ONLY the rabid Gloria Macapagal hater can still impute malice to her proposal to amend the Constitution.
Assuming that she has ulterior motives in filing her resolution to set up a Constitutional Convention, she isn't that foolish to think that her ulterior motives can still see the light of day under her present circumstances.
For one, she is no longer president. She had been abandoned by her old allies, who "like migratory birds, have flown in search of warmer climes and a better sun". Even her dream, if indeed she had such a dream, of becoming speaker, it's now dash to pieces in the wave of massive desertions that practically politically crippled her even before she left Malacañang.
So, can she be that naïve to think that the Constitution can be amended in accordance to her wishes?
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If the Constitution is to be amended, now is the proper time to do it. Aquino will be president for the next six years. And even if he entertains thoughts of remaining in office beyond his term, six years is too long a period for him to think that he can still manipulate events at the close of his term.
In fact, considering the volatile state of the country today on account of its inability to rise out of its economic morass and the fratricidal upheavals threatening its very existence, Aquino might not even be president anymore by that time.
Amending the Constitution now will no longer serve the personal political interests of either Macapagal or Aquino. This is why the best time to amend it is now.
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This is not to say that an amended Constitution will be the cure-all to our problems. These problems are much more deeply rooted than the shortcomings there may be in our present Constitution. Nothing less than a restructuring of our socio-economic relations and a complete weaning away from the exploitative stranglehold of US Imperialism can we hope for a complete delivery from the maladies that stifle our growth and prevent us from stepping out of the darkness and into the sunlight of a happier day.
But since Rome was not built in a day and as the rebel movement itself says, liberation can be achieved only through protracted struggle; amendments to the Constitution now can possibly bring about positive changes. That is, if the delegates to the Constitutional Convention will have the capacity to put the national interest over and above anything else. The economic policies of recent years that compounded our dependence upon foreign interests should be clearly repudiated by the new Constitution. The redefinition of the scope of the country's sovereignty, wantonly diluted by the 1987 Constitution, needs to be revisited.
The 1987 Constitution did away with what the 1972 Constitution categorically declared that the territory of the Philippines includes those lands "over which the Philippine government has historic title." This was the foundation of our claim of ownership over Sabah, a claim that was weakened or even repudiated by the 1987 Constitution when it omitted that crucial line in the 1972 Constitution.
Amending the Constitution now is a step in the right direction. What is needed during the convention's deliberation is vigilance and a firm determination to expose and condemn any and all efforts of the delegates to perpetuate the structures that are at the root of our national malady.