Gauntlet of Supreme Court

THE news of a 10-5 Supreme Court ruling against the Executive’s “Truth Commission” sends the strongest signal yet that a 10-man majority within it has become the Supreme Court; that these 10 justices decide as a group on politically-sensitive cases; and that, it is a group that protects itself and the interests of the previous administration sans common logic and rule of law. As it is, the manifest act confirms that we are truly in a constitutional crisis and also still within the political crisis of the former GMA administration, albeit with GMA’s supreme court playing a rear-guard role.

The guard role is simple. Cases of major corruption and other high malfeasance of people identified with the former administration can only be taken up through the GMA-appointed Ombudsman. If this is defeated–possibly through the retirement of Merceditas Gutierrez in 2012 and appointment of a new Ombudsman, the Arroyo appointees in the Supreme Court are prepared to deny every significant decision of the new President on these cases. They can do so by sheer number–8 at least–and brazen illogical and even unconstitutional arguments.

We have a similar situation in the Benipayo Comelec when a “Gang of Four” lorded it over the commission by forming a block and voting as a block. This is, of course, disastrous, for democracy and for the credibility of the electoral process. Inevitably, it led to an electoral and political  crisis immortalized by the Garcillano tapes.

The  SC decision on the “Truth Commission” may well prove to be the straw that will break the back of the people’s patience (and incidentally that of the President and the Congressional majority). The impeachment of the concerned Supreme Court justices has become closer to reality.

We are in for another political rough ride in the coming year. The SC action has fully encircled the legal powers of the presidency and thrown down the gauntlet before President Noynoy Aquino. Will he accept it? As the Filipino comics serial put it, “Abangan ang susunod na kabanata.” Mon Casiple

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