Archive for senate

Noynoy Aquino Did Not Become A Hostaged President

Posted in Governance, Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

Politics is a realm that neither political analysts nor fortune tellers can accurately predict the outcome. The reality is that the outcomes are determined by the interests of the politicians which they hold dearly to themselves as a poker player would his cards. Anlaysts can only do an educated speculation, fortune tellers can only do blind guesses.

Politicians’ interests and game plans may change as the seasons do, depending on the situations during a particular time, or the convenience at that moment. That makes them unpredictable, which is sometimes a necessity in the cut-throat world that they move around in.

I am happy to admit that one analysis I made while in the thick of the campaign of the last national and local elections did not materialize into reality. Yes, I’m happy that it did not materialize. That analysis, which I posted in my blog ( Noynoy Aquino Could Be a Hostaged President ), pictured a scenario where both chambers of the Philippine Congress are dominated by opponents of Aquino, with Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo heading the House of Representatives and Manny Villar leading the Senate.

The basis of that analysis is the fact that both politicians had a good number of allies (at that time, at least) that should have been enough for them to take hold of the helm in their respective chambers. That, combined with the usual expectation for politicians of such stature to crave for the post of top banana and the craving to get back at political opponents, served as the foundation of the analysis.

But to my surprise, neither seemed to have exerted effort not exhibited the desire to make life difficult for the new president. Perhaps the overwhelming mandate and the people’s high trust and confidence in President Aquino was enough to dissuade them. Or they lost their allies to political expediency, each of them characteristically looking out for their own interests. Or, uncharacteristically for politicians, they both lost the desire for power and the need to get back at their rival.

I am thankful to Rep. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Sen. Manny Villar for not acting like typical traditional politicians. Ordinarily, one would expect a typical trapo to use the situation to get back at the opponent who defeated him or do everything to use the position to protect herself.

Whatever it is, I am just glad that President Noynoy Aquino enjoys the goodwill and support of both chambers. Both Houses have super majorities that support the President, led by personalities who have expressed cooperation, if not complete support, to the new administration.

Indeed, President Aquino is a blessed man. Not just because he won the Presidency in a relatively easy manner (considering that he decided to run just 5 months before the campaign began), but because as he begins his term of office, he has a high trust rating from his constituency and the support of the two chambers of Congress.

I pray that those around him will not waste this golden opportunity for the Philippines to be great again.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE TOTAL NUMBER OF REGISTERED VOTERS IN THE PHILIPPINES?

Posted in Governance, Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

What’s the exact number of registered voters in the country in the May 10, 2010 elections? Initial canvass reports in the Senatorial Canvass showed 153,902,003 Filipino voters. The Canvassing and Consolidation Server (CCS) in the Presidential and Vice Presidential Canvass indicated that there are 256,733,195 registered voters.

Which of the two is the correct number? Actually, both are wrong.

Without even checking references, one would immediately know that both figures are incorrect because it is common knowledge that the Philippine population is just about 89 million. Since these figures are supposed to be system generated (meaning that they are automatically produced by the program of the Consolidation and Canvassing Server), these can be called defects of the product supplied by Smartmatic. Or in a more benign-sounding techie terminology, these are “glitches”.


Photo at left shows the Report No 1 of the National Canvass Report for Senator, certified by three Comelec Commissioners indicating the wrong number of registered voters in the Philippines. Photo at right is the close up of the document. The error in the CCS of the Presidential/Vice Presidential Canvass was the subject of discussion between Senate President Enrile and Smartmatic officer Cesar Flores during the first day of canvassing.

The “glitches” did not go unnoticed, though. In the senatorial canvass, representatives of the candidates, not having outgrown the habit of closely scrutinizing canvass documents during old, manual system where errors were aplenty, went over the system-generated report (which is supposed to be reliable because of less human intervention) and discovered the incorrect entry.

Comelec and Smartmatic officials apologized for the glitch, promising to correct it. Most of those in the canvassing teams of the candidates brushed it off, although when it was reported to me by my staff, I took a little bit more serious note of it. This was during the morning session of the canvassing.

When the Board of Canvassers (BOC) printed out the afternoon report, the first thing my staff did was to check if the error was corrected. It was not. It was then that I decided I had to go to the PICC to personally check on the documents and inquire about the process. At that time, I didn’t know it was a system generated report.

