SC can only wear purple

SPY BITS - The Philippine Star

The controversy spawned by the Disbursement Allocation Program (DAP) which the Supreme Court thumbed down as unconstitutional is now turning out to be highly politicized, with President Aquino now asking his supporters to wear the yellow ribbon. At the “Daylight Dialogue” in Malacañang attended by media, members of civil society, the academe and other private sector groups, the President announced plans to appeal the SC decision and asked his followers to wear yellow ribbons as a manifestation of support and as a way to “demonstrate exactly in a quick manner where the sentiments of our people lie.” PNoy garnered about 42 percent or about 15 million of the votes in 2010 – by any measure still considered to be a minority president.

Although Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno and a number of Associate Justices were appointed by PNoy, the SC ruling came across as a strong message of independence by the highest court of the land. No doubt the decision peeved the President who felt the SC should have put more weight to the “good faith” behind the creation of the DAP. In his nationwide address last Monday, people noticed that the president all but declared a konfrontasi in urging the SC to change its decision.

The SC, for its part, has chosen to keep silent and ignore what many Filipinos took as a veiled threat from the President. According to our SC insider, the magistrates were not even questioning the “good faith” of the President but rather, the manner and process by which the realignments were done. Our insider further said the SC justices were already giving an “out” for the President when they acknowledged the doctrine of operative fact which simply put, was telling government that “what was done was done but don’t do it again because it’s not constitutional.”

According to our insider, the suggestion for the Palace to file a motion for reconsideration will only make matters worse because the SC – which voted 13-0 – is not about to reverse itself. This was the same sentiment aired by one of those who has been supportive of the President – Senator Serge Osmeña – who warned that the move could result in a constitutional crisis, and that the SC has not been known to reverse unanimous 13-0 or 14-0 decisions.

Someone who is closely associated with the President also lamented to us that PNoy is really “matigas ang ulo” and that he will live up to his legendary “stubbornness and hardheadedness” once he has made up his mind. Sen. Joker Arroyo who is widely regarded as a staunch member of the “Yellow Movement” called PNoy an “autocratic president” for trying to discredit the judiciary. CBCP president Archbishop Soc Villegas, who is also known to be close to the Aquino family, is urging President Aquino to respect the SC and the country’s democratic institutions and most of all, to be humble and recognize the rule of law.

While the President has the right to file a motion for reconsideration regarding the SC ruling, many are convinced it would be more prudent to take a different route by asking Congress for a supplemental budget to fund his priority projects. After all, the power of the purse is exclusively vested in Congress – which he controls anyway. Taking this route will not only be constitutional, it will signal to all – even the international business community that is closely watching – that in this country, the doctrine of separation of powers that is deeply imbued in our democracy is observed.

Former Chief Justice Renato Corona must be relishing how events are unfolding, especially now that the President is calling on his army of supporters to wear the yellow ribbon which many people view as highly divisive. People have already commented about their discomfort at the practice of the President in wearing the yellow ribbon, in particular during his interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour at the height of Typhoon Yolanda. 

We received a lot of email comments and text messages informing us that there is now a brewing movement on social media to counter the “yellow call” of the President – with people saying they would start wearing Philippine flag pins and will change their Facebook profile and cover photos to the Philippine flag to demonstrate their sentiments. In a June 9 blog of JP Fenix (“Our flag, and that yellow ribbon”), he wrote that the “yellow ribbon was an effective tool when Noynoy Aquino ran for president in the 2010 elections… and was a symbol of a crusade for a committed fight against corruption...” However, “what was a partisan act in the elections has no place once you’ve been voted into office” because it only signals partisanship and exclusivity since “continuing with the yellow ribbon sent out the message that PNoy was installed by the yellow army and from here on it’s the yellow army’s day in the sun.”

Having won the presidency, PNoy’s agenda now must be inclusive. After all, Filipinos – even those who did not vote for him – are ready to stand by him and fight by his side even if the people are armed only with stones or just their bare hands when it comes to defending the sovereignty and dignity of our nation. The call for his supporters to wear the yellow ribbon is highly partisan and unnecessary. Whatever the case may be, it’s very unlikely our honorable Supreme Court justices will be sporting the yellow ribbon. After all, their official color is still purple.

Spy tidbit

About 3.7 million households in Metro Manila were literally in the dark yesterday because of Typhoon Glenda with 70 percent of Meralco’s franchise areas experiencing blackouts that started as early as 1 a.m. Smart Communications offered “libreng tawag” and in some points, portable gensets and solar panels were set up offering “libreng charging.”

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Email: spybits08@yahoo.com

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