Democracy in the Philippines
This is the moment in the history of society where technology is at its highest point and it continues to move forward. This is also the occasion when democracy in the Philippines faces one of the greatest challenges in its existence after it has been restored several times. A new round of scandal has brought democracy in the Philippines to another challenging point. If democratic revival is possible it can only come from the people themselves, and from the higher power directing it.
This paper is to tackle current issues in our government that I consider a tele-novela which remains a box office hit. What I think about the ongoing saga regarding former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s (GMA) efforts to leave the country to get medical treatment abroad and the Aquino administration’s efforts to stop her. Not to mention the controversial TRO issued by the Supreme court in connection with the refusal of the DOJ secretary to implement the ruling, and most specially, the infamous ‘electoral sabotage against GMA’. All these current issues affect the democracy of our country.
The strength of democracy is measured, not by economic gains, but primarily by the strength of the country’s rule of law and its justice system. The state of innocence until proven guilty is a legal right of every accused in a lawful trial. The trouble of evidence legally obtained and lawfully acceptable in a court of law is therefore on the entity that prosecutes the accused. These facts must show guilt of the accused ‘beyond reasonable doubt. ’ If reasonable doubt continues, the accused must be set free. This is how the court of law thinks and acts, in an ideal world. Sadly, the court of public view seems to sway with the wind.
November 15, 2011 is a shameful day for our nation. The court of law is dragged down as substandard to the court of public opinion – and this is with the initiation of the government. Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, accused (by the Aquino government and a large part of the population) of involvedness on a number of unlawful/illegal acts, was not allowed by the Aquino government to board an airplane to travel abroad and seek further medical help. This is done after a temporary restraining order (TRO) has been released by the Supreme Court with immediate effectivity.
A scandalous public display of an awful wit develops. What Is a Restraining Order? According to Lawyers. com: “A restraining order is a court order directing someone to follow certain conditions or to not do certain things. It’s literally a piece of paper a judge signs stating the terms someone must follow or risk legal consequences. Restraining orders are often used to give legal protection to victims of domestic abuse, harassment, stalking and neighborhood disputes. Temporary restraining orders, another short-term order type, are usually in effect for less than a month.
This order is issued when a victim applies for a restraining order. Its purpose is to give the victim protection until a hearing can be held and a restraining order can be issued. ” I noticed a lot of comments blaming the Arroyos. So far, most of the basis forwarded by these same comments relate to things outside of the immediate concerns of the drama at the NAIA. Some question the hurriedness of the Arroyos to buy plane ticket even before the release of the TRO. If the woman is truly in need of urgent medical attention, the rush is but necessary to the need. They have the money.
Still, one cannot avoid the growing suspicion that the St. Luke medical team was not able to diagnose precisely all the medical illness of GMA, is I think, reason enough for a family that has the money, to look for the best medical help for their loved one in another country. Based from the Inquirer news report: The Supreme Court on Tuesday, Nov 29, 2011 clarified that it did not suspend the temporary restraining order (TRO) it granted to former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo despite her failure to fully comply with the conditions of the injunctive relief.
At a news briefing, court administrator and spokesperson Jose Midas Marquez said the high court en banc issued the clarification amid allegations that the justices had temporarily recalled the TRO. “The court resolved to clarify that the TRO was not suspended even with the finding that there was no full compliance with the conditions of the TRO,” Marquez said. “There was … some sort of confusion whether the TRO was in full force and effect pending full compliance of the petitioner, and that is why the court had to make a clarification,” he added. The court’s latest resolution debunked the claim of Associate Justice Ma.
Lourdes Sereno that majority of the justices moved to suspend the injunctive order during its special session on Nov. 18. The TRO prevented Justice Secretary Leila de Lima from enforcing the travel ban she issued against Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo. “There was just a misunderstanding and confusion so the court resolved to clarify. I think that issue should rest for now,” he said. The Supreme Court on Tuesday,11/29, also blocked the move of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to summon the attending physicians of Arroyo in a bid to justify De Lima’s decision to bar her from going abroad.
Then who committed a mistake here? Some people questioned how the Arroyos know what ruling is about to be served. That could simply be explained by the real odds of this family having a person in the offices of the Supreme Court to notify them of what decision is forthcoming and use cell phones to pass on such information. It is obvious that the Arroyos do have the funds to pay for expensive plane tickets. GMA still is an elected public official and benefit from the privileges rightfully connected to that office.
