In defense of PNoy

aquino sereno rappler

The way it was . . . [Photo source: Rappler]

Guest article

by Dolly Gonzales

Let’s consider first the Supreme Court, and in particular Chief Justice Sereno. Then we can look at PNoy’s performance as President.

 

SUPREME COURT

“I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

In 2012, PNoy spent valuable political capital to impeach a midnight-appointed Chief Justice (CJ). If he hadn’t, our justice system would still be crippled by a Supreme Court (SC) led by someone shielding an ex-president from accountability.

But is that a happy ending? Remember how PNoy’s Truth Commission, meant to hold accountable ex-President GMA, was declared unconstitutional by the SC? Then there’s the decision that would have allowed her to leave the country. It was not only the impeached CJ who ruled in her favor. Those other justices are still there.

Several SC justices have also been appointed by PNoy since 2010. On the whole, their rulings have shown that they are individuals of integrity, probity, and independence. There has not been any indication that PNoy treats them as puppets whose strings he pulls.

On the issue of judicial reach, PNoy wishes to restore balance among the co-equal branches because the judiciary is not exercising restraint. The Court is getting in the way of reforms and progress. Seeking an even distribution of power among the three co-equal branches is different than clipping the powers of the judiciary to weaken it.

It is not a complicated distinction. There is a world of difference between the two: in the first, an imbalance needs to be corrected; in the second, an existing balance will be disturbed. The first is just, the second unjust.

PNoy’s reason is just.

With his objection to this judicial over-reach and the ruling on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), some people choose to see CJ Sereno as standing her ground against a “dictatorial president.”

But is it PNoy who’s being tyrannical, or the Supreme Court? Recall that there seems to exist a self-serving double standard in SC decisions, such as: 1) ruling against DAP while keeping their own discretionary spending power; 2) the refusal to release details of their Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) to Congress; 3) the refusal to release their Statements of Assets Liabilities & Net Worth (SALNs) to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR).

A related question: Is CJ Sereno really acting from a position of strength? Is she “standing her ground” against PNoy as a matter of principle, or simply because she’s powerless to do otherwise? The following circumstances suggest that she cannot stand up to her colleagues in the SC, rendering her leadership position inconsequential:

1) Why does a Chief Justice passively tolerate an injustice, when her own Court’s DAP ruling has taken the basic Constitutional tenet of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ turned it on its head, and instead presumed malice, thus setting up PNoy for liability?

It is unethical for appointees to allow the persecution of the appointing authority, just so they can be regarded as independent. This does not demonstrate independence of mind, but in fact proves the opposite.

Independence of mind is defined by doing what is right and just, not blindly opposing the appointing authority to earn the approval of critics. Only weak-willed individuals succumb to the latter.

2) Why does a good-hearted CJ fail to do right by a people demanding accountability and transparency regarding the JDF?

The SC allows a general audit of their JDF, but not a detailed one. Judicial independence does not mean justices are not accountable to the public, whose elected representatives are in Congress.

Congress is right to investigate the JDF. It is part of the check-and-balance mechanism among the three co-equal branches. Congress must not let itself be derailed by manipulative accusations that they are being vindictive, following the PDAF and DAP rulings, as doing so will allow the SC to evade accountability.

No one is above the law, especially not the Supreme Court justices who are sworn to uphold it at all times.

3) Why is a morally-upright CJ powerless to release SC justices’ SALNs to the BIR, when the Constitution itself requires that those be made public?

It is heartening to know that BIR Commissioner Henares is determined to pursue her tax investigations on the “Ma’am Arlene” corruption allegations, even as the SC attempts to keep judicial SALNs beyond the BIR’s reach.

 

PERFORMANCE AS PRESIDENT

In any society, there is always work-in-progress. Our country’s unsolved problems are certainly very serious ones, and they are being addressed, as the government works to:

  • attain inclusive growth (Grassroots Participatory Budgeting is one good program);
  • create jobs (evidently among the most complicated to address);
  • rehabilitate Yolanda-hit areas, Zamboanga, etc. (ex-Sen. Lacson is the ‘Rehabilitation Czar’);
  • empower our farmers (ex-Sen. Pangilinan is the ‘Agriculture Czar’);
  • curb smuggling (Customs reorganization as a vital first step);
  • solve traffic- and transportation woes (yet another problem with no simple solution),
  • and more.

All these have no easy, instant remedy. It is perhaps unreasonable to expect that reforms begun in 2010 will, for example, completely eradicate poverty by 2014.

To insist that PNoy has “done nothing” as President, is to willfully ignore:

  • the all-important Bangsamoro peace agreement, which restores peace and prosperity to a region mired in strife and poverty for decades; PNoy’s sincerity and commitment have been key to its success;
  • the prosecution of influential government officials accused of plunder, which promises to bring justice to the Filipino people;
  • the peaceful elevation of our territorial disputes to a UN arbitration tribunal, which upholds our dignity as a people and our rights as a nation;
  • the multi-billion-peso upgrade of military equipment, which empowers our soldiers to better defend our country, and honors their sacrifices as they daily risk their lives to protect us;
  • our economy’s remarkable growth, the second fastest in Asia, thanks in part to the effective-yet-vilified DAP;
  • the Philippines’ previously-elusive investment grade status, given by the world’s three top credit rating agencies, which makes our country more attractive to foreign investors (which in turn will create jobs), lessens our debt interest payments (which means more funds for social services), etc;
  • the key appointments of public servants with integrity, in the Supreme Court, Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, the Cabinet, etc;
  • the expanded Conditional Cash Transfer program, which invests in the education and health of children from the poorest sectors of our society;
  • Project NOAH, which identifies high-risk areas using flood-hazard maps, to warn communities to move to safer ground in times of calamity, thus saving countless lives;
  • the passage of the RH Law, hitherto blocked by influential lobbyists, which promotes responsible parenthood and empowers women on the issue of reproductive health;
  • the passage of the Sin Tax Law, also strongly opposed, which taxes the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, and the funds then earmarked for health programs; (it’s worth noting that there are no new taxes under this administration, except for the sin tax);
  • the budget reforms and transparency measures, which have led to more efficient public spending, resulting in tangible benefits in infrastructure and social services. The Philippines is instituting the kinds of changes cited by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim in his recent article.

There are more PNoy accomplishments but these are already, all in their own right, far-reaching reforms.

These are heavy-weight fights which PNoy has won, and we’re still just two-thirds through the match. He deserves credit for his exceptional accomplishments thus far.

PNoy has been called to greatness, and is not intimidated by the responsibility that entails. He inspires us to aspire for the best for our country – peace, progress, good governance, integrity in public service – as we witness how he makes the seemingly-impossible possible.

 

Comments
127 Responses to “In defense of PNoy”
  1. gerverg1885 says:

    I think I’m the earliest bird to comment on Dolly’s blog.

    It was the President’s big mistake to appoint a Chief Justice who was proven to be not so independent of mind and could not be counted on in times that he needed help in a most important matter.

    I’d say be must now grin and bear the consequences of his decision.

    But he can rest assured that people who understood the benefits of the DAP when the projects where the funds went to were published are supporting him no matter what may be the final ruling of the Supreme Court on that issue.

    • Joe America says:

      Early birds are welcome.

      CJ Sereno is proving to be a small thinker rather than large, failing to see that independence is defined by the character of the Court’s rulings. Rather she sees it as being left alone. Unfortunately, left alone, with small thinking, the SC can be one of the greatest blocks to progress imaginable. I think she is unable to lead by the character of her mind and therefore ends up deferring to the legalisms of the more senior justices. Some of them are political players with a grudge.

      President Aquino has done marvelous things for the Philippines in four years. But, in a culture that thrives on criticism and sensationalism, the extreme complainants are given as loud a forum as the rational mainstream . . . and so we get impeachment complaints that trivialize the process of impeachment, and they play grandly on the front pages. Enough of that, and even the large rational middle starts to shift to emotionalism instead of facts. The facts say the Philippines has climbed another 7 points on the global competitiveness index to become the fastest rising nation on the planet. But we mainly hear impeachment. And suspicions surrounding DAP. Not facts. In that, Mr. Aquino is partly to blame by failing to support FOI early on, which would have projected him as having hands that are clean. He allowed others to project them as dirty.

      • vernon says:

        @Joe,

        Briefly, I see this as a clash of cultures. The Supreme Court’s view of any public issue is governed by legalities – precedents and/or literal interpretation of laws. The saying “dura lex, sed lex” (it may be hard to accept but it’s the law) is a reflection of that attitude.

        Presidential decisions are, on the other hand, political. They are immediate responses to festering issues, flexible, timely and, if it can be helped, beneficial to the greater group of the affected population. These decisions have real costs both in terms of money (public funds) and popularity of the government of the decision maker.

        Recent events have been complicated by the CJ’s (mis) statements; everything she said appears to indicate that the President is doing the overreaching. Bad for the eyeballs (she looked stern) and sounded confrontational. It now seems like we have a Supreme Court populated with justices who are suffering from collective paranoia. At least, it’s the impression I get.

        Good job, Dolly.

        vernon

        • Joe America says:

          And you have nailed it again, yourself. And if the court does not respect the political, “must do” accountability of Executive, it might legalistically undermine good work. And impute “bad faith” when there is nothing but good faith.

          • amie biel says:

            It would have been good if the issues that were brought before the Supreme Court have all been political. As we may know, the SC does not meddle with the political. But when political matters that have legal implications are brought before it, then it cannot and must not turn a blind eye. Had the President been circumspect in his actions re: DAP, then there would have been a judicial issue that needs to be settled in the first place.

            • Joe America says:

              Yes, good point amie. The president was generally circumspect about the program existing, but not about the particulars. I agree. He didn’t play it well, and failure to back FOI gave the appearance of hiding things.

          • Yes, i agree. and while it is important for the SC to be particular about the letter of the law, its spirit cannot ever be overlooked. Sometimes, I wonder if some have really forgotten that the Consititution is there to serve the people, and not the other way around.

