Friday, November 30, 2007

It is not folly to prevent a rebellion

The Philippines is in a state of war, but who created it?

Just a brief background. Impeachment should have been the appropriate process, by which Gloria Arroyo could clear the thickening clouds over her claim to the presidency.

Unfortunately, Arroyo and her allies in the House have chosen to ignore the essence of the Rule of Law in favor of procedural convenience. The House legislators were thus seen to have acted contrary to a power delegated to them by the people, which is to perform their check-and-balance role against the president.

By derailing the constitutional process of impeachment, the House has allowed itself to be bastardized by Arroyo as she by herself, thereby setting the stage for the people to take back what has been delegated.

In plainer terms, 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 has been created. The condition of hostilities has thus been ongoing since Arroyo’s aggression against the State.

What are the known principles that support the foregoing propositions?

This paraphrase of John Locke, whose treatises on government became one of the foundations of American democracy, is straightforward: 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.

“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. By natural right, the people have the power to remove a government if it has rebelled against them.

If the Filipino people opt for a peaceful struggle, 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.

Arroyo is not ignorant of the rule having been on the opposite side of the fence before: 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.

Why resort to people power? The Lockean sense is to the effect that people do not rise in rebellion upon every misgovernance, great or small, but only if a long train of abuses and corruptions makes the design unmistakable to the people, and they sense and feel it in every way, leaving them no choice but to re-entrust the power of governance into such hands which may secure to them the reason for being of every government.

Is the fear that the people can be habituated to people power well-founded? On the contrary, according to Locke, people are habituated to norms and as such they are the last to change. This aversion to change entraps the people in the system they have gotten used to. Hence, even if revolutions do happen, the people have the tendency to re-entrust authority to the powers that be for the simple reason that they are more habituated, and therefore more comfortable, to be ruled than rule.

But, who are prone to commit acts of rebellion? Rebellious acts are not normally committed by the people, Locke implied. For, essentially, rebellion is an opposition to the legal order. So those, who being in a position of power or under color of authority break that order, are properly rebels and create a state of war. The effective way to prevent that breach of the legal order that may develop into full-blown hostilities is to show to them who are under the greatest temptation to do it, the danger and injustice of it by real threat of counter-rebellion or people power.

So, is people power or for that matter mutinous act ruinous as it may occasion civil wars?

Let’s hearken to Locke once more:

“. . . they may as well say, upon the same ground, that honest men may not oppose robbers or pirates, because this may occasion disorder or bloodshed. If any mischief come in such cases, it is not to be charged upon him who defends his own right, but on him that invades his neighbour's. If the innocent honest man must quietly quit all he has for peace sake to him who will lay violent hands upon it, I desire it may be considered what kind of a peace there will be in the world which consists only in violence and rapine, and which is to be maintained only for the benefit of robbers and oppressors. Who would not think it an admirable peace betwixt the mighty and the mean, when the lamb, without resistance, yielded his throat to be torn by the imperious wolf?”

Now, have the people the right to nip a rising tyrant in the bud? Definitely, Locke argued, for why wait to be slaves first before acting like free men? Otherwise,

“. . . men can never be secure from tyranny if there be no means to escape it till they are perfectly under it; and, therefore, it is that they have not only a right to get out of it, but to prevent it.”


Blogger Equalizer said...

What’s left to be said? Not very much. Gloria Pidal has had a free pass to do as she pleased since 2001.She and her political operators have not been held accountable for any crime against the people of this country. Gloria is above the law.Why?

November 30, 2007 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can not understand why you (a lawyer, you have said a few times) will give the idea that procedures and rule of law mutually exclusive. Procedures support the rule of law. On the other hand, anarchy is defined as (1) confusion; chaos; disorder; (2) a state of society without government or law.
Anarchy is to open the cages of all the thugs and tigers and tiger-wannabees of the baranggay. And it seems to be the law of the jungle.... the tiger starves last.

December 01, 2007 9:25 AM  

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