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Abolish our useless, wasteful post of vice president

The only country to have such

IF there is a silver lining in having a ridiculous, whining Leonor Robredo as vice president for four years, it is the nation’s realization that this post should be abolished as South Korea did in 1960.

We cannot have a vice president opposing every move of the president, saying absolutely nothing good about the country’s elected leader; that is just plain stupid.

We can’t have a vice president telling lies to the world as Robredo has been doing by claiming massive human rights violations in the Philippines. That is treasonous.

We cannot afford wasting over P3.5 billion (the office’s average P600-million annual budget for six years) of taxpayers’ money for a post that its occupant uses only to become popular in hopes of being elected to the highest post in 2022.

And more importantly, we cannot risk having a vice president people didn’t really vote for with the thought that he or she has the qualifications to replace the president, if the latter is incapacitated in office.

I don’t think Mar Roxas and his Liberal Party in their wildest imagination had thought that Robredo had the qualities to be president. She was a shameful attempt to summon the god of emotion-laden “necro politics” that won for the Yellows two presidencies — first, the widow Cory, and second, the orphaned son Benigno 3rd. She got to be in power due to the Liberal Party’s vast cheating machinery, which, while impotent to overturn the Duterte tsunami, was enough to defeat Bongbong Marcos, whose camp skimped on campaign funds in the homestretch to the polls.

Vice presidents in this country are elected for reasons other than because voters think they are qualified to replace the president if he is incapacitated: in the case of Fernando Lopez in 1949 and 1969, by the sheer force of media, money, the powerful sugar bloc; in the case of Joseph Estrada and Noli de Castro, celebrity name recall; in the case of Jejomar Binay, his “masa” looks combined with his vast network, resources and largesse built up as mayor of the richest city in the country for two decades.

Believe it or not, we are the only nation on earth that allows a vice presidential candidate from a party that is a rival to that of the presidential candidate.

It is a recipe for dividing the nation. Worse, it facilitates the unconstitutional — extra-constitutional, if you prefer — removal of the sitting president and the creation of a charade of a constitutional regime change. This was the case in Estrada’s fall in 2001, as Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, being the in the constitutional line of succession, made a transition to another regime easier to swallow. That kind of scenario has been what the Yellows have been praying fervently to happen again since Duterte became president.

Earlier in its history, the US had both its president and vice president elected and allowed them to be of opposing parties. The US though learned early enough that the two should be of the same party and amended its Constitution in 1803 that made it nearly impossible for voters to elect members of two opposing political parties as president and vice president.

But many political observers in the US are claiming now that even the American vice presidential post itself should be abolished, given the warning of the George W. Bush presidency, which many see as having been run by the warmonger Vice President Richard Cheney.

“The Dick Cheney era demonstrated that vesting vast, undefined power in a man who has little constitutional or statutory authority is even worse than paying someone a salary to do nothing,” an editorial in The Atlantic after that period declared.

We’ve had 13 vice presidents since after the war (five becoming presidents), doing nothing remarkable during their term, merely using it as a venue paid for by taxpayers to campaign surreptitiously for the presidency. And indeed the vice presidency’s job description is to wait for the president to die.

This probably explains why Marcos in his 13 years as dictator didn’t have a vice president, or any official resembling that post, although many believed his wife Imelda was the de facto No. 2.

My claim that we are the only country on this planet that has the post of vice president that can be won by a candidate from the presidential candidate’s rival party is based on the following information, as I am not in a position to research on each of the world’s 193 nations.

For starters, there are 70 nations that have parliamentary systems (out of 193 countries in the world), 30 monarchies, and four under communist-party dictatorships. In parliamentary systems, the most powerful official is the prime minister, elected by parliament. If there are even deputy prime ministers in such countries, they are really “assistants” of the prime minister. If he is incapacitated, no “deputy” takes over: the parliament elects the new prime minister.

South Korea, the other Asian country that mimicked the US Constitution, abolished the post of vice president — triggered by widespread outrage over alleged cheating in the 1960 elections in which the president’s running mate won, against public expectations, over the more popular candidate. The Indonesian president is elected with his vice president in a ticket starting 2004. (Before that, the equivalent of the parliament elected them.) The rest of Asia either have parliamentary or one-party, communist states s as well as monarchies (Bhutan and Brunei).

Most of the world’s other biggest democracies with presidential systems, such as Brazil and Argentina, have systems in which the president and the vice president are elected in a single ticket. Mexico abolished the post in its Constitution of 1917. Why do we insist on having it?

Robredo’s P3.5 billion
The P3.5 billion that Robredo has and will spend until her term expires isn’t loose change. For 2021, government has been able to allot cash of only P2.5 billion for Covid-19 vaccines, with the rest to be funded through concessional loans from donor countries. The P3.5 billion could have been used to repair and extend our airstrip in Pag-asa Island in the disputed South China Sea and even fortify it, so at least this nation expends not only blah-blah in asserting our sovereignty in a disputed area.

“The [vice presidential] office is at best worthless and at worst a threat to the republic, why don’t we simply get rid of it?” That quote was in an article in the prestigious US magazine The Atlantic, and was referring the American vice presidency. Ours is even much worse.

Abolish it. If the president dies or is incapacitated, have the Senate president or the House speaker take over, and call for a special elections for president in 30 days.

Robredo is the worst vice president this country has ever had. Hopefully that helps us to see more clearly how useless, and even dangerous, the post is. Can you imagine what would happen to the country if Duterte becomes incapacitated before the May elections next year, if Robredo, who wasn’t really voted to be president and liked by most Filipinos, becomes the nation’s CEO?

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. KIloAlpha

    Boss, akala ko wag na imention si vp kasi mileage din sa kanya pag napagusapan siya whether good or bad. Agree ako sa sabi mo dati, wag na banggitin pangalan niya. Lalo na ngayon gumagalaw na makinarya. Amping!

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