THE WORM’S EYEVIEW: P-Noy’s self-interest vs public interest

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/26 August) — Alarm is in the air. People are commenting about what seems to be a change in President B. S. Aquino’s focus from reforms that accord with Daang Matuwid to Cha Cha that accomodates term extension.

It’s a troubling development, alarming in more ways than one. And it’s ill-advised, being unduly provocative and controversial as a case of self-interest versus public interest.

Already late into his 6-year term, P-Noy has no business tinkering with the Constitution to suit his personal convenience or ambition.

People ask if they’re seeing the onset of a messianic complex. Does P-Noy believe he can do no wrong, that he’s the best, that he’s indispensable for this phase of our nation’s history?

Some speculate if it has to do with a fairly-established self-righteousness in attitude: condemnatory towards ex-president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and others, dismissive of ex-chief justice Renato Corona, angry with justices who stigmatize his disbursement acceleration program, fixated on what seems to be a penchant for fiscal dictatorship.

Days ago, I got a text message from a knowledgeable source, i.e. “It appears that P-Noy’s henchmen in congress are seriously pursuing moves to prolong his presidency by amending the Constitution themselves as a constituent assembly.”

The message goes on: “This is clear abuse of power by self-interested tradpols and a reason for the military to intervene as protectors of the Constitution and the people.” A cautionary warning against provoking rebellion or providing a rationale for a coup!

It’s also a sentiment gaining ground as anger and anxiety rises around the usual attempt to manipulate society and the Constitution to suit the convenience of a sitting president.

The text’s concluding question is troubling: “Are there idealistic army officers who see it this way?”—conjuring up what’s getting to be a reflexive thought when our society is thrown into a political thicket: the idea of military or armed intervention as the way out.

It’s a counterproductive reflex, to say the least. It suggests to would-be Honasans and Trillaneses to substitute mutiny or rebellion for political action—using the very arms and implements entrusted to them by the people!

It’s bad enough that two swaggering mutineers managed to secure senate seats for themselves; it’s terrible that they’re touted as role models in a democratic order.

Now the two are having the time of their lives as pedantic power players and grandstanding politicos, obsessed with self-importance as they work their way to heights of fame and fortune they could not have reached without the coercive force of armed mutiny. Trillanes even dreams of the presidency.

Too bad there are too many easy-to-fool Filipinos who readily support the antics of swashbuckling coup plotters and show-offs who think nothing of abusing deadly firepower placed in their care.

Too bad also that we have a bunch of so-called political parties, mercenary and irresponsible, that recklessly sponsor misplaced ambition or incompetence as long as it serves selfish agenda.

No less than the vice president leads the pack in bastardizing the concept of a political party—fielding his unremarkable children to city hall, house, and senate chambers, letting his partisans plague the political system with dynastic politics, and of late, nominating Manny Pacquiao to the senate—to let him trivialize it into a backdrop for showing off his boxing form?

Woe to our society that it should suffer the burden of pretentious trapos who propagate “winnability” based on entertainment value or popularity as the criteria for state office. They are our society’s worst enemies; and can you believe that the Aquinos—sisters, uncles, cousins, cronies—seem indulgent to them?

Fixated on personal ambition, unscrupulous, mercenary, shameless, they are destroyers of our values and institutions, corruptors of public morality, and saboteurs of our political system. Their obsession with power, lusting after its privileges, is a discredit to us all. To give them charge of our society will keep our democracy immature and in perpetual juvenile delinquency.

P-Noy had better be careful. If he lets his cohorts talk him into thinking that his interests and obsessions coincide with the public’s best interests, he’ll be biting off more than he can chew.

Manny is former UNESCO regional director for Asia-Pacific; secretary-general, Southeast Asian Publishers Association; director, development academy of Philippines; member, Phil. Permanent Mission to the U.N.; vice chair, Local Government Academy; member, Cory Government’s Peace Panel, and PPI-UNICEF awardee for outstanding columnist.