Rule of justiceBy Conrado de Quiros
Philippine Daily Inquirer
It’s mind-boggling how some people are depicting Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the object of the most violent oppression.
I never heard these levels of remonstration when Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani and Col. Alexander Balutan were jailed for testifying against Arroyo. I never heard these levels of protest when Jun Lozada was kidnapped for daring to speak out against unmoderated greed. I never heard these levels of vituperation when the political activists were massacred in the name of fighting insurgency.
I agree completely: Government should observe due process as steadfastly, resolutely and matuwid-ly as it means to run Arroyo to the ground. I have said so again and again: The only way to keep Arroyo here is to charge her, preferably for stealing the presidency in 2004, which is the original sin, and not for 2007, which is merely derivative. Government may not do that by invoking a law she herself passed to prevent her enemies from leaving the country. That is a tyrannical law, one that has no place in a democracy, indeed one that has no place in a government vowing to hew to the straight and narrow, vowing to be the opposite of the past. You cannot reverse tyranny by the ways of tyranny, you can only do so by the ways of decency.
I am glad in this respect that the government has gone ahead and charged Arroyo with electoral fraud, however that seems a little rushed.
Yet having said that, where did the government err egregiously in point of law or decency in preventing the former first couple from hightailing it a couple of weeks ago?
Why should P-Noy bow to the wishes of the Supreme Court without challenge? For that matter, why should the people of this country submit to the wisdom of the Supreme Court without question, when at the very least it is headed by someone who should never have been a chief justice, who should have resigned long ago out of basic decency, and who should have inhibited himself out of fundamental justice from rendering judgment on the one person he owes his life to?
When at the very most the Supreme Court harbors justices who should never have been justices, who should have been deeply ashamed of themselves for championing plagiarism and reinventing finality, who should have resigned long ago for being an outrage to the true, the good, the beautiful, especially the beautiful?
As shown subsequently, which only proved how Renato Corona could not have been acting objectively on the matter, his mouthpiece, Jose Midas Marquez, would distort the Court’s position on the TRO by claiming it was binding, although the Arroyos had not complied with one of the basic conditions for leaving the country.
Where was the fault on government’s part? By all the ways of law and justice, P-Noy had right of say. By all the ways of heaven and earth, P-Noy had right of way.
But it’s more than that. Far, far more than that.
What in God’s name has happened to our memory? Have we forgotten who Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is? Have we forgotten what she has done to the country? Have we forgotten the lying, cheating and stealing? Have we forgotten the killings? Have we forgotten how in her time the wicked were rewarded and the righteous punished? Have we forgotten how everything was turned upside down in this country? Have we forgotten how like Midas in reverse, Marquez or not, she turned everything she touched, including freedom, including decency, including human life itself from gold to dross? Have we forgotten the weeping and gnashing of teeth of a people condemned to living hell who thought they would never see the light of day, let alone catch a glimpse of heaven?
The least that P-Noy deserves is appreciation for what he is doing, which is to give a long-suffering people justice, which is to give a much disillusioned people a monumental lesson in crime and punishment. The most that P-Noy deserves is the gratitude of the nation for turning the world back on its feet, for setting free the innocent and jailing the guilty, for making sure by the implacable demonstration of the fate that awaits tyrants that we can truly say, “Never again!” It’s the clearest sign by far that P-Noy means to take the road not taken, and make all the difference. It’s the strongest proof by far that P-Noy means to curb corruption, in the profoundest sense of the word “corruption,” in all the senses of the word “corruption.”
P-Noy’s administration may not possess the smartest lawyers in the world, the kind like Estelito Mendoza who can make the Supreme Court betray duty and obligation to favor Lucio Tan with a mere letter. It does falter now and then, it does fumble time and again. But its heart is in the right place, its head is in the right direction.
We keep talking of the “rule of law” – or the devious do when they want to hide under its skirts – but what do we really mean by that? True enough, you cannot have justice without law. Laws are the roads by which you reach your destination. But even truer, you cannot have law without justice. Roads mean nothing if you don’t know where you are going.
For far too long have the leaders of this country wielded law to thwart justice, propagated law to foment injustice. Ferdinand Marcos especially, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo especially. It’s time we restored sanity to life. It’s time we gave back moral depth, lofty height, or plain common sense to law. It’s justice that animates laws. It’s justice that unlocks the irresistible force of law. It’s justice that unleashes the hurricane power of law. Not the other way around.
By all means let us abide by the rule of law, steadfastly, resolutely, matuwid-ly. But only in its truest sense, which is to abide by the one thing that defines it: The rule of justice.
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