At the PICC, I was able to talk to Cesar Flores and I conveyed to him my support for an automated election. I then queried him about the reports that are being generated, particularly the reports per province as they are received by the BOC, because there are no reports being generated. The BOC simply reports out the consolidated tally, without us knowing the breakdown of results per province, unlike in the old system where you know the results that come in per province and you can cross check it with your field reports.

After our short chat, I was informed by my staff that the afternoon report was not corrected. It still contained the error in registered voters. I was also able to talk to a Comelec technical person who told me the Canvass Reports are system generated and that they will look into the error. After getting non-responsive answers to my questions, I left my staff to monitor the canvassing further.

When it was revealed through a report by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that a similar error was found in the CCS of the Presidential / Vice Presidential Canvass Board, red flags were raised in my head. Two separate systems, one error. But the curious thing is that while the nature of the errors were the same, the outcomes were different.

Of course, when both errors were discovered, the logical thing to do was to correct them. Not only was it logical, it was imperative. So the CCS in the Senatorial Canvass was corrected and the registered voters in the CCS of the Presidential /Vice Presidential Canvass was adjusted.

Most people settled down after those assuring actions were made. But wait, hold your horses!

In the canvass of the senatorial race, which has the same voting constituency as the President and Vice President, the figure that was indicated in the Total Registered Voters field after the correction was 51, 317, 073. Below is an image of the document, National Canvass Report No. 3 indicating the new number of registered voters which was used all the way through to Report No. 8.

But as revealed in the discussion during the first day of canvass for President and vice President, the figure that Smartmatic and Comelec used in correcting the erroneous entry in the number of registered voters is 51,292,465. I remember Senator Enrile asking what figure they used to change the wrong entry and if they were sure with the number as I was listening to the proceedings in the radio. True enough, those figures are the ones reported in the news.

With the two Consolidation and Canvassing Servers once again having differing numbers of registered voters, I decided to check which one was accurate. Where else will I turn to but the Commission on Elections? So I visited their website and clicked on the page where the registered voters were indicated.

Lo and behold, a figure different from both numbers appears in the website of the Comelec itself. In their tally, there are 50,723,733 registered voters in the Philippines as January 2010. To my knowledge, the last day of registration was October 31, 2009 per Comelec Resolution No. 8585, so this should be the correct figure. There couldn’t have been additional voters between January 2010 and February 9, 2010 when the campaign period started. Besides, this is the Comelec’s website, which should be updated with the latest data considering the importance of their work now.

Image of the Comelec website indicating a figure for registered voters different from both the CCS from the Senatorial Canvass and the CCS from the Presidential / Vice Presidential Canvass.

I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt. After all, it might be that the COmelec website was not updated. So I did a double checking using a document I knew to be reliable (or it should be, unless it, too, is faulty). I referred to the Certificate of Canvass in my District, Muntinlupa City.

I checked the registered voters in Mutninlupa as indicated in the Certificate of Canvass for that city, certified by the City Board of Canvassers. It indicated that Muntinlupa City’s registered voters totaled to 291,333, as shown in the image below:

I cross-checked it with the figure in the Comelec website and they matched:

This shows that the data on the Comelec appears to be the correct data since the information pertaining to Muntinlupa City’s voting population is the same with the information contained in the Certificate of Canvass for the same city.

The question now is how come the information in the two Consolidation and Canvassing Servers are not only different from the information in the Comelec website but even different from each other?

It appears that three official sources have their own data with regard to the total number of voting population that the Philippines has. Smartmatic downplays the error in the Presidential and Vice Presidential Canvass as “innocent glitches”. But the fact that it happened also in the Senatorial canvass gives it a more than just an “innocent glitch” flavor. In addition, the error in the Presidential / Vice Presidential Canvass was discovered ahead of the one in the Senatorial Canvass which was even included in the first two reports signed by the Comelec Commissioners. That negligence caused the Comelec Commissioners to affix their seal of approval on something that was erroneous on something as basic as the total registered voters. In the case of the CCS for President and Vice President, the error was found out only after the Senate President did his official task of initializing the server.

