SC may not have much, but it has the people’s support
The executive and the legislative branches of our government seemed to have worked tandem in prosecuting and convicting Chief Justice Renato Corona in an impeachment trial. They now appear to be up in arms against the Supreme Court after it unanimously ruled the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.
These three branches of government were made coequal by our Constitution to allow for the check and balance of power among them.
Unfortunately for the judiciary, it doesn’t have control of the Army (unlike the executive branch) or of the money (unlike the legislature). But it has the Constitution for a defense fortress.
After its decision on the DAP, the Court may end up fighting at least two battles: against the executive over the DAP; and against the legislative over the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF).
Incidentally, the disbursement of the JDF is not discretionary, unlike the DAP. The law requires that “80% of the fund be used for cost of living allowance while not more than 20% be used for office equipment and facilities of the Courts,” as explained by Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
The Commission on Audit has raised an issue apparently on savings from the 20-percent appropriation of the JDF, for which use there are no guidelines. Could this issue bolster the move of Congress to abolish the JDF?
With neither arms nor the money against the advancing offensives of the other two government branches, the high court could be likened to the “Kawawang Cowboy” of a once popular local song of the same title—“may baril, walang bala; may bulsa, wala namang pera” (has a gun but without bullets, has pockets but without money).
But the Court need not worry. It will have the support of the Filipino people for as long as it upholds the law.
For his sake (and ours, as well), President Aquino should pay attention to this counsel: Abandon the bullying tactics, for soon that great power and intimidating influence will be gone, just like the political butterflies who come and go, gravitating to whoever is in power. Soon enough, P-Noy might yet find himself in the same hole as his favorite object of blame, his former teacher, the former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo—alone and lonely, under arrest.
—ARMANDO LIBRANDO ALPAY,
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