WHAT I FORESEE: Next Year Will Be Momentous Year. It Can Make Or Break Us.
By Jose Alejandrino
Let me begin with the president. I think it will be a long time before we have another president like Rodrigo Duterte. I am very fond of him. He was reluctant to run for the presidency because of the enormity of the problems. When he took office he realized they were even bigger than he thought.
Take illegal drugs. The list contains some 10,000 names ranging from senators, congressmen, governors, mayors, barangay captains, police, judges, the network simply boggles the mind. Given the slow and cumbersome judicial system we have, it is doubtful whether we can bring them to justice. These are the protectors. Then there are some 3.5 million pushers and addicts in the distribution system. Even assuming all of them surrendered, you will need dozens of rehabilitation centers all over the country. The cost will be staggering.
The president knows it won't be resolved within his presidency. He doesn't even know whether he will survive the presidency with so many plots against him. He gave a hint of it when he addressed the officers and men in one of the military camps he visited. He asked them not to give their loyalty to him but to the country they serve. What he really meant was the military must go beyond whoever is president because if something should happen to him it must prevent the country from becoming a narco-State.
Corruption is another big problem. The president hopes to reduce the problem to a manageable proportion by his setting an example and hopefully by the example of his Cabinet secretaries. It is utopian to expect corruption to disappear completely. Every government had its share. Raising salaries might also reduce it.
By and large, Duterte's Cabinet has good men and women. But like any Cabinet some are better than others. Some perform better than others. There are some bad eggs among his advisers whom I won't name. I will leave it to the president to find out for himself.
As I have said before, the trick to maintaining and raising the president's popularity is to produce results. There is no substitute for achievements. The public expectations are high. Results must be sustained. It is also the way to marginalize the Opposition.
The president is looking beyond his term. That is why mid way through his term he wants constitutional reform. He knows the key to peace in Mindanao is a federal system that will give our Muslim brothers a greater say in governing themselves, if necessary, by giving the different groups two or more federal states.
As I have said, to have a good Constitution we need to keep politics and vested interests out of the process. This is easier said than done. Already politicians are lining up to ensure they have a say in the process.
Next year will be a momentous year. It can make or break us. The people will have to decide whether or not to give the president the revolutionary powers I said he needs to complete his program of change. The president has not asked for them and rightly so because he does not want to be accused of being a dictator. It is for the people to decide by public proclamation in a massive show of People Power. Revolutionary powers were given to Cory and there is a precedent. If Cory had them, why not Duterte?
I have also said that if Duterte fails or is ousted I expect a violent reaction, most likely in the form of a bloody civil war. The military will then have to take over and finish the job Duterte was not able to finish. But if we can have a peaceful transition to a new constitutional order it will pave the way for new leaders to emerge through meritocracy. There are many talents in this country, God-fearing men and women, if only given the chance. You will find many on the social media. You have others among the younger crop of politicians like Alan Peter Cayetano and Manny Pacquiao. It is time for a new set of leaders.
Source: Jose Alejandrino Facebook