Let me clarify though, that even if it does not take a genius to figure out how this error could be used for cheating, I am not saying that these observations are enough to suspect cheating. I am not looking at this as an indication of fraud but rather as an indication of sloppy work on the part of the supplier of the system.

But as the explanation was given that the program mistakenly added the voting population of each level of the reporting (from PCOS to Municipal Board to Provincial Board to National Board, etc.) the layman in me has enough common sense to question that it would take major programming “error” to mistakenly put into the program an instruction to add a mathematical formula (either addition or multiplication) in a field that is supposed to be static.

The so-called IT experts of Smartmatic and (those who worship them) want us to believe and take in hook line and sinker all that they say. I would want to, but I only believe something after it has passed scrutiny using my educated and ignorant questions. So far, some of their answers to questions have only bred more questions (like Mr. Flores’ explanation about the wrong date stamps on ERs being caused by clocks resetting while in transit. I countered that if a clock is reset, it is reset to a default “beginning of time” such as 01/01/1900 and not just resetting to a few days or few months back from the correct time. But that’s another story…)

Once more, with feeling…I am not complaining that I was cheated. I am not accusing anyone of cheating. But I do say that there’s enough to accuse someone of sloppy work. Sloppy work that the Filipino people are going to pay more than 7 Billion Pesos for.

Some people would probably ask, what should we do then? Well, I say we tell those who are responsible that they have sloppy work and tell them that right in their faces. Then we find ways to penalize them. Because if we take a lackadaisical attitude towards this negligence (or much worse, if we take their side and even defend their errors), it will surely come back and thumb its nose in our faces again in 2013.

The 13th Place

Posted in Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , , on May 15, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

With the senatorial count winding up, people I meet ask me this question, “Can the Comelec proclaim 13 senators instead of 12, owing to the vacancy that Sen. Aquino will leave behind as he assumes the Presidency?”. It is a valid question, one that I myself asked in the middle of the campaign as I was writing an analysis of a post election scenario (Noynoy Aquino Could be a Hostaged President, March 18, 2010).

I am not a lawyer, but in my 9 years as a congressman and previous 8 years as a senior legislative officer in the Senate, I have already learned how to research on laws and come up with my own opinions on some legal matters. So when that question came to my mind months back, I did some readings and study on previous cases of the same circumstance.

First of all, what does the law say?

Of course, the basic law of the land prescribes what we should do. Article VI, Sec. 9 of the Philippine Constitution says, “In case of vacancy in the Senate or in the House of Representatives, a special election may be called to fill such vacancy in the manner prescribed by law, but the Senator or Member of the House of Representatives thus elected shall serve only for the unexpired term.”

This means that the position that Sen. Noynoy Aquino will leave behind when he assumes the Presidency on June 30, 2010 may only be filled by complying with laws which prescribe how to elect a senator to fill the vacancy. To meet this requirement of the Constitution, the 8th Congress passed Republic Act No. 6645 which prescribes “The Manner of Filling a Vacancy in the Congress of the Philippines”.

RA 6645 provides that in case of a vacancy in either the House of Representatives or the Senate, the Comelec shall hold a special election to fill the vacancy “upon receipt of a resolution of the Senate or the House of Representatives, as the case may be, certifying to the existence of such vacancy and calling for a special election”.

The Senate of the 14th Congress could not have passed a resolution to declare a vacancy and call for an election to fill the same because the vacancy will only occur on June 30, 2010 when Sen. Aquino will assume the presidency or 51 days after the elections. The call for a special election to fill a vacancy should be done before the elections. And of course, the Senate has to certify to the existence of an actual vacancy.

For the May 10, 2010 Elections, the Comelec cannot simply proclaim the 13th placer as a winner because there is no call for a special election to fill the vacancy to be left by Sen. Aquino. In fact, it is quite clear that the election for senators is only for the regular elections to fill vacancies arising from the constitutionally scheduled end of terms of 12 incumbent senators. The ballot itself is proof this, since in the space provided for the names of the candidates for senators, it is written “Vote for not more than 12”.

RA 6645 requires that the Comelec announce the special election to fill a vacancy and properly inform the public about such a special election. Congress even further refined the law with the passage of Republic Act No. 7166.

