Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror, December 28, 2005 edition, p. A11.

Toting Bunye appealed to critics of the Constitutional Commission not to shoot from the hip. He said, “Let us give the Concom report a chance and subject its recommendations to constructive discussion and debate. It would be unfair at this point to raise negative speculations over the work of the Commission members.”  Okay, I can and will be fair.

I can believe the “no-election in 2007” recommendation is good because it will save a lot of money and put divisive politics in the back-burner. I will not raise negative speculations like “Gloria is bribing incumbents with a no-election scenario,” “it’s just another one of Arroyo’s tricks to stay in power,” or “this smacks of Marcos.”

I can banish all negative thoughts from my mind and I will follow the advice of Manolo Quezon’s yuletide advisers to stop thinking in terms of “victory and defeat.”   I can be guided solely by Gloria Arroyo’s famous Rizal Day epiphany, “stay out of politics if you are the cause of divisions,” and I will heed Bunye’s warning that, “this is the last chance for overhauling our degenerated political system.”

I can say let’s change our system without asking first whether the problem is with the system itself or with the people who run it, and I will simply agree that it’s the system’s fault and leave it at that.

In exchange, I want to see a complete overhaul of our degenerated political system with a massive infusion of new blood from a talent pool of tens of millions of Filipinos. How?

If there will be no elections until 2010, then after 2010, no incumbent shall be allowed to stand for any elective office whatsoever or hold any appointed position until 2025. In addition, anybody who was a political appointee, including AFP and PNP generals, at anytime from 2001 to 2010 shall not be allowed to run for office or accept any appointment until 2025. The prohibition also applies to members of the ConCom, ConAss, and all former presidents, legitimate or not. Finally, the above prohibition extends to all wives, children, and children in-law of the above-named officials.

You might ask: “But what about the exceptions, the good ones?” Well, no one is indispensable. Rest assured we have a better chance of achieving progress with new blood than with the ones who are running the show right now. If you doubt that, then ask yourself why our political system degenerated so much under their watch.

There is no need to waste time debating issues like the advantage or disadvantage of selling our patrimony, or choosing between presidential or parliamentary system, unitarism or federalism. We simply have to bear in mind that if one is an idiot to begin with, it doesn’t matter whether he will be driving a Toyota or a Ferrari, he’s going to crash it sooner or later.

So, before we debate anything else, let’s find out first if we really want to flush out our degenerated political system. As Bunye might say, “Let’s give it a chance and subject the recommendation to constructive discussion and debate because it would be unfair at this point to raise negative speculations over a constructive input.”

The alternative recommendation is one that will surely benefit all those who will not gain anything from the recommendation of Gloria Arroyo’s chosen Constitutional Commission.

Last call.