Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror August 8, 2007 edition, p. A10.
Dear Judge Oscar Pimentel,
In the Enchanted Kingdom, they play a game called “Upside Down.” They hail the railroaded junking of two impeachment complaints as “constitutional democracy,” they dismiss dagdag-bawas as “clerical error,” and they call a law endangering human rights the Human Security Act.
Last week, you joined the game when you issued a ruling denying the petition of Senator Antonio Trillanes for a little leeway to enable him to fulfill his electoral mandate.
You said, “The Court not having been persuaded by the reasons given by the accused Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, and for lack of merit, all his requests are hereby denied.”
That ruling would have been fine had you given meritorious reasons to persuade us that Trillanes deserved to be turned down. But you did not.
Instead of dealing directly with his arguments, you decided to turn the world upside down.
First, you flipped the essence of our representative form of government. From “majority of voters rule,” you turned it into “the rule of the non-voting majority.”
You echoed the Enchanted Kingdom line:
“As the prosecuting arm of the government, its shield and sword of law and order, (the Department of Justice) represents not only the 11,138,067 voters who voted for him, but the people of the Philippines, with all its 85 million citizens and counting.”
Judge, the purpose of elections is to choose representatives. One man with one vote decides who will assume office as our elected representative or representatives, not one woman with more than a million Garci votes.
Now, the right to vote belongs to all Filipinos who meet certain qualifications set forth in our constitution. That means many Filipinos cannot vote. But that doesn’t mean our constitution is not fair. Parents, for example, are presumed to vote for their children’s welfare until such time as they are old enough to vote.
My point is this: Those who have a right to vote but choose not to exercise that right have no say in our representative form of government. It’s not for you or the Justice Department to overrule the wisdom of voters.
You can’t pull non-voters out of your rear end, presume to know what they want, and then tell me you’re protecting them from my stupidity. They didn’t vote. I did. So live with it.
Second, Alice in Wonderland is a fantasy tale written by Lewis Carroll. But, even if it were real in some places, we have not, until you enshrined it in your ruling, adopted that fantasyland’s concept of justice—“Sentence first, verdict later.”
“Allowing accused-appellant to attend congressional sessions and committee hearings five days or more in a week will virtually make him a free man with all the privileges appurtenant to his position. Such an aberrant situation not only elevates the accused-appellant’s status to that of a special class, it would also be a mockery of the purposes of the correction system.”
Congressman Romeo Jalosjos was convicted. He is in the correction system. Senator Antonio Trillanes is still undergoing trial and presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. He is not yet in the correction system.
Please try to keep those facts in their proper order—verdict first, sentence later—so you don’t spout aberrations that mock the very foundation of our justice system. Okay?
Now here’s the good news.
You are the winner of the “Sanctimonious Sacrilege” award for the month of July. You beat out that supporter of Pablo Garcia who claimed:
“The secret ballot is the very foundation of democracy. If it is used to elect all of our officials since time immemorial, from the President down to the barangay officials, then it is good enough to be used by congressmen to choose the House Speaker. Voting by acclamation or by viva voce, on the other hand, is the refuge of bribe-givers and horse-traders. Viva voce had been used to perpetuate tyranny in pseudo-referendums held during the dark days of the dictatorship.”
His was a great piece of sanctimonious sacrilege too—that we elect representatives, so they can keep their votes secret from us. However, your line about the “85 million and counting” non-voters being superior to the mandate of 11 million voters really takes the cake.
Hugs first, kisses later,