It is my opinion that the political debate should not focus on Trillanes. Or whether the Duterte government can withdraw the “amnesty” given to him by the unlamented former president Noynoy Aquino. He is just a cog in the wheel of our dismal government system. The bigger issue is the Senate and its obstructive role.
By its unfortunate coddling of an alleged criminal, the Senate should be abolished. It does not help government or the cause of peace and order.
In my personal opinion the conflict is between the sitting government (Duterte’s in this case) and the Senate dominated by the Liberal party. By defending Trillanes this branch of government shows its obstructive role by giving him harbor to frustrate the legitimate arrest of an individual who violated a law.
That is the way it stands so far. We can now place the Senate where it should be – a useless adjunct of government officials who do not serve any constituency but work very hard for their personal interest. By protecting Trillanes against arrest the Senate has drawn the larger picture of the controversy: it is between the executive and a part of the legislative – 24 senators who think of themselves as so privileged it can play with funds from the National Treasury through DAP etc. Where else can you find officials with the money to buy houses in Forbes Park and ride luxurious huge cars to make way for them in traffic. Unwittingly, the Senate has expanded the Trillanes controversy where it should. The issue is whether it can continue dribbling the ball to frustrate Duterte’s government of reform. It is not about arresting Trillanes. That will not help us bring about better governance. Abolish the Senate.
It is not a necessary institution for good government. The public is aware of the role it played during the Noynoy government. It is a source for graft and corruption and will forever be tainted with the removal of Chief Justice Renato Corona. His fault: he led the Supreme Court when it decided the case against the Cojuangco owned (Noynoy’s family) Hacienda Luisita with finality.
It is the Senate vs. the Duterte government. The debate should be on whether the Duterte government or any sitting government should allow the members of the Senate to act like presidents because they are elected at large. A bigger issue than Trillanes who is an insignificant political crap is if we allow the Senate to continue dribbling the ball and defeat constitutional reform for good government.
Federalism is the most important reform but it is not the only one. The continuous system of electing an obstructionist branch of government should also be tackled now. By protecting Trillanes it has tightened the rope around its own neck.
By its latest act the Senate has given the Duterte government every reason to stop the game. Blow the whistle while the ball is in the sitting government’s hand. Duterte now has every reason to turn to a revolutionary government and take the ball out of the Senate for the bigger struggle of constitutional reform.
In social media, that unnecessary adjunct of government is best exemplified by the Liberal senator Franklin Drilon sleeping in the Senate sessions. We are paying him good money to sleep his siesta in the air-conditioned hall of the Senate.
A revolutionary government is not martial law. In fact, Duterte has avoided declaring martial law by getting things done without proclaiming military rule. He has the law on his side by protecting the supremacy of civil government as the lynchpin of our Constitution.
Trillanes’ arrest has moved the Duterte to a position where he does not have any choice but declare revolutionary government when the Senate acting as co-equal branch protects law breakers. The executive is justified in creating a revolutionary government with the Senate stopping it from carrying out its duties.
People should try to remember how Trillanes walked out of a court, waving hands to bystanders to join him in his “revolt” because the court convicted him.
The crowd’s response was to giggle at him. Naloloko na ba iyang sundalong iyan. It summed up what was wrong with the man who was so egoistic to think of himself as a hero. It was a ridiculous sight. Not one of the bystanders clapped or moved. To them it was a comedy show but Dolphy would have done better.
He has stopped walking in the streets after the Oakwood mutiny but he is doing the same thing when he calls on Filipinos to follow in his crusade against President Duterte who was voted overwhelmingly because Filipinos want change. It will not happen under a dullard like Trillanes or Noynoy Aquino III.
He has good taste because he chose the poshest hotel – the Manila Peninsula – for his revolt. No doubt it was a show for foreigners and to give gullible foreign media who were in the hotel something to write about. For a while, it seemed the end of the Manila Peninsula pictured with a tank smashing through its doors. But a quick refurbishment of the hotel was made and it was back in business.
So back to Trillanes today with the Senate protecting him. It is as if we were in a basketball game with the last two seconds.
For basketball fans, they understand what it means for a team to dribble the ball until the whistle blows. But dribbling the ball can also be dangerous for the winning team if the ball is in the hands of the losing team and it makes the last shot. Time to shoot the ball, Mr. President.