• A Christian nation needs a Christian govt

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    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    FRANCISCO S. TATAD

    In a foreign gathering of Christian Democrats some years ago, I asked a German friend without much tact, “If these are the democrats, where are the Christians?” Political correctness and moral relativism were already on the rise, and while Westerners raged against African tribal women for mutilating their genitals, they did not mind unborn babies being mangled inside their mothers’ wombs in the name of women’s “rights.” I thought this was where Christian democracy ought to take a stand, but there seemed not enough Christians ready to die for it.

    Since then human life, the family and marriage—the most important values and institutions for the survival and progress of humankind—have been debased, as governments, activist courts, and hedonist institutions usurped the teachings of the Gospel and the Church to create a culture increasingly hostile to God and all things related to God. To a great extent, even in our country, Christmas itself has been paganized. Until Christmas day, everyone was talking about Christmas and nothing else, but not many were sincerely looking for Christ.

    What the headlines tell us

    The Duterte government was on top of this counter-Christian effort, as it focused the nation’s attention on its pursuit of unaccountable political power and its uninterrupted effort to “neutralize” suspects in its war on drugs. On Christmas day, the national headlines were about President Rodrigo Duterte wanting to rewrite the martial law provision of the Constitution, and his call on top officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Anti-Money Laundering Council to resign for failing to support his effort to build up cases against Sen. Leila de Lima, whom he has accused of alleged involvement in the drugs trade inside the New Bilibid Prisons when she was still B. S. Aquino 3rd’s secretary of justice.

    A few days ago, Malacañang welcomed the announcement of the Chinese government that it is ready to support DU30’s law enforcement forces with modern weapons for their anti-drugs war. At the same time, DU30’s rant against the United Nations and American “idiots” continues. De Lima has attributed all this to DU30’s admitted use of Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid said to be 50 times more powerful than heroin, and used by doctors to treat cancer patients for pain. DU30 says he has no cancer, but suffers from Buerger’s disease, Barrett’s esophagus, constant severe migraine and pain in the spinal column.

    DU30’s Christmas proposals have temporarily quieted the public on the proposed imposition of the death penalty, which his puppet Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez was earlier prepared to railroad in the House of Representatives as his “Christmas gift” to the Filipino people and to DU30. This would legalize the de facto death penalty, which has already killed 6,000 drug suspects, without due process and the rule of law. The martial law proposal and the threat to the Central Bank and AMLC authorities have shifted the nation’s attention away from the Christian spirit of the season, into serious concerns about DU30’s state of mind.

    It appears that while DU30 talks every now and then about his presidency being a mistake, and wanting to step down as soon as possible, he is at bottom more deeply interested in a total consolidation of power to silence all opposition to his despotic rule. Why should martial law become a matter of urgent concern, if he is not at all interested in it as one of his options? From the very beginning, he has been talking of establishing a “revolutionary government,” while his communist-in-chief in the Cabinet, Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr., was busy trying to create the grassroots base for it, through his Kilusang Pagbabago, whose regional coordinators are all members of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

    Obviously Evasco has come to realize that replacing the existing structure with a communist one is not going to be a “piece of cake,” and DU30 must have realized that he cannot possibly declare a revolutionary government without first abolishing the Constitution, and his own position as President and commander-in-chief. In which case, somebody else might seize power from him. This is probably where a repackaged martial law could come in.

    DU30 and martial law

    He is not totally wrong in his critique of martial law under the 1987 Constitution. In a significant lecture at the University of the Philippines, former Justice Secretary Estelito Mendoza, arguably the country’s most distinguished lawyer, points out that the inherent contradictions in this provision have rendered it dysfunctional. We shall turn to this now.

    Under Section 10 (2), Article VII of the 1935 Constitution, “The President shall be commander-in-chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and, whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion, insurrection, or rebellion. In case of invasion, insurrection or rebellion, or imminent danger thereof, when the public safety requires it, he may suspend the writ of habeas corpus, or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law.”

