Eternal Damnation

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

BY AND large, the President controls the Senate and the House of Representatives. "By and large" is even an understatement. "Controls" is the more appropriate term even if such was denied, is being denied and will always be denied.

The administration coalitions in both houses of Congress are firmly, solidly and permanently in power for the rest of the term of the President. This is undeniable.

The leaderships in the respective chambers are safe, secure and free from the possibility of any upheaval, rebellion or takeover. This is undeniable. The long and short of this undeniable fact, then, is that they can do anything and everything as they wish, or as the President wishes.


But are there any?

Anyway, it goes without saying that laws can make or break governance. Good laws can create better lives and livelihoods. Bad laws can destroy hope and faith. No laws, or no new laws for that matter, can mean more of the same despair, dejection, depression, desolation and despondency.

Laws can also be problems but they can likewise be solutions. They can rectify the errors and mistakes of the past, or make them graver. They can address the needs and wants of the present, or make them greater. They can confront the challenges and uncertainties of the future, or make them darker.

While Congress, on its own, can legislate and produce whatever may be necessary, beneficial, popular, fancy or even stupid, it takes the President to chart a legislative agenda that is aligned with the national vision. Without this executive fiat, there will be no focus, there will be no concentration and there will be no specialization. There will just be a hodge podge of anything and everything that lead to nothing.

This is not to say that we ought to abolish the independence of the legislature. This is to say that the President needs to cooperate with and to collaborate with Congress, to say the least, or to pilot and to captain Congress, to say the most, if we are to do and have what must be done and gained.

So, do we see the wind blowing?

Be that as it may, the President has the power, to persuade if we are to go soft, to order if we are to go hard, to have the laws that he needs to attain, achieve and accomplish whatever he believes is just, right and transformational. Especially for this President who, "by and large," "controls," both the lower chamber and the upper chamber, anything and everything that lead to something can happen if he only wills it so.

He can have bills filed - his version of the bills. He can have bills passed - his version of the bills. He can have bills certified as urgent, thereby making the otherwise long and winding process to just run fast and to just run straight, not crawl on curves, not climb on slopes.

But, of course, we have not seen this happen, except maybe for the very divisive reproductive health bill and except perhaps for the very controversial sin tax bill, both of which are facing continuing opposition, even after they have been signed into law. The freedom of information bill and the anti-political dynasty bill have never been and may never be certified as urgent. The Bangsamoro bill has a larger chance at being certified as urgent, but still none as of yet.

In any case, are these five bills, two of which have since become laws, the only major issues that are staring us in the eye? We could not be this blind. We should not be this blind.

The President still has about two years to make up for the legislative emptiness of the last four years. The President must make a decision on what laws he needs to make this country the dream that his parents dreamt. There are thousands upon thousands of pending bills. He must choose which ones to certify as urgent.

The President, with a Congress that he, "by and large," "controls," is in the best position and has the only opportunity to ordain what laws will govern the next generation. He must protect, promote and propel this next generation.

The President, specifically this President whose fate was written in the stars, depending on his monumental actions or his legendary inactions, to make it simple but not simplistic, to be sure, without a doubt, will lead us and all those still unborn to either overdue salvation or eternal damnation.

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Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on March 28, 2014.


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