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FIRING LINE: Dynastic agenda

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

Speaker Martin Romualdez is getting his head shot off on social media for pushing Charter change. That’s what you get when people see through your agenda as nothing more than a power grab disguised as reform.

For those who don’t see it that way, ask your newly elected kagawad, barangay captain, or even the young SK leaders, who are no strangers to the manifesto allegedly being circulated in the villages, to collect signatures in support of Cha-cha.

They will most likely spell out for you that this push for reform by amending the 1987 Constitution is just a cunning ploy to extend terms and manipulate elections.

By all indications, Romualdez — a close cousin of President Bongbong Marcos — is up to something that betrays public trust. Perhaps it is the old ploy or attempt by an incumbent administration to cling to power.

The promised term extensions for local officials and the suspension of SK and barangay elections for five years expose a desperate lust for control. This is not reform, Mr. Speaker. It’s a blatant power play reminiscent of your uncle’s and many of our past presidents’ dynastic agendas.

For us citizens, we must demand no more deception and scrutinize our district representatives in Congress. To our representatives in Congress: the citizens you serve deserve answers, not clandestine deals or exploiting one’s position to further personal ambitions.

Arming Manila

Amid the continuing face-off against China’s bullying in the South China Sea, Beijing must realize that Manila is done playing diplomatic niceties. When the issue boils down to defending sovereign rights and maritime territories, the Philippines is no longer tiptoeing around; it’s strapping on armor and forging alliances with nations ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the storm. And it’s not just with the US.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. is not mincing words, either. He’s on a mission to arm the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to the teeth. His meeting earlier this week with the Czech Republic’s Ambassador, Karel Hejč, was not limited to a cordial exchange of pleasantries. It screams of a strategic alliance forged in the crucible of external aggression.

In short, the Czechs are not bringing pastries to the table; they’re serving up trainer jets, transport aircraft, ISR gear, and radars – a buffet of defense prowess to fortify the Philippines.

Meanwhile, Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Charlotte A. Baerbock, who’s scheduled to fly in today, isn’t touring the Philippines for photo ops. She’s zeroing in on the Philippine Coast Guard because the Philippines is dead serious when it comes to maritime cooperation.

The German minister’s visit is about a rules-based order in the choppy waters of the West Philippine Sea. Baerbock’s presence is a nod to the urgency of defending maritime territories against those who think they can throw their weight around.

And then there’s the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from India – a thunderous clap echoing Manila’s resolve. As China flexes its muscles, the Philippines sends a clear message: we’ve brought in the firepower to safeguard our national interests. The delivery of the BrahMos isn’t just a transaction; it’s a seismic statement that Manila means business this time.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View via X app (formerly Twitter). Read current and past issues of this column at

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