Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the April 8, 2009 edition of the Business Mirror, page A10.

Senator-elected-by-Maguindanao Juan Miguel Zubiri was on radio pleading with his party and coalition mates to stop the Charter change nonsense.

“If they love President Arroyo and are pro-administration, they should not drag her into these Charter change efforts and make people mad at her,” whined Zubiri.

Does that mean Mike Arroyo Jr. does not love his mother? Is he deliberately trying to “make people mad at her?”

Malaya columnist Ellen Tordesillas broke the story of Mike Junior’s chance encounter with former Speaker Jose De Venecia where he, along with his sidekick Rep. Martin Romualdez, offered to reinstate De Venecia in exchange for his support for Charter change.

Mike Jr. denied he made such an offer. “We did not seek him out to discuss Cha-cha or getting votes for Cha-cha with him,” he said.

“We talked about good times, bad times, how each other’s family is doing, how my Ninang Gina is doing. That was the first time we had a chat since he was replaced,” he added.

But they also talked about Charter change because Romualdez just happened to have a copy of the Cha-cha resolution Junior was peddling to everybody but De Venecia.

“He read the resolution, including the parameters for con-ass, one of which states categorically that there will be elections in 2010. He even suggested that the shift to the parliamentary system be included in the resolution,” explained Junior.

After reading the resolution, De Venecia told the two congressmen “Sabihin nyo ang totoo kung ano talaga ang gusto nyo sa charter change. (What are you really after with this cha-cha?)” They kept mum. “ Hindi sila umimik,” said De Venecia.

Busted, Junior could only tell the public, “To put an end to this incessant talk that Cha-cha is meant to extend my mother’s term, let’s have Cha-cha after 2010.”

And that brings us to an idea proposed by Doña Gloria’s security adviser, Norberto Gonzalez. It must be read while looking at the famous photo of Gonzalez sucking on a banana during the Senate hearing on Venable Inc., the American firm he hired in 2005 to influence changes in our Charter.

“Because of our dysfunctional politics, which is also the mother of corruption in government, many of our people are going hungry, our children are poorly educated, the poor do not have health and social securities, and the desperate are driven to crime or rebellion,” he began.

“We need Charter change, but we will never get to doing it until we have a transition president who is willing to carry it out and call for a new election under a new political system afterwards,” he added before going to the meat of his proposal.

“Who among our present leaders who want to be president is willing to be this transition president?” he asked. And he provided the answer.

“I can see that beyond the traditional politicians, we have leaders who are presenting themselves as reform candidate or are being pushed to be so in 2010. Perhaps, Brother Mike Velarde can be this transition president. Even Mr. Estrada, if he really wants to seek again the presidency, can consider becoming this transition president…these two have said they are willing, if elected, to serve only half of the term for the president during which they intend to spearhead the country’s needed reforms.”

So Erap or Mike Velarde is the temporary solution?

Yes, until a parliamentary system kicks in and Gloria becomes prime minister.

“Mga pasaway talaga,” Christ would have said from the cross.