The whole thing started in a televised address to the public delivered by Philippine President Benigno Simeon ‘BS’ Aquino III on the 14th July to defend his Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) after it was ruled unconstitutional by the Philippine Supreme Court (SC). Today, the effects of President BS Aquino’s attack on the SC as part of that desperate defense continue to ripple across Philippine society.Loyal supporters of and apologists for President BS Aquino have stepped up to the plate in an unprecedented effort to shore up what remains of the President’s political capital. A key pillar in Aquino loyalists’ position is the notion that the benefits of the DAP outweigh the costs — costs to the sanctity of the Constitutional and to the strength of democratic institutions. An example of this is what socialite Gina Lopez recently asserted — that the decision to use the DAP to fund certain projects was based on notions of “the common good”.
|SUPPORT INDEPENDENT SOCIAL COMMENTARY!|
Subscribe to our Substack community GRP Insider to receive by email our in-depth free weekly newsletter. Opt into a paid subscription and you'll get premium insider briefs and insights from us.
Subscribe to our Substack newsletter, GRP Insider!
“I’m not a lawyer and when they say the DAP is unconstitutional, I said, ‘What’s the Constitution all about?’ Is it just all about paper work? Isn’t there something out there in the Constitution that talks about the common good? And do we derive the common good and the effect that the DAP has had on the common good because of some piece of paper?”
In other words, there is, DAP apologists insist, cause to justify the trumping of the letter of the Law by the supposed “good intent” that is self-evident in the purported outcomes of the DAP-funded projects. The trouble with that argument is that the interpretation of said law is a field governed exclusively by the judiciary — the one branch in the Philippine government that is more technical than political. And the SC has to be, because the interpretation of the law is not a popularity contest but a contest of logical soundness in arguments made within a framework crafted by the people’s “representatives” in the legislature.
The thing with crises like this is that they test the strength of the country’s institutional democratic governance. And if the Philippines’ democratic institutions survive the onslaught of the popular drivel of President BS Aquino’s apologists intact, they will likely emerge stronger. The alternative, failing that, is that modern institutional democracy in the Philippines will succumb to the wrong arguments like it always has — a woefully traditional outcome in the Philippines observed a decade and a half ago by an admired Filipino economist, based in New York who lamented how, in times of political upheaval, “Logic and common sense take the backseat to political arguments and the views of the poorly-educated.”
(1) Political arguments; and,
(2) The views of the poorly-educated.
The Philippine Supreme Court spouts none of the above. It represents the voice of the non-political (its arguments are necessarily intellectual rather than emotional) and the sufficiently-educated (you need to be a lawyer to serve in the SC).
Therefore, what Lopez says next is rather interesting…
“This realignment of fund[s via mechanisms such as the DAP] has been happening since 1986. It’s been happening for almost 30 years and all of a sudden it’s wrong? Hello?” Lopez said.
But we need to ask ourselves:
Does the fact that things have always been done a certain way make it exempt from ongoing critical evaluation and challenge?
In essence, Lopez says that channeling funds a-la Butch Abad’s DAP is right and immune to challenge simply because it’s been a strong traditional practice since 1986.
The answer to that assertion is therefore just as simple:
Perhaps it is time to challenge and possibly reform that tradition.
President BS Aquino was elected on a promise that his will be a different presidency and that being different could promise different outcomes for a country long made weary by the same results for decades, election in and election out. Funny then, that the argument chosen by his apologists would one that would appeal to tradition rather than to that promised change.
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.
15 Replies to “DAP apologists appeal to TRADITION to defend PNoy who promised Filipinos a DIFFERENT presidency”
Isn’t it funny that when a boob talks nonsense, the sentence always starts with desribing that in fact they are in no way qualified to talk about the subject matter.
Like > I’m not a scientist, but I think global warming is a scam.
Or > I’m not a pilot, but I think that landing was too rough.
“Sanctity of the constitution and democratic process.” whooaa… big words. so the SCORP lived up to its being the sanctifier of the constitution when they allowed Marcos to rule by decrees and that the 1973 constitution was ratified by viva voce in the barangay meetings; that Corona was not disqualified by the Consti-ban from being appointed CJ by GMA; that Lucio Tan was never liable for tax evasion. Or when the SCORP staged a judicial coup by deposing ERAP by inventing the doctrine of “constructive resignation.” 🙂
“Does the fact that things have always been done a certain way make it exempt from ongoing critical evaluation and challenge?”
So the dogma that the SCORP as the arbiter of the constitution” can be a subject of critical evaluation and challenge too that even Congress and the President can interpret it?
Justice Bork would even concede that the constitution can be interpreted by non-lawyers.
The problem created by activism (judicial activism) are magnified as law seeps into the crannies of life. As Gertrude Himmelfarb has stated, “Today, the absence of any firm of sense of manners and morals, the law has become the only recognized authority. Just as the state often acts as a surrogate for a dysfunctional culture and ethos.” One might add that the law invented by judges is a major cause of dysfunction that it seeks to cure. “To all the other ‘diseases of democracy,”, she continues, “we may now add the mania for litigation. As the law has become more intrusive, so has the judiciary… The law, we are discovering, is too serious a matter to be left to lawyers or even judges.’
Looks like somebody here is crying over spilt milk. Fact is all that SCORP and other acronym stuff is history. At the time nobody did anything about all that. Tough luck. If you hooked up with skanks in your 20’s does not mean you have to keep hooking up with skanks in your 30s.