            No one is saying the Constitution should be willfully disobeyed, but if there’s, for instance, an issue of good/bad faith, it is the spirit of the law that must prevail. It simply did not make sense that the ruling acknowledged the good that the DAP had done, yet imputed bad faith on its authors/proponents. I mean, where did that come from?

            • correction:
              Yes, I agree with vernon. And while it is important…
              🙂

              • vernon says:

                @Dolly,

                For us laymen, the intent or spirit of the law is of equal weight to the letter of the law. That is always the case. What discombobulates everything is when justices “interpret”. Interpretation sits on the same chair where perception sits and no two individuals have the same perception of the same thing. There would always be a variance. That fully describes the state of the Supreme Court today as compared to the Executive.

                The Executive is that part of government focused on timely response, effective performance and politically acceptable application of policies. It should be dynamic. The Supreme Court is static unless a legal issue is raised before it. I find it surprising therefore why that court should be out there engaging in politics.

                Do you have some more up your sleeve, Dolly? Share! Comes with a please.

                vernon

        • how generous of you, vernon, thank you 🙂

          (haha, i cannot seem to reply to the “share!” comment, posted sep 5, 3:16am)

      • I agree with gerverg (I hope this is accurate) that many of us expected changes in the SC after the impeachment. Now, Pnoy still has to do that, too. I’m thankful he has the political will to do so, because no one else is in a position to make any changes.

        • thanks again for posting this article, Joe 🙂 very kind of you.

          i know i already thanked you privately before i left for the senate hearing earlier, but i want to repeat it here 🙂

          great, thought-provoking comments by very intelligent people who follow your blog. (that’s not self-serving, btw… haha!)

      • giancarloangulo says:

        I think this speaks to the culture of Philippine law/lawyers in particular. The supreme court is a living body in essence because it is the sum of all the prejudice and experience of its justices. To be left alone is to fail to see that they are part of a tripartite engine known as the Philippine Government. They are not infallible gods. They do not live in a world where all else is equal. Their decisions have second, third and so on effects. The court that ruled for media companies instead of ruling for the best interest of the public does not deserve a hands off approach.

  2. edgar lores says:

    Insightful.

    1. There’s a post in Linkedin by Jeff Haden about the qualities truly unforgettable bosses possess. Out of curiosity, I have tried to apply the criteria to the President, measure for measure, and I think he does come up smelling roses. See if you agree.

    2. These are the qualities. I have foreshortened and slightly rearranged the explanation for each quality and enumerated at least one example. Dolly’s, ahem, insightful post enumerates more.

    2.1. “They believe the unbelievable. Most people try to achieve the achievable; that’s why most goals and targets are incremental rather than inconceivable.”
    2.1.1. Pnoy believed, beyond all evidence, that corruption could be cleansed from the Filipino.
    2.1.2. As Dolly points out he has made the “seemingly impossible possible”.

    2.2. “They see opportunity in instability and uncertainty. Unexpected problems, unforeseen roadblocks, major crises… most bosses take down the sails, batten the hatches, and hope to wait out the storm.”
    2.2.1. Pnoy saw Corona as a roadblock, and had him impeached.
    2.2.2. Pnoy sees China as a roadblock, and has appealed to international institutions to resolve the sea claims dispute.

    2.3. “They wear their emotions on their sleeves. Memorable bosses are highly professional and yet also openly human. They show sincere excitement when things go well. They show sincere appreciation for hard work and extra effort. They show sincere disappointment — not in others, but in themselves. They celebrate, they empathize, they worry. Sometimes they even get frustrated or angry.”
    2.3.1. Pnoy scolds – and how! But contrary to the criterion, he does show sincere disappointment in others! This is the teacher in him.
    2.3.2. And he does appreciate hard work and extra effort as shown by his support of Robredo and Abad.

    2.4. “They protect others from the bus. Terrible bosses throw their employees under the bus… memorable bosses never try to take credit.”
    2.4.1. Pnoy is loyal, perhaps overly loyal, to his subordinates and has been roundly criticized for his efforts.

    2.5. “They’ve been there, done that… and still do that. Memorable bosses never feel entitled… The true measure of value is the tangible contribution we make on a daily basis. That’s why no matter what they may have accomplished in the past, memorable bosses are never too good to roll up their sleeves, get dirty, and do the “grunt” work.”
    2.5.1. Pnoy has demonstrated a common touch as shown by his remarkable ratings in survey polls. True, the lustre has diminished in the past half-year but there is a noticeable sense of panic as the end of his term approaches.
    2.5.2. Pnoy has not claimed executive privilege and allowed Abad to testify on DAP in the Senate hearings.

    2.6. “They lead by permission, not authority. Memorable bosses lead because their employees want them to lead. Their employees are motivated and inspired by the person, not the title. Through their words and actions they cause employees feel they work with, not for, a boss. Many bosses don’t even recognize there’s a difference… but memorable bosses do.”
    2.6.1. Is Pnoy the first Filipino president to claim the people as his bosses? I’m sure the shadow of the notion never impinged on the minds of Marcos and Gloria.
    2.6.2. People have noted Pnoy’s loyalty to his subordinates but no one has remarked on his subordinates’ loyalty to him. No one except his inner circle. This quality is reflected and confirmed in the Cabinet’s dedication to their work.

    2.7. “They embrace a larger purpose. A memorable boss works to achieve company goals — and achieves more than other bosses — but also works to serve a larger purpose: to advance the careers of employees, to rescue struggling employees, to instil a sense of pride and self-worth in others. Memorable bosses embrace a larger purpose, because they know business is always personal.
    2.7.1. Pnoy’s larger purpose is his legacy which he and the people are intimately aware of.

    2.8. “They take real, not fake risks. Many bosses, like many people, try to stand out in some superficial way. Memorable bosses stand out because they are willing to take an unpopular stand, take an unpopular step, accept the discomfort of ignoring the status quo, and risk sailing uncharted waters.”
    2.8.1. Pnoy has taken so many unpopular steps: the impeachment of Corona, the appointment of Sereno, the defense of PDAF, and the implementation of DAP.

    3. The Linkedin post concludes: “In short, memorable bosses inspire others to achieve their dreams: by words, by actions, and most importantly, by example.”
    3.1. All politicians and priests, please take note.

    Source: http://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140826123205-20017018-8-qualities-that-make-great-bosses-unforgettable?trk=eml-mktg-inf-w-top-p5

    • Joe America says:

      Superb analysis, with the bells and whistles of bold type and italics. 🙂 In our work on the Rizal Robredo index a couple of years ago, we recognized that “character” is the most important aspect of a candidate’s portfolio. Too many, I think, expect a president to adapt to THEIR image of what good character is – look like Piolo, orate like Obama, display the intellect of Edgar . . . rather than adjust their recognition to see that this guy, our president, is pretty amazing for our time and place in history.

      • edgar, haha 🙂 ahem, insightful…

        All the points are so, absolutely accurate! I particularly agree with 2.4. I remember PNoy once mentioning in an interview that if he carelessly changed a Cabinet member, what if the replacement (whom others are pushing for) would be bad for the department but helpful to crooks?

        The mere combination of 1) the ferocity of efforts to get rid of Sec. Abad, and 2) PNoy’s trust in him, is enough for me to conclude that Sec. Abad is truly effective. Happy days are over for many crooks.

  3. edgar lores says:

    On Sereno:

    1. I still think that Sereno is independent-minded, a maverick, and I would give her credit for this. Note that the columnist Oscar Tan has criticized her for being in the minority on the recent decisions handed down by the Sereno Court.
    1.1. Sereno wrote a strong dissenting opinion on the RH Law – and in Filipino in that.
    1.2. However I believe she has had to ingratiate herself with her colleagues to a certain degree. This is reflected in her agreeing to participate in the majority decision in the Velasco-Reyes election controversy.

    2. On the RH Law, PDAF and DAP, the Sereno Court has turned populist and, in the latter, literalist.

    3. Speaking of judicial literalism, the difficulty with Sereno, and all the other SC justices – with perhaps Leonen being the exception – is in their perceived obligation to uphold the Constitution beyond a fine sense of the spirit of justice. In this, Sereno and the honorable justices wear blinders.
    3.1. To be sure, the obligation is ironclad. But the obligation must not be seen to be so entrenched in issues that involve the “political question”.

    4. Still and all, I think the President was correct in picking Sereno to be the Chief Justice. Her recent dialogue with the media shows a purposeful and engaged proponent of the Judiciary, one endowed with a vision for the third branch of government to make things right and to take its rightful place in the advancement of the nation.

    • Joe America says:

      I hope others will add to the insight on Ms. Sereno. I agree that she is of good character, but I wish she (and the rabble-rousing court employees) would come to the realization that “independence” of the court does not mean that they must be left alone, impervious to any criticism or desire for a different way of doing things (like, end the secrecy on the judicial DAP and SALN’s).

    • I think consistency will be nice. Maybe she is in a difficult position. To be undermined by one’s colleagues is no fun.

      I once attended a hearing on the DAP, and when she was out of the room, a justice addressed Justice Carpio ‘chief.’ Apparently (but I could be wrong here) some justices call CJ Sereno ‘madam.’ Seemingly harmless, but speaks a lot of the leadership in the SC.

      • edgar lores says:

        It’s the Old Boys’ Club, but Sereno will have her way.

        There are 10 GMA justices remaining, excluding Carpio. By the end of 2017, in 3 years’ time, that number will be cut in half. Brion ;-), Perez and Villarama will retire in 2016. In the following year, Reyes and Mendoza will follow.

        In 2018, the irredeemable Velasco 🙂 and De Castro 🙂 will bow out.

        Come to think of it, the next president will be able to name replacements for all 10, including Carpio and Peralta plus Perlas-Bernabe ;-( and Jardeleza.

        The boys calling Carpio “Chief” is a two-way sword. Most of the time it will be said in respect but it could also be uttered as a cruel might-have-been.

        As for spite and misogyny, their foul tendrils should not find and wend their way in the hallowed halls of justice.

        • edgar lores says:

          Hey, why didn’t my frowny face (after Perlas-Bernabe) appear? Must be the semi-colon; should have used a colon. (I tried to wink and frown at the same time but found it impossible to do!)

