MAGANES: ‘No one is above the law’

July 28, 2014 at 7:45 am Leave a comment


vir
In a democratic society, the rule of law is supreme in order not to create disorder, chaos and anarchy. We are in a society where laws, not rules of men, govern the citizenry.
Lately, PNoy blatantly defied the order of the Supreme Court when it declared unconstitutional some parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP). He could not accept the fact that the magistrates voted 13 against (with one abstaining) against DAP, despite appointing four of them. Maybe, PNoy was expecting that his appointed magistrates will work for him even to the extent of disregarding the Constitution because of the “debt of gratitude.”
PNoy must be aware that the magistrates are all lawyers and legal luminaries in their own rights. The magistrates are not economists or engineers. They are there to defend the Constitution and interpret laws if they are within the ambit of Constitution- that same Constitution he has promised to defend and protect when he took his oath as President of the Philippine Republic on June 30,2010.
By not yielding to the wisdom of the Supreme Court, PNoy is at the losing end. He is giving the signal that we too, can defy the orders of the courts particularly if we are invoking of what we believe in. PNoy believed that the DAP was important to stimulate the economy. With the grand design of his Budget Secretary Abad, DAP was born. All unspent budget of government agencies in the middle of the year in 2011 were pooled together and by the stroke of pen, it is already the Office of the President that will spend the money for projects and programs it wanted to implement.
Before he became the President, PNoy was a member of the House of Representatives, thence the House of Senate. As a senator, he was a critic of then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and had questioned how the government’s budget was spent. He was aware on the role of Congress when it comes to budget and likewise aware of the role of the Supreme Court as the interpreter of laws. He’s also aware that the three branches of the government are co-equal- executive that is headed by the President, judiciary that is headed by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Congress with two chambers headed by the Senate President ( House of Senate) and House Speaker (House of Representatives). In short, PNoy knows fully well that these branches of government provide “checks and balances” in government operations.
Why then does PNoy seem to disregard the Supreme Court ruling on DAP, even citing an administrative code as the basis of the implementation of the DAP? While he has lawyers around him to provide legal advice, PNoy is not a lawyer. He’s an economist who likely concentrates on economic policies and institute reforms if needed.
But the Supreme Court has spoken. The declaration of savings in the middle of the year, pooled in one fund only controlled by the President and the cross-border transfer of funds, are unconstitutional. The General Appropriations Act (GAA) is a law enacted each year that contains the budget for the operations of the government. It is being prepared by the Office of the President, then transmitted to both the House of Senate and House of Representatives for deliberations. Before its passage as a law, the GAA has to be examined by the Congress that is why there are hearings involving the agencies that propose the budget. Once satisfied, GAA will be passed and approved by the President.

The GAA could not be tinkered on by anybody, not even the President. It is a law within the framework of the Constitution and therefore any tinkering that will be done should be referred back to the Congress.
The argument of PNoy and his “bright boys” that the DAP has improved the economy and government spending is a shallow reason to tinker with the GAA. PNoy should have requested the Congress for a supplemental budget, which was likely to be approved since most of the members of Congress are his allies.
At this point in time, PNoy must respect the decision of the Supreme Court. Like a true statesman, he must be on the frontline to defend and protect our Constitution. He must not do otherwise for it will surely divide the nation again.

PNoy has all the time to prove himself as the best President this country has ever had. But it seems his popularity is dwindling. Will he wait until his popularity wane to its lowest level?

He should think it twice.

(For comments, email me at emperorvirgil@yahoo.com. Visit my blog, THE ROVING PEN at http://www.virgilmaganes.wordpress.com)

Entry filed under: News.

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