Sins of Omission and Commission by the Ruling Class of the Philippines

What traditional Filipino politicians do and don't do

Traditional Filipino politicians

By traditional politician we mean, one who have joined the ruling class. We do not mean being corrupt. Although there are traditional politicians (trapo in short) who are corrupt

Despite her savvy in law and issuing statements opposite those of the Catholic church, Senator Mirriam Defensor-Santiago is a traditional politician.

Mirriam was a student standout in the College of Law, University of the Philippines Diliman campus. She was editor of the “Philippine Collegian,” then the university system’s student paper, reputed to be the only woman editor so far.

She was appointed trial court presiding judge, then appointed in various government positions like Secretary of Agrarian Reform, and Commissioner of Immigration. For her administrative ability she was given the Magsaysay Award for administration. This award for Asians is likened to the Nobel Prize.

Mirriam set up her own political party, People's Reform Party, and ran for president of the Philippines in 1991 opposite former senator Jovito Salonga, former vice president Salvador Laurel, former first lady Imelda R. Marcos, former secretary of Agriculture Ramon Mitra and former chief-of-staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Fidel V. Ramos.

Ramos garnered 21% of the votes cast, in virtue of which he became president of the Philippines. Ramos discharged the duties and responsibilities of the Presidency. Mirriam filed an electoral protest. The protest was decided upon when the protested term already expired. That Ramos won was affirmed.

Mirriam once ran for the Senate under the party of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (where Ramos is co-founder), and once under United Nationalist Alliance party and won.

As senator, Mirriam never questioned the landholdings of the Catholic church in the Philippines, tax evasion by the Catholic church, and the money laundering by the Catholic church.

True, Mirriam went against the position of this church regarding the Reproductive Health bill signed into law by President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III.

Senator Mirriam has never sponsored a bill to expand the land reform law to include sugar lands and lands planted to coconut and fruit trees. These are the main causes of insurgency in the Philippines. These foster poverty of 80% of Filipinos.

Senator Mirriam fits the definition of ruling class in the Philippines. Members of this class will not move to restructure the Filipino society. The ruling class is committed only to reforms.

However, expansion of the land reform law to include sugar lands and lands planted to coconut and fruit trees is not reform. It is restructuring of society. That is why Senator Mirriam and all other members of the present Congress will not pass a legislation that will expand the land reform law.

Even Congressman Manny Pacquiao of Saranggani will not move for expansion of land reform. He comes from the poor but he has already joined the ruling class. He is now engulfed by Philippine traditional politics and the Catholic church. I have a Hub on this topic.

Other political mavericks
Senator Gregorio Honasan is one political maverick; Senator Antonio Trillanes III is another. They are called mavericks because they won their political positions by virtue of protest movements they spurred. Honasan staged seven coup d’etat attempts against former president Corazon C. Aquino.

President Cory was ensconced to the presidency by EDSA I People Power . In a way it was a kind of coup, Honasan might have believed because a vote recount had not proven that she won over the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. However, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile, who was Marcos's Secretary of National Defense, said that Marcos won by fraud.

Honasan might had believed that Juan Ponce Enrile, or Fidel V. Ramos, or himself or their triumvirate could have taken over the leadership of the Philippines following the exile of Marcos to Hawaii. Honasan started out as an assistant of Enrile who was Secretary of National Defense under Marcos. He organized the Reform the Army Movement (RAM) to spur honesty in the army.

Honasan was popular for the wrong reasons. His coup attempts sent the Philippine economy reeling to its knees. Despite his misdeeds, Honasan and his group were given general amnesty, from advice no doubt by Gen. Fidel V. Ramos who was then chief-of-staff of the Philippine Army. When he ran for the Senate, Pres. Cory campaigned against him. But even the popularity of Pres. Cory could not overcome the popularity that Honasan has generated.

Senator Trillanes led an army mutiny called Oakwood Mutiny, as a protest against graft and corruption in the army. He and his group were also given general amnesty. They were vindicated when acts of graft and corruption were discovered in the army involving the top brash.

Trillanes was in jail when he ran for the Senate. He won but still could not hold office and go to the Senate floor, which he was able to do when he was given general amnesty and availed of it.

Both Honasan and Trillanes have joined the traditional politicians.

The comments on Senator Mirriam on the cases of the Catholic church and land reform also hold true for Senators Honasan and Trillianes.

Sins of omission
The ruling class has been guilty by omission on the following:

One. Failing to expand the land reform law to include sugar lands and lands planted to coconut and fruit trees.

Today, the land reform law touches only rice lands

Two. Allowing payment of land that do not belong to the so-called heirs. The first premise of land ownership in the Philippines is that the state owns all territory, including land mass, marine area 200 nautical miles beyond land mass, and air above land mass and above marine areas. The next premise is that the Filipino people, through their instrument that is their government, give titles on part of territory to Filipino citizens. The third premise is that ownership of territory by any Filipino citizen is not absolute.

There is no other government like that of Spain, or USA, or Vatican in the Philippines. Those territory awarded by 'Spain, or USA to Filipinos or to the Catholic church are null and void. Ownership of territory has reverted to the state of the Philippines.

Three. Allowing the Catholic church non payment of taxes on business it conducts in the Philippines.

Four. Allowing the Catholic church to have landholdings in the Philippines.

Five. Allowing the Catholic church unfettered repatriation of profits and alms to the Vatican. It has failed to come up with a policy on churches, similar to the constitution on churches promulgated by the French revolution of 1799. That is, allowing the Catholic church to drain the economy of the Philippines. Worst of all, the Catholic church has no equity in its businesses because the capital come from alms and supposed taxes. The church buildings belong to the Filipino people because they were built by forced labor of Filipinos. Authority over them by Rome ceased when the Filipinos gained independence from Spain by means of revolution. The Catholic church is like the Marcos cronies who set up business without equity, instead they used the resources of Philippine banks.

Six. Allowing the Philippines to be a supplicant neocolony of foreign powers.

Sins of commission
One. Passing a legislation and signing it into law such class legislation as the Priority Assistance Development Fund or PDAF. It is a class legislation because it favors the ruling class, specifically the legislators or members of Congress.

PDAF promotes graft and corruption resulting in scam that is now under investigation and litigation.

As of now, the Supreme Court has ruled PDAF as unconstitutional. It should be noted that the present Congress did not make any move to abrogate or abolish PDAF. Members of Congress are representatives of the ruling class. They don't represent the poor.

Two. Passing a legislation that splits the governance of the Philippines into political vis-a-vis economic. The political aspect of governance has remained with three branches of government. The economic aspect is given to the Central Bank of the Philippines. This bank has sole and independent jurisdiction over monetary policies, interest rates, and borrowing. It is a conduit of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in controlling the economy of the Philippines.

Three. Passing a legislation that imposes very high income tax.

Why does the ruling class commit sins of omissions? These omissions deprive the poor Filipinos of social justice and means of empowerment. Doing the opposite would undermine the foundations of their power.

Why does the ruling class commit these sins? These sins enhance the power of members over the poor Filipinos..

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