Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Tomorrow, September 16 will be a day of mixed emotions for some people. It was a normal day in 1991 when the Philippine Senate rejected the newly-signed US-RP Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Security which would have maintained the US presence in Philippine territory for many more years.

To those who fought the treaty, September 16 marked the end of almost 100 years of the pervasive American presence. At long last, this country would be completely free and sovereign in the sense that for the first time in 470 years, it would no longer have foreign troops on its soil. Really? Just watch Mindanao and see that this ain't so.

September 16 marked the day the Philippines turned its back on a friend and benefactor, and invited the economic and political difficulties that would result from the loss of US support.

But for both the antis and the pros, September 16 is special in the sense that it marks a watershed in our history. Anti-treaty people say September 16 is Liberation Day, just like when the colonial rule by Spain and the military occupation by Japan were broken. The pro-treaty people say September 16 was the beginning of the day of infamy and betrayal.

President Corazon Aquino had said that the fight was not yet over. She announced she was calling for a referendum three months after (December) to let the people make the final decision. The Constitution provides, however, that this final act be given to the Senate with its treaty-ratifying powers. But President Aquino and her legal advisers said the same Constitution also gives the people the power to review and pass judgment on any act of Congress under the peoples' initiative and referendum system.

The signatures of three million citizens can compel the Commission on Elections to conduct a referendum on any act of government under public scrutiny.

Later on, scores of President Aquino's supporters refused to support her plan to hold a referendum to nullify the Senate's rejection of the treaty. It was a referen-doom.

No comments: