NESTOR MATA: CAN A 'DICTATORSHIP' BE STOPPED?

MANILA,
AUGUST 16, 2012 (MALAYA) Written by NESTOR MATA - ‘This question was posed by former Senator Francisco S. Tatad, who sees an emergent dictatorship in President Aquino’s acts to control the three branches of our government.’

YES, an emerging “dictatorship” can be stopped! This is my answer to the question posed by former Senator Francisco S. Tatad, now a political analyst and commentator.

Tatad sees an “emerging dictatorship” in the most recent acts of President Noynoy Aquino to control the Executive, the Legislative and the Judiciary. And this means, as he put it, that the “dictatorship has arrived.”

I, too, had warned in this column last August 2 against what I called President Aquino’s blatant interference in legislative and judicial processes, and even in media affairs, and these were ominous signs that he’s leading the country away from democracy and into a government of one man. That’s called a monocracy, or, as Tatad put it, a dictatorship.

This was first revealed by Aquino himself, Tatad recalled, when he ordered the House of Representatives to impeach then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and had him convicted by the Senate impeachment court on the basis of what many jurists and lawyers, well-versed in all provisions of the Constitution, viewed as a “non-impeachable offense.”

And Tatad himself, once a legislator and most certainly familiar with proper legislative practices and procedures, observed that Aquino, again, manifested his dictatorial tendencies when he commanded members of Congress to terminate the debates on the highly controversial population control cum reproductive health bill, which many lawyers and non-lawyers denounced as unconstitutional, and, Tatad stressed, many Catholics and friends of Catholics condemned it as “anti-Catholic.”

That was “an awesome demonstration of the President’s power over Congress,” Tatad said. “It showed beyond doubt that separation of powers and the principle of checks and balances are gone, and that reason and common sense have lost all meaning, if and when they run counter to what the President wants.”

This means, Tatad warned, that at Aquino’s mere behest Congress could enact an unjust and unconstitutional law, and the Supreme Court, in mortal fear of the President, could declare the patently unconstitutional and unjust enactment entirely constitutional.

And then Tatad posed the question: “Can the dictatorship be stopped?” The answer is – Yes!

The very first one to show that President Aquino’s diktats can be stopped was the Judicial and Bar Council, a constitutionally-established institution, composed of jurists and eminent lawyers, whose knowledge of the Constitution and other laws of the land is beyond question.

They have just defied – or “shamed” as our publisher Amado P. Macasaet bluntly put it – President Aquino by not including his vociferous Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima in the JBC’s short list of nominees for chief justice of the Supreme Court, in spite of “presidential pressure” on the council’s members to put her name in it. That was, indeed, a firm assertion of judicial independence!

So, now that jurists and lawyers have shown that they can stop the President Aquino’s malevolent dictatorial ukases, then ordinary Filipino citizens, concerned civic groups, media pundits and commentators, and Catholic, other Christian churches and Muslim mosques can, collectively in one voice, do that, too!

The big, big question now is: Will President Noynoy listen to the collective voice of the Filipino people, who, as he has so very often orated, are “my bosses…and my compass”?

***

“The second high office of the government is honorable and easy, the first is but a splendid misery!”

These prophetic words of Thomas Jefferson apply very well in the case of Vice President Jojo Binay. He is the most popular public official in the country today, according to the latest survey conducted by the Social Weather Stations (SWS), with a rating much higher than that of President Aquino’s.

The SWS survey results, released July 2012, show that about eight of ten (79 percent) Filipinos are satisfied with Binay’s performance, up from 77 percent in December 2011 and 72 percent in September 2011. And his 79 percent is remarkably higher than President Aquino’s 63 percent or a 16-point difference between them.

If Binay were to run for the presidency today, based on those survey statistics, one political analyst said, he would surely win, but then the presidential polls are still far off in 2016, when Aquino departs from the national scene.

Perhaps Binay’s high rating is the reason that this early he has come the object of a pernicious black propaganda blitz to discredit him, especially after he assembled a powerful coalition, known as UNA, to capture majority of elective positions for the 12 senatorial seats and over 240 congressional seats at stake in the 2013 mid-term elections. His rivals probably sense that if the UNA candidates would be victorious, then he would be assured of his own victory in the 2016 presidential derby.

Binay should completely ignore what the political analyst calls a “political witch-hunt” and instead concentrate on his proven “formula of focus, hard work, and being authentic.”

***

Quote of the Day: “The President hears a hundred voices telling him that he is the greatest man in the world. He must listen carefully indeed to hear the one voice that tells him he is not!” – Harry S. Truman

Thought of the Day: “Many forms of government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all other forms that have been tried from time to time – and failed!” – Winston S. Churchill


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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