RA 7166, amending RA 6645, says, “In case a permanent vacancy shall occur in the Senate or House of Representatives at least one (1) year before the expiration of the term, the Commission shall call and hold a special election to fill the vacancy not earlier than sixty (60) days nor longer than ninety (90) days after the occurrence of the vacancy. However, in case of such vacancy in the Senate, the special election shall be held simultaneously with the succeeding regular election.”

This means that for the vacancy created by Sen. Aquino’s assumption of the presidency, it will be filled through a special election to be held simultaneously with the elections in 2013. The Comelec cannot fill the vacancy using the results of the May 10, 2010 elections because the requirements are impossible to meet:

1. The Senate has to certify to the vacancy and call for a special election to fill the vacancy. But the Senate could not certify to a vacancy and call for a special election on May 10, 2010 because there was no vacancy. It will only occur on June 30, 2010.
2. The Comelec could not call for a special election because there was no resolution from the Senate. It has no mandate to proclaim the 13th placer as a winner.
3. The law provides that a special election to fill the vacancy shall only be held simultaneously with the next regular election which is in 2013.

It is therefore quite clear that the vacancy to be left behind by soon-to-be President Benigno Aquino III may only be filled in the 2013 elections, provided that all the requirements are met.

I have no problem if my fellow SLAMAT LORRRD candidate Risa Hontiveros lands in the 13th spot and is proclaimed as the 13th winning senator, if there is no legal impediment. I would be happy for her. But even if it was I in 13th place under the same circumstances, I would still acknowledge that the law will prevent me from assuming office.

So right now, it would be best to remind the Senate of the 15th Congress to pass the resolution certifying to a vacancy and calling for the Comelec to set a special election to fill the same simultaneous with the May 2013 senatorial elections.

By then, the battlecry will be “13 sa 2013!”

****CORRECTION*****

I inadvertently forgot that there will be barangay elections in October 2010, unless the Congress decides to set it on another date. The provision of RA 7166 which provides “in case of such vacancy in the Senate, the special election shall be held simultaneously with the succeeding regular election” makes it possible to have a special election for to fill Sen. Aquino’s vacancy. But the law still requires that the Senate certify such vacancy and call for a special election to complete the 24-seat chamber.

I Am Fine

Posted in Family Life, Politics and Politicians with tags , , on May 13, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

It’s a unique situation I’m in now—not really a winner, but not necessarily a loser. I’m tempted to concede, but with five million votes still to be counted in the parallerl count and the official canvassing just starting, it’s also difficult to hang up the gloves now. I guess it won’t be taken as un-statesman for me to just ride out the storm. Besides, I had already made up my mind long ago that whatever the outcome is, it is the Will of God which will prevail. I have faith in Him in that the Bible says, “his plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Win or lose, God has something good for me.

I consider myself blessed that during this time, aside from my wife and immediate family, there are those who show their concern for me and make me feel that I am not alone to face this challenge. Their encouraging and comforting words soothe my soul, and provide the cushion to dull the blow of an unsuccessful venture. Their mere company is enough to drive the spirits of sadness and depression away, and replace them with hope and cheerfulness.

I can feel the concern and sympathy of those around me. I know that relatives who immediately make their presence felt for me, even without them saying so, are there to offer a crying shoulder (literally and figuratively). Indeed, it is really during times like this that one understands the value of family. As I have said before, we should give priority for our families because when we are in dire straights or on our last breath, it will always be our family who will be there beside us.

It is also during these times that sincere and reliable friends come to the rescue. I am heartened by the numerous text messages, emails, Facebook comments and Inbox messages that I receive from friends encouraging me about the count and expressing their confidence in me. The simple “How are you?” does wonders to lift my spirits. Their comforting words and rousing exhortations fuel my desire to stand up and face this challenge instead of slink into a corner and wallow in self-pity.

But I have always been one to look at the brighter side of things. I have managed to downplay the final outcome of this contest and focus on the new things that I have learned, the experiences I underwent, and the friendships that I have established in the course of this journey to the august halls of the Senate.

Whether I do get to enter the Upper Chamber as a member or remain in the sidelines and watch the few who are given the privilege to be part of the Senate perform (or not perform) their duties, I will forever treasure the experience of being a Senatorial candidate trying to earn the trust of the nation.

