Issue of July 24, 2016
Mt. Province

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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Is due process only for the courts?

China is willing to talk with us about the China Sea dispute but only if we are willing to speak Chinese. Meaning we should be willing to disregard our hard-earned and well-deserved Arbitral Tribunal victory before we can talk with them.

What kind of deal is that? Lutong makaw?

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In answer to calls that due process should be respected by the Duterte administration, Duterte said: “Anong due process? Due process, ulol, kung nasa korte ka na. Kung sabihin, ‘We were not given by the President due process.’ Eh tarantado ka pala eh. Hindi ako korte, why should I give you due process?”

It is true that one is guaranteed due process before the courts. That is what is referred to as “judicial due process.” But that is not the only kind of due process guaranteed by the Constitution.

The Constitution also calls for due process for those who are suspected of having committed a crime and those who are detained on suspicion of having committed a crime. Due process is also a right during the preliminary investigation of one accused of a crime. Those events happen long before the courts even enter the picture.

Unlike judicial due process, the due process guaranteed to suspects and those arrested and detained is an obligation of the police. During preliminary investigation, due process is the obligation of the investigating prosecutors.

The police and the prosecutors do not belong to the courts or the judicial department. They belong to the executive department. The PNP is under the DILG, which is under the President. The prosecutors are under the DOJ, which is also under the President. Under the Constitution the principal function of the President is to see to it that the Constitution and the laws are faithfully executed.

Kaya huwag kayong humingi ng due process. Mga ulol! Tarantado ba kayo?

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After their ranks have been raided and decimated to near skeletal remains, the erstwhile mighty Liberal Party has been reduced to some 35 shaky members in the House of Representatives. The party attempted to enter into a coalition with the PDP-Laban which is the new majority. They realized, almost too late, that the PDP-Laban has no intentions of entering into a partnership, but to dominate, if not gobble up and swallow, all those who may want to coalesce with it.

About-to-be-replaced Speaker Sonny Belmonte and his 34 LP congressmen now say that they will evolve into the new minority in the House. Belmonte will run for Speaker against the administration candidate and after he loses he will stake a claim to becoming the House minority floor leader.

We hope the LP would not be further eroded in membership and determination and would indeed succeed in converting itself into the new minority. And we also hope they would become a healthy, serious, and effective minority.

Democracy is a political system where there is rule of the majority. For it to work, there must be a minority. A system where there is no minority is not a democracy, it is an invitation to tyranny.

In their newly assumed role as the minority, we wish the Liberal Party the best of luck. The survival of a democratic system may depend on them. We hope they do not end up playing the role of a “company union” or Duterte’s “loyal minority.”

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The controversy over the Marcos burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani has stirred up again. This after Pres. Duterte expressed an intention to allow the burial in order to please the Marcos family.

Not all Ilocanos however approve of the plan. Some loyalists would prefer that he stays in the Ilocos where he is closer to home and easier to visit.

From January to June this year there have been some 142,772 visitors to the Marcos Mausoleum in Batac. If he is transferred to the Libingan ng mga Bayani, we are sure he will have more visitors. But not all of them may be sympathetic. They may go and visit him to protest his sins. They may go, not with flowers, but with stones and trash.

We can understand that it may be the dream of many a Martial Law victim, survivor and their families, to want to go and visit Marcos to spit on his grave.

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