Monday, January 4, 2016

Bureau of Immigration Order signed by Caguioa could jeopardise Justice secretary's appointment as Associate Justice

My sources say many of the executive appointees of Pnoy in most government agencies are now being replaced by very close associates (meaning: CLASSMATES) of the Chief Executive. It is just six months to go, and Cabinet members are being replaced one by one by Pnoy's closest classmates.

There is likewise, a plan to campaign for the appointment of a close Aquino associate in the Supreme Court. Sources told me that Justice secretary Benjamin Caguioa is being primed to take the Associate Justice post vacated by a former associate justice.

Caguioa is a classmate of Aquino.

The thing is, Caguioa will have to face several questions including his Department  Order no. 911 issued to give extra powers to an associate commissioner of the Bureau of Immigration. That order, as what Philippine Star columnist Federico Pascual wrote, was illegal because it is explicitly written in the Immigration Law, that exclusion orders are only issued by the Commissioner of the Bureau. That is a power delegated ONLY to the Commissioner, and the delegation was made by Congress itself. This cannot be doubly delegated by a mere Cabinet member to another. 

I hope that Caguioa just had a momentary lapse of memory when he signed this order because if he, indeed signed it willfully and consciously, we may have a very serious problem here. Don't tell me that we need someone who forgets his basic Constitutional law that easily to actually sit as one of our associate justices? Are we so lacking in talents that we will allow someone who thinks he is actually above the law become a top magistrate of the land?

I surely hope not, because this is something that might actually cause harm directly to President Aquino. And this, I am sure, will be a subject of extreme suspicion not just by the Opposition but even by supporters of the Aquino administration.

For one, we are facing a very competitive election environment this year. Surveys point to a 3-way tie  for the presidency, with Grace Poe-Llamanzares, Jejomar Binay and Mar Roxas/Rody Duterte caught in a very difficult situation.

This could be the situation come May 2016 and the possibility of having a very chaotic election looms. What is the possibility that only the institution of the Supreme Court will be left standing at that time? Definitely, the situation will lead to a very politically tense situation that the SC will eventually become the sole arbiter of election contests (according to the Constitution). The margin of difference among these presidential contenders is so small (statistically), that any declaration of electoral victory would actually cause serious political destabilization.

When this happens, and the SC decides contrary to what the election results show, this could cause severe disruption because, according to my observer, none of these political groups would actually agree on letting others seize electoral victory. The competition has become so personal already among political organizers that no one would bulge for the other.

Besides, in a situation where the people elect a minority president, it is expected for the Supreme Court to assume the role of a somber observer, interpreting the law according to tradition and jurisprudence. Any SC decision that bears any hint of a political maneuvering OR worse, interpreted by the People as a decision unduly influenced by Yellow Politics, that, my friend, would spark a revolution never before seen by this country's Oligarchs.

That is why, the President is advised never to treat this appointment issue as a trifling matter. Yes, it is expected that Pnoy appoints a personal defender, a close associate, in the Supreme Court as a matter of course (to protect him from several suits when he leaves office). This is a given. Yet, President Aquino must think and consider the implications of such an appointment of Caguioa because this very act might cause him not just his future but the country's future. Caguioa's appointment may actually be the burning stick that would spark Nero's fire.