POSTSCRIPT / June 9, 2011 / Thursday
Good luck on Roxas’ being sent to frontline


ANGELES CITY (PLDT/WeRoam) – Last Tuesday, I said in my Postscript that “my guess is…” that former senator Mar Roxas will not accept an appointment to the Department of Transportation and Communication for the reasons that I gave.
As is now obvious, my guess turned out to be wrong. Roxas has accepted his being sent “to the frontlines” as secretary of the DoTC aside from his being one of the presidential advisers.
For the sake of the expectant nation and the fledgling administration of President Noynoy Aquino — not to mention the dream of Roxas to succeed to the presidency — I sincerely hope he made the right decision.
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NEARER HIS DREAM?: My morning-after assessment is that when Roxas settled for the DoTC post, the Samar faction in the Palace won that round over the Balay camp rooting for the Liberal Party stalwart.
Having waited one year already, Roxas could have waited at least one week more and bargained for a better deal. Anyway, the position finally given to him will be vacated only by June 30.
But, of course, whatever I think is irrelevant to the presidential plans of Roxas.
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DEMOLITION: With Secretary Jose “Ping” de Jesus having resigned, maybe they should stop now the demolition job on this quiet worker calculated, it seems, to hound him out of the Cabinet.
There are other officials also being needlessly embarrassed presumably to hasten their ouster. But Ping deserves a little more respect if only because of his special affinity with the Aquino family and the fact that he remained clean and decent in office.
All Cabinet members and other presidential appointees serve at the pleasure of the Chief Executive.
When any one of them is marked for removal or replacement — for any reason — the President should just call him in and tell him in private and in all candor the facts of life. No need to ruin their reputation first.
It is cruel and unmanly to first subject the targeted official to embarrassment – marked by leaks of dubious derogatory information by unidentified “sources” — to set him up for the chopping board and justify his ouster in the public mind.
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ARMM POLLS: I consulted lawyer Romy Macalintal last night on the August election in the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao that the Aquino administration wants to postpone. He told me:
The ARMM is not covered by the law providing for synchronized elections. Section 2 of RA 7166 clearly provides that the synchronized elections refer only to the election of President, Vice President, 24 senators, members of the House of Representatives and all elective provincial, city and municipal officials elected in the May 1992 synchronized polls.
Synchronized elections are covered by the transitory provision of the 1987 Constitution. Section 18, Article X, mandates the Congress to pass the organic law to create autonomous regions to be approved in a plebiscite by the voters in the region.
But at the time the Constitution was adopted, the ARMM was not yet existing.
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NOT COVERED: Macalintal pointed out that the first election for the Congress and local officials under the 1987 Constitution was held in May 1987 with the elected officials’ term ending in 1992.
But the first ARMM election was held much later — on Feb. 12, 1990 — under its organic act passed by the Congress as mandated by the Constitution.
Thus, what is unconstitutional is not the ARMM election set in August but the proposed law to postpone that election and appoint officers-in-charge in the interim.
The appointment of OICs by the President violates the charter mandating that ARMM officials be elected and not appointed. Something is wrong when imperial Manila dictates on an autonomous region on matters exclusively pertaining to it.
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PRECEDENT: Macalintal also said that if the postponement bill is signed into law by President Aquino, it could become a legal basis to also postpone the 2013 and/or the 2016 elections for the same reasons cited in the ARMM case and to extend the terms of the incumbents.
In several cases, the Supreme Court had ruled against holdover of elected officials. With more reason that the appointment of OICs is patently unconstitutional since the charter provides that ARMM officials be elected.
The deletion from the bill of the provision that appointed OICs may not run in 2013 is alarming. This feeds the suspicion that President Aquino wants to install Liberal Party people in ARMM in preparation for the 2013 and the 2016 elections.
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LIBEL?: On abortion, which is prominently mentioned in the debate on the Reproductive Health bill nearing enactment, we chanced upon this item of the Associated Press.
The AP reported that a man in Alamogordo, New Mexico, who used a billboard to tell the public that his ex-girlfriend had an abortion against his wishes has touched off a legal debate over free speech and privacy rights.
The sign on Alamogordo’s main road shows Greg Fultz, 35, holding the outline of an infant. The text reads, “This Would Have Been A Picture Of My 2-Month Old Baby If The Mother Had Decided To Not KILL Our Child!”
Fultz’s former girlfriend took him to court for harassment and violation of privacy. The woman’s friends said she had a miscarriage, not an abortion. A court official recommended the billboard be removed.
But Fultz’s lawyer argued that that would violate his client’s free speech rights. He said: “As distasteful and offensive as the sign may be to some, for over 200 years in this country the First Amendment protects distasteful and offensive speech.”
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