          • haha, what about this? 😡

            you’re right! 😡 next president will appoint replacements for all other gma appointees. i wonder why the political branch has term limits, while sc justices are there until retirement? why do we have to suffer through bad ones for so long? if it’s possible to change, can they not be given, for instance, a 5-year term, renewable until retirement? if the reason is to prevent the position from being politicized, doesn’t the current situation show exactly what it looks like when that happens (i.e., politicized)?

            • edgar lores says:

              *******
              The absence of judicial term limits, except for their 70th birthday, is precisely what gives them independence and freedom from external influence. In theory, they only have internal biases to contend with.

              Yet despite that freedom, the justices are held in sway by a lifetime of conditioning. Witness Reyes on the RH Law.

              Yet despite that freedom, the justices are still held in sway by the appointing power. Witness Corona on the Truth Commission.

              Yet despite that freedom, the justices are still held in sway by the trappings of power. Witness Velasco and his son.

              Yet despite that freedom, the justices are still held in sway by the glitter of gold. Witness the decisions on Cojuangco’s coconut levy and the flip-flopping on FASAP
              *****

              • It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. – Antoine de Saint-Exupery (from The Little Prince)

                This is my excuse, haha, for viewing public officials the way I do – similar to how I deal with my personal acquiantance. 🙂 I tend to see public service as a very personal matter, to me directly, and to be let down leads to disappointment.

                In the beginning, I viewed CJ Sereno with great hope. She seemed strong (and I’m sure she really is strong, as well as good-hearted), but serious doubts cropped up after the Jardeleza nomination. I started seeing her in a different light then. Just now, I read an article (link below), and I’m mildly curious as to what’s NOT being said… the behind-the-scenes insider info, if you will:

                http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/377902/news/nation/cj-sereno-manipulated-jbc-to-keep-jardeleza-off-list-brion

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                I would not give much credence to anything Brion has to say. His accusations of manipulation have mainly to do with “timings” and “misfilings”, and his speculations are subjective. They approach the concreteness of innuendo.

                Consider this Brion quote from the news item: “She could voice out her opinions and counter-arguments against the misgivings and thoughts of other JBC members while they were individually considering their votes, while effectively blocking whatever arguments there might be to support Jardeleza.”

                There are illogical elements in the statement that are characteristic of spin.

                First of all, it gives the impression that other JBC members could not voice their misgivings and thoughts. How can this be so? This is a council of independent and mature individuals.

                Secondly, the term “misgivings”. This is such a loaded word. Were these misgivings against Jardeleza? Or were they against Sereno’s opinions? More importantly, what exactly were those misgivings?

                Thirdly, the conjunctive phrase “while they were individually considering their votes.” This is so subtle and beautiful. It insinuates that Sereno was invading people’s private sacrosanct moments of reflection, like a powerful mind-reading spirit.

                Fourthly, if Sereno could “effectively” block counter-arguments, then Brion’s spin is clearly amiss. Effective means that Sereno was logical, comprehensive and devastating. Brion should give credit to Sereno for this and not discredit her.

                Finally, I would ask if Brion attended the JBC meetings. It would seem that he did. What was his motive in attending?

                And one would have to question: what was the purpose of this muckraking news item?
                *****

              • “And one would have to question: what was the purpose of this muckraking news item?”

                The million dollar question. 🙂 In general, articles of questionable intent are fascinating. Especially once the agenda becomes apparent when placed alongside other biased articles. Always interesting to know whose propaganda readers are being made to swallow hook, line, and sinker.

        • Just wondering: What if Carpio was the one appointed Chief Justice by PNoy? He seemed to be the logical choice early on but was bypassed by the midnight appointment of Corona and then bypassed again when Sereno was appointed. He wrote a dissenting opinion on the case of the truth commission. Do you or anyone else thinks he holds a grudge because he wasn’t appointed CJ?

          • manuel buencamino says:

            He holds a major grudge against GMA and against BSA. And he had his knife out for her and now he has it for him. Carpio believes he was robbed of something he was born to do

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            I hold Carpio in high esteem. He is one justice who knows and values the notion of independence. Apart from his dissenting opinion on the Truth Commission, he also:

            o Inhibited on the Midnight Appointment
            o Dissented on GMA’s Cha-cha Peoples’ Initiative
            o Dissented on the GMA TRO
            o Dissented on the Corona TRO Dollar
            o Inhibited on FASAP
            o Dissented on the Del Castillo plagiarism
            o Sided with Sereno on the Jardeleza appointment

            There are two kinds of justices in the Supreme Court: the Regressives and the Progressives. The Regressives are the GMA appointees, the Old Boys’ Club of which Brion is the head honcho and De Castro is his prophet (to mix metaphors). The progressives are the Pnoy appointees – and I would include Carpio in the bunch. Reyes (Bienvenido), a Pnoy appointee, is in-between.

            Carpio is fiercely independent. He is a member of the Old Boys’ Club but he is not, in essence, one of them. Having said that, he is also human. But for Pnoy, he had the golden Chalice in his hands.

            Still and all, Carpio is enlightened enough to hold his grudge in check. The embers of that grudge are dying, but may not entirely go out. It will not affect his decisions; he will not bend his mind in spite. The strength of his integrity will hold him steady – or so I hope. But where his judicial intuition coincides with the dying heat of his rejection, he may be without mercy.
            *****

            • If he was appointed CJ, he then would not have a grudge (as we allege) against PNoy. Given his voting record, would he have voted in favor of DAP?

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                1. DAP could be excused… but not legitimized under the present Constitution.

                2. The Constitution is too strict with respect to cross-border transfers. From this alone, Carpio would have had no leeway to declare DAP constitutional.

                3. The power of the Executive to pool funds from different sources – revenues, programmed and unprogrammed funds – hinges on the definition of “savings”. This can be argued in favor of the Executive.

                4. The power of the Executive to realign budgetary items is standard practice pre-budget. Post-budget, it is an open question… but falls heavily under “cross-border transfers”. (In a parliamentary setting, this may not be an issue.)

                5. The power of the Executive to request for non-budgetary items can be addressed by supplementary budgeting, and is not an issue.

                6. So at best, Carpio could have absolved the Executive of responsibility on the basis of (a) current budgetary practices and (b) operative fact.

                7. But the question is: Would he have found DAP to be constitutional? Given items #2 and #4 above, no, I don’t think so. He would have been constrained by the limitations of the Constitution… and his integrity.

                8. Caveats: There are secondary issues like the “timing” of savings.
                8.1. I may very well be talking nonsense.
                8.2. And I rush in… where angels fear to tread.
                *****

  4. andrewlim8 says:

    I am really convinced that the SC is overreaching on so many matters, it ends up as the policy maker itself. Take the SC adverse ruling on the Comelec’s initiative to limit poll ads. Similarly, it has struck down other Comelec rules as well.

    For a non-lawyer like me, the SC is behaving like a judicial Sanhedrin, not unlike the Catholic hierarchy who is fond of interfering without bearing any of the responsibility or burden of their decisions. The CBCP is an all male, tax exempt, non-familied group and yet it comes up with policies on women’s issues, fiscal priorities and economic development.

    They are appointed, not elected, and their terms are up to their retirement age, while wielding enormous power. The other branches of government have enormous power also, but they have to win or lose validation through elections.

  5. macspeed says:

    @Joe Am
    You are really great doing this work, a lot appreciate of how much you have given crucial illumination versus the REDS (oh how i hate the lazy communist) and political foes (whose mission is to de-estabilized PNOY accomplishment).
    CJ Sereno and company did not have thew likes of ISO 9000 which checks the integrity of a particular sector in industry which is also applicable to SC, the Excutive and Congress. In any decision, one needs a 3rd party not involve in the project to see its fault and errors. This quality assurance and checking of final decision has never happened in SC at all times, are they GOD? Well if there is no 3rd party to checked them, they are acting like gods, the hell with them. SC members can commit mistake even if they vote for the final verdict, majority wins. The highest position of the Land is the President voted by the majority of the adult population. The President serves the people, this time under PNOY, really is a “SERVANT”, the SC sworn for the country to serve justice, not really different from President serving the country. Even the congress is servants to the people requirements. The SC forgot to provide a fair judgment to DAP as unconstitutional…

    • Joe America says:

      I enjoy trying to read the President because he for sure has his own mind. I liked Raissa’s blog of a while back that characterized him as being adept at playing pool. When push comes to shove, and if the Supreme Court keeps throwing wrenches into the laws passed by Congress and the President . . . without accountability, as Andrew Lim so astutely puts it . . . then I can imagine a constitutional showdown to in some way structurally clip the wings of the court. And it is in that context that the President would stand for a second term, to complete the remaking of government processes TOWARD accountability, that began with the Corona ouster. The constitutional conflict is not being brought on by President Aquino’s greedy desire for a second term to further enrich himself, but by a Court that does not hold itself to account for the troubles that flow forth from its decisions.

      If the court tosses the visitation agreement or the bangsamoro agreement, then I think we’ll se a second Aquino term. The defense of the nation, and peace within its boundaries, are too important to leave to the whims of a court that is playing small political ball.

      • “The defense of the nation, and peace within its boundaries, are too important to leave to the whims of a court that is playing small political ball.”

        completely agree! what a perfect statement…

  6. brianitus says:

    Hi, Madame Dolly.

    Just picking out a few points out of a generally great piece for PNoy.

    “It is unethical for appointees to allow the persecution of the appointing authority, just so they can be regarded as independent. This does not demonstrate independence of mind, but in fact proves the opposite.”

    It is unethical when it is the sole basis of the decision. I don’t think it was. It is also unethical for the court to decide in favor of the appointing body just because it is the appointing body. The argument works both ways.

    “Congress is right to investigate the JDF. It is part of the check-and-balance mechanism among the three co-equal branches. Congress must not let itself be derailed by manipulative accusations that they are being vindictive, following the PDAF and DAP rulings, as doing so will allow the SC to evade accountability.”

    There is a thing called “timing.” The investigation sort of started right after DAP got shot down or was in a lot of turbulence. Plus, you have a congress dominated by palace allies. So, you can’t blame people for having that impression.

