Lest some people here are under the mistaken impression that we are out to undermine the new administration of President-Elect Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III, I thought I’d set the record straight. Noynoy won the election fair and square. He bagged that lucrative seat by garnering a number of votes greater than any one of the competing candidates in this year’s elections. As such, quite obviously, the people have spoken as far as this legitimate democratic exercise goes.
There was no “people power”. There was only The Vote. No magic, no hocus-pocus, and certainly no miracle. Just the same old evaluation faculties of the Filipino at work exhibiting its breathtaking track record of consistency. Each individual Filipino selected a name on the ballot sheet, and a system to count and tally these selections (whether applied through machines or through the effort of human beings) was applied to determine the outcome.
All of this was made possible by an instituted process that is legally recognised and categorical in its implementation. The outcome of this exercise makes it quite clear that Noynoy Aquino was chosen by the Filipino people for the job of President of the Philippines over the years 2010 through 2016.
In no more than two short paragraphs I had described above (a) why Noynoy Aquino has the right to take his seat in the Office of the President this coming June, and (b) how this state of affairs was effected. Most people will not dispute Noynoy Aquino’s right to be President of the Philippines because of the clarity around how the people’s will was harnessed for the purpose of selecting the person for the job. So clear it is that only two paragaphs are needed to articulate the nature of this clarity.
Let us now come to the question of whether or not the current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, Renato Corona, holds a legitimate claim over the office he sits in today. It is a topic of discussion that rages in the national “debate” today. And it is the latest object of President-Elect Noynoy Aquino’s latest bratty tantrums. Indeed, the the debate over the question of Corona’s legitimacy rages on primarily because Noynoy Aquino’s tantrums over its implications on his swearing into his new office has made it an issue as far as the popular awareness goes.
In a breathtaking exhibition of his renowned pompous verbosity, blogger Abe Margallo calls up no less than 1,500 words in his latest FilipinoVoices.com piece to “clarify” (1) why the appointment of Corona as Chief Justice is questionable and (2) how, for that matter, any pronouncements made by the institution of the Supreme Court cannot be final or “infallible”.
More than a thousand and a half words to “debate” the finality of the resolutions delivered by an institution whose by-laws and due processes are clearly-articulated is quite remarkable. It is remarkable when one considers how — in just two short paragraphs — Margallo closes his piece by shoving down his readers’ throats a concept that is, even at its very best, utterly nebulous. And this nebulous concept — none else than “people power” — goes on to trump all of that about the Supreme Court which is black-and-white and categorically defined:
And don’t forget, People Power as in EDSA I can also vacate the entire Supreme Court or any of its decision repugnant to the people’s collective sense of justice as in the case of the Javellana decision that gave force and effect to the Marcos constitution.
In the end, it is the people and only the people, not the Supreme Court, that has the final say and is (legally) infallible.
So in short, what the traditional “expertise” of people like Abe Margallo would have their readers believe is that:
We can have all the rigour of our institutions spelt out in carefully-worded letters by the finest thinkers of our society, but at the end of the day a street mob of rabble roused by empty platitudes and emo politics trumps it all.
Poor ol’ gramps. Perhaps it is creeping senility at work here. Abe Margallo forgets to mention that the “final say” of “the people” is delivered via a number of institutional channels in a real democracy:
(1) Direct expression of popular will via elections and referendums where votes are cast indicating a selection among presented options.
(2) Indirect representation of a constituency’s collective will that is delegated to an elected representative in a government post.
The above two are the key legitimate channels for ordinary citizens to express and manifest their influence over their government. It comes down to the question of how astutely these implements are wielded by the electorate. Indeed, it comes down to how much Filipinos have earned or are deserving their “democracy”. If there is any undermining of what is legitimate going on here to be found, one need look no further than the Aquinoists amongst us.