There is enough evidence to suggest that Philippine President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino is not after the country’s best interests. His move to undermine the Supreme Court is one such proof. The President and his minions do not even bother to consider the consequences of their efforts to drag the Judiciary’s reputation in the mud.If President BS Aquino was really after the country’s best interests, he would consider what the international community particularly the foreign investors would think once word got out that the country’s justice system is supposedly corrupt. As usual, he doesn’t realize that his habit of spreading negative propaganda against his perceived enemies could backfire.
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It’s inconceivable that the Philippines’ leader cannot understand that the Supreme Court should not be dragged into petty politics. They are already tied up with too many pending cases that need to be resolved. The last thing they need is to attend congressional hearings and answer stupid questions from low-life congressmen.
A country’s political and economic stability is one of the factors investors look at before jumping on board. Investors want predictability in order to foresee their bottom-lines. Social unrest, rioting and rise in criminality are settings they do not consider conducive to business.
To encourage investors to set up businesses in the country, Filipinos need to show that they respect the law and that there is order in Philippine society. Unfortunately, that is hard to do when Philippine leaders themselves show disrespect for the law.
Ordinary Filipinos cannot find the motivation to follow the law because President BS Aquino himself disregards the law. He and his minions are even inciting anger towards the members of the Supreme Court. He does this because he is unhappy with them and he seems to think that he is the boss of the justices.
The recent orchestrated attacks on the Supreme Court started when the justices unanimously voted 13-0 and declared parts of the President’s Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional. It was BS Aquino who initiated the chipping away at the Judiciary’s reputation during a televised speech explaining the DAP a week before his fourth State of the Nation Address in July.
Before ending his speech, President BS Aquino threatened to ask Congress to intervene in the conflict between the Executive’s interpretation of the law and the Judiciary’s. He also insinuated that the Supreme Court’s decision on DAP is a hindrance to his “reform” agenda. His threat wasn’t empty though. He must have already spoken to his allies in Congress about what has to be done to try and weaken the Judiciary because members of Congress allied with President Aquino filed bills specifically to question the Supreme Court’s Judicial Development Fund. Hearings have been conducted in Congress as well for the same purpose.
The President and his allies in Congress want the public to believe that the justices also have their own pork barrel funds and are possibly abusing it. What they are doing is ridiculous because as lawyers, they should know that the JDF is not from the national budget. It was created by Presidential Decree 1949 in July 1984 and its purpose is “to enhance the independence of the judiciary by giving it access to money to augment its meager budget allocation”. To quote columnist PhilStar columnist, Federico D. Pascual JR:
It’s a good thing not a lot of people believe President BS Aquino nowadays. More and more people notice that when he talks he is either bragging about his so-called “achievements” or is vilifying his enemies. He doesn’t really say anything of substance.
The fund, running into billions each year, is raised from court fees and used exclusively by the judiciary without having to secure the approval of the Congress or be subject to the prioritizing of Malacañang.
One key difference, however, is that while DAP is not authorized by law, JDF was created by Presidential Decree 1949 in July 1984. The fund was intended precisely to enhance the independence of the judiciary by giving it access to money to augment its meager budget allocation.
The decree allocates at least 80 percent of JDF for court personnel’s cost of living allowances, and not more than 20 percent for office equipment and facilities.
The PD says the Chief Justice “shall administer and allocate the Fund and shall have the sole exclusive power and duty to approve authorized disbursements and expenditures.”
The people’s trust in BS Aquino started to erode when they realized that all the charges against Corona and GMA were exaggerated for the purpose of riling up the public sentiment against them.
BS Aquino’s penchant for throwing a temper tantrum can be traced back to before he was voted into office. Back then he was already telling everyone how corrupt the Judiciary is under former Chief Justice Renato Corona because he was former President Gloria Arroyo’s appointee.
We all know what happened next after he won the Presidency. The President spent almost two years vilifying Corona in the lead up to his impeachment trial in 2012. He said it was part of his reform of good governance. Fast-forward to today, the much lauded ousting of Corona has been proven a farce due to the revelation that the Senator Judges who voted to convict him were allegedly given extra 50 million pesos as “incentive”. To bad for the President because his own previous appointees in the Supreme Court do not let him get his way.
It seems President BS Aquino’s cabinet officials are also deflecting the blame for their incompetence and lack of foresight towards the Supreme Court for the country’s energy crisis. Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla and Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima have been echoing the President in blaming the Supreme Court even for that. It’s as if the proposed 600-megawatt Ridondo coal-fired power plant will solve the nation’s power crisis.
They also forget that the Supreme Court was just doing its job upholding the law when they invalidated the Environmental Compliance Certificate (ECC) issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to RP Energy for the power plant to be built inside the Subic Bay Freeport Zone. Besides, the TRO was issued two years ago but the government has yet to come up with an alternative solution. As usual, they would rather force the issue and blame others when the problem escalates. They prefer the easy way out and argue that renewable energy is more expensive compared to coal. All the pork barrel funds that went to bogus NGOs could have been used to solve the energy crisis. What will they blame on the Supreme Court next?
It looks like blaming the Supreme Court seems to be the in thing now since blaming the previous administrator is not as effective as before. Only someone without any foresight will fail to grasp that inciting anger towards the Judiciary is the same as wishing for anarchy. That can’t be good for business.
In life, things are not always what they seem.