    “the key appointments of public servants with integrity, in the Supreme Court, Office of the Ombudsman, Commission on Audit, the Cabinet, etc;”

    Citing Abaya, Mar Roxas at the DOTC. What the heck happened there? There’s also Petilla who appeared clueless at the DoE. We’re not talking about the looming power crisis anymore? Then there are those little issues in agriculture. I wonder what the DA Sec is doing. Good thing there are those in the cabinet who are effective at their jobs. I mean, kudos to DoJ Sec. De Lima for uncovering what really went on with that price spike with garlic. Others I see good that I’d like to mention are DPWH’s Singson, and that Kim Henares. Kim, the people can hate her, but she’s good as a leading tax man. Of course, Project NOAH is there. I just didn’t like how the admin even tried to use that project to blackmail people with their DAP. If it’s damn important, why not just put it on the regular DOST budget?

    I’ll hold praise for that budget reform thing and transparency. I really I can’t stop thinking that DAP is a product of a flawed budgeting process. Was there even congressional approval for that? I mean, it’s actually a practice from previous admins that they just continued di ba? But that’s just me ha. The court decision on that is important. Not just for this admin but also for future presidents. Not all presidents can be “saints.” As for transparency, FOI isn’t a priority, it is still just a promise. I think FOI would be a great legacy. Maybe he’s keeping that as an ace up his sleeve before he steps down?

    Don’t get me wrong. I am happy having an imperfect president. I sure as hell do not believe that the current one is a saint. That is still perfectly all right with me. That leaves room for improvement and growth. As a leader, it’s okay to be bullish about what you believe is right, but you do have to “listen” from time to time.

    Don’t worry about the president, I think that DAP issue was the greatest challenge na. It’s over. Even the impeachment complaints are dead. He can sleep better.

    Cheers!

    Brianitus

    • Joe America says:

      Sterling arguments, and I guess the question is does a president have to exhibit perfection in every agency to be credited with competence. Sometimes I think we don’t really know what it is like to run those agencies. I look at Abaya and see a masterwork of indecision or bad decisions, slow progress, and a lot of projects going to court. Yet when we look at results perhaps five years from now, we will look back and see that Manila has a decent expressway structure linking key hubs to airports, substantially improved airports, a booming Green City at Clark, and is really on the path to becoming a thriving metropolis. Someone had to break through the big moneyed, legal log jams to do it, and Abaya got stuck with it.

      I’d prefer to read the global competitiveness ratings. Always cheering, whilst pointing out where to head for further progress.

      As for “I really I can’t stop thinking that DAP is a product of a flawed budgeting process” I have to ask, if you were president coming into office in 2010 and saw that a lot of the Arroyo projects were corrupt or wasteful, would you: (1) do the projects as budgeted and approved by Congress, (2) turn the money back to Treasury and see the economy lag, or (3) re-route the money to better uses that would build economic strength? The DAP program was short-lived because it was an adjustment to Arroyo, not a permanent program.

      I agree the court decision was important, but it really screwed up to imply criminality and bad faith when the results were good . . . the Court’s own admission. It could have done both, defined discretionary spending in clearer terms than historical application, whilst crediting the Aquino government with working legitimately, as demanded by the Constitution, to improve the well-being of Filipino citizens. The intrusiveness . . . and absurdity . . . of the Court’s ruling can be found in one very sad result: the cancellation of programs aimed at relocating residents off of dangerous river banks.

      • brianitus says:

        For DAP, disbursement acceleration program, was it a stimulus package or simply just fast-tracking the release of money? The records aren’t even all that clear on where all the cash went.

        I think I’ll just agree to disagree with you on DAP. Maybe it did some good or didn’t.

        For the court decision and “innocent until proven guilty,” I think it’s more of a case of getting a dose of your own medicine.” Hasn’t that been the practice of courts here? I mean, in the country, there’s a number of courts. You have the real courts, the impeachment courts and court of public opinion.

        Anyway, that court decision is still under appeal, right?

        As for relocating residents off river banks, did this happen right after the DAP ruling? it’s already 2014. DAP was supposed to have been 2011. Again, if it was important, why not just fund it regularly? Sounds a bit like blackmail to me.

        No DAP, no progress? No way.

        • amie biel says:

          DAP has been there as early as 2011-2012. Only it was not that sensationalized yet. Sad thing though is these 2011-2012 DAP purchases/disbursements are still un-audited by the COA. Mind you, unlike the DAP-2014 disbursements that were stopped mid-implementation, the DAP-2011-2012 have already been utilized.

          The bigger question is, WHERE HAS THE MONEY GONE? I do hope and pray that COA issue an audit report regarding the utilization of the DAP version 1.0

          • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

            COA will never ever audit the President in the name of job security. I am also wondering why newspapers seems to have infected with hearing-loss about DAP.

            The next president will take care of DAP. No! I am wrong. The next president will be happy about the DAP. It will be used to build mansions and buy political patronage. That is why Pnoy is not impeached because the impeachonators will be salivating for DAP money.

            • Joe America says:

              Actually, COA is an independent body, and you will be heartened to know that they are investigating the DAP program expenditures and are finding some anomalies. Like money allocated but not spent and no clear understanding of where it went. (This morning’s news.)

              DAP is over and done with. But politics will certainly continue. Which is why a lot of LP members are prepping for a leap to Binay’s party if he does not get hung up on his parking garage.

        • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

          Only the President of the Philippines can accelerate DAP disbursement. And the next future presidents is happy about it because there is already a “PARA-AN”!

        • Joe America says:

          Re. relocating residents, the money had been allocated but the project was not yet completed. Because of the SC ruling, the remainder of the relocations were halted.

          Re. waking up and crawling out of the wrong side of the bed, hahaha, been known to do that from time to time . . . and crawling back into bed doesn’t seem to help much.

          We can agree to disagree on DAP. I actually think it was a little wild and woolly in its execution because hundreds of billions were flying through DBM. It’s like when I give my wife a big budget for an afternoon at the mall, the money positively flies every which way . . . .

          Cheers, and a tip o’the noodles to you.

      • brianitus says:

        Uncle Joe,

        I sort of woke up on the wrong side of the bed today. Hahaha.

        Cheers!

        Brianitus

    • hi, sir brianitus 🙂 i agree with you about the unethical part. it does go both ways.

      as for timing, i think that the sc played politics, and they should not complain when the political branch takes them up on it (and they certainly have an advantage when it comes to politics)

      i won’t argue with you about the cabinet secretaries, as i see it differently. as you mentioned, let’s agree to disagree. 🙂

  7. gerverg1885 says:

    …and those who are opposed to the DAP are still thinking that there was corruption involved in the implmentation of the projects.

    It’s just hard to imagine how a supposed ally of the President in the person of that party list congressman could have the guts to personally ask him about Budget Secretary Abad’s head when he doesn’t understand how much the President trusts Abad than him.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      There may well have been corruption in the implementation of DAP projects. I am withholding judgment, although in general I believe the programme had noble intentions.
      *****

  8. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “Merong para-an”. There is a precedence. The precedence is the ouster of Chief Justice Corona just because the President is not jiving with Corona’s decision. The rest of the puny justices were quaking in their boots they may be next under the sight of DAP-financed impeachment.

    The next president will invoke the para-an, The precedence. This cannot happen in the 1st World. But Philippines is not 1st World. It is 3rdWorld with 1stWorld laws implemented by 3rdWorld people.

    When will we ever stop the gaya-gaya of faulty precedence? Somebody has got to stand up and act like 1stWorld. Just imagine for 5 seconds what the U.S. would have been if Obama had their Chief Justice impeached just because Obama did not agree with their decision.

    Truth to tell, 3rdWorld Corona deserves 3rdWorld justice.

    • Joe America says:

      The U.S. Supreme Court nominees are very thoroughly and publicly vetted, and are not granted midnight appointments by the president. So the systems are definitely not the same.

  9. Wenceslao Ochoa says:

    My view is cj sereno cannot hold the supreme court.she became puppet of brion and carpio.it is true that the supreme court want to exempt themselves from transparency.they should be defanged and act as lawful as should be.

    • BFD says:

      I am hoping that she did not bow down to pressure to become a puppet CJ. We know she is strong, she wouldn’t be the CJ if she’s not.

      Let us remember that she inherited a Supreme Court riddled with GMA appointees. She wasn’t welcomed by her fellow SC Justices when she appeared to them for how long, two to three weeks where they didn’t acknowledged her by appearing at the morning flag raising at the SC Grounds.

      Did she capitulate to their pressure? I hope not. She’s much stronger than that. I hope she works for the betterment of the people. Really, the Constitution is good, but the common people must have faith in their government, so let the government do the projects that redound to the best interest of the people.

      BFD

      • Joe America says:

        I hope you are right. Perhaps the Court is going through a transition itself and we ought to give it a chance to work things out. I hope so.

        • BFD says:

          Hi Joe,

          Is this the counter-offensive the other justices have on the CJ?

          http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/635635/chief-justice-sereno-accused-of-manipulating-jbc-selection-process

          In here, Justice Brion expounds on CJ Sereno’s manipulation of the SC’s JBC selection process.

          • BFD says:

            Or did I just got out of the wrong side of the bed? 🙂

          • i’ve noticed that, too. there seems to be an agenda.

          • Joe America says:

            That is a very strange attack on a colleague one must work with every day. I fear the SC is one part huge arrogance and one part huge dysfunctional interpersonal mess.

            • BFD says:

              Yes, and it’s because of the lack of accountability on their part (not opening their SALNs to even the BIR in aid of investigation of the Ma’am Arlene fiasco). It’s not that they fear a witch hunt, but because maybe because there is truth in that Ma’am Arlene or other things hiding in the closet. So don’t really know for sure, but I hope the transparency and accountability also be reflected on the gods of the SC.

