The Arroyo Mafia–a class of their own, according to the Supreme Court

December 9, 2010 § Leave a comment

Sad that the Supreme Court has now been described perogatively as a political court. Why? Because of its ruling in GR NO. 192935 or LOUIS “BAROK” C. BIRAOGO,Petitioner, versus THE PHILIPPINE TRUTH COMMISSION OF 2010. Let us look closely and see if really the SC erred in its decision.

The 40 plus page ruling essentially discusses the power of the President of the Philippines to create an office. The tenor of E.O. no. 1 is actually that—create a truth commission that shall be under the Office of the President. The Commission, says the E.O. is empowered to probe and investigate alleged cases of graft and corruption committed under the former administration. The five-member Commission has no other tasks but to investigate. It does not function as a quasi-judicial entity nor has the prosecutory powers like other Constitutional bodies.

The main discussion is simply this–is the President empowered to create such a Commission, considering that all other bodies of government are created not as a presumption but real and stated in the Constitution?

It discusses the power of the President to re-organize government. This powers, as enshrined in the Constitution, includes the power to create offices and/or restructure them as stated in Section 31 of the Administrative Code.

The Supreme Court says that this power of re-organization applies only to existing bodies or structures already in place, not applicable to the Truth Commission since this Commission has been created by Executive Order no. 1. Why? Because the Truth Commission is not existing nor has been a part of the Office of the President prior to its “re-organization”.

The Supreme Court also said that the creation of the Truth Commission is also not within the ambit of the powers of Control by the President. The power of control only applies when the President wants to supercede, alter or modify a decision made by a subordinate. It does not include the creation of offices, such as the Truth Commission. The power of Control only applies when the President wants to change a particular and existing office under the Executive department.

The Supreme Court however, recognized that the President has the power to ensure that laws are faithfully exercised, as stated in Article 7, section 17 of the 1987 Constitution. This power, as such, is granted to the President, particularly the power to investigate, since it follows that such stated action is concordance with the duty to ensure the faithful exercise of all laws.

Curiously though, while the powers of the President to investigate have been recognized, the Supreme Court then moved forward by discussing the jurisdiction of the Commission. It is in this part that the Supreme Court of the Philippines used to struck down the creation of the Truth Commission.

According to the logic implied by the Supreme Court, the term “previous administration” as stated in the objectives for the creation of the e.o. implies a “class” or a “Grouping”. Essentially, what the Supreme Court says that the particular and specific inclusion of the term “previous administration” shows a violation of the equal protection clause of the 1987 Constitution.

“Applying these precepts to this case, Executive Order No. 1 should be struck down as violative of the equal protection clause.  The clear mandate of the envisioned truth commission is to investigate and find out the truth “concerning the reported cases of graft and corruption during theprevious administration”[87] only. The intent to single out the previous administration is plain, patent and manifest.  Mention of it has been made in at least three portions of the questioned executive order.”

What the SC wants to say is why target the previous administration only, when there are probably other more damning graft and corrupt cases committed by other administrations? For targetting only the Arroyo government, that’s unfair, the SC says, probably echoing the sentiments of former president Arroyo and her mafia members. Hey, we are not the only ones who raided the public coffers and enriched ourselves while in office. Don’t just look at us. Look at the other administrations, like, say the Ramos administration with their Clark Expo elephant project or those numerous cases committed by the Estrada administration. And even the administration of the first Aquino, probably. The Kamaganak Incorporated cornered all the deals during Cory’s time, why single Arroyo out?

By classifying the Arroyo mafia clan as a “class”, the Supreme Court made history. The highest Tribunal of the land echoed what millions of Filipinos have been talking all for nine years—the Arroyo administration has distinguished itself as a class of thieves.

From hereon, thieves especially those in barongs are members of a highly distinguished class, a thriving one.

And really, what is so wrong with the Supreme Court saying that why single the Arroyos out when there were others more greedy than them? The SC is just stating a historical fact–that, since the time when the bourgeoisie seized power from Marcos, there were numerous big multi-billion peso graft cases committed by previous administrations.

In the case of Arroyo, the Arroyos just probably got a billion or so, after losing billions from the stock market crash. For defenders of the previous administration, a billion is nothing compared with the billions the Ramos boys got allegedly during their time, or those which the Estrada gang reportedly pocketed for themselves in all two years. A billion for nine years cannot be considered thievery—it’s just a donation for all the sacrifices the Arroyos and their minions did for the sake of the country, a mere pittance. Imagine being villified and caricatured almost every single day for nine years, and seeing all those in the Internet for your great grandsons to enjoy, and for that, only making just a billion or so, that is not thievery. It’s bravery.

What the SC did, and they did so brilliantly, is classify these demons as a class, all by their own. And really, that, by itself, is a triumph of justice. Pooh



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