On paper the delineation of duties and roles is clear and they are co-equal. But in actual practice, these members of the Palace Media Trinity are bound to clash at some point. Perhaps a subaltern would stray outside his territory and commits a gaffe; then finger-pointing begins and instead of “messaging,” there might be a frequent need for “massaging” angry egos, and damage-control. How often this had happened in past administrations, even without this three-headed monster set-up.
On top of this complex set-up, the spokesperson in every line department is being given a more active role ---19 such spokespersons at last count---compared to the past administration. They will explain their offices’ role at their level, before all the info is tied up by the upstairs team into a coherent message.
Earlier I had written that Camp Aguinaldo cannot be leased as there appears to have been an understanding that it would revert to the Ortigases the moment the military leaves it. It appears now that the plan is for the other camps to be consolidated into Aguinaldo, so that some 155 hectares of the vacated camps (22 hectares from the Navy, 30 has. From Villamor Air Base and 103 has in Fort Bonifacio) could be leased to business corporations for huge amounts of money. But some senators raised the need for congressional action on such lease. I’d also question the wisdom of putting the various armed services into one camp, from the standpoint of security.
On the eve of the SONA Cecile Alvarez and I had as guest former UP President and Kalayaan College President Jose V. Abueva, now also a new columnist for the “Bohol Chronicle” in his home province. Dr. Abueva’s SONA wish list included, to no one’s surprise, that P-Noy push for “policy and institutional changes in our Constitution by asking Congress to act on this idea.” He opined that there is no need for a commission or a referendum to consult the people on whether they want charter change or not, as this has been over-studied in various groups in the past, notably by the commission that Abueva headed in the GMA years; moreover, he argued, P-Noy’s legitimacy and high popular trust will make his initiative to change the Constitution via a Con-Con welcome and “least subject to suspicion.”
Abueva stressed the significance that while P-Noy’s mother caused the drawing up of the Constitition, so that it’s popularly known as the “Cory Constitution,” her son could leave as a “major legacy” the correction of basic flaws in that charter. He rattled off among the flaws the too-short House terms, the need to elect senators regionally instead of nationally (which is too expensive), bloc-voting for the two highest officials, as in the US, urgent review of the party-list concept, and the strengthening of party affiliations to make ruling parties accountable in a parliamentary system. He proposed that the people’s referendum on a new charter, a necessary step under the current Constitution, be made to coincide with the 2013 mid-term elections.
I have always recognized the urgent need to restructure our governmental set-up through Charter Change, but as I told Dr. Abueva, I doubt if P-Noy would even advocate it now. The SONA proved me right, but we can always keep the hope that one day he would see the light in this regard.
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