One, I agree completely, Jose Midas Marquez should be investigated for misleading the public on the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order. Which is a euphemism for calling on the Court to fire the guy. He doesn’t speak for that Court, he speaks for Renato Corona. He is not the voice of the justices, let alone of justice, he is the voice of Corona, thereby of injustice.
Whether he twisted the interpretation of the justices’ position or not, which was fairly clear, as Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno has pointed out—the TRO remained ineffective so long as the Arroyos had not complied with one of its fundamental conditions, which was to designate a representative to transact for them in their absence—is beside the point. If he did it unwittingly, then he has no wits, which last I looked is a qualification for the post, however that is more the exception than the rule in public office. If he did it deliberately, then that makes it all the worse. That makes his utterances a kiss of death, a corona laid on the coffin of the Supreme Court.
But the matter goes beyond Marquez, it goes to Corona himself. The point here is not for government to show the Supreme Court cause why it should not be held in contempt, the point here is for the Supreme Court to show the public cause why it should not be deemed contemptible. The point here is not for P-Noy to show cause why he should not be impeached, the point here is for Corona to show cause why he is still there. The point here is not for the government to show cause why it should not be overthrown, the point here is for the Supreme Court to show cause why it continues to exist.
This is a clear case of a usurper defending a usurper. Corona should never have been chief justice in the first place. Ethics demanded it, common decency demanded it, justice demanded it. The Supreme Court is there to practice law in the grand manner, to interpret law with insight and imagination, to make sure that the law radiates justice and does not suppress the way a black hole does light. How can you do right when you proceed from a wrong? A midnight appointee, Corona was compromised from the start, owing the person who made him so, and owing her big. The least he could have done in this case was to inhibit himself on grounds of conflict of interest, or on grounds of compromising the Court as a whole, or never mind all that, of lacking any moral authority whatsoever. The most he could have done was to do an Angelo Reyes.
Indeed, it goes beyond Corona to the Court itself. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. That is an adage that applies most of all to the Court. That is an institution that has too much power and too little responsibility, too much authority and too little accountability. When the government defies a TRO, the Court can compel government to answer to it. When it flouts the law, or forget the law common sense itself, who is the Court answerable to? To this day, it hasn’t apologized to the PAL flight stewards for so unconscionable a thing as reopening a case it has ruled with finality in their favor three times on the strength of a letter by Estelito Mendoza. Thereby trashing due process, thereby making a mockery of trials, thereby assuring that a case can go on and on ad infinitum, ad absurdum, “ad stupidum.”
A Court that has wrought these crimes— yes, crimes—has no business putting on airs of wisdom, or, heaven forbid, superiority. The justices that have committed these sins have business only putting on sackcloths or flagellating themselves on the way to Christmas. A Court that has shown itself to have no moral center should not be presuming to heal a wounded land, it should be heeding the Biblical advice, “Healer, heal thyself.”
Two, I agree completely as well that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo should be occupying a room in Fort Bonifacio while awaiting trial for electoral fraud. At the very least that is so because she has never shown that her affliction has reached a point that is life-threatening. The burden of proof lies with her, not with government. In any case, being sick is a claim only to medical ministration, it is not a claim to juridical exemption. Arroyo can always have a battery of doctors at her side in her room in Bonifacio, or at her beck and call in her cell in Muntinlupa when, or if, found guilty as charged. House arrest or hospital arrest sends a wrong message to the public, one that sounds not very faint echoes of executive privilege. The public will profit better with object lessons in crime and punishment.
That is not to say that Arroyo should not be accorded respect. She should, but not as befitting her stature as former president (she was never one, which is why she is in her straits now) only as befitting her status as an ordinary citizen who may be presumed innocent until proven guilty. P-Noy has handled himself well in that respect, firm without being heavy-handed, inexorable without being tyrannical.
At the very most, that is so because Arroyo is not the one person who most needs ministration, who most needs plucking from the clutches of disease, if not from the jaws of death. Juan de la Cruz is. He is the one who has most felt the ravage of affliction, courtesy of the virulence of the Arroyo regime. He is the one who has had one foot shoved in the grave courtesy of the Arroyo regime. It was Arroyo who gave him to understand he could never expect to find justice in this world. No, more than that, it was Arroyo who gave him to see that while she lived and breathed he could only hope to see the innocent punished and the guilty rewarded, the wicked exalted and the righteous trampled upon. He is the one who most badly needs to be healed.
Nothing will cure him faster than seeing his tormentor laid low.
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