In the months that we went around the country, I met thousands of our countrymen who received us with such generosity and warmth, reaffirming my belief that Filipinos are a good-natured people. I marveled at the beautiful countryside and each place I visited beckoned me to stay longer, even convincing me to say, “I could live here!”.

But I also saw the poverty in the countryside, the devastation of natural resources and the abuse of those who were given the trust to lead but eventually failed their own people. The more I witnessed, the more determined I became to pitch in and do my part to help achieve change.

The grueling campaign, which was a drain not only on the financial resources but also in physical strength as well as the emotions, would have driven the faint at heart to quit. But for me, the saving grace and the pillar of strength came from the staff and support group who endured with the candidates the emotional strain and the physical fatigue. A candidate is only as good as his staff and support are, and without them the battle can easily be lost.

With the indulgence and understanding of others, I am proud to say that my staff is the best. What they lack in numbers, they make up for in performance. Their dedication is matched by their abilities and I am happy and honored to have worked with them all these years and hopefully, in the many years to come.

But it would be unfair and self-serving of me to only give credit to my staff. The SLAMAT LORRRD team of Sen. Kiko Pangilinan, the group of young men and women who were given the designation as sherpas to the senatorial candidates, were a crucial and vital component of the whole campaign. Without them, it would have meant the collapse and failure of the Liberal Party’s senatorial campaign.

These sprightly, dependable, patient and hard working sherpas ensured that our movements during sorties were on time and in the right direction; they cued us when to get on stage and how long we could speak; they handed bottles of water to us to quench our thirst and avoid dehydration; they arranged media interviews and room reservations. In short, they made life easier.

In previous senatorial campaigns the candidate guides were called shepherds. I think the term sherpas used this election fits the functions they performed for us. They did not merely show the way, they sometimes carried the load for the candidates.

I will always look back to the 2010 campaign with fondness as an experience that enriched my life and increased my friendships. I find comfort in the fact that I gained the trust of millions of my countrymen and somehow touched the lives of some and moved them to take action.

The gratitude I have for those who spent their money and gave their time to campaign for me, without asking for anything in return, is one that I will forever hold. The people who covered me with prayer, crying to the heavens for my protection and provision, they have a spot in my special people list. All of them are my heroes, my lifeline, my safety net.

But above everyone else, this campaign has proven that I am blessed with a wife who performs the roles of my staff, the sherpas, the supporters and the prayer shields. She is all of those rolled into one, a precious blessing from Heaven. The best thing about it is that she isn’t there for me just during the elections. She is there for me for the rest of my life.

My children are gifts from God. One glance at them and the concerns of this campaign are set aside. They’re my sanctuaries, the embrace of their small arms are like walls of protection for me against the cruelty of this world. I take comfort and inspiration from my eldest son Carlo, who displayed composure, grace and steadfastness in facing disappointment when he experienced his own electoral defeat years back.

So as this campaign winds up, and the count places me in a precarious standing, all I need to do is remind myself of the good things I have and I gained and the anxiety of the outcome fades away. And with a smile on my face, I can truly say, “I am fine.”

Statement on the Support by the Magdalo to my Senatorial Candidacy

Posted in Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , , on February 25, 2010 by Ruffy Biazon

It is humbling to be included in the list of senatorial candidates that the Magdalo are endorsing in the 2010 elections. With the support that the group is giving my candidacy, victory in this election is one more step closer to becoming a reality. Their support deserves nothing less than my most sincere thanks and appreciation.

This support is not anchored on mere electoral convenience or temporary converging interests. Belonging to the same generation, the Magdalo and I are both concerned on how the Philippines will proceed towards recovery and reform from the debilitating downward spiral of the country’s political culture and integrity in public service. The fate of the future generation rests on what the country’s leadership will do in leading this country further into the 21st Century. We want to play a relevant role in it.

The ideals of the Magdalo are not different from that of my own. While our professions would normally make us different as apples are to oranges, the ideals we are standing up for are one and the same—the welfare of the members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the modernization of the Philippine military, the pursuit of peace in Mindanao, the eradication of poverty and the restoration of trust in government through good governance.

Our alliance is not one between strangers. Being a son of a career military officer, I know by personal experience what the life of a soldier is, and the perspective that a soldier has with regard to government and society. The friendship I have with some of the members of the Magdalo were built decades before the existence of the Magdalo while others were forged from the commonality of principles that were made public in their first outing as a reform movement.

