May 05, 2006

Judicial antidote

By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Judicial antidote

The Supreme Court has attempted to straddle the pros and cons of Executive Order 464, the Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR)/ Public Assembly Law (BP 880) and Proclamation 1017 in its series of decisions, apparently trying to issue a balanced (some say, ambiguous) ruling on each one. Yet the clear conclusion from its series of decisions is that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is unfit to rule.

What everyone, including the SC justices, know for a fact but could only hint at in their most recent decision is that the primary motive for Proclamation 1017 is not the defense of the state but Mrs. Arroyo’s self-preservation.

Just as EO 464 is not about upholding executive privilege against the unwarranted intrusions of Congress but is intended to be part of the grand cover-up for the “Garci tapes”, jueteng[1] and the First Family’s involvement, the Venable contract, the fertilizer scam and the North Rail projects, etc.

For that matter, CPR and the government’s observance in the breach of BP 880’s “maximum tolerance” policy is no less than the suppression of the fundamental freedoms of speech and assembly and not about safeguarding the duly constituted authority against “destabilization” plots left and right.

Mrs. Arroyo and her rah-rah boys, instead of reading the proverbial writing on the wall courtesy of the SC, persists in its arrogant, unrepentant, bull-headed and devious, albeit bungling, ways.

On the occasion of Labor Day, the AFP and PNP uncover another mind-boggling plot (or is it plots) of the perennial bad guys, the CPP/NPA, to use the celebrations by militant workers and progressives from all walks of life in order to overthrow the government and grab power. Mrs. Arroyo’s justice secretary, her spokesman and her national security adviser promptly announce, on cue, the full use of the coercive powers of the state, including the resort to the controversial Proclamation 1017, should the Mayday rallies “turn into an armed threat”.

In a begrudging acknowledgement that the celebration of Labor Day, be it in the form of militant mass actions, cannot be circumscribed much less prevented, the “no permit, no rally” doctrine was de facto shelved as the rallyists marched to Mendiola without any permit. Malacanang was however successful in enforcing its ban on rallies near the Presidential Palace after it had deployed thousands of police and military in full anti-riot and battle gear in the Palace perimeter especially at Mendiola Bridge.

Malacanang has indeed gone to great lengths to prevent the people from rallying at its doorsteps. How convenient the memory lapse of Mrs. Arroyo and her cabal that they should forget how the toppling of the Marcos dictatorship and the ouster of the corrupt Estrada regime could not have taken place without the people massing up at Mendiola apart from at EDSA. (Or perhaps they have merely taken the lessons of history to heart and are scrambling to prevent its repeat?)

Another legal showdown looms, this time on the legality of the “people’s initiative” being steamrollered by DILG Secretary Puno, local government officials and an assortment of pretend non-government entities. The GMA-de Venecia maneuver for the House of Representatives to unilaterally and single-handedly act as a constituent assembly, without the Senate’s cooperation, is also headed for a legal challenge at the Supreme Court.

Once more it will be the Oust GMA movement together with the much broader anti-charter change forces that will play the key and decisive role in frustrating the bogus “people’s initiative” and much ballyhooed Gloria Chacha Express.

The Supreme Court has proven unwilling to step in to stop the Arroyo regime’s unconstitutional acts. Instead it has allowed events to unfold and such unconstitutional acts to bear their illegal fruit until these are resoundingly rejected politically, thereby their patent illegality further exposed.

Now that the Supreme Court has spoken, will Mrs. Arroyo be held legally liable for the unconstitutional acts vis a vis PP 1017; for example, the warrant less arrests, the violent break-up of rallies and the warrant less raid on the Tribune newspaper office?

Consider that the SC ruling rightfully struck down as unconstitutional PP 1017’s grant of authority to Mrs. Arroyo to promulgate decrees (lifted from Marcos’s martial law declaration 1081) and warned versus the regime “testing the outer limits of presidential prerogatives”; in plain words, its dictatorial tendencies.

Will the Supreme Court ruling on PP 1017 prevent another 1017/1081?

It remains to be seen whether the ambivalent SC decisions are potent enough to serve, as the Court claims, antidotes to the abuse of power. Or, like adulterated medicines, merely appear to check the deadly virus of dictatorship while in reality, serving to quietly strengthen it.#

[1] An illegal numbers game spawning graft and corruption all the way up to the highest reaches of government, including the President’s office.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home