This past week the public was witness to two harmful and treacherous attempts to drastically alter the political, social, and economic landscape of the country. The first one was to allegedly use the people to directly amend certain provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the very basic law of the land. The alleged mastermind or masterminds behind this so called Peoples Initiative (PI) wanted ostensibly to alter specific economic provisions in the Constitution so that it will be more in tune with the modern times and strengthen supposedly the economic
backbone of the country.

However, The short lived PI was later on discovered by lawmakers in the upper chamber of the House that what the PI was really all about is depriving the Senate of the opportunity to equally decide, along with the Lower House,
proposals to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution. It was also alleged afterwards that the PI was actually the machinations of no less than the Speaker of the House, Congressman Martin Romualdez of Leyte, along with some others, who was probably peeved that the suggestion of his cousin, President Bongbong Marcos, to
change certain ‘restrictive provisions’ in the Constitution has not yet been realized thru the initiative of the bi-cameral Congress, hence the failed PI.

Now if Congress really wants to follow the wishes of President Marcos to amend the economic provisions of the Constitution then there is a more legitimate way and that is through Resolution of Both Houses (RBH) No. 6 which just a couple of days ago was the subject of a public hearing conducted by a subcommittee created by the Senate under its Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revision of Codes. RHB 6 as it was called is proposing
amendments to certain economic provisions of the 1987 Philippine Constitution and was filed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate Pro Tempore Loren Legarda and Senator Sonny Angara.

The public hearing was well attended by framers of the 1987 Constitution, other legal luminaries as well economists who served as resource persons. So it was just as well that the PI was nipped early at the bud otherwise, given the revealed motive of the initiative, it would have led to chaos within both chambers of the House and with the likelihood of endangering the passage of vital laws needed by the country. The second one has to do with recent pronouncements made by former President Rodrigo Duterte that it would be best if Mindanao would become an independent State and thus secede from the Republic of the Philippines.

This is another dangerous attempt to divide the country at a time when regional tensions are at an all-time high particularly along the Western Philippine Sea (South China Sea). The former President can speak his mind and be brutally frank about it, that is his nature anyway, but to encourage someone else to take the initiative to go forward with an attempt for Mindanao to secede from the Republic, now that is another matter. In fact the antics of former President Duterte, of which he has done a lot in the past during his term as president, may simply be forgiven as the rant of an aging individual.

But if that someone who advocates secessionist ideas is a currently elected official who took an oath to protect the Constitution and the Republic of the Philippines then perhaps the matter of sedition and treachery may well come into play. It is well to remember that the idea of secession in Mindanao has had very bad precedents and the potential for armed conflict and violence that unjustly affects ordinary people is great. It is quite ironic that a former
president and a former speaker of the house are the ones apparently taking the lead in this lame attempt at secession with the sole excuse that Mindanao has never been a priority of the government considering that they had all the
opportunity, one as a six year president and the other as speaker of the House, to put Mindanao in the limelight during their stint as top leaders of the country.

That they are now the ones calling for secession by Mindanao from the Republic is simply a blatant admission of their failure as elected public officials and leaders during their time. No one in their right mind would favor joining a
movement for secession when the proponents themselves failed to improve their situation, the ostensible reason for separating from the Republic, when they had the chance.

Amianan Balita Ngayon