FREE THROWS: Just say “NO!”

QUEZON CITY (MindaNews / 24 Aug) — President Noynoy should just say, “No”, to moves by his “alipores” to amend the Constitution so that he gets a reelection shot at another six year presidential term.

He should simply concentrate on doing what needs to be done for the good of the people in the remaining two years of his term.

Six years in office as President are certainly enough for any well-intentioned leader to do something to advance the common good. But it would certainly be too short for any egotistical maniac who thinks that he is the only person capable of managing the affairs of the country as President, and who has to solve all the ills of the nation.

Once one gets into that mindset that he or she is the Messiah, that will be the beginning of one’s own doom, and, worse, the eventual demise also of the people’s hopes for a better tomorrow.

Locally, Marcos was a graphic example. After his first four year term in 1969, the people reelected him to another term.

Before the end of his new term in 1973, he started hallucinating that only he can bring peace and development to the country. The fantasy so overwhelmed Marcos’s rational mind that he declared martial rule in 1972.

Everyone knows that thereafter the Rule of Law was savaged beyond recognition, the rights of the people were ruthlessly repressed, and only the privileged cronies enjoyed the blessings that autocratic rule brought to their doorsteps.

It took the people some 14 years of sacrifice and resistance – mainly peaceful – before they mustered enough courage to say, “Tama na, “Sobra na!”

That meant that it was time for  Marcos to leave Malacanang. And ultimately he fled into exile to Hawaii where he eventually died.

Otherwise, he would have met the violent fates of Viktor Yankovitch of Ukraine; Hosni Mubarak of Egypt; Maummar al Khadaffi of Libya; Zine al Abidine of Tunisia, and Ali Abdullah Saleh of Yemen, among others of recent, sad memory.

The gory endings of the autocratic regimes mentioned above are lessons that ought not to be forgotten by all wielders of State powers.

Hence, President Noynoy should hearken to the voice of history instead of listen to the voices of his alleged “bosses” on the matter of amending the Constitution for some questionable ends.

For him to say that he wants to consult with the people appears to be a good political move. The reality, however, is that it is but a crass political gimmickry.

The reason is that the first and the loudest voices he’d hear would be the hallelujahs of the people around him – the presidential choir, so to speak – who’d want him to junk delicadeza and go for more power no matter what the cost.

And to oil their way into the presidential heart, the presidential chorus would most likely sing Handel’s Messiah to convince him that he is THE savior of the nation. Of course, for their own purposes, and not necessarily for the welfare of the people.

Wisely, then, the President should simply uphold the democratic example that his mother, Cory, had left as one of her greatest legacies: to share, not monopolize, power.

When Cory’s presidency was coming to a close in 1992, a good number of her confidants were egging her to run for a “sure second term”. She simply said “No.”

And by that selfless example, she ensured that the people, not one person, or, only a clique of the well connected, would have the decisive role in choosing the leader of this Republic.

President Noynoy, then, does not have much of a choice. If he wants to earn the love and respect of the people on a more permanent basis, not ephemerally, he should douse talks about his need for a second term not only with ice cold, but with acid-laced, water.

His people and the country expect and deserve no less from him. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Former Senate President Aquilino Pimentel, Jr. of Cagayan de Oro City prefers to be called “Nene Pimentel.”)