              • Joe America says:

                Ha, you impelled me to google “Lady Justice”, the blindfolded goddess with the scale and sword who symbolizes justice in both the British and American courts. Her heritage goes back to a number of goddesses: “The personification of justice balancing the scales dates back to the Goddess Maat, and later Isis, of ancient Egypt. The Hellenic deities Themis and Dike were later goddesses of justice. Themis was the embodiment of divine order, law, and custom, in her aspect as the personification of the divine rightness of law. However, a more direct connection is to Themis’ daughter Dike, who was portrayed carrying scales.”

                The scale means the weighing of justice, the blindfold means unbiased, and the sword symbolizes reason. The SC needs some of those tools, I think.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            1. Out of curiosity two nights ago, I skimmed through Brion’s concurring decision on the Jardeleza override. It is an extraordinary document.

            2. For one, it is well written, it covers all the bases and it is tightly – even brilliantly – reasoned. Naturally, it uses the “grave abuse of discretion” argument as a rationale for interference.
            2.1. Parenthetically, this argument reminds me of the Church’s social doctrine to justify its interference into secular matters.

            3. For another, it exculpates Carpio in no uncertain terms. He, Carpio, did not side with Sereno against Jardeleza. He was simply a resource person.

            4. The whole document is a detailed expose of Sereno’s covert manipulations in her efforts to unseat Jardeleza. Its minute delineation of the movements and tactics of the Chief Justice is reminiscent of a view from a fly on the wall. It is a dossier that would not be found amiss in the files of Stasi, the Ministry for state Security.

            5. In criticizing Sereno, the document makes an allusion to the puppetry of the “unseen hand” that guides behind the scenes but the pattern of which may be discerned upon close inspection. (I am paraphrasing here as I do not wish to return to the slimy document.)

            6. All in all, as one goes through it, the document is persuasive, even convincing.

            7. But if you step back and view it from a distance, you can see that the entire document is steeped in venom. And it is squarely directed at the Chief Justice.

            8. Whose is the “unseen hand” behind this personal attack? What is the purpose?

            9. This is what I am precisely railing against about the SC: it is all mind, but no heart. All reason, but no wisdom.
            *****

            • edgar lores says:

              On item 8, it strikes me that plausible suspects and reasons are:

              8.1. Old Boys’ Club – for spite.
              8.2. Carpio – to take Sereno’s place.
              8.3. Binay – to remove Sereno for favorable future SC decisions.
              8.4. China – to foster sea claims.
              8.5. Pnoy – to replace Sereno!

              (I have just finished reading the cliffhanger “I Am Pilgrim” and am still suffering from post-thriller induced conspiracy theorizing.)

  10. letlet says:

    CJ Sereno can always ensure the integrity and independence of the judiciary by demonstrating the spirit of openness and transparency, thus ensuring public confidence in the administration of justice.

    The Justices have a commonly held view that making the justices / judges accountable will interfere with the independence of the judiciary, that they in conflict between independence and accountability.

    The independence, to be respected, must be seen as existing to protect the impartiality of judicial decisions and not the personal interest of the justices / judges. It is also vital that the independence be vested in persons who will behave in ethical manner in their judicial and personal lives.
    ————
    It baffles me that during the Arroyo administration, the SC under Corona never firmly asserted for the independence of the judiciary. Corona, together with the other justices, just kowtowed to the political whims and caprices of Gloria Arroyo, Now, CJ Sereno is asserting for the independence of the judiciary. I believe she should ask those justices who kowtowed with Corona why they behaved so obsequiously to Gloria Arroyo that there was a blatant display of no judiciary independence and integrity.

  11. Bing Garcia says:

    Wondering how Aquino can restore balance among the co-equal branches. And what Joaquin Bernas or Christian Monsod would say.

    • Joe America says:

      The President is doing what we call “jawboning” in the US, which is making a public case that there is a problem with judicial overreach. If the Court is stubborn and dense, they will not listen. If they are wise and circumspect, they will attend to the President’s complaint. Beyond that, the President can rely upon his friends in Congress, who are equally upset with the Court’s overbearing demeanor. I’m not sure what recourse is available to them. The operative question to me is “what will the Court do to restore balance?” Because it is their operative rulings, with no accountability, that have eroded Executive and Legislative powers.

  12. Robert says:

    To ms. Dolly, i would just like to convey my appreciation on your post.

    Firstly, i think it was quite objective. With campaign season quite early, it is really very difficult to find objective analyses. It is a breath of fresh air.

    Secondly, I agree with you that the President has indeed performed. Looking at the list you posted, many of the initiatives completed are actually very difficult political decisions that other politicians and Presidents may have skirted or have failed miserably to push for and support. Apparently, we can surmise that political ambitions or self-interests have clouded the judgements of these previous politicians. Worse, some may have even been bought by lobbyists at the expense of our people. As the saying goes, “all that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”. and i am not even saying the others are good men! But now we have a President that did something. He was able to push for and implement not 1 but many difficult initiatives. Some of these actions are not very popular, but surely history will judge that these were done with the interests of the Filipino people in mind.

    Thirdly, our economy is doing great. I can remember the criticisms before that the President did not know anything about governance or the economy. I guess your list proves that these criticisms are false and are politically motivated. He is a beacon of governance and with it, the foundations of a sound economy.

    There was a time when i thought that our government was hopeless. But not anymore. Upon reflection, I guess I have become a believer that good governance can make a positive difference. I think the President is indeed trying very hard to give us a better future. What worries me however is the uncertainty after the 2016 elections. Will there be continuity of positive reforms or will it be happy times again for the corrupt and those with selfish motives? Who can stand-up against the cudgels of political dynasties, the lure of money and power, and really pursue genuine development? I just pray that as doubters like me start to believe, I hope this belief in the sincerity of government could last.

    • i share your hope. 🙂 and i think it is a great compliment to PNoy that we fear a regression to the old ways post-2016.

    • ps. thank you for your kind words 🙂

    • I agree with all you’ve written about PNoy. I often feel grateful when I observe how consistent he is in his selfless service to the public. Another accomplishment: that good people, honest public servants, are happy to be in government because he leads it. Many of them prefer to remain in the shadows, and simply work hard, and quietly, honored to contribute to our country’s growth. It’s all very inspiring 🙂

  13. Dick S. O'Rosary says:

    Allow me to make a few comments on the article.

    1. I think there are two kinds of people here. The first are those who trust (or are beholden to) the President and his reforms and have no qualms giving more power to the man in order for him to pursue his line of reforms and are therefore dissapointed with (read “angry”) with the Supreme Court for their rulings. The second group are those who have a healthy distrust and cynicism (or has “something against”) towards the President hence distrust the “clipping” of the Supreme Court’s powers and refuse to give any more powers to the President that it already had. I think it is better to err on the side of prudence and not clip the powers of any branch of government. Indeed, that seems to be one of the reasons behind the DAP decision was precisely that: the refusal of the Judiciary to allow the clipping of the powers of its co-equal Legislature from what it perceived to be the excesses of the Executive.

    Let us not forget as well that the Executive Branch has vast powers. Its powers can expand and contract with the needs of the times. How can I say this? The 1987 Constitution provides very specific powers for the Judiciary and the Legislature but does not define Executive Power. The following provisions from our Constitution are instructive:

    Legislature (Article VI)

    Section 1. The legislative power shall be vested in the Congress of the Philippines which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives, except to the extent reserved to the people by the provision on initiative and referendum.

    SECTION 23. (1) The Congress, by a vote of two-thirds of both Houses in joint session assembled, voting separately, shall have the sole power to declare the existence of a state of war.

    (2) In times of war or other national emergency, the Congress may, by law, authorize the President, for a limited period and subject to such restrictions as it may prescribe, to exercise powers necessary and proper to carry out a declared national policy. Unless sooner withdrawn by resolution of the Congress, such powers shall cease upon the next adjournment thereof.

    SECTION 24. All appropriation, revenue or tariff bills, bills authorizing increase of the public debt, bills of local application, and private bills shall originate exclusively in the House of Representatives, but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments.

    Judiciary (Art. VIII)

    Section 1. The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law.

    Judicial power includes the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.

    In contrast, the powers of the Executive are very succinctly described as:
    “Section 1. The executive power shall be vested in the President of the Philippines.” (Art. VII 1987 Constitution)

    The lesson: by refusing to define executive powers, the Constitution wanted to give as much leeway as it can to the President according to the exigencies of the present day. This interpretation has been enshrined in the case of Marcos vs. Manglapus to wit:

    “To the President, the problem is one of balancing the general welfare and the common good against the exercise of rights of certain individuals. The power involved is the President’s residual power to protect the general welfare of the people. It is founded on the duty of the President, as steward of the people. To paraphrase Theodore Roosevelt, it is not only the power of the President but also his duty to do anything not forbidden by the Constitution or the laws that the needs of the nation demand [See Corwin, supra, at 153]. It is a power borne by the President’s duty to preserve and defend the Constitution. It also may be viewed as a power implicit in the President’s duty to take care that the laws are faithfully executed [see Hyman, The American President, where the author advances the view that an allowance of discretionary power is unavoidable in any government and is best lodged in the President].”

    So what I am saying is, some people may find it a hard idea to swallow that the current President is as good as you say he is and are mistrustful of any increase in executive power or a clipping of the powers of other branches. AND whether or not we have a good or a bad president, there is no need for the executive to clip the powers of the legislature and the judiciary. It has vast powers of its own which can easily fit into the “residual power” so described above.

    2. It seems that many writers seeking to defend the president’s desire to limit the Judiciary’s power and independence over a perceived “overreach” highlight the President’s reformist and anti-corruption stance as a justification to clip the powers of the judiciary. They argue that since day one, the judiciary has been holding back the executive in its efforts to “punish” the sins of the past administration. The author cites the truth commission and the hold-departure order case to illustrate this.

    However I must point out that these efforts are only directed towards the GMA’s administration, very short sighted and vindicive to say the least. And, if I thought about it very cynically, I would also say that the President is just taking advantage of the widespread “hate” of GMA in order to get “pogi points” and to distract the fickle and unthinking mob. I am not going to defend GMA, and I would laud efforts to bring her to justice. It just seems that the President’s efforts are misdirected. My perception of his administration is that, far from being “matuwid na daan”, the President’s anti-corruption efforts consist of bashing everything GMA and protecting everthing and everyone to do with the Liberal party to a very significant degree and allied parties to a lesser [but still significant] degree.

