Abolish it, period
The real argument is not whether President Aquino can be impeached for his appropriation and release of huge sums in a manner unheard of and in flat violation of the constitutional ban against any appropriation except by act of congress; the real argument is whether what he has done is impeachable.
And that has nothing to do with the probability of a successful impeachment; it has everything to do with what the laws and the constitution say he can and cannot do; and what the facts say he did or did not do.
Whether the numbers can be gathered to impeach him is beside the point. What is to the point is that the president may have committed an impeachable offense and he may need to commit it again--that is appropriate money pronto to stave off an actual impeachment just like GMA repeatedly did. (That seemed like a nice thing to say and it was said at the time but in truth there was only one time when the Palace sent out P5 million a piece to stop the first impeachment for the Hello Garci calls, prepared by Ronnie Zamora and voted for by me among a handful of congressmen; all the rest are now Liberal Party members.)
Only the ignorant say that impeachment is a numbers game. It is not. It is not a game. It is a constitutional issue and the best brains have said there is a violation.
I agree there is a violation but I do not think it is impeachable. It has to do with money; with how money is taken and spent; and money is always complicated--indeed baffling to those who thought that converting to cash their rice pork allocation for distribution to the poor and pocketing the proceeds wasn’t any different from eating the rice themselves. A surely, unless one is an accountant one can successfully plead before a court of impeachment what one cannot plead before a court of law, ignorance as a valid defense.
But if it was done in ignorance of its illegality, the best proof of the sincerity of the president’s ignorance is for him to stop the practice completely, now, without qualification, and without the possibility of resurrecting it under another acronym like DAP dead.
If better legal minds than his say the president violated the constitution he was not aware of it; he can prove this by stopping it immediately; even at the risk of raising the numbers to impeach him for it now appears that his total control of Congress had never anything with his charismatic personality and inspirational quality but with the cash he has been lavishing upon its members in amounts that would have staggered the imagination of any previous precedent. GMA, though invented the Conditional Cash Transfer, was adamant in refusing to fund it because its accountability was impossible. But Noynoy has more audacity in the fiscal sphere.
But by taking that risk of denying the entire congress the pork that has been so grossly abused, and perhaps himself as he claims GMA abused her presidential pork, he proves his lack of malice aforethought and his essential innocence.
The ignorant are obsessed with punishing Napoles and her principals; the intelligent are concerned about stopping what they did and are still doing once and for all.
Punish Napoles yet pork will still be abused because she was just a bag lady and there are many of those around, at least one of them in a key post in the palace.
The president can prove his innocence by stopping pork completely under any name, including his own. That will be enough to rally the public around him with only little doubt that he still deserves the public trust. But that does not apply to any of his people.
So just abolish pork in all its manifestations. Even Noynoy and I, in our time, we all found pork useful for reelection; Erap was particularly generous to him which he reciprocated by refusing to sign his impeachment or being the very last one to do so, which reflects on his sense of gratitude.
But on reflection, and in light of how it was abused, the total abolition of pork is way overdue. So do it and that will be the end of the affair. Anyway Batanes is already completely covered with concrete. There is nothing left to pave. More concrete may sink it.Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.