However, to mean that the judges owe their positions to the Arroyos and are for that reason indebted to give a positive ruling is tearing down one of the three pillars of this government. Without determining the ‘burden of proof’, a lot of people have assumed the position of a judge and marked these justices accountable as charged. In a press conference, Jose Midas Marquez said majority of the magistrates believe that “it might probably work as an injustice to them of their continued inclusion in the Watch List Order (WLO)…Majority is of the thought that the TRO is consistent with the constitutional presumption of innocence. He said, however, that the TRO can be lifted anytime if the high court deems forthcoming arguments sufficient to counter those of the couple. In this case, in my point of view, I don’t believe the Arroyos are to blame for the terrible incident in NAIA. The supreme judge of the law of the land has pronounced judgment in favor of allowing them to travel abroad and such order is to take effect right away. According to the Philippine Constitution: The Supreme Court of the Philippines (Filipino: Kataas-taasang Hukuman ng Pilipinas or Korte Suprema) is the Philippines’ highest judicial court, as well as the court of last resort.
Therefore, the Department of Justice has no jurisdiction to second guess the Supreme Court – unless it responds with the required legal procedures to overturn the order. Unreasonably, the DOJ challenged the very order of the Supreme Court in a manner inappropriate of an agency of the executive branch of the government. Sad to say, I don’t like one bit of what the Department of Justice is doing on this case. In another different scenario, GMA is charged with electoral sabotage. Manila Times Published : Friday, October 21, 2011
A JOINT fact-finding team on Thursday ordered the filing of formal charges for electoral sabotage against former President and now Rep. Gloria Arroyo of Pampanga province and several others in the 2007 polls. In its 81-page Initial Report, the team from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Commission on Elections (Comelec) recommended that eight others be charged for the same unbailable offense—former Comelec Chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. ; former Comelec Commissioner Nicodemo Ferrer; former DOJ Secretary Alberto Agra; Michael Abas, former acting Region XII election director; Col.
Reuben Basiao, former Region XI chief of the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP); former Gov. Andal Ampatuan Sr. of Maguindanao province; Lintang Bedol, former provincial election supervisor of Maguindanao; and Norie Unas. The report said that Mrs. Arroyo gave “direct instruction to manipulate the results” of the 2007 race for Senate seats in Maguindanao “by ordering (Ampatuan Sr. ) to implement a 12-0 result in (Maguindanao) in favor of (Arroyo administration) candidates and to alter or change the results if necessary.
The joint probe further recommended expanded investigation of supposed involvement of Mrs. Arroyo’s husband, lawyer Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo, in the poll fraud. De Lima said that the probers headed by Prosecutor General Claro Arellano would convene on Monday to discuss other recommendations made by the DOJ-Comelec panel. In this case, Arroyo was charged primarily based on testimony of former provincial administrator Norie Unas, who claimed he had heard the former president instruct Ampatuan to ensure 12-0 victory of Team Unity in his rovince during an event in the Palace days before the 2007 polls. I believe this accusation is inescapable (if there’s such a word)! The Philippines is now considered a corrupt country and this is one proof of it. The sinners should be punished and there is no exception to this rule. Arroyo failed to submit her answer during the two-hearing preliminary investigation by the joint panel that did not grant her plea to have more time to file a counter affidavit. We may say that the lady is heartless and could just be faking it, and is likely to just want to escape prosecution.
Yet, as already identified by the same Supreme Court, the executive branch has legal options to bring back the Arroyos to face charges filed against them – without creating another ‘incident’ that would bring us all to great humiliation. I’m definitely sure that democracy is a fundamental way to reassure some freedoms and never doubted its importance to the economic development of societies. I could not think of any other efficient kind of government in a long term process of development.
Democracy as defined “is a government by the people, for the people, and of the people. ” Yes, by the people whose absolute right to suffrage has been the accessory or partner in crime of the corrupt officials in pushing through their vested interests and motives. Enormous vote buying and vote shaving and filling become the indicator of most national and local winners whose rise to power was aided by the political alibi to lessen poverty. Eventually, these so – called leaders ruin the essence of democracy of our country.