    Sadly, the mob is indeed fickle and their hatered for GMA has noticeably waned in the four years of matuwid na daan–the persecution of the past regime not translating into the “walang mahirap” side of the “kung walang corrupt” equation. Indeed, the President may be experiencing some “diminishing returns” the more “political capital” he spends attacking past administrations. Indeed, some groups have been joking that the President is an incompetent who blames everything on the past administration. My unsolicited advice is, he should try to appear less vindictive towards past administrations and to show less favoritism and to learn to be a better manager and to stop taking criticisms so personally.

    3. The point that the Supreme Court deliberately tried to protect GMA by issuing rulings in her favor is a very valid point and this could have been pursued in the impeachment trial of Corona. Sadly, as the impeachment as a whole can be called a farce and simply rammed through, the prosecution went for the path of least resistance and maximum “pogi” points by simply tackling the allegation of ill-gotten wealth and ignoring culpable violation, leaving that for the academics to ponder on. In short, the masses got the Coronanovela they wanted while the law professors got the shorter end of the stick as they didn’t get a discussion of those contentious cases. So for all the “political capital” the President spent (or DAP, as other circles would argue), the prosecution was less thorough than it could have been.

    4. It can be plausibly argued that the Supreme Court in 2010 was still beholden to the GMA and that would have influenced the way case were decided. But this is the year 2014. Three of the President’s appointees have voted against DAP. Indeed, the justices were unanimous on that. This brings me to a point. I see that the Supreme Court, in declaring DAP unconstitutional was out to “help” the President in its “tuwid na daan.” It may have sought to consolidate gains made in its earlier decision in PDAF, to help the President create a society where patronage politics has been eradicated and where constitutional balance can be regained where the legislature, still reeling from the sudden loss of its discretionary fund may still be an effective counterweight to the executive aas our Constitution envisioned. In any case, that what an independent judiciary is supposed to do.

    5. The author argues that the Supreme Court is less accountable than it should ideally be. I am inclined to agree. BUT, I can’t help but observe that its accountability only came to the fore when the President railed against them for their DAP decision. If the President was so dedicated to “tuwid na daan”, why didn’t this issue come out during the time of Corona. How come only now, the President and the legislature seeks to slash its budget. You can’t blame me if I think that this is just more of that same old Presidential vindictiveness.

    6. I agree that the Supreme Court should not have included the need to “prove good faith” in its decision. It had no place in the decision, especially as the dispositive portion of the case makes no reference to the good faith. Therefore in legal parlance this is known as an “obiter dictum”, it is a just a mere footnote. A closer reading reveals that the paragraph that says “…cannot apply to the authors, proponents and implementors of the DAP, unless there are concrete findings of good faith in their favor by the proper tribunals determining their criminal, civil, administrative and other liabilities.” was merely referring to a separate opinion which would discuss it more fully. For most purposes, a separate opinion has no effect, it may just be ignored together with that paragraph.

    • Joe America says:

      I appreciate very much the thorough parsing of the balance of powers, and the legal framing of things. I find the points most instructive and little to argue with. I even agree that the President can be as vindictive against perceived enemies as he is loyal to perceived friends, and the cutting of judiciary’s budget was a little beyond “tough love”. I hope the Court has the grandness of vision to scale back the confrontation on good faith. I worry a great deal about the Bangsamoro agreement, where a legalistically small ruling can do great damage to a peaceful and prosperous Mindanao. I also think the Court, by welcoming any challenges that are framed as constitutional issues, would do well to dismiss consideration of some outright for not being materially worthy of the Court’s consideration. The Court, by rewriting all laws, is becoming an operating unit with no accountability for trying to wend sometimes complex decisions through the political minefields.

      • Dick S. O'Rosary says:

        Which brings me to a point a failed include in my comment:

        7. If anything needs to be changed in our current set up, it is the following sections of art. VIII

        SECTION 13. The conclusions of the Supreme Court in any case submitted to it for decision en banc or in division shall be reached in consultation before the case is assigned to a Member for the writing of the opinion of the Court. A certification to this effect signed by the Chief Justice shall be issued and a copy thereof attached to the record of the case and served upon the parties. Any Member who took no part, or dissented, or abstained from a decision or resolution must state the reason therefor. The same requirements shall be observed by all lower collegiate courts.

        SECTION 14. No decision shall be rendered by any court without expressing therein clearly and distinctly the facts and the law on which it is based.

        No petition for review or motion for reconsideration of a decision of the court shall be refused due course or denied without stating the legal basis therefor.

        The effect of these sections is that it constrains the Court to actually decide a case and to make a written decision one wAy or another. In the US, as I’m sure the webmaster is aware, the Supreme Court may just issue a decision as short as “cert. denied”. Not so in the Philippines. Maybe, instead of clipping its powers, the constitution can be amended to free the shackles of the Supreme Court to decide thoroughly cases that really matter. Take note of the output of the Philippine SC: almost 700 volumes of case reports from 1961 to today. The US SC I believe functions at a quarter of that rate. (My estimate).

        • Dick S. O'Rosary says:

          Sorry, the last paragraph of the above is not supposed to be part of the block quote.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, good specific suggestion. I think the people wrote those sections figuring they would make sure all had access to the court, not quite grasping that this really meant the court would become an operating body.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Dick,

          Thanks for that. That is significant.

          Appeals can stop at the Court of Appeals. If there is an escalation of a case to the SC, the high court can simply say, “Cert. Denied”. Then the decision of the Court of Appeals stands.

          It gives the SC room to concentrate on supreme issues rather than on every minutiae.

          In fact, this may be a primary cause of judicial overreach, although the SC can dismiss the justiciability of cases brought before it… but perhaps not in that abbreviated form.

          Again, goes to show how the drafters of the Constitution dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s, painting ourselves into a corner.

          Can we say that Filipinos are too opinionated for their own good? We do not recognize that silence can speak louder than words.
          *****

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      1. On clipping.
      1.1. Personally, I have no wish to “clip” the powers of the Judiciary. What I do wish is for the Judiciary to exercise restraint – self-restraint especially on issues that are “political” in nature.

      1.2. The judicial new power to determine “grave abuse of discretion” gives the Judiciary immense power to clip and to curb the powers of the other two branches of government.

      1.2. This power has been exercised too often and too excessively. Specifically, I would name the following decisions as an abuse of this power:
      1.2.1. The ruling of the Truth Commission as unconstitutional.
      1.2.2. The exclusion of the Judiciary from Midnight Appointments.
      1.2.3. The watering down of the RH Law.
      1.2.4. Arguably, the ruling of PDAF as unconstitutional.
      1.2.5. The definition of savings in the DAP ruling.
      1.2.6. The override of the JBC decision to exclude Jardeleza.

      2. On judicial overreach.
      2.1. I would not characterize the President’s actuations as “vindictive”. To say this is to deny:
      2.1.1. The worthiness of the campaign against corruption.
      2.1.2. The consequent improvements in (a) the social consciousness of the people; (b) the economic climate; (c) the credit rating of the country; (d) the increase of the country’s rankings in various international indices.
      2.1.3. The non-emotional reasons in the Motion for Reconsideration on DAP.

      3. On the Supreme Court’s protection of GMA.
      3.1. Corona’s “partiality and subservience” to GMA was the first article of impeachment. It was later dropped because of the difficulty in proving it. This is perfectly understandable in the face of the SC standing and uncontroverted decisions with respect to GMA, such as to disallow the Truth Commission, to exclude the Judiciary from Midnight Appointments, and to lift the TRO on GMA’s departure.

      3.2. That Corona was adjudged guilty on a second charge should not be dismissed lightly. After all, Al Capone finally got jailed for tax evasion and not for his arrant criminal pursuits.

      3.3. To say the impeachment was a farce is to say that the anti-corruption campaign is of no value.

      3.4. The masses and law professors have much to learn and to teach with respect to GMA’s perversity. In at least two ways, GMA was worst than Marcos.
      3.4.1. She did not learn the lessons of the Marcos kleptocracy.
      3.4.2. Where Marcos suppressed democracy, she stole it.

      4. On DAP.
      4.1. To accept the rightness of the DAP ruling on the basis of unanimity is, of course, a logical fallacy. Numbers do not make decisions right; numbers just make real.
      4.2. To contend that the DAP ruling helps the President in his anti-corruption campaign is, to say the least, novel. But is sheds no light on budgetary practices and procedures.

      5. On SC accountability.
      5.1. Recursive arguments. Refer to items 2.1 on vindictiveness and to item 3 on the Corona trial.
      5.2. The accountability of Corona, and not that of the Supreme Court, was the issue in the impeachment trial.

      6. On good faith.
      6.1. Agree.

      7. On two kinds of people.
      7.1. There are three: (a) those who trust: (b) those who distrust; and (c) those who reason.
      7.2. Trust and distrust are emotions.

      8. On the delineation of powers.
      8.1. Thank you.
      *****

    • I think the seemingly objective comment is a good illustration of how academics can allow themselves to be alienated from the practical concerns of — in the gentleman’s words — the “unthinking mob.”

      What he considers PNoy’s vindictiveness and attempts to earn ‘pogi points’ are, to a frustated populace, a demand for accountability after nine years of impunity. Who else would have represented the people in accomplishing that? Certainly not the SC, especially not in 2010. The 2010 elections were all about replacing GMA with PNoy, about eradicating corruption, starting with GMA. To immediately spread the blame is a squid tactic of the corrupt. To call PNoy’s efforts “short sighted” and “misdirected” simply lacks discernment.

      There was likewise a noticeable effort to dismiss “tuwid na daan” as a mere slogan. It ignores, among others, the prosecution of public servants accused of plunder, and the tightening of budget- and bidding processes with the goal of utilizing public funds more efficiently.

      In (5), the reference to the slashing of the budget (and apparently only recently), is not based on facts. The judiciary’s budget has increased annually, as mandated by the Constitution. If the objection is to the denial of proposed projects, all departments experience this, including those under the executive. It is not exclusive to the judiciary.