    This was the constitutional provision President Ferdinand Marcos invoked when he declared martial law on Sept. 21, 1972 to turn back the communist armed rebellion which had “assumed the magnitude of an actual state of war against our people and the Republic of the Philippines.” Martial law was lifted in 1980, but it failed to dismantle the CPP/NPA/NDF rebellion, whose leadership sought official sanctuary in Utrecht, Netherlands, but whose armed struggle continued in the countryside to this day.

    In 1986, Cory Aquino’s revolutionary government abolished the 1973 Marcos Constitution, which carried over the martial law provision of the 1935 Constitution except for a slight change which substituted “Prime Minister” for “President” as the commander-in-chief. Cory’s appointive constitutional commission then rewrote the provision as follows:

    “Article VII, Sec. 18. The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of all armed forces of the Philippines and whenever it becomes necessary, he may call out such armed forces to prevent or suppress lawless violence, invasion or rebellion. In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit the report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it.

    “The Congress, if not in session, shall, within twenty-four hours following such proclamation or suspension, convene in accordance with its rules without need of a call.

    “The Supreme Court may review, in an appropriate proceeding filed by any citizen, the sufficiency of the factual basis of the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ or the extension thereof, and must promulgate its decision thereon within thirty days from its filing.

    “A state of martial law does not suspend the operation of the Constitution, nor supplant the functioning of the civil courts or legislative assemblies, nor authorize the conferment of jurisdiction on military courts and agencies over civilian courts when civil courts are able to function, nor automatically suspend the privilege of the writ. The suspension of the privilege of the writ shall apply only to persons judicially charged for rebellion or offenses inherent in or directly connected with invasion.

    “During the suspension of the privilege of the writ, any person thus arrested or detained shall be judicially charged within three days, otherwise he shall be released.”

    DU30 is right, but he’s not the solution

    DU30 is absolutely right to denounce the existing provision as an awful lot of nonsense. It is meant not to function. But whether this is the time to raise it, and whether DU30 should be the one to raise it is the question. Under the 1935 and 1973 Constitutions, the President or Prime Minister and Commander-in-Chief may declare martial law “in case of invasion, insurrection, or rebellion, or imminent danger thereof, when the public safety requires it.” The mere existence of “imminent danger” when the public safety requires it is a sufficient basis for the proclamation.

    In the present Constitution, there has to be actual invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, for the President to declare martial law. While the invasion or rebellion rages, the Congress is supposed to meet, without need of call, within 24 hours, the President to report to the Congress within 48 hours, and the Congress can revoke the proclamation, which revocation cannot be set aside by the President. The Supreme Court is mandated to act within 30 days on any question raised about the proclamation by any citizen.

    The so-called commander-in-chief power is effectively placed under Congress, and it expires in 60 days even if the invasion or rebellion rages on. Can you imagine a group of grade schoolers composing anything more insane? This is one of the reasons we need to revise the Constitution, but the people, through their elected delegates, must do it, not the puppet Congress acting as surrogate of the President, who has no constitutional role to play in revising or amending the Constitution.

    Since there is no risk of the country being invaded, and the communists have become coalition partners of the government, and peace talks are ongoing with the Moro rebellion, there is no reason for us to be talking of martial law as a response to invasion or rebellion.

    Bullying the BSP and AMLC officials

    With respect to DU30’s demand that BSP and AMLC top officials resign if they cannot please him, it is very clear we can have no illusions about his dictatorial powers. If he could have 6,000 drug suspects killed without due process, and detain more than 800,000 beyond the three-day period allowed by the suspension of the privilege of habeas corpus for those who have not been formally charged of any crime, then he obviously believes he could bully out of office anyone with a fixed term just by telling them to vacate.

    Indeed, AMLC officials played politics and alowed themselves to be used during Erap Estrada’s and the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trials. And Governor Tetangco has tried to curry favor with Malacañang by printing new currency bills under the new President’s signature. But not only has he a fixed term, he also draws a basic annual salary of P13 million against the President’s P4 million. This is no laughing matter.

