This time, beware of snowballing
I will not talk of the legal grounds over which the “impeach the President” movers are scrambling. I am part of the vast majority of “nonlegalistic” persons: TV-watching, reading, understanding enough to know what’s going on, but not knowledgeable enough to write one word on the intricacies of the law and the Constitution.
Except to say, humanly speaking: that President Aquino miscalculated repercussions when he berated the Supreme Court with mild and measured words (they were) but whose implications are not mild and which the critics snatched and hung on to; that there’s something odd when the President is at the frontline taking the blows while the President’s men, some of whom may be culpable, are silent and shielded (as has been noted); that the fault of the brain/s behind the Disbursement Acceleration Program was the haste with which funds were allocated, sidestepping procedure and rules known or not fully known; that the DAP is not the Priority Development Assistance Fund; that “hindi magnanakaw si P-Noy”; that many of us are unhappy over this deadlock between the executive and judicial branches.
For excellent legal and sober clarifications on the foregoing impressions, read the Inquirer columns of former chief justice Artemio Panganiban—“The DAP decision” (July 6) and “Q and A on DAP decision” (July 20); the commentary of Oscar Franklin Tan—“Why we should not impeach over DAP (July 11); and the column of John Nery—“7 Theses in the Wake of P-Noy’s Outburst” (July 22), which mentions the obiter dictum (an incidental, nonbinding remark) that may have stung the President.
For our President does share the Pinoy “personalan” syndrome. Said a constituent: “Binati ako ng Mayor!” and the man loved the mayor forever. Said another: “Hindi ako pinansin ni Senator!” and the man disliked the senator forever. Unfortunately, such slights, although denied, lurk behind our behavior—the bigger the slight, the bigger the dislike. This, of course, is not saying that we do not have nobler motives behind our political choices. There is no doubt that the people behind “Patalsikin!” have noble motives.
But one aspect (too generously covered by the media), whose momentum is extremely worrisome, is this swift alacrity with which some sectors pounce on any presidential possibility or probability of wrongdoing: like blood-thirsty predators waiting for the kill? Or vigilant protesters on watchdog mode?
Anytime, who would not prefer the vigilant protester to the blood-thirsty predator? I think it’s now time for a call to sobriety. The language has become incendiary, the temper totally pasiklab, the bandwagon misleading—way out of proportion to Mr. Aquino’s “guilt,” which is nowhere near the enormous scale and duration of verified dishonesty, deception, thievery, violence, etc. of three former presidents and three senators, all household names for depravity.
I looked at the picture of those behind the first impeachment complaint on the Inquirer’s front page (July 22) with the “screaming” headline “Protests mount vs P-Noy.” One was a respected and esteemed cousin, another was a dear friend, a third was a gentleman across the table at a meeting who impressed me with his fluency and tenacity. I don’t know why the picture saddened me, but there I was, wondering at the mixed bag of personalities and whether the leadership and motives of those behind this endeavor were unexamined or taken for granted. The next day (July 23), the second impeachment complaint was reported, calling the President a “monster” and “a tyrannical ruler.” Sobra na.
At a meeting, P-Noy, who had then hardly warmed his seat as president, was the subject of some talk. “Expose and oppose” dropped from someone’s lips. I perked up at the remark and expressed my objection, timidly beneath my breath, such that I don’t know if anybody heard me.
“Bakit naman ganon; this early you’re going to ‘expose and oppose’ already as if you’re not giving him any chance? Unfair yata.”
And now, has the ante moved up to expose-oppose-depose?
A first-rate columnist once wrote in so many words that no president, however good, can ever make it in this country. We will jump at every fault, every mistake however small, never pleased, never content. Quite true. We may yet blame him for the devastation of wind and rain. We want supermen, yet Superman had his Kryptonite as Achilles had his heel.
So President Aquino is impeached. Who comes next? What comes next? Are we becoming experts at “removing” and not any wiser at “electing,” entering a vicious cycle of habitually doing so, as bloggers suggest? Are there groups that grasp at any opening, any opportunity, for chaos, and bahala na for us but not for them because chaos is Step I?
If this “Impeach!” snowballs, some who joined the bandwagon may be sorry for not having realized the gravity and confusion at the end of the road. Our country, not just the President and the Supreme Court, is in crisis.
Let’s not allow a global trend turning people into firebrands igniting countries to anarchic and self-destructive protest to happen here. Let Gaza, Libya, Syria, Ukraine remain on TV and not travel to our land.
Asuncion David Maramba ([email protected]; fax 8284454) is a retired professor, book editor and occasional journalist.
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