Monday, March 06, 2006

State of war

If we come to think critically of it, Proclamation 1017 is nothing less than an affirmation of a “state of war” the Arroyo regime has waged against the Filipino people.

What are the premises of this claim? First, the fact is undeniable that the “Garci tapes” have thickened the clouds of doubt over the legitimacy of Arroyo’s presidency even following a chaotic presidential election canvass in Congress.

Then, the people’s sovereign suffrage being at stake, an overwhelming majority of Filipinos - individuals of conscience and reputable associations representing the academes, religious organizations, civic groups and civil societies in general - have demanded of the president to first clear her name of the scandal that smacks of massive electoral fraud amounting to betrayal of public trust, preferably in a constitutional process, before their consent for her to govern be renewed.

A wide chasm was also determined in scientific surveys to exist between the political choice the people was willing to pursue (i.e., for Arroyo to consider forfeiting her office as a result of her “lapse in judgment”) and the actual decision (the impeachment vote) the House of Representatives has arrived at (i.e., avoiding to put to the test the people’s preference in the un-election process of impeachment). Impeachment should have been the political and constitutional process, by which Arroyo could clear and quiet the clouds over her claim to the presidency.

Unfortunately, during the impeachment, Arroyo’s allies in the House have chosen to ignore the essence of the Rule of Law in favor of the frivolity of procedure and technicality. The House legislators were thus seen to have acted contrary to one of the ends for which they had been constituted by the people, that is, to serve and perform their check-and-balance function against the president.

The plot by and between Arroyo and her congressional allies to derail the impeachment have soon become public knowledge by their very own conduct. The House has thus allowed itself to be altered and illegitimated by Arroyo as she by herself, thereby permitting the reversion of the delegated authority to its source, the people. In a strict sense, what have taken place are a rebellious conspiracy and/or overt acts of rebellion on the part of Arroyo and her co-conspirators against the State. As a consequence, a state of war between the Arroyo regime and the Filipino People is created. The condition of hostilities, by words or actions, is today continuing since the execution of the conspiracy.

What are the known principles involved in the foregoing? To paraphrase John Locke, the English philosopher whose treatises on government became one of the foundations of American democracy, where an appeal to the law and the courts (in this case the Impeachment Court) lies open, but the remedy is denied by a manifest perverting of justice and a shameless wrestling of the laws to protect the violence of some men, then it would be hard to imagine anything but a state of war.

Locke fortified his postulation, thus:
For wherever violence is used and injury done, though by hands appointed to administer justice, it is still violence and injury, however coloured with the name, pretences, or forms of law, the end whereof being to protect and redress the innocent, by an unbiased application of it, to all who are under it; wherever that is not bona fide done, war is made upon the sufferers, who having no appeal on earth to right them, they are left to the only remedy in such cases, an appeal to heaven.
By natural right, the people have the power to remove a government if it has rebelled against them. “Whoever uses force without right - as every one in the society who does it without law - puts himself into a state of war with those against whom he uses it, and in that state all former ties are cancelled, all other ties cease, and every one has the right to defend himself, and to resist the aggressor,” Locke warned aspiring tyrants.

If the Filipino people opt for a peaceful struggle (for now, not going beyond festive encounters and “flash mobs” as mlq3 calls them), that is the Filipino way. But it does not deny the state of war the Arroyo regime has initiated and is prosecuting in various forms (from calibrated preemptive response and E.O. 464 to Proclamation 1017 and warrantless arrests, to name some) upon the sufferers. By a comedy of ineptitudes, Arroyo was even forced to admit its existence via the now infamous declaration of a State of National Emergency.

Yet, having been on the other camp before, Arroyo knows fully well the rule: the people have not only the right to get out of an illegitimate regime, but to prevent it from endangering the whole system upon which the people’s rights and liberties depend. And just as her predecessor, Estrada, the people have the right to hold an aggressor like Arroyo as fully accountable for all her acts against the State.


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