Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow
By Linggoy Alcuaz
“Do unto Others, as you would like Others, to do unto You!” This is the Greatest Commandment. Shall we follow this Greatest of All Commandments that sums them all up as one? Or shall we be selective in our choice of what to follow and what not to follow? Shall we do whatever we want to do to others and still expect them not to do the same to us? Or do we believe, like the Aquinos, that we are always right and “they” are always wrong!
The question at hand, is, whether to allow or not to allow former President GMA and former First Gentleman Mike Tuason Arroyo to leave the Philippines and go abroad while they are still “accused in waiting”? As of press time, we know of no cases, that have already been filed in court against GMA and the FG. And yet the incompetent Aquino Administration has been in power for more than five hundred days or a year, four months and two weeks already. By the end of the year, it will be into one fourth of its six year term.
And yet, we see no improvements in its ability to govern. If, on the one hand, any new administration or official needs time to learn its or his job, in the case of P Noy and his Ka … , we see no “so called” learning curve. In terms of ability, experience, knowledge, even wisdom, P Noy and his Administration are flat, Zero, as in “Wala Talaga!”. However, in terms of perception, he, his officials and the whole Aquino Administration have what is definitely not flat, nor a mere plateau. They are in precipitous decline.
Considering that the centrepiece slogans of his program of government and reform, as promised in the September 2009 to May 2010 campaign, were “Walang Mahirap, pag Walang Korap!” and “Matuwid na Daan!”, P Noy has hardly any accomplishments to show.
His first and biggest mistake was to create a Constitutionaly infirm Truth Commission and rely on it completely, to deliver on his biggest and noisiest campaign promises. He did not employ or have multilevel strategy and tactics. In case his plan A failed or was lacking, he did not have a Plan B, C, etc …
Although, the Ombudsman was in the hands of a GMA Loyalist and a Law Classmate of the former FG, Merceditas “Mercy” Gutierrez, P Noy still had a feisty, and still very credible, at that time, Secretary of Justice, Leila de Lima. As President and Commander – in – Chief, he wielded the entire intelligence, investigation and prosecution arms of the Executive Branch minus, off course, the independent Commission on Audit, COMELEC and Ombudsman. However, there was nothing to prevent his Administration from coordinating and seeking the help of these independent Constitutional Bodies.
Meanwhile, private individuals and organizations have been filing cases against family members of the Macapagal – Arroyo clan, before the DOJ and Ombudsman for almost a year. What have become of the cases filed with de Lima’s DOJ? As for the loyalty and ties of Ombudsman Gutierrez to GMA/FG, do we take it to mean that the anti – corruption and reform programs of Presidential Candidate Noynoy Aquino were only aimed, designed and good against the immediate Macapagal – Arroyo Family and their close and top Cronies. What about more distant and lower officials who were as guilty, even if to a lesser degree? Will they go Scot free?
If P Noy had some brains, he should have planned and implemented a three phased and three pronged approach. Everything starts with intelligence and evidence gathering. Then, comes the prosecution. And finally, the last stage is through the independent judicial process. While he was still credible and his campaign promises still rung true, he should have prioritized the work of public intelligence and investigative resources. Government should have harnessed the energies and resources of private individuals and organizations as well, in producing clues, leads, evidences and witnesses against past and present graft and corruption.
It is the latter rather than the former that would have a bigger impact in maintaining P Noy’s credibility. However, P Noy did not have the character necessary to go after his Kabarilans, Kaklases, Kamaganaks, etc … We saw this very early on as regards “Juetend: and DILG Usec Rico Puno, cousin Tony Boy, brother – in – law Eldon and sister Balsy.
Not all government officials and employees have to be tried by the Sandigan Bayan. Below a certain salary grade, jurisdiction resides in the ordinary fiscals to prosecute and the ordinary courts to try. As a layman, I believe that the DOJ can investigate and prosecute all levels of government officials. The differentiation would come at the third phase, the court with the appropriate jurisdiction.
P Noy should have utilized the DOJ against a broad range of grafters, past and present, and filed cases more expeditiously both before the Ombudsman and the appropriate courts. If he had done this, he would not have appeared personal and vindictive. In which case, he would have held the moral high ground instead of descending to the gutter of “Ka Cronyism”.
He should have been doing all of these while waiting for the final Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the Truth Commission. If the Supreme Court had not overturned the creation of the Truth Commission, the not impartial former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide would have provided a much better venue, than the DOJ or Ombudsman Carpio Morales, for a simultaneous Trial by Publicity. In much the same way, if Ombudsman Gutierrez had not resigned, her Impeachment, being more political than judicial, would have been a terrific Trial by Publicity of the GMA Administration.
However, P Noy was deprived of both of these. Therefore, he ended up having or being the target and victim of bad publicity most of the time. And at the end of the day, they have been so incompetent as to have let the Cats, GMA and FG, legally out of the bag. Here, we keep our fingers crossed as to whether the Supreme Court will issue a TRO against the illegal and unconstitutional DOJ Memorandum Circular that is the basis for Immigration not to allow the departure of GMA and FG, between our Press Deadline and the time we hit the Bookstores and Kapihans on Mondays.
There is also a second possibility, and that is that before a Supreme Court TRO can be issued and the Arroyos can fly the coop, the DOJ or Ombudsman files even a single criminal case against either or both of them, namely, GMA and FG. The question is whether a Government that is more noted for incompetence and inefficiency will be able to act faster with a Court issued Hold Departure Order, than the DOJ was not able to in the case of Ramgen Revilla murder suspect Ramona Bautista.
P Noy should have depended on his badly thought out Truth Commission more for Propaganda than Justice and Reform. Maybe, all these debate regarding the illegal and unconstitutional DOJ Memorandum Circular, would be academic in so far as the million dollar question at hand is concerned. A case or cases should have already been filed against both GMA and FG, as well as Mikey perhaps. Warrants of Arrest should have been issued by the appropriate courts.
Even if the cases were not for Capital Offenses or Plunder, a proper court should have acquired the Legal Jurisdiction to Issue a Legal Hold Departure Order. And that should have been the case even if, bail had been granted, posted and availed of, so that the accused could be at Liberty within the territory of the Philippines. What a “Palpak!”