US Troops & Human Rights in Basilan

Manila Bulletin, April 11, 2002 | Go to article overview
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US Troops & Human Rights in Basilan


IF President Gloria Arroyo objects to the Cha-cha proposed by Congress it may not have to do with her future political plans. There is no legal impediment to her presidential bid in 2004. Except for the barangays, the last term of many elective officials will expire by then. If the Cha-cha lifts the ban on their reelection, they may likely run under the administration party because of its campaign logistics. If this happened, Gloria should have their bailiwicks' support. We can really assume its lack of budget that may have made Gloria oppose the Cha-cha at this time.

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But this does not mean that a Cha-cha will never take place during Gloria's 6-year term up to 2010 on the assumption she will be elected president. Gloria's think tank may suggest by then a Constitutional amendment to reduce the present 6-year-term to four, and to add to it one consecutive 4-year term. Whether such two 4-year terms may be effective immediately after expiration of Gloria's 6-year term is a question for constitutionalists to ponder.

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Many people, except his relatives and close friends, don't know that the newly appointed Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona comes from a religious family. Aside from the soft feature of his face, dignity of posture, unassuming personality but with an aura of dignity around his person, his religiosity is not readily apparent. But his humility and sincerity betrayed him during a phone interview with a reporter after his appointment.

When asked if he would be indebted to Gloria and would his Supreme Court decisions on issues related to Gloria be affected, Justice Corona answered in Taglish: "May takot naman ako sa Diyos at ako ay may konsyensya. I should be given credit. May integrity naman ako." Months before his nomination, I had commented on his official qualifications and professional achievements. But only from such interview did I come to know his religious self.

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If the relatives of kidnap hostages wish to pay ransom to the kidnapers for release of the victims, let them. The government should not give any cause for the victims' family to damn it in case of their kins' death or sickness while in prolonged detention by the kidnapers.

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