      As for the “farce” that was the Corona impeachment, if the process had been intended to be a purely legal one, the Constitution would not have placed the responsibility in the hands of the people (with Congress as their elected representatives). What to the gentleman was simply a Coronanovela for the masses was, in fact, the removal of an obstruction to the people’s demand to hold GMA accountable. In short, justice for the people.

      While the gentleman acknowledges that the SC is “less accountable than it should ideally be,” he deftly glosses over this point. He does not address the SC justices’ refusal to release their SALNs, and the refusal to account for the JDF following the PDAF and DAP rulings. Still, he insists, there is an existing balance between the three co-equal branches. Judicial independence as an excuse insults the intelligence of those who are forced to listen to it, except perhaps an unthinking mob. Again, ‘clipping to weaken’ and ‘restraining to restore balance’ is an important distinction.

      For the most part, I am inclined to agree that the DAP decision may possibly be viewed as, as mentioned in (1), a way to protect the legislature from the excesses of the executive, whether it’s PNoy that’s president or not. It can also be, as mentioned in (4), to help the executive in countering any ill effects of a PDAF-less legislature following recent efforts to eradicate patronage politics. Then there’s the reality that unconstitutional does not necessarily mean criminal.

      BUT all this is negated by (6) the inclusion of the “obiter dictum.” Is it not accurate to say that, had that not been included, there would have automatically been presumption of good faith? It can be safely assumed that the SC does not make such careless mistakes, therefore its inclusion is intentional. To claim that this separate opinion “has no effect” and “can just be ignored” suggests naïveté. (And the gentleman is certainly not naïve.)

      To be precise: It knowingly places a legal weapon into the hands of the obstructionist opponents of a president working to improve the economy (as the DAP was intended to do, regardless of claims to the contrary) and uplift the lives of the poor. Is it any wonder that PNoy strongly objects to it?

      There is a tendency for self-proclaimed intellectuals to pass judgment on the real world while confined within four walls. This is harmless if done merely as a self-congratulatory exercise. However, in a case such as this, the effects are real and impact the lives of real people.

      • P.S. Given the accomplishments of PNoy listed in the article, the joke by some groups about him being incompetent does seem funny. 🙂 It’s like sour-graping or wishful thinking, and removed from reality.

      • BFD says:

        For me, all of these things just boils down to, would the President’s action concerning DAP benefit the people? If yes, why stop it? Why not work out a solution that would benefit the people if that’s the case?

        I would rather have a president who will surrender his prized sports car because his “boss” found it distasteful.

        I would rather have a president who does not steal people’s money. As of now, no one is accusing the present president of the Philippines of stealing money like GMA, pocketing jueteng money like Erap. Even when he was a senator or a congressman, nobody accused him of being corrupt, even to this day.

        What he is accused of today is working for the betterment of the Filipino, to make the nation a world-class nation, to be held in high esteem.

        All the intellectuals can harp every goobledygook, every knowledge, they can even throw every law book, every damn thing, but it always boils down to this question, “Did he do it for the people? Did it level up the prestige of the Filipino nation to the whole world? Did he stood up to those who wants to trample on our sovereignty even in the face of a “weaponless” military force? What did he do that his predecessors didn’t do when it was their time to do something about it? Did we now have an Air Force or a Navy that has ships and planes to boot?

        Somebody here or on Raissa’s blog who said, “He’s a SOB, but he’s my kind of SOB.”

        BFD

        • @BFD, your observation about PNoy working for the betterment of the Filipino brings to mind a quote about power: 🙂

          “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
          –Abraham Lincoln

      • sonny says:

        “…the effects are real and impact the lives of real people.” The word ‘impact’ is a noun and never a verb. An insignificant slip in an otherwise flawless syntax. 🙂

  14. gerverg1885 says:

    One of Pnoy’s close friends told me before the 2010 elections that he knew the man and his family a long time before he became a politician because they worked together as salesmen for the defunct Mondragon Industries. He vouched for the character of Pnoy, that he was too decent and kind and hardworking, the way we are seeing him now in his performance of his duties as the highest executive of the land.

    We should always bear in mind that he is deeply aware of the legacy of his parents so he could not, entertain any thought of any kind of corruption, particularly with regards to money because he is already rich and has a full understanding of integrity and honesty that many of our politicians or public servants are sorely lacking.

    Those who are opposed to him will always find words or ideas to bring him down but they find it hard to do because they could not find any reason to accuse him of any wrongdoing like stealing money which, sadly, is what those who want to see him fall missed when their enjoyment of the pork suddenly came to a halt.

    • Joe America says:

      Very interesting background. It means so much more than what unknowing opinion mongers on discussion threads have to say when they so easily cast stones. Most of them couldn’t tie the President’s shoes, much less do all that he has to do.

      • RHiro says:

        Truthiness
        noun

        the quality of seeming to be true according to one’s intuition, opinion, or perception without regard to logic, factual evidence, or the like: the growing trend of truthiness as opposed to truth.

        I have read the DAP decision twice and browsed through it three times but I failed to find the dissenting opinion of Justice Dolly Gonzales on this part of her rant,

        1) ”’Why does a Chief Justice passively tolerate an injustice, when her own Court’s DAP ruling has taken the basic Constitutional tenet of ‘innocent until proven guilty,’ turned it on its head, and instead presumed malice, thus setting up PNoy for liability?”

        Is Justice Gonzales referring to this finding by the SC?

        ‘”Nonetheless, as Justice Brion has pointed out during the deliberations, the doctrine of operative fact does not always apply, and is not always the consequence of every declaration of constitutional invalidity. It can be invoked only in situations where the nullification of the effects of what used to be a valid law would result in inequity and injustice; but where no such result would ensue, the general rule that an unconstitutional law is totally ineffective should apply.'”

        “In that context, as Justice Brion has clarified, the doctrine of operative fact can apply only to the PAPs that can no longer be undone, and whose beneficiaries relied in good faith on
        the validity of the DAP, but cannot apply to the authors, proponents and implementors of the DAP, unless there are concrete findings of good faith in their favor by the proper tribunals determining their criminal, civil, administrative and other liabilities. ‘”

        Justice Gonzales should be reminded that the SC is not a trier of facts but of laws…….
        Hence in keeping up with the tradition of innocent until proven guilty, the lower courts or bodies constituted will be there to determine such…..

        The Constituion under our political system is the supreme sovereign…..It can only be torn up by the people under the rule of law or direct political action by revolution as in 1986…

        As far as here really good literary piece, which is more a work of her imagination and not facts she should be commended.

        Once again I will input the comments of the World Bank on the realignment program called DAP last JULY 2012 which contradicted its earlier report mentioned by the SC itself.

        Also as an aside for Justice Dolly Gonzales, look up on you tube for the August press conference of Chief Justice Sereno. It should prove helpful to establish knowledge to assist you in forming a belief system about political institutions. Using unverified information to establish a belief system won’t do.

        Stepping Up Disbursements by Improving Absorptive Capacities in Agencies.
        ”Weak public spending, especially in the first half of 2011, slowed down Philippine economic growth last year. In October 2011, the Aquino government launched the PhP72 billion Disbursement Acceleration Plan (DAP). The DAP strategy entailed identifying slow-moving projects, including unspent allocations, and then realigning them to i) agencies that can quickly disburse funds, ii) programs and projects that have poverty reduction impact, and iii) programs and projects that have big multiplier effects. ‘”

        ‘”While the strategy helped to boost public spending in the last quarter of 2011, the mere realignment of funds does not guarantee sustained improvement in public spending to address growth and poverty targets. A long term strategy should address internal bottlenecks in national government agencies, which include low absorptive capacity of agencies and weak monitoring and evaluation system, among others.'”

        What the country needs is structural transformation . One stat is glaring in this regard. 75% of employment in this country is in the underground economy or formal sector.

        The economy is capable of creating only 200K jobs per anum in the formal economy most of which are still contractual workers.

        • I think “truthiness” and “rant” characterize this post rather than my article.

          Relax. 🙂

          –Justice Dolly Gonzales

          • jolly cruz says:

            @dolly gonzales

            spot on. RHiro is acting much like the typical “reds” do. when their argument is blasted into smithereens by insightful logic, they go back to absurdities and not reality. he accuses @Dolly gonzales of “truthiness” when he himself stretches the truth by citing a WB report in 2012 which covers 2011 only. Why doesnt he include the benefits attained in 2012 and 2013, the period when the DAP was truly felt.

            To R Hiro : Get real !!!

            • RHiro says:

              Context, context, context……………the WB report of March 2012 was used by both the respondents, Aquino, and company plus the ponente of the decision as the basis for the good the DAP created…. However the same WB saw it wise to issue a second opinion
              on the same…. you can blame the REDS in the WB…

              As usual in a country where criticizing government is the RED thing to do I will wear the RED badge with pride.

              Now for a simple laymen’s explanation using the metaphors of pumps and pipes in the process of stimulating the economy through government spending….

              In the Philippine context, pump priming or stimulating the economy by government during a slowdown is difficult as the pumps and pipes still have to be installed. If bottlenecks exist new pipes have to be installed…..

              Hence the REDS in the WB said that solving the absorptive capacity of agencies is a long term problem…

              The REDS in the WB also are very aware that nominal GDP measurements are simply estimates of economic output or input expressed in monetary values of goods and services within a given period. It is not a measurement of a country’s well being.

              The REDS in the WB being the revolutionaries they are use different measurement standards to assess well being….In fact they being doctrinaire believers in letting the animal spirits hold sway in the economy favor government to simply concentrate on limited
              sectors for public good…

              Emphasis on the words; nominal, monetary.

          • RHiro says:

            It is common practice to use props to bolster a person’s thesis…Hence the use of a quote by FDR Jr. As some REDS know his words followed by his actions structurally transformed the U.S. political economy……

            To clothe Aquino with the robes of FDR is in the words of S. Colbert is the height of Truthinesss….Colbert of Comedy Central fame….

            These are quotations from his inaugural address, his speech at the 1936 Democratic national convention and Democratic State convention…

            ”Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.”

