Archive for the ‘Arroyo’ Category

January 6: Amon Jadid and an Incongrous Greeting

January 6, 2009

Yesterday, January 6 was the first day of Muharram, when the first month of the Islamic lunar calendar started, hence the connotation of being the Islamic New Year. However, Muslims around the world are divided on its signifance and on the way they celebrate it.

However, Mrs. Arroyo greeted the local Muslim community ‘Happy Amon Jadid’, which corresponds to ‘Happy New Year’. However the message after the greetings immediately turned controversial. She said and I quote portions of it:

“Amon Jadid…gives Muslims the oppurtunity to look forward to a better future and to live in peace and prosperity….I ask our Muslim brothers to support our resolve in turning the fragile peace in Muslim Mindanao into a genuine and lasting one…”

I am astounded by the disconnect of the greetings to reality. I do not even know if this already amounts to an insult. It is as if Mindanao is not enveloped in war right now. And as if there are no refugees who are mainly Muslims.

Fragile peace? All I know is there’s a lull in the fighting because of the holidays. But I am also aware Field Marshal Teodoro is asking for additional budget in order to continue the war. And as if the peace treaty has not been flushed down the drain and the OIC International Monitoring Team and Mindanao aid donor countries leaving and suspending aid.

As of today the Philippine military has already attacked and overran nearly all the MILF camps in Mindanao. But it has failed in its avowed purpose–to bring daw to justice the three MILF ‘rogue’ commanders.

Did the military “win”? If the yardstick of guerilla warfare is used it seemed it is the MILF that has won because they were able to preserve their forces. Will the military be able to hold on to the territory they gained? Probably not except for selected showpieces (like Camp Abubakar before) because they simply do not have troops for it. And it is occupying hostile territory where the population is nearly 100% Muslim. In fact, the MILF has already stepped up harassment attacks.

The derisive comment of Marines commanding general Allaga that Camp Bilal is wherever Commander Bravo is might ironically turn to be true. MILF camps are much like ordinary villages where the population is the family and relatives of the MILF forces. It moves according to the demand of the situation.

As it is there will be no peace in Mindanao. And it is generally conceded by observers that no peace treaty is possible until the end of Mrs. Arroyo’s term in 2010. So I’m really wondering where she picked up those words. Hey, do liars care?


The Supreme Court Decision on Executive Privilege: A License For Impunity

September 8, 2008

When the Supreme Court said that the conversations between Romulo Neri and her President is covered by “executive privilege,” I said to myself, “garbage in, garbage out.” With a Court of such composition maybe one cannot expect a decision better than that. If the current Court is deciding on that historical claim of executive privilege (the White House tapes), Nixon might have finished his term and subsequently shenanigans of the presidents of the US would forever be hidden from public view.

With such a decision of the Court, illegal activities of the president and his/her men/women will forever be secrets. There will be no more witnesses and paper trails will just be wisps of the imagination.

Before the advent of Martial Law, the Philippine Supreme Court was generally composed of the best and brighest of the legal profession, the so-called legal luminaries. Bar topnotchers and legal pillars dominated that institution.

But, alas, even with such bright minds, it was not able to acquit itself well during Martial Law. It also rendered hodge-podge decisions when questions  about Marcos’ rule  and ‘prerogatives’ were brought upon it. It was not them that made the legal profession shine during those darkest hours (with the possible exception of the late Justice Claudio Teehankee) but the likes of the late Senator Jose Diokno and the present Senator Joker Arroyo, who with the last ounce of legal reasoning possible tried to challenge the impunity of the dictatorship.

Intelligence can be inherited, education can be bought, expertise can be trained but courage is one thing that cannot be taught. And it is courage that utterly lacking in our Supreme Court for a long time now. It a virtue Senators Diokno and Arroyo had in abundance.

I rue that Senators Diokno, Arroyo, Saguisag and Roco never became Supreme Court Chief Justices. If only people like them were in our highest Court decisions would probably have been different and Malacanang will probably heed the admonishions of the Court.

Today, lawyers of none-so-sterling qualifications dominate the highest Court. In terms of academic and legal achievements they are none-so-different from the occupants of the lesser courts. Pedestrian decisions? You have it!

In our country, majesty of the law is only in the minds of the lawyers.