavow violence in order to retain their new found political relevance. Also, I not so sure that a little socialism in the Philippines would be a bad thing. I think it would be to the benefit of the average citizens to have the power company’s monopolies either opened to foreign competition or simply nationalized. It is ridiculous that electric rates in the Philippines are three times what they are in the USA and they still get hit with regular brown-outs. Let’s let DU30 have his chance. It’s not as if his predecessors have set the benchmark very high.
Marcial BonifacioJoseph, your points are well taken. However, on the issue of dealing with the communists, I think that it would be better if Duterte implement his proposals to liberalize the economy and establish a Philippine federalist system. That would serve as the basis for a long-term plan to create jobs and promote competition, which would lower prices and provide better services.
Such a successful economy would crowd out the communists without appeasement or bloodshed. Offering them cabinet posts reminds me of Pres. Obama appointing Van Jones (member of the Communist Party) as “Green Czar.”
In terms of a little socialism in RP, I think that at least on a subsistence level as food and medical services, it is reasonable for the destitute. I also appreciate Duterte’s proposal to improve internet services:
Joseph HindsYou might be right about the communists, but Van Jones and his friends weren’t killing people on a regular basis so there is a considerable distinction between the two examples. An improving economy will help without a doubt, but it will take a while for that to reach fruition, so perhaps we can look at this as a stop-gap measure to quell the violence in the short term.
Dexter Neil RamosBecause you didnt make yourself to understand what the presidenr meant. media are always dont ynderstand the point what duterte mean. We davaoneos understand him what he said. not all media is generalize. Some media to those practicing unethical.
Jose Camanoits duterte who is very unethical — unfortunately he was elected President by people who want a change in the govt. without having to change themselves. vote buying was rampant from all sides..
Jose CamanoPaul Farol What’s wrong with you Farol? Who says that a journalist was silenced because he was a crook, or because he was crusading? Everytime Duterte silences small time “violator” of the law, he would claim the victim was a drug pusher or snatcher. Obviously u just have to believe Duterte’s word for it. Without a process, nobody knows that the victim was a real criminal or just someone whose face Duterte doesn’t like.
Paul FarolAnd yes, I am interested to know of the cases where Digong had a reporter killed based on false accusations of being a druggie or drug dealer. If there is any evidence, I would gladly confront him with it.
I never liked Duterte, btw. In fact I gave him a good bashing all through out the campaign period and even before that.
Marcial BonifacioPerci, to be fair to Duterte, he clarified that he was referring to the corrupt journalists who accepted bribes, only to later oppose the ones who gave them money. He does not advocate the murders, but he says they are to be expected from basically double crossing the ones paying the bribes.
Marcial BonifacioHowever, his catcalling to the journalist Mariz Umali was certainly inappropriate and perhaps illegal. According to Davao City Ordinance No. 5004 (which he signed), whistling can be construed as sexual harassment.
Jeffry DyIs catcalling again an issue jeez get real this bs had been there the whole time and in the Us i believe its legal whether this is legal or not this nonsense reporting has to move on and get on the real objectives at hand like whats in store for digong since many are still doubting him for being pro china and such and Can we be venezuela(again)on his federal form of gov as what bashers still installing in our minds???Well find out and also i may suggest to have all of transpo and public hubs free wifi to have convience of passengers and also for communication and I may say he had the guts to do so and i believe this has to end on this alleged pro commie since i voted for him and has the same accomplishments of what dick did in Subic.
Marcial BonifacioJeffry, I agree that the issues you raised are important, but if Duterte will not follow his own ordinance (which is fairly simple), how can we trust that he will respect and follow more serious laws? There is even talk of a potential Duterte dictatorship:
Jeffry DyI don’t think so plus he’s Pro left therefore as such he may not be a patientlike dick does but he’s definitely a pro poor and he addresses his laws at hand since many are still criticized him again on this bs bias on media freedom and a former prosecutor(not a radical left)
Jeffry Dyalso he joined edsa 1 right?if he’s pro makoy then he wouln’t rallied this dictatorship had it for so long it had to be arrested for having allies w npa which aquinos are also sided on and I’m just balanced on this matter so far only some unknown politicians and a card leaning leftist are in the gov so we can no longer see them rallying in the streets anymore since every presidents have a sona every year
Marcial BonifacioJeffry, I’m willing to give Duterte a chance. However, his leftist background and apparent coddling of communists makes me very suspicious. Also, I don’t consider policies which keep our kababayans dependent on government handouts “pro-poor”, unless you mean keeping them permanently poor. On the other hand, Sen. Gordon stresses job opportunities, which will raise people out of poverty. What can be more “pro-poor” than that?
Marcial BonifacioOn the issue of Duterte joining EDSA 1, perhaps he opposed the Marcos dictatorship because it did not conform to his own political ideology. After all, Pres. Marcos vehemently opposed the communists. Some even argue that he was the reason for the swelling of the NPA.
Also, many argue that the Marcos oligarchy was simply replaced with the Cory Aquino oligarchy. Therefore, Duterte’s participation in the first People Power Revolution doesn’t necessarily mean he