IN resolving the dilemma facing the republic with the UN ruling on the case of President Arroyo, it will help if President BS Aquino’s press secretary and spokesmen will refrain from mimicking the President’s narcissism and no-fault thinking. They should not be deluded into thinking that the President is perfect or faultless.
That is not part of their job description. And we the people who pay their salaries and perks have a right to expect better.
It will be similarly helpful if the members of the Sandiganbayan division hearing the Arroyo case will approach the issue in the light of both law and our foreign policy.
More at stake in controversy
Everyone needs to comprehend the UN decision sensibly and coolly, and to understand its grave implications for the nation’s international standing and for our government’s initiatives within the UN system.
More is at stake in this controversy than winning debating points, or scoring on press releases.
It is unacceptable for the President’s press secretary and spokesman to dismiss the decision out of hand as just a matter of opinion.
It is irregular for Sandiganbayan justices to be issuing press statements belittling the UN panel because the issue affects our government’s entire relationship with the United Nations and its processes. This is a matter of statecraft, not propaganda.
Our government participated fully in the deliberative process of the UN Working Group against Arbitrary detention and Human Rights.
If we were unwilling to abide by the group’s decision, we should have desisted from participating.
We could have copied China’s refusal to take part in the arbitration case we filed against China’s actions in the South China (West Philippine) Sea before the UN arbitration tribunal. At this point, when the tribunal has not yet ruled on the issue, there is absolutely nothing that anyone can do to force China to abide by certain principles of international law and convention.
Respect due process
With respect to the case of President Arroyo, our government’s best course is to respect the UN group’s recommendation and accord the former president all her rights to due process, including bail. There should be no consent to our being tagged as a human rights violator.
To bring the controversy under control, the President should order his press secretary and spokesmen to shut up and cool it. He should realize that the noises they are making remind people of the rantings of such people as Uganda’s Idi Amin and Haiti’s Duvaliers whenever they disagreed with the UN or a respected international body.
Similarly, the Supreme Court Chief Justice should advise the Sandiganbayan division handling President Arroyo’s case not to engage in a publicity battle, and to keep the issue strictly within the bounds of law.
The priority now should be to spare the nation undue embarrassment and diminution of support for its dispute with China.