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Treason charge awaits Aquino

WHEN I asked Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile what crime BS Aquino III could possibly be charged with when he steps down, the senator said without hesitation: “Treason, among many others.”

No doubt about it, the group composed of prominent lawyers, ex-justices and even incumbent judges and justices will file multiple criminal and civil charges against BS Aquino III when he is no longer immune as president. The most damaging of all is his betrayal of public trust.

BS Aquino III’s betrayal of public trust is seen in his attempt, through the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro embodied in the Bangsamoro Basic Law,  to create a sub-state within the republic. This is violative of the Constitution.

BS Aquino III has to account to the people why he had to meet clandestinely with Hashim Salamat, chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, a secessionist and separatist rebel group, at a small hotel at Narita Airport in Japan. After this, the President has to frame, with Malaysan Prime Minister Najib Razak, the BBL with the MILF. Santa Banana, BS Aquino III was so willing and ready to cede to a Moro rebel group a portion of Mindanao. This is a clear act of treason.

The “other crimes” Enrile said could well be bribery of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate for the passage of the Reproductive Health Law and the abuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund and Disbursement Acceleration Program to have Chief Justice Renato Corona impeached, convicted and ousted. This, for the non-impeachable crime of not revealing all his assets in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth. 

No doubt about it, BS Aquino III will face criminal and civil cases when he steps down. It’s karma. Retribution.

* * *

We have three months to go until May 9, Election Day. With my 66 years experience as a journalist and observer of past presidential elections, I don’t give much credit to poll surveys these days. The results can change as the end of the campaign nears.

Poll surveys at this point in time are just that, poll surveys which serve as road maps for candidate whether local or national. It’s poll surveys a month or weeks before Election Day that should provide us a glimpse of the outcome.

For those leading, they have to ascertain their lead, and for those behind, they must work harder.

As far as I am concerned, the presidential candidate  with a well-funded grassroots machinery has that distinct advantage. That’s why I ask: Does Mrs. Mary Grace Natividad Kelly Poe Llamanzares have this to ensure her election? I ask this because her popularity does not guarantee her victory. In 1992, Miriam Defensor Santiago was leading in all poll surveys, but President Fidel Ramos eventually won. 

This is why Miriam could never forget election strategist Ronnie Puno, whom she blamed for making FVR win. Similarly, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had Puno also as her political and election strategist, who knew how to win elections by pinpointing who could deliver the necessary votes to win. That’s what I mean by having a well-funded political grassroots machinery.  

As I have been saying all along, the administration also has that distinct well-funded political grassroots machinery. Most of the  local government units, mayors,  governors and congressmen belong to the Liberal Party. But can they all be trusted to deliver the necessary votes on Election Day?

Santa Banana, we need only to recall the time when Ramos wanted to be nominated as the presidential candidate of his party in that Cavite Convention. He lost, but his strategists led by Puno did not give up. With the help of many contributors, Ramos ran just the same, and won finally.

Popularity and name recall give no assurance of victory. Despite the fact that movie icon Fernando Poe Jr. was a byword in every home, particularly among the “masa” who can never distinguish reel from real, FPJ lost to GMA.

I am not predicting a Llamanzares defeat (that is, if she is not  disqualified by the Supreme Court). All I am saying is that winning an election is not all about popularity and glamor. The bottomline is funding.

* * *

February 14, Valentine’s Day, is the most commercialized day of the year. I have a sneaking suspicion that flower shops, hotels and chocolate stores are in connivance to jack up their prices more than a hundred times.

I know from experience that flowers costing only P750 to P1,200 will now cost from P2,500 to P3,500 depending what kind. My gulay, even on Dapitan Street at the Dangwa terminal where you can buy flowers, they now cost more than a thousand pesos. 

Five-star hotels have all their restaurants reserved only for the rich costing from P8,000 to P10,000 per person. Is Valentine’s Day only for the rich?

Santa Banana, even motels and places for trysts jack up their prices. That’s what they tell me—in case you may suspect I have been there. 

For those who can’t afford to have their wives and loved ones experience Valentine’s Day, McDo will do.

Next only to Valentine’s Day as the most abused and commercialized day is Mother’s Day.

* * *

If you are wondering why the anti-dynasty law will never be enacted by Congress, just take a look at the many political dynasties running in local elections.

There are those in Congress who are in their third term and can no longer run. In their place, it’s either the wife or son or daughter now running. Santa Banana, in some places, there are sons, daughters, mothers and fathers, cousins running for other positions, if not running against each other.

The next question to be asked is: Why do people of the same surname, almost always win during local elections? Aren’t the people tired of them? No.

In local elections, what is important for the people is food on the table, jobs and livelihood. And it’s the members of political dynasties they run to in times of need.

I know this very well because  I visit some members of Congress in their homes. There’s always a long line of people going there to take breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I asked a congressman from La Union, who had a house in Metro Manila, why this was so, he told me: “That’s how it is. Aside from providing food I have to give them money for their trips back home and for other things like burials, birthdays, and for basketball courts and uniforms.”

It’s a vicious cycle, actually. Where do you think politicians get their money for all their constituencies? From graft and corruption. That’s why I say, so long as people depend on political patronage, my gulay, there will never be an end to graft and corruption.

Similarly, so long as those running for president rely on funding from donors and contributors— a presidential candidate needs at least P3 billion—there will always be graft and corruption.

Donors and contributors just don’t part with their money because they love the face of a candidate. They do it because it’s an investment for the future and payback comes in the form of contracts in government.

Topics: Emil Jurado , Treason charge awaits Aquino , Juan Ponce Enrile
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