Saturday, May 05, 2007

Rule of law and representation

The other day, I finally completed my absentee ballot and promptly mailed it. In my conscience I know I have voted for the “rule of law” and against illegitimacy.

At mlq3’s blog, the following comment of rego has caught my attention in relation to my vote:
. . . with the absence of witnesses and evidences, (former Comelec Commissioner Garcillano of the Garci tapes fame) just can not be convicted. Even (First Gentleman) Mike Arroyo with all the allegations of corruption can not really be convicted . . . And all the accusers should just stop talking but really work hard on gathering solid evidence against him.
Yet, who should “work hard on gathering solid evidence against” the likes of Garci, Jocjoc Bolante, or on such serious matters as the extra-judicial killings of journalists and militant opposition, or the new exposé on the “PNCC Radstock deal” that all appear to involve acts or omissions of public officials, employees, offices or agencies”?

The Philippine Constitution is clear on how the rule of law should be enforced in this regard.

Article XI, Section 13 (1) provides that the Office of the Ombudsman shall have, among others, the powers, functions, and duties to “investigate on its own” any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, “when such act or omission appears to be illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient.”

Remember for instance that in the Info Tech case, Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez shirked her above duty even as she ignored the findings of the Supreme Court citing, among other things, the “reckless disregard of (Comelec’s) own bidding rules and procedure” in the case “in clear violation of law and jurisprudence”; instead, her office absolved the Comelec officials led by Chairman Benjamin Abalos from the anomalous P1.3 billion poll automation contract with Mega Pacific?

Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, whose constitutional office has yet to prove as a pillar in the pursuit of the rule of law, was willing to shame her authority both as the Ombudsman and as an officer of the court by feigning an unconventional definition of probable cause in the Info Tech case in the same callous manner the House in the impeachment cases has dealt with the “Garci tapes.”

The egregious nonfeasance of Ombudsman Gutierrez is a distressing contrast with the spirited quest of the rule of law by US Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald against high-level White House adviser Scooter Libby. Fitzgerald’s tenacity resulted in Libby’s conviction for obstructing justice and lying to FBI agents then investigating the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity.

Libby now faces up to 25 years in prison. On the other hand, Garcillano, let off scot-free, is today seeking, quite tauntingly, a congressional seat while those Comelec officials whom the Supreme Court has found to have violated the law and jurisprudence remain at the helm of a critical electoral exercise for the survival of the polity.

Rule of law and legitimate representation are of the essence of republicanism. Without one or the other, there is failure of democracy.

Have Merci and Garci (and, oh well, Cheni) on US.

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