Your mandate: Revise the Constitution, then leave!

Your mandate: Revise the Constitution, then leave! Featured

ON Tuesday, July 10, 2018, Philstar.com came up with a news item: “SWS: Duterte’s satisfaction rating plunges across all areas”

Wednesday, July 11, The Manila Times bannered on its front page, “SWS poll: Duterte’s rating suffers 11-point drop in Q2”

Friday, July 13, PhilStar has this on its front page: “Duterte still most approved, trusted gov’t official —Pulse Asia.”

Disparities are wide between the two pollsters’ figures. Apparently, the SWS survey was done from June 27 to 30, yielding a +45net satisfaction rating. SWS still considers this a “good rating” for the President. The Pulse Asia survey, done earlier, from June 15 to 21, registered approval and trust ratings of 88 percent and 87 percent, respectively, for Du30.

Rappler.com tried to explain the disparity in the figures: “The results of a Pulse Asia survey show President Rodrigo Duterte recording his highest approval rating yet — before his controversial remark on God that triggered a public backlash.”

True enough, upon checking, the President’s blasphemous speech was delivered on June 22, Friday, the last day that Pulse Asia conducted its survey. It is therefore probable that his declining numbers were captured by SWS, but not Pulse Asia. Rappler, despite its perceived bias against this regime, could be right after all. You just don’t mess with God!

The Deegong responded quite differently on the differing results. On SWS where the figures show a decline, he proclaimed: “I don’t care. Make it 15. Wala na ako dyan. (It does not matter to me anymore.) It does not interest me at all.” He shrugged off the results of the survey and even expressed readiness to step down from his post.


On the Pulse Asia positive results, presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said the Palace was grateful for the people’s “continuing vote of confidence” in the President, who remains “the most approved and most trusted top national official today with 88 percent approval and 87 percent trust, respectively.”

“The President views these latest survey results with all humility; however, he is not leading the country for the sake of high or good ratings. The Chief Executive is simply fulfilling his campaign promises with the best interest of Filipinos in mind,” Roque said.

These two conflicting statements are somewhat reflective of the chaotic state of affairs among the President’s coterie of friends and advisers, amidst a pervasive smell of fear induced by a singularly arbitrary president. The cabinet members and his close confidantes simply are incapable of reining in the President.

In the absence of sensible advice from the timid sycophants in Malacañang, we, the ordinary people must demonstrate to DU30 that he can’t just not care about surveys and ratings. These are indicators, albeit snapshots of the moment, of the perceptions not only of his loyalists but that of his greater constituency, the Filipino people. More importantly if only for the sake of the people who have been supportive of his agenda, putting their faith in him and now maybe quite reluctantly, he needs to internalize what’s at stake here. Marami tayong nakataya dito!

Nope! DU30 will not be allowed to cop out and leave things hanging. For one the Centrist Democratic Party (CDP), small that we are, became part of the 16 million that gave the president his mandate because of one paramount shared advocacy, federalism — a systemic reformatting of the political structures overarching most of the problems and perversions of our government and society. We reluctantly accepted a traditional politician possessing the political will to transform our cherished but dysfunctional democratic institutions; and even destroy the vestiges of his own kind. This is a paradox, a traditional politician dismantling traditional politics using traditional means. Parliamentary federalism through constitutional revisions was a battlecry we responded to, from the presidential candidate from the very start. We will hold the Deegong to this one single promise.

Its rabid opponents have always used as an excuse that this concept is alien to our culture. Accordingly, majority of Filipinos don’t understand federalism and the constitutional revisions it entails. But this was also true then for the 1987 Cory Constitution, 1971 Marcos Constitution and even the original 1935 Constitution. What we need to understand about the Filipino is that for 500 years of colonialism, they trust their patrons and put their faith in their leaders to do the right thing for them. They will take federalism and Charter change on faith. And you can’t sell them short. They are a magnificently discerning race.

No president ever ran on such drastic promises — not Cory, not FVR, not ERAP, not Gloria, and especially not PNoy. Only this foul-mouthed, irreverent DU30 had the effrontery and courage to push for a radical and systemic agenda. That’s why he needs to be mindful of his survey ratings. He needs the continued support of the citizenry.

We federalists know our priorities. We will try not to hold the Deegong to his populist campaign promises. We will not be drawn into discussions on the broken ones: the continued proliferation of endo; the non-distribution of the coco levy funds to the farmers; and even the rising prices of commodities and the stagnating wages. Furthermore, we will evade arguments of our peso being Asia’s worst performer, the widening trade deficits and the stock market in bear territory and the negative impact of the TRAIN law.

We will give the President the benefit of the doubt as these are problems, urgent no doubt, but symptoms of the presidential-unitary system, which have been our bane for almost a century. The President has four more years up to 2022, his mandate, to look into these — provided, and only provided, that he uses once more his formidable political will to push through the revisions of the anomalous 1987 Constitution.

But we will continue to give him critical collaboration on the war on dangerous drugs that badly needs closure. This can’t just be passed on to the next administration. The president has to formulate clear plans to rehabilitate the infected ones and bring them back productively to society.

After almost three decades in public service, the man is almost burnt out, running on “empty” He wants out. But not yet. And many will agree with our Centrist position: push for the systemic changes and write a federal-parliamentary constitution and put it in place. Then by 2022, leave the presidency and go back to Davao. This is your legacy.000
Read 739 times
Rate this item
(1 Vote)