The nation’s Christmas wish is for P-Noy and Chief Justice Corona to friend each other.
Either that or take their differences outside.
What we don’t want is the spectacle of the heads of our two branches of Government going at each other. We have enough problems with poverty, crime and the pursuit of happiness without having to mediate a spat that is disconcerting and getting out of hand.
The Executive Branch has its litany of discourtesies: the midnight appointment of Corona, the dismantling of the Truth Commission, blocking the impeachment of the then Ombudsman, the TRO on GMA’s travel, etc. Should the Court now rule unfavorably against the constitutionality of the Comelec/DOJ panel on electoral sabotage, P-Noy will tear what remains of his hair. (Would Filipinos accept such an outcome and march on the Justices; and will the Executive protect them, the Justices I mean?)
The Court is a co-equal branch of Government with a mandate to protect the Constitution. It believes the Executive is interfering with its work, even seeking to control its budget.
It says it is about the Rule of Law. Yes, but what Law?
P-Noy –and probably the majority of the people- believes there is a law that supersedes man-made statutes and that is natural law. This thesis proclaims there is a Greater Good, that morality and justice –even common sense- cannot always be bound by the narrow confines of the legislated word and its appendages however studied, that where there is smoke there is fire, that if something walks and talks like a duck, it is a duck. In the GMA instance, the sense of wrongdoing is of such scale that to allow her flight would be an injustice to the nation and worth dispensing with the fine print.
Constitutionalists say this persuasion opens a juridical black hole. When is illegal legal, when 51% of the people say so? Will every SC petition be a referendum? In the GMA case are we into a lynch mob? (Let us not put that to a vote because the outcome may surprise). Should Pulse Asia, the polling company, run this country?
P-Noy argues GMA will have her day in court. He only asks that Filipinos also have theirs. If GMA were to leave it would be impossible to physically arraign her, a precondition, under the law, for her to be tried. The country would then be deprived its occasion for justice.
The Palace believes, rightly or wrongly, the majority of the Court, all GMA appointees, are her lackeys. If the SC rules unfavorably on the Comelec/DOJ panel, GMA & Co. will be out of here faster than you can say Money, Money, Money; in a private plane to anywhere.
To forestall this P-Noy has taken his case to the public in no uncertain terms. He may have been disrespectful but niceties are superseded by the urgency to be loud and clear. The Filipino, he feels, needs to know and know now.
What are the ways out of the impasse?
First, dial down the rhetoric. The President has heralded his position. No need to get to Fail Safe, the point where decisions are irreversible and differences irreconcilable.
Two, do not make it personal to the Chief Justice. Corona is only one of the majority Justices. In the Luisita case, even P-Noy’s appointees voted with this majority.
Three, check the egos at the door: Each should recognize his failings while understanding the rightness of the other. The current crisis is partly because of the Administration’s tardiness in filing charges against GMA. It says the dissolution of the Truth Commission a year ago caused the delay but nobody is listening. At the same time Justices should inhibit themselves in potential conflicts.
Four, develop a Plan B. The Ombudsman should immediately act on the three non-bailable plunder charges filed against GMA; to back up the electoral fraud case. The Government should play all the numbers.
Five, gather a Council of Elders (composed say of FVR, Corona’s former boss; JPE, the Senate President; ex-CJ Art Panganiban and Wash Sycip) to mediate the quarrel. The Church should be excluded as it has it RH ax to grind.
Six, the people should speak up, if necessary in the streets.
The Filipino wants the issue resolved so we can punish the politicians, corporate raiders and murderers who have repeatedly raped this nation. It would be doubly tragic if these villains now also succeeded in getting our leaders to devour each other.
So in the spirit of the season let us, everybody, have a group hug and move on. There is work to be done.