This is but a little observation on the socio-ethical implications of the strong desire and intense move of the government to change the fundamental law of the land—notwithstanding all reservations to the contrary coming from many sectors of society.
If it were only true that the change of the form of government would infallibly lead to a better exercise of power for a better life of the people as a whole, then the proposed change should have been done even yesterday. But what not a few tax paying and law abiding citizens perceive and think is otherwise. Question: what will the charter change bring about as its immediate by-products?
One: the repeated CBCP call for the search of the truth on the conduct and result of the 2004 national elections will be simply swept under the rug, so to speak. With the key change in the form of government necessarily go other changes that have direct bearing on the past to be precisely kept that—a forget-it-past, moot and academic.
Two: the change of the form of government will certainly assure one reality as its immediate effect, and this is the continuation in the tenure of power especially on the part of the national leadership. Incidentally, this is a leadership that more and more citizens want changed not kept. And the present national leadership is precisely what charter change will keep unchanged.
Three: any structure of government is as good only as the persons exercising governance. The structure of government is relative as to its productive or destructive output, its beneficial or harmful actuation. What are absolute imperatives are the honesty and integrity of those governing, the justice they provide, truth they say, the honor and respect they deserve.
The Spaniards have a wise saying: a monkey even if dressed in silk still remains a monkey. In the same way, the form of government does not necessarily make those governing better.
The country can have a change of its form of government everyday—if this could infallibly assure the change too of the existing pitiful national situation for the better. It is neither certain nor clear that the Philippines is where it is sadly now primarily because of its presidential form of government.
2 April 2006