    Preparing for civil war?

    Back to the drug war, there is cause for greater concern in the face of China’s offer of modern weapons to arm our policemen fighting this war. We do not need more weapons. Our so-called drug war is a one-sided war, only the police and the so-called “vigilantes” are doing the killing. Unlike in Latin America, where the drug cartels engage government forces in armed battles, those who have been killed here were totally unarmed, except after the killing when a caliber 38 revolver makes its appearance in the hands of the victim. We do not therefore need to arm the police more.

    Serious analysts are concerned that Evasco and company are preparing the nation not for a wider counter-narcotics war, but for a “civil war.”

     

     

     

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    13 Comments

    1. Dpt bguhn yng parametrs pra s martial lw. Dpt dn himayn ang isyu s martl lw, kc yng mga pea hudas n media at mga propesor hnd nila gnwa pra ms malinwan ang isyu tngkl s martl kw. Dpt ibalik yng philippne constabulary. Dpt maturuan ang mga magulang n tamang pg pgplaki at disiplina s kabataan – kya nga agree dn ako n paluin ang bata. Naransan ntin ang fake demcracy for 30 yrs. Mgraraly Pero mgkalt at manira- yn b ang freedom. Dpt freedom at responsibility ay mgkasam yn pra umayos ang bnsa natin. Death penalty kng my nagawng mabgt n krimen yn ang Tama. Tuwinng eleksyn my patayn- so npaka importnte ang role ng parents d2.

    2. Sir Vinsensius Gutawa on

      What change do the Filipinos want under this administration? Do they want to reject democracy and to embrace God-less communism? Do they want to annihilate, shame and kill all the oligarchs, the leaders and members of the Catholic Church, those who are against the culture of death, as what the president has told them to do? If you say “Yes” then you are thinking more of your benefits than others.

      Under this administration hatred and revenge grows instead on love and forgiveness. Yes. one “good” Filipino can say “ONE CANNOT FORGIVE AN OFFENDER FOR HIS OFFENSE” but PRUNING THEM THROUGH VIOLENT MEANS IS INHUMANE AND GODLESS.

    3. It is only transitory—the life of the rule of law is fleeting and its arm short-handed. It is alive only while there is no lawlessness. But when lawlessness rises from slumber and takes over , and comes to power—rule of law dies automatically , and there is no way to revive the dead.

      The best thing to do is to declare a state of lawlessness so that the lawless enemies can be destroyed through lawlessness.
      You should remind yourselves that the enemies are fighting against you on a much higher plane—they do not observe the laws the reason why they are successful.
      Why fight against them with your hands shackled by laws and other restrictions. If you do this , you sure would lose the war.

      Lawlessness begets lawlessness , and let lawlessness destroys lawlessness. If you follow this principle , you will win the war because you follow the natural flow of Wisdom.
      And you will benefit from the Providence of The Lord because you adhere to Wisdom.
      Instill in your mind that Wisdom is greater than any rule of law.

      I reiterate , rule of law has no life in itself. Rule of law is good only while there is no lawlessness. Its life is dependent on the absence of lawlessness.
      Rule of law is alive if lawlessness is dead. But when lawlessness comes to life and comes to power fully—rule of law is dead , and will be relegated to the dung pile.

      What shall we do when lawlessness come to power and occupies the throne?

    4. Maribel Calanda on

      As long as the PET sits on the electorial protest of Senator BBM and as long as the fake VP is active in her oust Duterte campaign, which she of course denied, coup talks will never cease. It is only the LP who is funding it and a couple of bishops and a billionaire from New York but most Filipinos want Duterte still to be the president of this country. As I can see you are favoring Leni more than Bongbong. What has Leni done for your career and what can you learn from that opportunist and hypocrite. At least with BBM, you can see in your lifetime the vindication of a true great leader, Ferdinand Edralin Marcos, whom you once served for the longest as Information Secretary.

