Saturday, April 22, 2006

Abangan ang susunod na kabanata

Something that should be pretty evident by now is that I am not a lawyer nor a political scientist. My training is in the behavioral sciences, thus, my perspectives tend toward "understanding motivations" rather than in analyzing the (political, intellectual, social, ideological, etc) implications of things. I am putting this caveat forward before going on to write about what I want to write about today because one of the things that dismays me is that there are many so-called experts out there who speak with the conviction of the all-knowing without regard to the most basic of facts: their views are based on a specific worldview hewn out of a specific discipline; they are not generic one-size fits all panacea. So what follows is either ignorant blabbering of a politically naive person, or valid musings from an imaginary couch.

Having said that, let me state that I view the Supreme Court decision on EO 464 as a possible harbinger of sorts of the collective stance of the magistrates. Thus, the days ahead should prove interesting as we await decisions on other critical issues pending before the Court. The Chief Justice said in today's PDI issue that the Court sees its mandate as not about "who loses or wins" but about what the Constitution says. This "officialese" may sound innocuous but it actually says quite a lot. Put another way, what he seems to be saying is that they will try not to pander to any side, which is neither here nor there because issues are not always that objective nor so cut and dried. Often, issues do tend to be tilted heavily towards one side and renders Solomonic decisions questionable if not totally out of the question.

What we need to recognize is that the magistrates are people too, and people's behaviors and actions are based on what roles they want to play in the national scene. Should the current attitude of the Supreme Court prevail, then its perceived, and emerging role in these troubled times seems pretty much cut out: it looks like they intend to act as this country's ultimate mediator (not arbiter nor trailblazer) on contentious issues. If my reading is right, then most of its decisions will be Solomonic in nature like its recent decision.

The question that begs to be answered then is: how long can it possibly sustain this delicate balancing act? Not for long, I think. I believe that the pervading situation is approaching a boiling point and sooner or later, the court will have to make a choice between "doing the right things" versus "doing things right."

So as they say in soap operas... abangan ang susunod na kabanata.

***

Speaking of interesting times, it does look like we may be in for another emotional roller coaster ride when Congress resumes sessions in a month's time. Senators Drilon and Biazon have already fired the warning salvo today...a mere one day after the Supreme Court decision was released. Sigh. And on the other side of the arena, the Palace immediately trundled the usual trite warnings about obstructionist politics and witchhunting. This kind of posturing is exactly what I was worried of because it needlessly puts them automatically on opposite sides as vindictive senators who are out to get their pound of flesh at any cost and/or as defensive obfuscating talking mouths out to block any punch, real or imagined.

But here is what I deeply believe in. There is a critical mass of people out there who will no longer sit impassively watching senators turn hearings into a kangaroo court. If there is something I know for sure after that letter was circulated, there are people out there who now expects statesmanship and some semblance of civility in the way senate hearings are conducted. No, I personally do not think the senate investigations should be stopped. But there is a way of conducting these hearings without turning them into scenes straight out of a Carlo Caparas movie: gory and perversely engrossing but in dire need of better scripting and competent directing.

I for one will be closely watching how these hearings to be conducted supposedly "in aid of legislation" will play out. I expect them to do their work well. I expect them to walk the talk and produce smoking guns, not dubious evidences that make for good headlines, but will not stand in any court of law. Senator Biazon, come up with something better than text messages and shady characters.

On the other hand, I expect the palace functionaries to get their acts together and come up with better, more convincing defense other than the usual stonewalling. There are things that need explaining, and they better hit the ground running. Otherwise, face the inevitable.

***

But is a showdown really going to happen? This is a question that remains to be seen. While it does look like the rope in this tug of war has been stretched taut even before the actual game has started, there are other events in the field that threatens to upstage or render the main event moot and academic.

This is where the Supreme Court once again comes into the picture. If the high court declares the people's initiative on the cha cha legal and constitutional, anything can happen before then. Will it be another Solomonic decision?

Interesting times, indeed. Again, abangan ang susunod na kabanata.

5 comments:

james said...

Statemanship from the senators?! They are pathetically clinging to their dear lives. But this is good reason for the abolition of the most inept senate ever.

Tabuena art central said...

Hi Bong,

I just want to say "Mabrook" on your effort to define issues here on your blog, well one thing I notice is that you haven't touched on the subject of art. Would you write about the state of art in our country?

What's your own views?

Any comment on Bencab's winning the National Artist Award?

BongA said...

James, there is a part of me that wants to agree with you. But let's see what happens. Who knows, we might be in for some surprises.

Tabuena art central, thanks for reminding me. I have always meant to write about art; one of my closest friend is hopelessly hooked into paintings (she recently was finally able to get an original Picasso painting for which she saved up for so long) and she has introduced me to some of the most beautiful works of "new artists." I am dying to get my hands on a painting by Lydia Velasco - whew! I saw the painting at a gallery at Kingswood and I just fell hopelessly in love with it; too bad it is way beyond my means at the moment. Another artist that I am definitely drawn to is Badon. I will write a piece about art soon, promise.

Bong

alden said...

hey Bong, Have your read the Inq7 Editorial today? It is sayiong almost thesame concern as yours and mine. I just hope that the opposition will not use it to wreck more havoc but instead use it to defiend on how we should go from here on. The reality is the peopel doesn't need more investigations and proof against Mrs Arroyo. What we need from them is to work on how we can move peacefully now that we know that SC has a capability to settle all the the "stalemates" facing the country.

http://news.inq7.net/opinion/index.php?index=2&story_id=73506&col=84

domingo said...

"Attainder by Congressional Committees," that's what "McCarthyism" inflicted on "guests" the HUAC committee under Senator Joseph "Joe" McCarthy invited to be subjected to "pitiless publicity and exposure" in the 1950s.