Issue of July 20, 2014

Courier Anniversary Issue
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On resignations

We have had the “misadventure” of joining the government three times in the past. Unfortunately we would not last long each time.

The first time we joined government, as vice governor of Ilocos Sur, the dictator abolished our position. He gave us no chance to tender a resignation. In exchange, we were offered a position in the then newly invented sangguniang panlalawigan. We firmly rejected the offer. That gave us as much satisfaction as a resignation. We submitted that we would prefer to owe our position to the sovereign people, rather than the generosity of only one man, who was a dictator.

Twice more after that, we would also briefly join government. Both times we resigned. And our resignation was “irrevocable and effective immediately.” We did not give the appointing power a chance to reject the resignation. That, we think, is how to resign.

Recent resignations seemed to be “I resign if the President will accept it.” Perhaps that is another way of saying, “I am resigning but please disapprove my resignation.” That does not look like a resignation. It looks more like a plea to stay.

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We have always been a PNoy sympathizer. That is because in our jaded old age, and an observer of many other Presidents in the past, we honestly feel that it shall be difficult to find another Filipino like him to lead this country. In fact, if we are not careful, all the things achieved during his term may quickly vanish if someone of less fiber should assume the presidency.

Having said that, we cannot however agree with PNoy in his recent tirades against the Supreme Court and their interpretation of the Constitution.

We could accept attacks against individual members of the Supreme Court. They are human and some of them may not exactly be angels. To single out the hoodlums among them and weed them out like Corona is something we would understand.

But to attack or speak against the entire Supreme Court, as an institution, is something that a President should not do. Disgruntled lawyers may be forgiven if they express disgust with the Supreme Court, especially if they just lost a case before it. But the President is no ordinary citizen. He is the head of a separate, co-equal branch of government. His utterances are not the mere rants of disappointed citizens.

And to imply that the entire Supreme Court is wrong about the Constitution is more than a bold statement. At the very least it is reckless. It is easy to question decisions of the Supreme Court during unusual times like during the time of Marcos when everyone knew that the court was in his pocket. It is also easy to doubt a decision of the Supreme Court when the justices are sharply divided or could not agree unanimously, and there are vehement dissenting opinions.

But the decision the President recently attacked was a unanimous decision. Even the justices appointed by the President agreed that what he did under the DAP was unconstitutional. We can imagine that it took a lot of soul-searching among his appointees to do that.

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. No law or person, even the President, is above the Constitution. And the final arbiter and the institution that under our system of democracy has a final say about the Constitution is the Supreme Court. Right or wrong, the Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is. Not what the President thinks it should say. The Supreme Court has been proven to be wrong in many cases. There are times when they would reverse their decisions. But to publicly mount an institutional attack against the court for a unanimous decision does not augur well for our constitutional system of government.

The Supreme Court, in view of its given function to interpret the Constitution, is considered the “last bastion of democracy.” And it should be allowed to stay that way. It can be attacked by wayward and lawless sectors, criticized by affected citizens, but not attacked by a sitting President in the sweeping manner that it had been confronted in recent times.

Perhaps realizing that he may have bitten more than he could chew and swallow, the spokesmen for the President had visibly backtracked from the vehemence of his recent statements against the Supreme Court. They are now noticeably starting to tone down. Hopefully that is an admission of a misstep in judgment.

We eagerly await the SONA of PNoy. Then we will see if after the passage of a few weeks he shall have reexamined his posture and conscience and emerge a changed man.

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Juan: Anya ti makunam diay inbaga ni PNoy maipanggep diay decision ti Supreme Court diay DAP?

Pedro: Saan ko nga naawatan ah, ta Tagalog met. Maymayat kuma no Ilocano met ti panagsarita na. Anya aya dayta DAP? Kasla ba autonomy dayta?Mangted da met kuma ah ti pagkape.

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