            ”The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.'”

            ”But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.'”

            ‘’Primarily this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind’s goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.’’

            ‘’ The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.’’

            ‘’But in the event that the Congress shall fail to take one of these two courses, and in the event that the national emergency is still critical, I shall not evade the clear course of duty that will then confront me. I shall ask the Congress for the one remaining instrument to meet the crisis—broad Executive power to wage a war against the emergency, as great as the power that would be given to me if we were in fact invaded by a foreign foe.’’

            ‘’But I cannot, with candor, tell you that all is well with the world. Clouds of suspicion, tides of ill-will and intolerance gather darkly in many places. In our own land we enjoy indeed a fullness of life greater than that of most nations. But the rush of modern civilization itself has raised for us new difficulties, new problems which must be solved if we are to preserve to the United States the political and economic freedom for which Washington and Jefferson planned and fought.’’

            “The brave and clear platform adopted by this Convention, to which I heartily subscribe, sets forth that Government in a modern civilization has certain inescapable obligations to its citizens, among which are protection of the family and the home, the establishment of a democracy of opportunity, and aid to those overtaken by disaster.’’

            ‘’. Since that struggle however, man’s inventive genius released new forces in our land which reordered the lives of our people. The age of machinery, of railroads; of steam and electricity; the telegraph and the radio; mass production, mass distribution – all of these combined to bring forward a new civilization and with it a new problem for those who sought to remain free.’’

            ‘’For out of this modern civilization economic royalists carved new dynasties. New kingdoms were built upon concentration of control over material things. Through new uses of corporations, banks and securities, new machinery of industry and agriculture, of labor and capital – all undreamed of by the Fathers – the whole structure of modern life was impressed into this royal service.’’

            ‘’There was no place among this royalty for our many thousands of small-businessmen and merchants who sought to make a worthy use of the American system of initiative and profit. They were no more free than the worker or the farmer. Even honest and progressive-minded men of wealth, aware of their obligation to their generation, could never know just where they fitted into this dynastic scheme of things.’’

            ‘”It was natural and perhaps human that the privileged princes of these new economic dynasties, thirsting for power, reached out for control over government itself. They created a new despotism and wrapped it in the robes of legal sanction. In its service new mercenaries sought to regiment the people, their labor, and their property. And as a result the average man once more confronts the problem that faced the Minute Man.’’

            ‘’The hours men and women worked, the wages they received, the conditions of their labor – these had passed beyond the control of the people, and were imposed by this new industrial dictatorship. The savings of the average family, the capital of the small-businessmen, the investments set aside for old age – other people’s money – these were tools which the new economic royalty used to dig itself in.’’

            ‘’Those who tilled the soil no longer reaped the rewards which were their right. The small measure of their gains was decreed by men in distant cities.’’
            ‘’Throughout the nation, opportunity was limited by monopoly. Individual initiative was crushed in the cogs of a great machine. The field open for free business was more and more restricted. Private enterprise, indeed, became too private. It became privileged enterprise, not free enterprise.’’

            ‘’An old English judge once said: “Necessitous men are not free men.” Liberty requires opportunity to make a living – a living decent according to the standard of the time, a living which gives man not only enough to live by, but something to live for.’’

            ‘’For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.’’

            ‘’Against economic tyranny such as this, the American citizen could appeal only to the organized power of government. The collapse of 1929 showed up the despotism for what it was. The election of 1932 was the people’s mandate to end it. Under that mandate it is being ended.’’

            ‘’The royalists of the economic order have conceded that political freedom was the business of the government, but they have maintained that economic slavery was nobody’s business. They granted that the government could protect the citizen in his right to vote, but they denied that the government could do anything to protect the citizen in his right to work and his right to live.’’

            ‘’Today we stand committed to the proposition that freedom is no half-and-half affair. If the average citizen is guaranteed equal opportunity in the polling place, he must have equal opportunity in the market place.’’

            ”These economic royalists complain that we seek to overthrow the institutions of America. What they really complain of is that we seek to take away their power. Our allegiance to American institutions requires the overthrow of this kind of power. In vain they seek to hide behind the flag and the Constitution. In their blindness they forget what the flag and the Constitution stand for. Now, as always, they stand for democracy, not tyranny; for freedom, not subjection; and against a dictatorship by mob rule and the over-privileged alike.”

            • RHiro says:

              FDR on the commies

              ”Communism is a manifestation of the social unrest which always comes with widespread economic maladjustment. We in the Democratic party have not been content merely to denounce this menace. We have been realistic enough to face it. We have been intelligent enough to do something about it. And the world has seen the results of what we have done.”

              ”In the spring of 1933 we faced a crisis which was the ugly fruit of twelve years of neglect of the causes of economic and social unrest. It was a crisis made to order for all those who would overthrow our form of government. Do I need to recall to you the fear of those days—the reports of those who piled supplies in their basements, who laid plans to get their fortunes across the border, who got themselves hideaways in the country against the impending upheaval? Do I need to recall the law-abiding heads of peaceful families, who began to wonder, as they saw their children starve, how they would get the bread they saw in the bakery window? Do I need to recall the homeless boys who were traveling in bands through the countryside seeking work, seeking food —desperate because they could find neither? Do I need to recall the farmers who banded together with pitchforks to keep the sheriff from selling the farm home under foreclosure? Do I need to recall the powerful leaders of industry and banking who came to me in Washington in those early days of 1933 pleading to be saved?”

              ”Most people in the United States remember today the fact that starvation was averted, that homes and farms were saved, that banks were reopened, that crop prices rose, that industry revived, and that the dangerous forces subversive of our form of government were turned aside.”

              ”I have said to you that there is a very great difference between the two parties in what they do about Communism. Conditions congenial to Communism were being bred and fostered throughout this Nation up to the very day of March 4, 1933. Hunger was breeding it, loss of homes and farms was breeding it, closing banks were breeding it, a ruinous price level was breeding it. Discontent and fear were spreading through the land. The previous national Administration, bewildered, did nothing.”

              ”In their speeches they deplored it, but by their actions they encouraged it. The injustices, the inequalities, the downright suffering out of which revolutions come—what did they do about these things? Lacking courage, they evaded. Being selfish, they neglected. Being short-sighted, they ignored. When the crisis came—as these wrongs made it sure to come—America was unprepared.”

              ”Our lack of preparation for it was best proved by the cringing and the fear of the very people whose indifference helped to make the crisis. They came to us pleading that we should do, overnight, what they should have been doing through the years.
              And the simple causes of our unpreparedness were two: First, a weak leadership, and, secondly, an inability to see causes, to understand the reasons for social unrest—the tragic plight of 90 percent of the men, women and children who made up the population of the United States.”

              ”It has been well said that “The most dreadful failure of which any form of government can be guilty is simply to lose touch with reality, because out of this failure all imaginable forms of evil grow. Every empire that has crashed has come down primarily because its rulers did not know what was going on in the world and were incapable of learning.”

              Clothing Aquino with the mantle of FDR is the refuge of the ignorant….

  15. sonny says:

    Joe, I think this installment and the consequent combox should be compulsory reading & lesson to classes in Argumentation & Debate 101!!

    • Joe America says:

      Agree. It is very impactful. 🙂

    • edgar lores says:

      “This conversion of nouns to verbs is known as ‘verbing’ and it has been around for as long as the English language itself. Ancient verbs such as rain and thunder and more recent conversions such as access, chair, debut, highlight and impact were all originally used only as nouns before they became verbs. In his book, The Language Instinct, Steven Pinker tells us that ‘Easy conversion of nouns to verbs has been part of English grammar for centuries; it is one of the processes that makes English English.”

      Source: “Nouns Used As Verbs” by Jon Hird, author of “Oxford Learner’s Pocket Verbs and Tenses”

      • edgar lores says:

        Ooops! Misplaced comment.

      • Joe America says:

        ahahahaha. “Verbing”.

      • @edgar

        So off-topic, haha, but your kindness makes me want to add this 🙂 It’s a reply to a comment on Joe’s write-up on philosophers. I’ve repeatedly tried, but failed, to post it… I cannot rest easy until I’ve done so. (Hoping it doesn’t appear more than once! Copy-pasted from an email to Joe.)

        —– (on the tiger, it wasn’t from Winnie the Pooh…)

        I was super wrong, haha! Zero out of three…

        1) It wasn’t a tiger, but a mountain lion. 🙂
        2) It wasn’t The Teachings of Don Juan, but The Power of Silence. (how to italicize?)
        3) It wasn’t from Carlos Castaneda’s book itself, but Wayne Dyer (in Your Sacred Self) quoting from Castaneda’s The Power of Silence:

        “… [A] mountain lion … had chased us up a mountain, and … don Juan had asked me if I had felt offended by the big cat’s onslaught. I had assured him that it was absurd that I could feel offended, and he had told me I should feel that same way about the onslaughts of my fellow men. I should protect myself, or get out of their way, but without feeling morally wronged.”

        • ps.
          for the record, i’m not referring to anyone as the mountain lion, haha…

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Dolly, thanks for clearing that up. Now I can rest.

          However, pardon me for my analytical bent. Looking at the quote, I think Don Juan’s analogy is wrong. There is a basic difference in the onslaught of big cats and that of men. Big cat’s don’t have a morality code whereas men do. The predatory instincts of big cats are hardwired in their nature whereas the instincts of men are soft-coded, necessary for survival but transformable by reason.

          I like the lesson of Winnie the Pooh better: One must lose one’s self in order to find the bouncy Tigger in one’s soul. 😉

          P.S. What have we come to? Mining nursery books for wisdom?
          *****

        • Joe America says:

          You are. . . um . . . persistent . . . ahahaha

          • @joe, yes haha, that i am 🙂

            @edgar, good point about the morality code. i’ve now included the bouncy-tigger quote in my all-time favorites, thanks! 🙂 nursery rhymes do seem to be a fount of wisdom… maybe because they are meant to reinforce the purest values in the hearts of the purest among us.

  16. Paz Juco says:

    Thank you for your insights. I suggest that you have your comments translated in Filipino to benefit the majority, particularly our voting population.

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