criminal justice system
Moment of Truth
By Ronald Roy
ALMOST exactly a year ago, I wrote a thesis on “judicial activism” in two parts. The first was titled Judicial Activism, dated Nov. 27, 2012, which underscored: “Indeed, unless something drastic is done, a denial of plaintiffs, the People of the Philippines (in the Ampatuan case) may unduly result (in the breach of) xxx the constitutional guarantee of a speedy delivery of justice—alas, a situation showing an unpardonable dearth of courage and innovation on the part of all officially connected with the operations within the criminal justice system (at the core of which is the Supreme Court.)”
Then came a month later Judicial Activism 2, dated Dec. 4, 2012, stressing that: “It is extremely gratifying to note that 6 out of 7 of this column’s readers favor my advocacy of judicial activism as an imperative answer to two legal enigmas, namely, one, in particular to quicken the pace of criminal trial of heinous crimes xxx and two, in general how to beat back the flames (of an incorrigibly corrupt pork barrel system) now rapidly engulfing the (executive and legislative departments).”
In connection with the foregoing, let me set aside P-Noy’s much-publicized management failures in Nur Misuari’s siege of Zamboanga and Super typhoon Yolanda’s massive destruction of lives and properties in Eastern Samar, Leyte and other parts of the Visayas, and instead focus on his presidential mien and mindset in the aftermath of the high court’s lopsided 14-0-1 thumbing down of PDAF as unconstitutional.
Well, he has managed to appear calm and cool as a cucumber in the face of the court’s subtle declaration that his patronage politics was over; but he has not, has he? Surely, not in the face of his revelation before media that he needs more money from Congress for the restoration of normalcy in calamity-ravaged Central Luzon. He must be fidgety these days, wondering how the solons can “come across”, given the Supreme Court’s radical shift to activism and tight watch on them, and given that not only their constituencies but the entire citizenry as well are closely keeping an eye on them.
How then can P-Noy, his Cabinet, the DBM in particular, and Congress perform their mandated roles without the needed funds? It’s obvious they do not deserve our sympathy because they have no one but themselves to blame. They had more than three years to prepare, and when the Zamboanga war, the 7.2 Bohol earthquake and “Yolanda” struck, they were caught flat-footed! And now, the high court is lowering the boom on the unconstitutional features of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP)! Ayayay!!
Just think: on three previous occasions, the PDAF (then termed CDF for countryside development fund) was ruled constitutional, but only recently got booted out, thanks to the court’s new-found jugular activism! I really do not care if the nine so-called pro-GMA associate justices “crossed the line” just to get back at P-Noy. The fact is they’ve pushed him ( and his minions) up the wall for some hard reflection: “This is it, the moment of truth has come. DAP, an unauthorized invention by me Butch Abad and other boot-lickers, will surely be declared unconstitutional. There’s no way to escape. Should I now ‘do a Nixon’ with my dignity intact?”
However, this form of honorable exit is wishful thinking. P-Noy will never resign, much less apologize to his bosses, because he reckons it is he who is their boss — his imagined lofty status as an oligarch who “owns and controls” the country. No, he does not steal because hacienda Luisita alone makes him in his mind an enormously wealthy person.
Of course this is twisted thinking by him but, oh well, yes, I think it is if all this talk about his confinement abroad (when he was a kid) for a mental disorder is true. Honestly, I mean no derision and, if the rumor is true, I fervently pray he gets well…unless it’s too late…in which case we’re inextricably stuck in something like a quicksand beneath which lurks a snoring python!!
I take back my previous description of the Supreme Court as the weakest among the three supposedly co-equal and coordinate branches of government, it wielding merely the so-called “power ” of the pen, as against the mighty sword of the Office of the President and Congress’ awesome power of the purse. I was wrong. If at all, it is the Judiciary that is the mightiest among the three branches, since it is the final arbiter over questions of law.
Hence, It was but proper for the high court to put its foot down on what it has identified as a wantonly abusive behavior among executive and legislative officials within the pork barrel system. Thus, in the final analysis, it is the Supreme Court, not another agency or body in government, that is empowered to sustain a healthy democratic balance among the three branches within a structure operating under a Rule of Law.
With fingers crossed, we can now predict the rolling of executive and legislative heads with the high court’s pronouncement that DAP, otherwise known as presidential pork, is likewise unconstitutional. It may then be proclaimed that the high tribunal has proudly hurdled its moment of truth.