Carlo's Think Pieces

Reflections of a Filipino in the Netherlands

GMA running for Congress

Posted by butalidnl on 3 December 2009

It is the talk of the town. GMA is running to be Representative of the 2nd district of Pampanga.  People are scandalized, worried, confused. Surely, this has to be part of a plot to keep her in power. Surely, she plans to become prime minister and unseat the president. For, why else would she do such a thing?

Prime Minister?
The idea that GMA wants to become prime minister, and that she is going to use her Congress seat to do this is rather far fetched. In the first place, the Constitution has to be changed. And our experience in the last few years shows that this is not that easy to do. And not only that, the Constitution not only has to be changed from presidential to parliamentary, but that transitory provisions would be written allowing those already serving in Congress to become the parliament.  And don’t forget the president and vice-president, and even senators, who need to serve their full terms. Will the transitory provisions also push them aside? Well, in short, I think the idea that from a Congress seat to Prime Minister in the same term will be rather unachievable.

Then Prime Minister in a second term as Congressman. Well, this is possible, but then the resources open to her will be those of a Congressman, so there should be nothing wrong with this.

Speaker?
Becoming Speaker after having become Representative is within the realm of the possible. But not of the probable. The speaker will most probably come from the majority party, or of the party of the president. From the way things are going, the president will come either from the LP or the NP, and the majority in the House of Representatives will align behind either of these two parties. Lakas-Kampi-NUCD is doing bad at the polls, even with a preponderance of resources. So, unless a big upset will happen, GMA could not become Speaker of the House of Representatives.

No Lame Duck
Then why is she running for a seat in Congress? Well, for one thing, she probably reckons that she is too young to retire.  And parliamentary immunity is another thing that may come in handy. She has no plans to be either a Prime Minister or even Speaker, but neither is she going to deny either of these . This way, she will be able to keep the myth that she may have power after May 2010. And by doing so, she can avoid becoming a lame duck president in her last months in office.  Also, if things go right, the idea of power after 2010 is kept alive enough long enough to keep Lakas-Kampi members in line till the elections. This way, the party will not disintegrate, and may even retain a decent number of Representatives and perhaps Senators.  As party head, she will constitute a significant minority, and will be able to negotiate for power within the new Congress.

As for those who think it is immoral or even unconstitutional, well this may  seem so to you. But having lived under a parliamentary democracy all this years, I have a healthy regard for a country’s leaders who seek “low” positions in parliament after their stint in office.

One Response to “GMA running for Congress”

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