Warning signs

By: JASON BAGUIA July 24,2018 - 08:49 PM

BAGUIA

According to various reports, at least 40,000 protesters marched down the Quezon City road leading to the session hall where President Rodrigo Duterte delivered his third State of the Nation Address (Sona) Monday.

Police contest the figure from the militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, only one of the many organizations that coalesced for what was dubbed the United People’s Sona.

The cops say only 8,000 people turned up.

Authorities would always have more conservative crowd estimates especially of events that challenge the establishment.

Belittling the opposition helps the administration project continuing solidity.

I doubt that the President himself and his supporters would be so naive as to measure public discontent with his manner of governance simply on the number of protesters that marched on Quezon City yesterday.

By now they must know that protests were held in urban centers across the country, from Baguio City in the North to Cagayan de Oro City in the South.

Malacañang would have to play blind to not see the line connecting the nationwide street marches to the results of recent polls showing a spike in Filipinos’ rejection of plans to tinker with the 1987 Philippine Constitution.

If the opinion polls and the resurgent protest movement are not enough to make this administration cease and desist from changing the charter, then it must be confident that it can railroad the inauguration of a new Constitution.

Perhaps the changing of the guard at the Lower House had Malacañang’s blessing. Perhaps the executive expects representatives under House Speaker Gloria Arroyo to hasten the advent of federalism.

That only indicates how self-serving are charter change plans. The President colludes with the Speaker and her congressional majority.

They do not expect problems at the Supreme Court, stacked as it is with appointees of Duterte and of Arroyo when she was President. Congressmen plan to cancel elections next year. They sideline the Senate. They leave the people out in the cold.

You can only oppress people so much.

They may forget how various branches of government connived to shackle them in the heydays of the dictator. But they are not so stoic or amnesiac as to feel no salt being rubbed onto their wounds in the restoration of the woman who enabled the cruelty of Virgilio Garcillano, Jovito Palparan, Jocelyn Bolante and their ilk.

The opinion polls and the street marches are warning signs.

Time, history, and enlightenment will teach those who blindside their constituents hard lessons about power’s fleeting nature, about sovereignty’s true residence.

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