Blogging about the Supreme Court in my previous post piqued my interest. I think BS Aquino does have a bone to pick with this SC. He currently has 4 appointees – Chief Justice Sereno and Justices Reyes, Perlas-Bernabe and Leonen – and will be able to appoint 1 more when Justice Abad retires in May 2014.
But, when the next President takes over in 2016, he will be appointing 11 Justices! He (or she) will fill up the slots of these retiring Justices (and the year):
Justices Villarama, Jr, Perez and Brion (2016)
Justices Mendoza and Reyes (2017)
Justices Velasco and De Castro (2018)
Justices Carpio, del Castillo and Bersamin (2019)
Justice Peralta (March 2022)
That’s a LOT of power for our 2016 President. BS Aquino must be very keen to put an ally in the Presidency after him. To cover up all the PDAF / DAP / and whatever else dirt that comes out after he steps down.
So who will it be? Miriam, Mar, Binay, Ping, Grace Poe or someone else?
Yesterday, during the 5th to the last session of the House for 2013, there was a big brouhaha in the hall. Cong. Umali (of Mindoro) delivered a speech the night before about the flipflopping Supreme Court Justices, and he was questioned again yesterday.
His colleagues were shouting at the top of their voices complaining about the SC Justices and how they took away the PDAF / Pork Barrel. They were moaning about their scholars with no more funds. And how the SC was unfair.
[I guess they didn't attend the CHED briefing a few days ago which informed all the House members that the scholarships given would last until the end of the school year, whether paid by PDAF or not. And that the scholars can continue as scholars as long as they pass all the requirements. Which is fair, in my opinion. Why give scholarships to people who won't pass their subjects? Give to the deserving.]
The Congressmen wailed about the Justices flipflopping on cases like the PAL case and the League of Cities case. And that these flipflopping Justices should be IMPEACHED.
Well, I agree that flipflopping doesn’t bode well for the highest court in the land. It begs a lot of questions. And with big players in both cases, you have to wonder if concessions were made. They need to strengthen themselves as an institution and make bold decisions that don’t bow down to anyone – only to the Constitution.
Which may be what they did in the PDAF (and hopefully the DAP follows as well) case. Making it illegal keeps the playing field fair. And maybe in the near future, only those who want to serve the country will go to the Legislature. Maybe the PDAF case was a turning point for our Supreme Court in deciding without fear or favor? Really looking blindly, like Madame Justice herself?
Now the legislators screaming IMPEACHMENT are in the wrong. It truly begs retaliation on the heels of the snapping away from their hungry claws the pork barrel. Very sad. And not statesman-like at all. And if they are decrying flipflopping Justices, what about their own flipflopping? From one political party to another (depending on who the President is), just jumping from one house to the next – no ideologies, just position. Can we impeach them as well? Oh for the day when we actually have statesmen in the legislature again.
I am sure we have one [shameless plug]. My boss, of course. Work hard even if others do not. What do you expect to accomplish with about 40 out of 289 Congressmen at the start of Session? Hmm. It will be a miracle if they get to pass the impeachment complaint. That will go down as one of the few bills passed. In line with postponing the SK elections and passing the budget. 2 lang? Work, guys. Work!
This week, the Supreme Court did something amazing. They deemed unconstitutional the Priority Development Assistance Fund or PDAF. The PDAF is known for corruption. The SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) was an open secret that politicians get up to 20% cut of the project price. But Napoles and her cohorts blew the lid of the scam and people found out it wasn’t 20%, it was 100%!
SOP has been so ingrained in the system of government here that people accepted it. But what drove everyone off the edge was that it was so blatantly used for greed. Now, hopefully we have learned that any amount of thievery is wrong. And we will not even accept the SOP still ongoing. Too much temptation!
The Supreme Court showed their independence. Malacanang is saying that the Supreme Court bowed to public pressure. Well, good thing they did. Because our elected representatives surely didn’t listen to their constituents (except for a few good ones who have been against the PDAF from the start).
The SC also declared all forms of pork barrel from previous years as unconstitutional. And the discretionary use over the Malampaya funds as unconstitutional. Malampaya funds are only supposed to be used for projects and programs related to electricity – which is actually good because that is what the Visayas needs right now. Instead of mansions, bags and cars, use that money to bring light to destroyed areas.
This brings a new era to Philippine politics. No more executive branch waving money over the legislative and judiciary. No more “if you do not follow, I won’t release your PDAF.” Now we can have Congressmen who have the best interests of the people in mind.
Ever since the ruling came down, the House has not mustered a quorum. Morale is low and Congressmen are angry. Hopefully, come 2016, they will decide that it is not worth the time and money, and the dynasties, know-nothings, do-not-participaters, will decide not to run. And give the floor to people who want to make a difference. Maybe the Golden Age of Philippine Politics is upon us. And hopefully a change in the way cases are handled in the judiciary down the line. Maybe judges will follow the examples of the Justices and act impartially now.
Now we wait for the ruling of the SC over the DAP. I believe it will go the same way. The DAP is something the Department of Budget and Management cooked up to use funds from different projects and bring it to projects and programs not even approved by Congress. That shouldn’t be allowed. We believe in you SC. You have proven that justice truly is blind (to power, tactics, influence and money), and that the voice of the people is the voice of God. Listen.
More donations come in everyday! We reached one million in a week (even more). And I have inside information that we breached three million for the second week! So many kind hearts and generous people giving cash and goods. THANK YOU.
We do so much work and try to bring these relief goods to the people, but it isn’t easy hearing stories of politicking by our government. Like people needing to present written notes from Barangay leaders to be able to get relief goods. Or agencies repacking international aid into local bags with their logo. Or goods rotting because they have not been “searched” yet. Or even the stopping of telling the real number of dead people! I mean, people need to know, why keep it a secret or keep the number low? Just for publicity? What is the logic in that?
Even stopping Oplan Hatid at Villamor Airbase because of politicking? Because citizens should not dictate on the government, and it should be the other way around? I thought WE were the boss? Didn’t BS Aquino say that?
So sad. And the media being blacked out. Good thing we have Anderson Cooper. Who says what needs to be said. And here he is saying it:
We are doing our part. Please, government, do yours.
The team that went to Tacloban came back with such heart-rending pictures and stories. We put the sharing of Pat into an easy to read “comic book” version. Read it here.
Here is also a sharing from one survivor:
We can keep praying things will get better. And through your donations, we can do more:
We have hope in the Filipino Spirit. Working together, we can do anything!
After raising more than 1 million pesos in a week, we still have raised donations for the continuing relief effort!
We have volunteers re-packing everything daily, and now we are ready to send even more goods to the Visayas!
With God, nothing is impossible. He gives us hope. And in the midst of despair and desolation, we know He is there ready to help us and guide us back to fullness.