SOME, especially the astute politician and financial wizard who invented the illegal and unconstitutional Disbursement Acceleration Program, Sec. Florencio Abad, would have people see nothing more than just a “great sense of urgency” and an “impassioned plea” to the Supreme Court justices in the speech that President Benigno Aquino delivered quite effectively last Monday evening. So does Senator Sonny Angara. He told newsmen “President Aquino has always been passionate in his positions.”
Abad and Angara obviously wish to cool the impact of the President’s hot words against the Supreme Court and the magistrates. He said he had been told some justices were using the DAP issue in a personal vendetta against him. And only the most naïve would fail to hear the President threatening the SC justices with impeachment or some punitive action that his allies in Congress would take if the justices did not reconsider their decision against the way he and Secretary Abad assembled funds from existing and ongoing projects that they halted and used for projects they decided to give priority to.
The President’s speech agitated former senator Joker Arroyo, a friend of the Aquino family (but observably not of the President’s). He was the late President Cory Aquino’s executive secretary and most trusted counsel. Mr. Arroyo said the President “practically declared a state of war with the High Court in a conflict of high and emotional drama beamed nationwide.”
He added that Mr. Aquino forgot that as “President, whenever he speaks, he makes a policy statement.” In this case, Mr. Arroyo pointed out, just before the President delivered his policy statement speech on Monday, “The administration took pains to establish a massive encirclement attack on the High Court. Congress [whose massive majority consists of Mr. Aquino’s allies]has threatened to eliminate the Judicial Development Fund (JDF) of the Supreme Court to impair its constitutionally guaranteed fiscal autonomy. The COA [Commission on Audit] published the individual Justices’ earnings to embarrass them. The BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) recently issued a Memorandum Order designed to tax a hitherto nontaxable additional income from the JDF of employees of the judiciary.”
It worried the former senator that while the President did not question the power of the High Court to judge on the constitutionality and illegality of presidential acts, Mr. Aquino was questioning the SC justices’ “collective capacity and integrity to exercise that power.” That stance of the President, he said, “undermines the Supreme Court.”
“As the picture looks presently, the President’s policy is to discredit the judiciary and render it impotent, subjugate further the Congress, and make the President supreme. Yet by his oath of Office, the President is duty bound to preserve and defend the Constitution.”
A former Manila congressman, Benny M. Abante, who is a foe of the Aquino administration, released a statement saying, among other things, “When the President went on national TV [and said the things he said], he betrayed his oath. If there should be a champion of judicial independence, it should be the President. If there should be someone defending the judiciary from external influences, it should be the President. If there should be someone telling the people to respect the Supreme Court regardless of whether the decision is adverse to the people, it should be the President.
But he did not do any of the above. On the contrary, after assaulting the logic of the Supreme Court decision [against the DAP], he is now leading an assault on the judiciary itself…the President is doing everything in his power to bend the High Tribunal to his will.”
Indeed, nationwide, hundreds of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) known to be “members” of the so-called Yellow Army–led by the People Power Volunteers for Reform (PPVR), the Change Politics Movements, the Black and White Movement, which can easily marshal hundreds of thousands of demonstrators against the Supreme Court, have made their voices heard in a statement sent to media. They praise Mr. Aquino and express support for his stand on the DAP and warn against the enemies of reforms, which to them, might include the Supreme Court.
If the SC justices do not change their decision as President Aquino desires, will his allies in the House impeach and his allies in the Senate convict the justices?
Or, as some of our readers have said in their online comments, is he gearing up to declare martial law or emergency rule?
The Constitution requires a martial law or emergency rule declaration to have the approval of Congress. As it is now dominated by his allies, President Aquino can easily have Congress ratify his martial law declaration and keep on renewing it.
Are Secretary Abad, the other members of the Cabinet, the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Civil Society Organizations getting ready to place our Republic in the hands of Der Fuehrer Benigno Aquino?