The support of the men and women of the Magdalo will not go unreciprocated. This is a symbiotic and synergistic relationship where both sides mutually benefit from each other and work towards a common objective which is the restoration of the people’s trust in government through a reformed, reoriented and rejuvenated governance.

Disqualification of BGen. Danny Lim is a Contradiction to Democracy

Posted in Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , on December 17, 2009 by Ruffy Biazon

Brigadier General Danilo Lim’s candidacy is endorsed by three political parties. He is recognized by the Liberal Party as its guest candidate, including him in the party’s line up of senatoriables. His wife Aloy represents the Danny Lim in the Liberal Party’s provincial sorties and campaign strategy meetings precisely because he is one of LP’s candidates.

Danny Lim is faring well in the surveys, and although he is not yet in the top 12, he is within striking distance, way above other candidates whom the Comelec has allowed to proceed with their candidacies. He has an ongoing internet campaign which rivals those of the more monied candidates with an online following which definitely covers the entire country, even beyond.

As a top leader of the Magdalo, which has proven its ability to launch a nationwide campaign and propel a candidate to the Senate, he has an established network on the ground, rivaling other more established political parties.

To me, the decision by the Comelec to disqualify Danny Lim to run for Senator on the gorunds that he is a nuisance candidate because he supposedly does not have the ability to campaign for the senate is a contradiction to democracy. While it is indeed a responsibility of the Comelec to ensure that only the qualified and the serious candidates are included in the list that the people will choose from, it is also their duty to uphold the constitutional right of citizens to vote and be voted upon.

Clearly, BGen. Danny Lim is not a nuisance candidate. He may be irritating to an administration which is sensitive to criticism and calls for reform, but he is definitely worthy to present himself to the electorate and be voted upon.

Pre-2010 Charter Change: Magnet for Suspicion and Distrust

Posted in Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , on November 21, 2008 by Ruffy Biazon

Any moves to amend the Constitution before the change of political leadership in 2010 will only be met with extreme distrust and suspicion by the people. The proponents of a pre-2010 charter change must take into account the prevailing sentiments of a very significant segment of the population which have very serious suspicions about the motives of those pushing for chacha. It cannot be denied that there is no vocal clamor for charter change from the populace while on the other hand, there is widespread disapproval of tinkering with the Constitution especially under the present national political leadership (not just the president, but the ENTIRE political leadership).

It does not help the cause of the cha-cha proponents that the most vocal about amendments to the Constitution are incumbent politicians, particularly those identified with the present administration. Thus, the product of a rammed-down-the-throat-of-

the-people charter change will only be a highly politicized and divisive Constitution which will not be a solution to the country’s problems but only serve to perpetuate the political divide that we are experiencing now.

It does not also help that the proposed method is through Constituent Assembly, where incumbent members of the legislature will be the ones to sit down to propose and approve changes in the Constitution. Proponents of this should make a thorough, realistic self-examination and ask this question: “What is the people’s level of trust of present officials?”

What we need in 2010 is a fresh start. We do not need to carry over the baggage of the political past, the woes and ills of past administrations and the conflicts of politicians of bygone days. That’s why if we are to amend the Constitution, which I will venture to say needs some amendments, it must not happen during the incumbency of the present political leadership. The level of suspicion by the people is simply too high.

Of course, the question now is, if we agree that the Constitution can be improved with amendments, when and how should it be done? If doing it now by constituent assembly will only be met by skepticism and distrust, how and when should it be done?

I think amendments done through a duly elected Constitutional Convention will not have the baggage of a constituent assembly which is perceived to be self-serving. Electing the delegates simultaneous with the 2010 national and local elections or even the 2010 barangay elections (which will be held five months after the national and local elections) will enable the change to happen immediately in order for the new administration to make use of the benefits of the new charter. In other words, a fresh start for the country and the people.

In the wake of the Barack Obama victory which stood on a platform of Change, there is no escaping that charter change may well provide a fresh start for the Philippines. But that change should not be dragged down by a tarnished political past, and suspicions of self serving change. Just like in the United States, the Change must happen with the People playing the most significant role, not politicians who having messianic complexes.