I came across an interesting exchange between two noted stalwarts of the Establishment Blogger community. It transpired in a comment thread of a recent article published on a noted Establishment Blog:
UP n Grad on Mon, 22nd Mar 2010 6:51 pm
Noynoy has revealed an important part of his understanding of the separation of powers when he said that he will not recognize a justice of the supreme court appointed by his immediate predecessor. That Noynoy has begun to walk back from his words of bravadura does not negate that he has a willingness to disregard the Constitutional process out of spite?
mlq3 on Mon, 22nd Mar 2010 9:34 pm
How has he begun to walk back? He said he would not recognize a Chief Justice appointed by the President -and rightly so. The whole point of the issue is that the Constitution is being violated, on that there is a sizeable consensus; the republic is being parboiled.
Abe N. Margallo on Mon, 22nd Mar 2010 10:37 pm
And remember, the Constitution is the one that is supreme, not the the Court’s decision (unconstitutionally) interpreting it.
Excuse me, Mr. Quezon, but rightly so? By what or whose authority do you condone a President not recognising an appointed officer of the judiciary? Oh, I see, as your pal Abe Margallo chimed in, the Constitution is “supreme” and anyone who feels it’s been violated can act. I suppose, then, that this “authority” you invoke comes from this nebulous but popular concept called “the people’s will”.
Emo Politics alert!
Emo Politics alert!
Guys, guys, isn’t that the reason why we have a Supreme Court? My understanding is that said court is “supreme” as far as its vested authority as an institution to interpret the Constitution. The fundamental fallacy here that imprisons the “expert” minds of the venerable Manuel L Quezon III and Abe Margallo is around this rather quaint holding up of the Constitution as a self-evident edict — one that is above the context provided by human society and the government of institutions created around it. What a crock. It’s the kind of moronic thinking not too different from that of fundamentalist sects of many organised religions in the way they hold up their respective holy scriptures as “ultimate” writs that are open for any schmoe — including schmoes that hold extremist sentiments — to interpret.
Using that “school of thought” (as Margallo tends to compartmentalise things himself), Quezon and Margallo open the Constitution to arbitrary interpretation by any bozo with at least Fourth Grade reading comprehension skills. It brings up a picture in my mind of an Arab kid fresh out of a Madrassah interpreting the Koran as a call to strap on some TNT and walk into a restaurant full of innocent diners and doing just that. Indeed, these two “experts” on political “thinking” open the doors to vacuous minds in our intellectually-bankrupt society to see perverse “heroics” in a president openly defying a Supreme Court Chief Justice and — here’s the punchline — laying the groundwork for the sub-ideological underpinnings for another “revolutionary” storm to brew. For that matter the administration of, popular presidential candidate Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III is virtually expected to be revolutionarily-themed. His campaign and its Laban iconography derives its popular appeal from the “revolutionary” government of his mother. “Rebelling” against the Chief Justice is a perverse reflection of that theme.
Noynoy Aquino will, as President, be facing a bureaucracy and a complex of institutions that he will most likely be unable to get on top of over the course of his six-year term. He will be likely to be constantly playing The Victim Card to mask his failure to show everyone who’s boss. Funny enough that senators do it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we will one day find President Noynoy Aquino on Manila’s streets protesting his own government! Considering that even now he attempts to muzzle the press and avoid public debate, that’s not a very farfetched scenario.
And so here we see his chief publicists (in whatever official or unofficial capacity they step up to that dubious distinction) paving the way for the kind of administration Noynoy Aquino will be presiding over. His mother’s “Constitution” as an embodiment of the grotesque infinite regress that describes the nebulous notion of “the people’s will”.
Ultimately who or what represents the “people’s will”? Is it a street mob? Or is it a representation facilitated by democratic institutions?
So a Chief Justice will be appointed by President Gloria Arroyo before her term ends. So what? Is that enough reason for a future President to defy an entire institution? The members of the Supreme Court considering an interpretation of the Constitution made a call to accept such an appointment. Flawed as some may consider this to be, they still did so as officers of an institution to which the authority was given to. It’s a choice between respecting a flawed institution or entrusting interpreting The Law to any schmoe, mob, or — yes — a couple of self-described “experts” on the matter.