The Empire strikes back: Gloria’s counter-Sona

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the August 4, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

Lawyers spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke. – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr.

Last week, the loyal weaver who cloaked his Empress in legalisms played the precocious boy who could see through pretense.

“I have been cautioned to go slow on the SONA (State of the Nation Address) because President Aquino enjoys a tremendously high approval rating. But when the Emperor wears no clothes, can I honestly tell you that his robe is regal and majestic?”

Honest Rep. Edcel Lagman delivered Gloria Arroyo’s counter-Sona even as the stench of the hissing anti-impeachment maneuver he pulled out of his ass some years back—“preh-joo-disssh-yal kwesss-chonssss” —still fouls the air. He accused President Aquino of interference, defiance, and anti-constitutional behavior.

“The rule of law, not the rule of interference, must be strictly observed and judiciously upheld. No more similar presidential interventions in the judicial domain like in the Trillanes case; no more affront against a co-equal branch of government like the defiance of the valid appointment of Chief Justice Renato Corona; and no more projected creation of a “Truth Commission” which may suffer from constitutional infirmities like usurping the power of Congress to create and fund offices and commissions and violating the equal protection clause of the Constitution.’”

Intervention in the Trillanes case?

People are getting smarter nowadays; they are letting lawyers, instead of their conscience, be their guide. – Will Rogers

Romeo V. Pefianco of the Bulletin addressed intervention in an article titled, “President’s oath dictates duty.”

He recounted that President Quezon was accused of interference when he vented his anger on a judge and Court of Appeals justices who decided to dismiss a case involving the death of a laborer. Quezon believed the laborer was denied justice.

“Quezon’s wrath found total support among the various workers’ federations. But members of the Bar and various civic groups, with full support from the print/broadcast media, reacted with equal vehemence.”

Not surprisingly, legalisms and legalists did not cow Quezon.

“The President coolly lectured to them all: ‘My oath of office directs me ‘…to do justice to every man…’ I’m doing this now, in addition to preserving and defending the Constitution.’”

Pefianco added, “The above is the same oath President Noynoy swore to uphold on June 30… Asking [the] DoJ (Department of Justice) to review the case against Senator Trillanes is not an act of defying the courts, but a duty imposed by his oath “…to do justice to every man…” The doctrine of separation of powers is a lot lesser than the duty/power to do justice to every man.”

(The Supreme Court eventually reversed the lower courts and indemnity was awarded to the laborer’s kin.)

Affront against a co-equal branch of government?

I would be loath to speak ill of any person who I do not know deserves it, but I am afraid he is an attorney. – Samuel Johnson

President Aquino expressed his disagreement with the appointment of Justice Renato Corona before he assumed the presidency. Has he shown any defiance after he took his oath of office?

Attorney Edcel would rather gloss over that inconvenient distinction because it is a “preh-joo-disssh-yal kwesss-chon” that cuts off his wooden leg.

Maybe the inauguration was too painful for Attorney Edcel to watch, but the president approached and greeted the Chief Justice after the inaugural address. And at the Red Mass, Aquino did not only address Corona as Chief Justice but he also shook his hand warmly.

By the way, Attorney, did you accuse Gloria of defiance when she disagreed with Supreme Court decisions that went against her?

The creation of a constitutionally infirm truth commission?

It is the trade of lawyers to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour. – Thomas Jefferson

Surely any defense lawyer will question the legality of such a commission. And Attorney Edcel could have done that. But all he did was to reveal Gloria Arroyo’s legal strategy and her preference for Ombudsgirl Gutierrez.

Anyway, I turned off the TV after Straight Talk Edcel’s first silly allegation. I could not bear anymore to watch him in all his pompous nakedness. Honestly.

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