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San Juan Gossip Mills Outlet

A veritable fanatic of the Internet. His avocation is teaching while his main vocation is practicing the much maligned law profession. Currently teaching Constitutional Law at the FEU Institute of Law and a guest lecturer at the De La Salle University teaching "Freedom and Regulation in Cyberspace" in the Graduate Program of the Department of Communication. He is married to his beautiful Ateneo law school classmate and is blessed with a daughter and a son.

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Location: San Juan, Metro Manila, Philippines

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Rule Of Law Is So Passe

Rule of Law is so passé

For the last so many months, the administration has harped on the necessity for the rule of law. They have exhorted the opposition, the military, and the citizenry to observe the legal processes and obey the laws.

But do they observe their own call? In a word – hardly!

First, to prevent the Executive branch from being investigated by the Legislative department, the Palace issued Executive Order No. 464. It prevented the legislature, specifically, the Senate from investigating the seeming shenanigans of the Executive branch.

E. O. No. 464 prevented National Security Chief from further grilling. It prevented Senator Magsaysay from investigating the role of Joc Joc Bolante, the paragon of what a Rotarian is, in the Agriculture Fertilizer Scam. It prevented willing Marines from Mindanao and other good-hearted military officials and their rank and file to testify to how they were manipulated by government in the last elections.

Second, to pre-empt the valid exercise of freedom of expression and to prevent another EDSA people power, it issued the Calibrated Pre-emptive Response and construed Batas Pambansa Blg. 880 in the strictest manner possible, dispersed all anti-GMA rallies, arresting people even before they can petition the government for redress of their grievances.

Third, it issued Proclamation No. 1017 and threatened press and broadcast media freedom, placed soldiers in media networks in the guise of protecting them from coup plotters, closed down the Tribune newspaper, and threatened to cancel the legislative franchise of media outlets.

Fourth, it disregarded the Supreme Court injunction that there is no enabling law to mount a people’s initiative for the purpose of revising the 1987 Constitution and coax, coerce, deceive the people to foolishly and unwittingly sign a petition to amend the constitution, coupled with the odious temerity to challenge the opposition to file a case before the Supreme Court.

All these acts clearly show that for the purpose of perpetuating itself in power and to advance its own interests, this government will go to the extent of defying the rule of law, refashion jurisprudence as it sees fit to serve its purpose and make legal what clearly is unlawful.

The government invokes the presumption of regularity in all its acts. And yet, twice in a row, the Supreme Court has struck them down albeit lamely but still a put-down. This government's arrogant attitude can only be explained either to the "brook no dissent" attitude of the president or to the fascistic tendencies of her Secretary of Justice, who incidentally, continues to show contempt for the Supreme Court which once disbarred him for precisely being a boorish and contemptuous lawyer.

No small wonder then that the opposition will use the same instrument of defiance against them, clearly evident with the various petitions for injunction filed in several regional trial courts to restrain the COMELEC from verifying the signatures.

And here, one sees the gall of the president’s lawyer declaring to all and sundry that it is illegal for the opposition to file an injunction before the regional trial courts since a case can only be filed before the Supreme Court. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, ey?

This is what this country is faced with, a government that does not respect the rule of law, will not abide by the rule of law before jurisprudence becomes final and executory, and highly doubtful that the government will observe the rule of law once it becomes the law of the land. The rule of law, as they say, is honored more in the breach than in the observance.

And as long as the government pays lip service to the rule of law, this government, its leaders and their minions will never earn the respect of its people, will never acquire legitimacy in the eyes of all, even to the most objective observers, and most importantly, will never achieve the rightful legacy and their decent place in history.

As passe the rule of law is for this government, this government too shall pass.

1 Comments:

Blogger Rizalist said...

In 2002 Alan Paguia once wrote and published a very small pamphlet entitled, The Rule of Law or The Rule of Force which completely changed my understanding of Edsa Dos and the Law. Of course I am just an amateur, but his prose then, moved me as yours does today, not just by the rules of logic and reason, but by the force of passion informed by that logic and reason.

Yet one cannot fell this crooked timber, merely by hacking at its limbs. Root and branch must be dealt with.

Why do even UNANIMOUS Supreme Court decisions and those that have been final for years seem to pale to inutility and ignorability before the roguishness of the Palace?

Because the Palace knows how complicit the Court is with it, until the Court extirpates from its Decisions and Records the bonds of complicity that tie the Court to the Palace for as long as those Decisions stand.

It was Alan's central thesis that Davide and the Supreme Court had established that bond. His departure and those of all the Justices involved, changes nothing. For it is the Court and its decisions that persist over time, over history and over the Law. The Rule of Law cannot be re-established without facing the most painful thing, that perhaps not even the US jurisdiction has ever faced: the need to impeach its own Supreme Court.

It will be like downgrading God. That is how far is the distant shore.

6:26 AM  

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