Here, we are talking about the future. Perhaps your Pinoy mind, being as such, is geared towards the retrospective rather than the prospective. Filipinos are supposedly smarter now (a big ASSUMPTION, I know, but, hey, even I try to give Pinoys the benefit of the daw). So the thing to do is evaluate the SC decision on the DAP at face value — its logical merits as it stands.
Sure, by that same token we can also subject the SCs approach to interpreting the law to review and evaluation. In fact, that is the very nature of the way the SC operates — complaints are subject to response and then the decisions are on the merit of both complaints and responses. That is the procedure, if I recall, that did transpire leading to the SC ruling on the DAP.
And, yeah, I do agree that the Law “is too serious a matter to be left to lawyers or even judges.” But then for so long we have also left the law to politicians and the whims of the poorly-educated. In fact, that is what happened during Marcos’s time — the SC was politicised or, to be more precise, subject to the politics of one man: then President Ferdinand Marcos. So there you go. Lawyers then were not left to be lawyerly. They were allowed to be lawyerly within constraints set by politicians.
How come criticizing the SCOTUS is an accepted meme in America, but here, as if it was a sacrilegious act.
But even the SCORP said that the public can criticize its decision.
DAP is simply a massive Thievery of Public Funds. It does not men that, if Stealing is a Tradition in Philippine politics; it is the right thing.
And by the way, we are not a Democracy…we are Feudal Oligarchy. All those who defended DAP and are defending it; may have been benefiting from this Thievery of Public funds.
They have no respect for the Law and the Constitution. Much more , the decision of the Supreme Court to interpret the law and the Constitution.
These disinformation agents of Aquino, simply want us to believe in their YellowTard thinking. So that, they can go on stealing the Public funds…
This skank says that ‘its been going on since 1986’ doesn’t make it right.
The Filipino nation should take a good look at this and DO SOMETHING POSITIVE about it all. by that its meant, POSITIVELY GET RID OF THE THIEVING SCUMBAGS….once and for all.
There are enough Filipino’s in that cesspit, Manila, to make it happen within 72 hours.
Is this correct? UPSIDE: DAP means all congressmen and senators get an equal portion of the pie to spend on local projects. No one region is neglected. DOWNSIDE 1): local projects are not accounted for and many politicians spend taxes on kick back projects that help them pay for the votes they had to buy to get elected in the first place. Tax money is pissed away on expensive waiting sheds, roads to relative’s sea-side villas, or to phony NGO’s. 2) DOWNSIDE 2): The president controls the manner of dispensing and amount of DAP and that gives him too much power to influence legislation. Congressmen become members of his cabinet rather than being a co-equal branch of government. Since the Senate does not even represent provincial districts; it is nothing more than a rich guys club.
Even today, it’s still shocking to me that these kinds of people exist and are allowed to vote.
It doesn‘t matter how other people justify the legality of DAP because the Supreme Court has spoken about it already. Although, Malacanang filed an MR, chances are slim that SC would reversed their ruling.
No matter what, the constitution, the highest law, must prevail. The power to interpret the constitution belongs to SC and must be respected band followed. That is the only way we could be proctected from the abuses done by the other two branches of government.
Justifying an act by means of tradition may not mean that it is legal and moral. We still have to consult our supreme law. There is no other way unless we amend our constitution.
Now, that the Supreme Court has spoken, the voices we need to hear from should come from COA and the Ombudsman.
DAP must be examined and audited down to the last peso. Well, I am not sure if both COA and the Ombudsman will have the guts to clash with Malacanang.
The problem with Pnoy, his allies and the elites is that, they proclaimed self-righteousness. That, they are good hearted people and everything they do is just, clean and legal. Well, Pnoy supported by big business groups,worshipped by Congress, and backed up by powerful media, so Pnoy‘s lies becomes the truth. His wishes are granted. His commands are followed.
When I think of Pnoy, I remember Emperor Nero of Rome. Enough said.
Gina Lopez should go over the Preamble more closely; it speaks of the “common good” she is looking for:
“We, the sovereign Filipino people … in order to … establish a Government that shall … promote the COMMON GOOD … under the rule of law … do ordain and promulgate this Constitution.”
Note that the 92-page DAP decision was principally about PNoy’s violation of Section 25(5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution –(http://sc.judiciary.gov.ph/microsite/dap/):
“WHEREFORE, the Court PARTIALLY GRANTS the petitions for certiorari and prohibition; and DECLARES the following acts and practices under the Disbursement Acceleration Program, National Budget Circular No. 541 and related executive issuances UNCONSTITUTIONAL for being in violation of Section 25(5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers, namely …”
The violated provision, Sec. 25, Par. 5 of Art. VI (this is the Legislative, not the Executive, Department), provides that:
“No law shall be passed authorizing any transfer of appropriations; however, the President, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and the heads of Constitutional Commissions may, by law, be authorized to augment any item in the general appropriations law for their respective offices from savings in other items of their respective appropriations.”
Those who opt to disagree with a decision handed down by the Supreme Court should be reminded of what Justice Robert H. Jackson opined in Brown v. Allen (1963)
“We are not final because we are infallible, but we are infallible only because we are final.”
Seems to be pretty crystal-clear in black and white…