By Reni M. Valenzuela
“Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution that must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties... We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution.” --Abraham Lincoln
Dear lawmakers and government officials, it would do you well to rather serve the country (sans the rot and rut of partisanship and myopic governance) by quickly switching your passion from Cha-cha (Charter Change) to doing sensible things that would truly solve our nation’s problems head-to-head, toe-to-toe, eyeball-to-eyeball, and thereby alleviate the plight of the Filipino people.
Set aside politics and political ambitions. Go back to your seats -- or to yourselves.
Address inflation -- right, straight and plumb. Crush the massive and unabated corruption in the government, jail the crooks, thugs and murderous, chuck confidential/intelligence and pork barrel funds, uphold justice, break off all forms of influence-peddling and interference in court decisions, put an end to military and police brutalities, promote righteousness, resist oppression, defeat official inanities, craft needed, long-overdue electoral reforms, eradicate addictions, vices and insurrections -- but foster human rights and preserve human lives. Beat the real terrorists (within).
Work on developing the nation via the right, sane and wise way. Stop importations, patronize our own, pulverize smuggling, dismantle cartels, quash corporate greed, help small businesses, break/mash political turpitudes, modernize truly, not “contemporize” autocracy, secure our territories, spank the naive and bullies. Check social inequities, bless the destitute and marginalized, nurture and nourish local production and thus create local jobs and invigorate our local economy.
Narrow the gap between the rich and the poor, educate the unlettered and indigent, civilize neglected communities in the countryside with potable water, electricity, roads, health clinics and internet access. Shut down all gambling operations (legal and illegal, online and onsite). Care for the future Filipino generations, love yourself, humanize politics, open blinded eyes, heal the sick, set captives free, raise the dead, etcetera.
In other words, improve and raise the quality of life for Filipinos, but retain the country as being owned by Filipinos.
Ponder this: Even if a nation has the most beautiful, most ideal and “most perfect” Constitution in the world, it would be useless and worthless if the hearts of that nation’s leaders are not right and upright, rotten to the core. Take a mirror to see and realize what I mean (pathetic) - or you are compelled to buy one if you don’t have your own, but not made in China, please.
First things first. Work on what is on the inside of each one of you (which no physical mirror can reveal) -- and not on what is on the surface/icing of the land’s fundamental laws and statutes. Take shades or blinkers off. Dare not tamper on the purity and sanctity of our Constitution -- with strokes, kernels and staples (vile and vicious) -- hidden, mixed and diluted underneath. Tampering is not the word, but tempering (of greed).
The Philippine Constitution in its current form and ethos, for all its imperfections and “flaws,” is good so far, workable and governable, and will never ever need any change or amendment -- unless and until (perhaps) the hearts that rule and govern our nation are changed and “amended.” Otherwise, there would always be a need to change and amend it.
Meanwhile, how true is it that the additional budget of P12 billion allotted (cannily) by Congress to the Commission on Elections is intended and being earmarked (verily) for the Cha-cha plebiscite? Outrageous! In view of this (among several others), Rep. Edcel Lagman of Albay’s first district and a few more seeing lawmakers have solid reasons in asking the Supreme Court to nullify the P449.5 billion unprogrammed funds in the national budget or General Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2024. Dubious. Do justly.
Moral/spiritual amendment, not constitutional amendment. Ending economic corruption, not economic provision. Attracting development, not attracting “investment” (or folly). Divine initiative or supreme people initiative, not “people’s initiative.” Character reform, not constitutional reform. Heart change, not charter change. New Filipinos, not “New Philippines.”
Pakiusap po: Huwag ninyo namang pagbuntunan ng sisi ang Konstitusyon sa ating kahirapan. Pakisiyasat ang inyong mga puso, mga minamahal naming namumuo sa ating pinakamamahal na bansa. I beg you, beloved leaders of our most beloved country: Don’t put the blame on the Constitution for our impoverishment. Blame your hearts.
Our heart as a people is the wellspring of everything that we have become and grown to be -- as a nation. Who and what we are at this juncture (inward and outward) -- as individuals and as a people and country, simply and purely reflect the kind of heart that we have. Pronto. But there is hope for change -- in Christ.