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Ignoring the Constitution: Duterte only following in SC’s footsteps

opinion / Latest Opinion
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Ignoring the Constitution: Duterte only following in SC’s footsteps

12:01 AM June 20, 2017

“Du30 won’t bypass SC, Congress,” said the May 30 Inquirer news report on how Malacañang spokesman Ernesto Abella “interpreted” President Duterte’s blunt pronouncements. Everyone listening to Abella’s nonsensical mumbo-jumbo must really have their eyeballs rolling like crazy.

As plainly as he said it, President Duterte doesn’t care what the Constitution says. He will listen only to what the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police are telling him. If they believe peace and order has not been completely restored in the whole of Mindanao, then martial law stays. He will simply ignore the Supreme Court if it stands in the way.

Abella should stop being more apologetic. He should know when to stop crafting “alternative” statements. There are times when he needs to call a spade a spade. Mr. Duterte would just be doing what the Supreme Court has been doing since time immemorial: Ignoring the Constitution whenever it’s convenient to do so.

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We wish to bring to mind a letter published in the Inquirer a long time ago: “What about the Supreme Court?” (Opinion, 5/9/13), asked a
former commissioner of the Commission on
Audit, Bartolome Fernandez Jr., who raised concern over the inordinately long delays in the disposition of cases in the Supreme Court despite the constitutional mandate to resolve cases within only two years.

Bartolome got it from the horse’s mouth (as it were). No less than a retired Supreme Court justice admitted to him: “Alam mo, Bart, hindi namin pinapansin yan.” Quite interestingly, none of the other justices who have retired
from that Court contradicted that remark. Obviously, the tattletale spoke the undeniable and inconvenient truth.

Indeed, who can argue against that Court’s backlog of undecided cases already gathering dust and cobwebs for 10-20 years?

Thus, the Supreme Court may have lost its moral ascendancy to lecture President Duterte on the need to respect the Constitution.

ROMANO M. MONTENEGRO, romor_monger@yahoo.com

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TAGS: Constitution, Ernesto Abella, Inquirer letters, Inquirer Opinion, Marawi siege, Mindanao martial law, Rodrigo Duterte, Romano M. Montenegro, Supreme Court
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