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Too late the hero

15 February 2016 No CommentEmail This Post Email This Post

rp_Chito-Parazo-300x173.jpgThe sudden change of hearts of 64 Congressmen who recently signed a resolution to override President Aquino’s veto of the proposed P2000 SSS pension hike came a bit too late. It is good to know that a number of lawmakers crossed party lines to sign the petition to give additional financial assistance to retirees. They could have done it on the last day of their session before Congress adjourned in preparation for the May 16 elections.

President Aquino rejected a proposed bill seeking to increase the monthly social security pension of retirees, claiming that it will have dire financial consequences for the entire membership of the Social Security System. He claimed that the stability of the benefit system of social security will be seriously compromised once the P2,000 hike is implemented.

What President Aquino should’ve done a long time ago if he is really serious in protecting the financial stability of SSS is to slash the excessive bonuses given to social security executives amounting to millions of pesos annually. On top of their huge bonuses, these overpaid executives appointed by a sitting president are getting so many perks, including car and gasoline allowances. This is absurd.

Everyone knows that the SSS, for so many years, has been in good financial standing and can even afford to give huge salaries and bonuses to its executives. Meanwhile, Social Security retirees who depend on their monthly income to sustain their daily living, will have to wait until Congress resumes its session in the later part of May to if they will get an increase in their current monthly financial benefits.

A total of 192 signatures of Congressmen are needed to override the presidential veto. If it succeeds, the Senate will have to vote on the measure. A total of 16 Senators or two thirds of the Senate is required to make the rejected SSS Pension Bill into law. Congressmen and Senators are expected to approve the pension hike despite President Aquino’s rejection out of fear of being castigated by senior citizens and their families come election day in May.

It’s an old cliché, but history still does repeat itself. There is now a strong probability that neophyte Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares might be the next Philippine President. As of now, the only remaining stumbling block of the presidential aspiration of Senator Lllamanzares and her American citizen husband is the Supreme Court.

But judging from the body language and arguments being shown and presented by Supreme Court Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno and her two junior associates, Francis Jardeleza and Marivic Leonen, it seems that Llamanzares has a good chance of winning her case in the High Court.

In 2010, real estate billionaire Manny Villar was the frontrunner and the favorite to win the presidential election in all poll surveys conducted months before the election. But the sudden death of former President Cory Aquino changed the political fortune of then Senator Villar. Huge numbers of people spilled out onto the streets to pay homage to former President Cory who died of cancer.

President Aquino, who was then a neophyte senator, was encouraged by his Liberal partymates to run for president, believing that sympathy votes were more than enough to catapult him to victory. It sure did. The voters believed that Aquino, despite having no legislative accomplishments in Congress and no professional achievements, will be able to solve the numerous problems besetting the government.

However, after almost six years of an Aquino presidency, most people are saying that they regret voting for someone who has neither the temperament nor the intelligence to handle the job of being a
president of a nation. Now enter Senator Grace Poe Llamanzares, a neophyte Senator too. She, too, also does not have an outstanding accomplishment as a Senator.

The Commission on Election (Comelec) ruled that she is not qualified to run for an elective position for failing to meet the constitutional requirements for someone to run for President of the Philippines. She is also being barred by Comelec to run for president for not being a natural-born Filipino citizen and for not meeting the 10-year residency period. Llamanzares is the adopted child of the late movie actor Fernando Poe Jr and Susan Roces, also a former movie star.

Senator Llamanzares and her lawyers elevated her case with the Supreme Court hoping that the High Court will rule on her favor. The nation awaits for the court’s decision.

The disqualification case against Llamanzares is just like a tele-novela. The public, particularly the lower class, are closely watching the oral arguments proceedings about the Llamanzares case at the Supreme Court, which seems to be taking its time. Meanwhile, Llamanzares’ political supporters are growing in numbers by the day out of sympathy or “awa.”

The “masa” thinks that the poll body has deprived Llamanzares of her rights by declaring her not a natural born Filipino citizen. Even Chief Justice Sereno and Associate Justices Jardeleza and Leonen, all appointees of President Aquino, also seemed to be favoring the arguments being presented by Poe’s lawyers.

I just hope the honorable justices base their decision on laws and what is written in the Constitution and not based on their emotions. If their ruling will be swayed by their sympathy towards Llamanzares being a foundling, then the Philippines will have another mediocre or incompetent president.

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