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Helping Each Othet

Helping Each Other
Ronald Roy — Jan. 29, 2014

Further to last week’s article regarding the raging issue of whether Pres. Benigno S. Aquino lll unconstitutionally meddled in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, the issue’s resolution remains critical to what should be everybody’s proper understanding of “democracy”, particularly in light of democracy’s essential feature: a theoretical balance of power within the constitutional tripartite system among the Judiciary, the Legislature, and the Executive Department.
Kindly note that my use of the word “theoretical” is intended to emphasize a disquieting disequilibrium among the three departments — a situation which now appears more real than apparent, given a growing controversy over the President’s seeming meddling. Frankly, I believe that P-Noy was unconstitutionally interfering in matters pertaining to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Legislature. [The lower house impeaches; the senate tries then acquits or removes from office. Please read my previous article titled COMPASSION.]

To buttress my point, kindly allow me to recall just one circumstance attendant to subject impeachment, and that is: the Filipinos’ widespread contempt in which they then held his predecessor, former Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. This sole factor, to my mind, was what triggered P-Noy’s succession of such impulsive un-presidential expressions of personal scorn at GMA that would later prove detrimental to impeachment respondent Corona’s defense. P-Noy knew the people reviled her, so he decided to empathize with them to further build a crushing public opinion calculated to ensure Corona’s conviction.
P-Noy must be credited with having correctly read the public mind against Gloria. I remember once musing that the new president could further boost his popularity by showing as much personal derision for her, and I did conclude then, judging on the basis of public approval of his unrestrained disrespect for her, that impeachment and conviction of Corona would only be a question of time.
I had figured then that P-Noy had nothing personal against Gloria, just as he had once reportedly publicly disclosed, and that here was an excellent chance for him to curry favor with all who disliked her, nay, with the citizenry, to whom no promise would be greater than punishing her. Additionally, we all applauded his vow to stamp out poverty and corruption, as conveyed in his mantra walang mahirap kung walang korap (there is no poverty if there is no corruption) — a slogan which made naive people like me a P-Noy-admirer overnight.
Truth to tell, I so despised GMA that I often ignored the President’s unstately behavior, and even once defended his uncouth deportment when he took snipes at his predecessor at a public forum. And I lustily cheered P-Noy each time he publicly embarrassed then Chief Justice Renato Corona, a perceived GMA lackey who had accepted from her a manifestly unconstitutional “midnight appointment” as Chief Justice, and had subsequently obtained a ruling from the “GMA Supreme Court” that the said appointment was not unconstitutional.
Thus, P-Noy’s image-boosting strategy actually worked, as evidenced by those unprecedented popularity peaks registered for him by survey outfits in the aftermath of his administration’s constant nitpicking on the fallen Gloria. No, his political involvement in Corona’s impeachment was not an undue interference up to this point.
But it became one when he ordered his congressional minions to railroad a defective impeachment complaint. This, dear Reader, was when P-Noy unmistakably crossed the line. And this was what caused me to start keeping a critical eye on the President of the Republic.
Now comes the question of whether Pres. Aquino violated the constitution when, as claimed by Sen. Bong Revilla in his privilege speech, he was clandestinely sneaked into Malacañang as a passenger in a vehicle driven by no less than then DOTC Sec. Mar Roxas; was asked to join P-Noy, Roxas, and DBM Sec. Butch Abad for breakfast; was told by P-Noy “Pare, ibalato mo na sa akin ang impeachment ni Corona” (Pal, do me a favor by convicting Corona); and was told by Abad “Senator Revilla, magtulongan tayo dito.” (Senator Revilla, let’s help each other here.)
P-Noy is not at all convincing when he says he merely wanted to inform some senators there were outside pressures being applied to secure Corona’s acquittal, to which a terse reaction would be “Look who’s talking!” P-Noy was not unaware of the impropriety of convincing a senator to convict Corona, hence, his resort to cloak-and-dagger means to sneak him into the Palace.
Clearly, the circumstances indicate an undue employment of presidential influence. The fact alone that the president was the dispenser of pork barrel allocations earmarked for senators enlarged that influence. Come to think of it, I do recall that before the verdict came out, only Revilla got an advance portion of his pork of 200 million pesos, along with opposition senators Enrile, Sotto, Honasan and Estrada. The other senators would wait for their turns.
Hmmm… obviously, this is what Abad meant when he told Revilla, “Senator Revilla, let’s help each other.”

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