Suddenly there is a renewed effort in Congress to push for constitutional amendments to achieve federalism. One of the carrots being dangled about is also the chance the process offers to remove provisions that curtail the flow of foreign investments into the country.
Of course Malacanang is saying that the matter is not its priority. More so that the pandemic is dangling above our heads like the proverbial Sword of Damocles. The factotums of the President will parrot what they had been saying all along—they cannot interfere with the activities of Congress as it is an independent body, a part of the checks and balances design between the legislative, judiciary and executive branches of government that the constitution mandates.
But many lowly barangay kibitzers say this is bull. For one, the Supreme Court is packed with the President’s appointees. The Lower House as shown by the recent ABS-CBN franchise hearings are full of characters running over themselves to ingratiate themselves to the President by ensuring that his wish will come to pass— to see the broadcast company close shop. And so it did.
Such are still fresh in our minds, the same words ringing from Malacanang: “We will not interfere with the wishes of Congress.”
What could result from constitutional amendments?
The terms of office of incumbents might be extended, particularly at the very top as they will have to make sure the will of the people as expressed in a new constitution would be implemented properly. Up to how long will they stay in power? Your guess is as good as ours. People can be creative as to the law, even if to our or to democracy’s detriment.
But the populace might miss the electoral circus coming to town. So part of the plan might be to have local elections to quench our thirst for periodic electoral activities.
Take these with the pandemic reality which might be around us until the middle of next year. By the time we emerge from cowering in fear from the COVID-19, it would be time for the filing of certificates of candidacy. The rumor mills will be on overdrive so we will not be bored. We will not also be able to think of what is politically good for us.
These are all just around the corner actually. So time is not on the side of the plotters.
Yet the pandemic might be used to cover the fast-tracking of he process. We just might wake up in the middle of next year that it is already voting time in a plebiscite to approve a new constitution.**