MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/15 July) – President Benigno Aquino III continues to miss – or more appropriately perhaps, ignore – the whole point of the Supreme Court decision declaring the Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional. This showed in his televised addressed Monday night, when he expectedly played up the supposed economic gains from the DAP and dodged the main basis of the high court’s ruling that nullified the program.
The issue is not mainly about intentions. It is all about whether the Palace had played by the rules as defined by the Constitution, whether Aquino – and an emerging Rasputin named Budget Secretary Florencio Abad – had stayed within the limits of their authority as prescribed by the principle of separation of powers. Repeatedly citing Section 39 of the Administrative Code of 1987 as the legal basis of DAP is of no use in that the DAP funds were not really savings as the Palace would insist. Besides, no law can prevail over the Constitution.
What is more disgusting is that Aquino openly defied the Supreme Court, questioning the wisdom of its decision. Sounding more of a dictator than a reformer, he warned the whole thing might become personal and a “gridlock” could ensue if the high court did not reverse the ruling.
Maybe it was the conviction of former Chief Justice Renato Corona that emboldened Aquino to speak arrogantly to the Supreme Court. Maybe he still is harboring angst over its decision upholding the distribution of Hacienda Luisita lands to its tenants and workers. Whatever the motive was, his speech left a bad aftertaste.
His were not the words of a statesman but of a senorito whose feudalistic ego has been bruised by the collective pronouncement of magistrates he considers to be a species below his class. His statements betrayed an aversion to process and propriety, never mind decency and delicadeza. Louis XIV is dead, long live Louis XIV, he of the “I am the State” fame or notoriety, whichever suits your political flavor.
Aquino tried to justify his open contempt for constitutional standards with his own brand of noble impatience. Reforms can’t wait, the needs of the people can’t wait, so damn the processes that only impede the unstoppable journey for national deliverance along the “daang matuwid”.
He ended his speech by likening the DAP to a man who is forced to park in a wrong place along the road so that he could save in time another man from death or injury. Pathetic analogy. The DAP was more like a football player trying to score by pushing aside the goalkeeper. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)