    5. First of all it seems you think female circumcision is ok. Its wrong as is male circumcision just for the sake of it. If you believe in god then why would god give you a body part that needs removing. It doesnt make sense. Yes i admit that there is an argument for & against abortion. Im for it & i think its the pregnant womans choice. Also your religion doesnt allow contraceptives. The problem with religions is it keeps you backward. & you should never ever have religion in politics. The muslims do & look at their countries. The sooner this world is religion free the sooner it can start living in peace or in more peace. You dont have divorce but for those with money you have annulment. What a joke, it means the marriage never happened. So it seems religion wants to change history. Most rich guys who are married in the philippines have a bit on the side or as you would call it a mistress. & its ok to you all, its total hypocrisy. Look at your politicians all profess to be holier than thou but from the past up to now how many havent stolen millions. Religion holds a nation back, & you dont need religion to have good morals. .

    6. John Chameleon on

      How do you consider the catholic church interference with political affairs, if that all right? Put the constitution in your boneheaded head, Tatad. In it, the separation of the state and the church is clearly defined. Therefore engaging in political matters like what Villegas and other priests and nuns are are doing is totally unlawful. And saying that a christian government is needed in christian nation should first be observe by those who flaunt to be christian, those billionaire archbishops and by the CBCP. If their priority is politics to protect their billions of capital and businesses, then they should resign from the church and run as politicians. Or to finally end your proposition, ask the politicians of the land to turn the government we have now into theocracy. What the government is ensuring now is for the people to have peace and free them from corruption and illegal drugs that the Aquino government sponsored to be pervasive in the country. Why don’t you write about why there was proliferation of illegal drugs during the term of you sponsor, the Aquinos? Crass!

    7. Please be reminded that we are a non-secular state and we are upholding a democratic form of governance. We don’t want a secular state where other sectors of our society are marginalized and oppressed.

    8. Let’s bring back sanity in Government. Officialdom should be reminded that it is no master of the people from whom all government authority emanates. Those responsible for the unabated killings, whether government men or private persons acting under instructions from the former, have to be held responsible.

    9. ..and i believe that we are not going to progress because of the role religion played in our country…sobra pong naka-KULONG ang mga isipan ng tao sa ipinakalap na relihyon sa ating mga ninuno…we became SLAVES of religion because of 1 thing: FEAR of the UNKNOWN. Hwag na po tayong lumayo: look at China or Japan or even Thailand or Singapore. These are NOT Catholic countries. But they are educated so they KNOW not “they FEAR”. But I am happy to see that slowly, bit by bit, our country, ang mahal nating Bayang Pilipinas ay unti-unti ng kumakalas sa kuko ng Katolisismo. Madami na po ngayon ang Born Again at iba pang denominations namga dating katoliko. Marunong po ang Tunay na Dyos, and Tunay at Dakilang AMA!. At hindi po sya Katoliko.

    10. “Violence becomes the sole method when blind and deaf with reason.” -Jose Rizal
      People affected by drugs become deaf and blind with reason. Anybody who has related to drug addicts know that it is impossible to reason out with them. That is why they get killed.

    11. So, sino po sa “Christians” ang dapat mamuno? Hitler a catholic was supported by your group – the CATHOLIC CHURCH. Pnoy was a catholic. Cory was a catholic. Marcos, GMA, Erap are catholics. Si FVR lang ang hindi catholic pero Christian. Pwede ko pong sabihing WINALANGHIYA ng mga Catholic Leaders and Bayang Pilipinas. Tapos sasabihin mo sa amin Christians o Catholics and mamuno?

    12. In Europe Christian Democrats are not Christians but are godless, socialist that believe in statism and control of people and allocation of resources. Europe is in decline.

    13. Daniel B. Laurente on

      Sabihin mo sa mga padre Damaso yan Mr, Tatad…panggulo sila…at ayusin ang pagsermon at tuwirin ang baluktot nilang daan..