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Tuesday, July 16, 2024

For a responsible, credible opposition

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“We need to maintain check and balance among our institutions.”

Santa Banana, with only oppositionist—Risa Hontiveros—getting elected in the Magic 12 circle of senators, I wonder what kind of opposition we will have under the incoming administration of presumptive president Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

There are of course Senators Franklin Drilon and Koko Pimentel. But, with only three oppositionist senators in an institution that serves as the check and balance of the executive, how can there be a credible opposition in the Senate?

In the House of Representatives, there is of course the Makabayan Bloc and the Yellows turned “Pinkos”. But, with the Makabayan Bloc, the congressional fronts of the communist movement, we can only have the anti-government noises, not the responsible opposition we expect. My gulay, this worries me because without dissent, there can only be tyranny.

What we need is a responsible opposition, not the kind of noise and bluster the Yellows and the party-list Makabayan Bloc is showing. Hopefully, some of the independents in the Senate will every now and then serve as the check and balance to the executive.

• • •

Leyte Rep. And House Majority Leader Martin Romualdez will surely be the next Speaker endorsed as he was by former President and Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

In the Senate, reports have it that it will be a fight between Senator Cynthia Villar and Senate majority Leader Migz Zubiri. There were earlier reports that aside from Villar, Senator Loren Legarda and Senator Sonny Angara will vie for Senate President. Whoever will become Senate President, since all the names mentioned, to my mind, are well-qualified, what matters more is that there is need for a responsible opposition in the Senate, which is expected to be the check and balance of the executive.

It is for this reason why presumptive president Bongbong Marcos must be very careful in choosing the people who will comprise his cabinet. People expect Marcos to name people with impeccable credentials of honesty and integrity, and of course, competence. So far, so good as they say with incoming Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio as secretary of Education; with former MMDA Chairman Benhur Abalaos as Interior and Local Governments secretary; with former Labor Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma as Labor Secretary again, and with Susan “Toots” Ople, daughter of Marcos Labor Secretary and Foreign Affairs Secretary Blas F. Ople, to head the new Department of Migrant Workers.

The success or failure of an administration largely depends on what cabinet secretaries are appointed as alter egos of the President. It is known that a president can either sink or swim depending on the success or failure of the cabinet. And we all know that we the people can also either sink or swim with the president.

It matters so much that there is also a responsible opposition in the House. When I talk of opposition, I am not referring to the Yellows turned “Pinkos”, much less to the communist fronts in the House of Representatives or the activists, but to an opposition that is reasonable and responsible, and above everything else, believable and credible. With dissent, we all know that an administration in power is prone to abuse and corruption. With a new President, it’s a chance for us, the people, to start anew for a better Philippines. It is for this reason why we expect a lot from Bongbong Marcos.

But, with so many challenges confronting incoming President Bongbong, like jump-starting economic recovery, and providing jobs, Marcos certainly needs support, not only from the business community and investors but also from the opposition. The most crucial incoming President is the first 100 days. He must hit the ground running, especially so because of the great challenges he has to face.

The call for unity under the banner for Bongbong and Sara is appropriate at this time because an incoming administration certainly needs all the support it can get, not only from supporters and the over 31 million voters for the BBM-Sara tandem but from the opposition. As I said, we either sink or swim with the BBM-Sara tandem. At no point in Philippine history is there a greater need for we, the people, to unite for the common good.

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An intriguing question has come up if the Supreme Court will decide to stop the canvassing of votes of presumptive president Bongbong and presumptive vice president Sara Duterte-Carpio. If the Supreme Court stops the canvassing of both, the question is not in the absence of Congress, but who will act as acting president in the afternoon (12:01 pm) of June 30, 2022?

To avoid such a situation which would constitute a constitutional crisis, lawyer and former Government Corporate Counsel Philip Jurado suggests that Senate President Tito Sotto must step down now as Senate President on or before June 3, 2002, the last day of the Senate session, to enable the Senate to elect who the next Senate President will be.

As we all know, the Senate President is next in the line of succession in case there is no president and vice-president. The Speaker of the House comes after the Senate President. But, until when will the Senate President act as acting president? Santa Banana, that is why it’s important for the Supreme Court not to stop Congress in its constitutional duty to canvass the votes and proclaim the president-elect and the vice president-elect.

It is well, however, that the Supreme Court, in view of petitions to stop the canvassing and proclamation of the incoming President, not to issue an injunction, but instead to ask comments from Bongbong and Congress on the petitions, instead of stopping Congress from canvassing the votes

• • •

Presumptive president Bongbong Marcos had wanted to be proclaimed and take his oath as the next President of the republic his oath of office at the Quirino Grandstand as all Presidents before him did. The problem is that a portion of the Grandstand had been converted into a small hospital and a vaccination center. It’s for this reason why the Marcos camp is now looking for another venue to accommodate all his supporters and everybody else who would like to be there.

That should be no problem. For one thing, that portion of the grandstand where the temporary hospital is located, below the grandstand which can easily be accommodated in other hospitals. And for another, that portion of the grandstand can easily be repaired now that COVID-19 cases can be easily accommodated in permanent hospitals.

What matters more is that Bongbong Marcos would be breaking tradition if his oath-taking would be in another venue. Quirino Grandstand carries a lot of memories to many people like me. It would indeed be unfortunate if the incoming President would take his oath in another venue.

This is a plea to Bongbong: Please take your oath of office at the Quirino Grandstand. It carries a lot of tradition and memories. Your late father, Ferdinand E. Marcos Sr took his oath in that place, as did all other Presidents before him, except for Joseph E. Estrada who took his oath at the Barasoain Church, and Cory Aquino at the Club Filipino. Please follow tradition.

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Last May 14, 2022, my wife and I celebrated our 67th Wedding Anniversary. We thank our Lord for the great blessing.


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