TELL IT TO SUN•STAR! The last bas­tion of democ­racy

Sun.Star Pampanga - - TOPSTORIES! -

THE Se­nate to­day is the last bas­tion of democ­racy in this coun­try. The Ex­ec­u­tive Depart­ment which is the most pow­er­ful of the three branches of govern­ment is under the thumb of the in­cum­bent Pres­i­dent. The Supreme Court is supreme only in name, hav­ing sur­ren­dered its in­de­pen­dence to Mala­cañang, with its record in the case of de­tained op­po­si­tion leader, Sen. Leila de Lima; its ouster of Chief Jus­tice Lour­des Sereno at the be­hest of the So­lic­i­tor Gen­eral with his in­fa­mous quo war­ranto pro­ceed­ings in­stead of im­peach­ment; its de­ci­sion to al­low the burial of the late dic­ta­tor Fer­di­nand Mar­cos at the Libin­gan ng mga Bayani; and its de­ci­sion to ex­tend mar­tial law in Min­danao.

His­tor­i­cally, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives has al­ways been an ex­ten­sion of Mala­cañang. Lately, under the leadership of Speaker Glo­ria Ma­ca­pa­gal-Ar­royo, it passed a res­o­lu­tion for char­ter change by re­mov­ing fixed term lim­its of in­cum­bent of­fi­cials, and the pro­hi­bi­tion on po­lit­i­cal dy­nas­ties; and in case of va­cancy in the of­fice of the Pres­i­dent, al­low­ing the Se­nate Pres­i­dent, in­stead of the Vice-Pres­i­dent, to suc­ceed.

Pres­i­dent Duterte and his min­ions are hell-bent in push­ing for char­ter change and other mea­sures that would tighten his au­thor­i­tar­ian hold on the na­tion. This could be done with his com­plete con­trol of the Se­nate af­ter the midterm elec­tions. This is the rea­son why the com­ing May 13, 2019 polls are very cru­cial to the na­tion.

The prin­ci­ple of checks and bal­ance in a repub­li­can sys­tem of govern­ment will to­tally be elim­i­nated in case a majority of the ad­min­is­tra­tion bets will be elected.

On the other hand, if most if not all of the op­po­si­tion can­di­dates for the Se­nate win, the in­de­pen­dence of the Se­nate will be as­sured thus pre­vent­ing a slide to dic­ta­tor­ship.

It is, there­fore, imperative that we must sup­port all the can­di­dates of the Otso Diretso, namely, Dean Chel Dio­kno (de­fender of the poor); Samira Gu­toc (peace ad­vo­cate); Gary Ale­jano (ad­vo­cate for na­tional se­cu­rity); Eric Tañada (the farm­ers’ cham­pion); Mar Roxas (out­stand­ing econ­o­mist); Bam Aquino (author of the free col­lege ed­u­ca­tion); Romy Ma­cal­in­tal (ex­po­nent of se­nior ci­ti­zens’ rights}; and bar top­notcher Pilo Hil­bay (fighter for the erad­i­ca­tion of pover t y) .

Their sterling records as hu­man rights de­fend­ers, their hon­esty and in­tegrity, their un­ques­tioned pa­tri­o­tism, and in­de­pen­dence of mind will as­sure us of a Se­nate that can say NO to au­thor­i­tar­i­an­ism.

— Dem­ocrito C. Barce­nas

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