Yesterday's Supreme Court decision allowing Mrs. Arroyo full powers to appoint the next Chief Justice is a direct blow to Philippine democracy. First, it shows that the Executive has a tight grip on a co-equal branch of government which effectively destroyed the principle of check and balance, and second, it reflects how this administration has, time and again, shown its wanton disregard in the rule of law.
The rule of law is the only thing that keeps this democracy alive and by destroying it or even casting aside traditional or customary law, puts our democracy in extreme danger. How would we explain this ruling to future students of the law? That our Highest Court has the tendency to mock itself and has repeatedly contradicted itself to suit political whims?
What are the effects of this ruling to us, ordinary citizens of this damned Republic?
First, the ruling shows us that this Court is most favorable to Mrs. Arroyo. Nine justices granted her the powers, while only one dissented. Two close allies of Mrs. Arroyo said the issue is premature while three abstained from voting.
This shows you what will happen when an issue goes to court questioning the legality of an act made by Mrs. Arroyo. Surely, as what Makati Business Club Executive director Bertie Lim said, this court will legalize even a Martial law declaration.
Former strongman Ferdinand Marcos was the only one who effectively controlled all branches of government under Martial rule. Mrs. Arroyo is now second, yet even without declaring herself the ultimate diva.
Second, a court bound by its strong ties with the Executive loses its effectiveness, integrity and independence. How would outsiders view this Court now, as a rump one? The Supreme Court acts as a leveller in a democracy. How then will this Court pass judgment without courting public suspicion?
Third, a Court acting as arbiter in a presidential race could entirely throw the entire electoral process to the dogs. In a close fight, will the public accept the verdict of this Court acting as Presidential Electoral Tribunal? Obviously, no.
Lastly, it is evident that the real plan of this administration is institute an extra-constitutional exit for Mrs. Arroyo and pave the way for a quasi-dictatorship.
The ideologues of this administration is destroying every pillar of democracy to create a new one.
The dire warning given by Vice presidential candidate Mar Roxas is not without basis. Roxas warned that this ruling is the last in a series of acts by this administration to further its life and could very well be the last action pre-empting this elections.