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‘Utang na loob’ also insults President Aquino-appointed justices

/ 10:35 PM November 30, 2011

It is good that the Supreme Court’s decision finally granting the Hacienda Luisita farmers the right to own the lands they till is unanimous.  It is good that not one of the justices appointed by President Aquino dissented, even as the President’s personal interest in the issue is not something to sneeze at.   Otherwise, the “moral skepticism”—this attitude of doubt or disposition to incredulity, this suspended judgment, this seemingly systematic doubt or criticism—toward recent Supreme Court rulings, would have persisted to be the pathetic jinx it need not be.

Methinks this moral skepticism leaves much to be desired.  It all the more wedges, rather than unites, an already widely divided Philippine society.  I believe that unless we are able to overcome this moral skepticism towards the Supreme Court, we will never have a moral society; and unless we, as individuals, overcome it personally, we will never be able to make our own moral choices and lead a moral life.

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Meanwhile, I could not help but knit my brows in frustration, hearing two otherwise highly respected senators—Franklin Drilon and Francis Pangilinan—strongly urging Chief Justice Renato  Corona’s outright inhibition from all cases against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for the simple  reason that Corona was appointed by Arroyo.  Judging from the innumerable cases lined up by the administration against Arroyo and following the two senator’s rather puerile argument, doesn’t it then (stupidly) follow that all the other seven or so justices appointed by her should also inhibit themselves?   That would leave the three justices appointed by President Aquino to form a division, perhaps just to conveniently hasten the sealing of Arroyo’s fate.  After all, does Corona differ a bit from all the other justices appointed by Arroyo in terms of their tendency to repay “utang na loob”?

I think those who believe that justices will always side with the president who had appointed them do not realize the consequence of what they are saying.  They do not only undermine the integrity of the Supreme Court as a democratic institution; they also insult the personalities of the justices composing it, whether they are appointees of the past or of the present administration.

Let’s get real!  The history of mankind is written by the victors, not by the vanquished. As things now are—where P-Noy is on top and Arroyo is totally down—to whom would, come what may, repaying a debt of gratitude be more relevant to: the justices appointed by Arroyo or those appointed by P-Noy?   And so, doesn’t it also become an unwitting affront, an ironic insult, to the personal integrity of P-Noy’s appointees if one says our justices tend to be overwhelmed by pure “utang na loob” in their decision-making process?  I don’t mean to sow intrigue; I merely speak from the standpoint of plain common sense.

—RUDY L. CORONEL, [email protected]

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TAGS: Hacienda Luisita farmers, President Aquino, Supreme Court’s decision
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