When Manny Pacquiao fights, his country’s army and insurgents call a truce to watch, bannered the Standard-Examiner of Texas . Of Paquiao’s last six opponents, only Ghana’s Joshua Clottey went the distance. Once again, the country is euphoric. Paquiao’s seven titles is a world record.
The First Gentleman no longer muscles his way into the ring for the victory call. He did that in Pacman’s earlier victories. The backlash has been devastating.
Malacanang ads on the President’s “achievements” also haven’t tried to bask in borrowed glory from “Pacman” .This too is commendable. And we keep our fingers crossed this decision is maintained. But desperate PR flacks can still undo this progress.
This country remains one of deferred hope. Paquiao’s win will give a brief welcome respite from “an endless reign of meaningless chaos” as Martin Luther King put it.
The murder of 31 journalists, at one go, in Maguindanao, is an example of senseless anarchy. Searchers stumbled across Midland Review’s Reynaldo Momay’s dentures at the massacre site, says the Center for Media Freedom. But in macabre body counts, that won’t do for a corpse. So, the Ampatuan town tally hasn’t risen to 32.
From 1986 to 2009, CMFR lists 114 journalists slain here. Sixty one percent were killed in Mindanao. That, too, is a world record.
But this isn’t one of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s publicized “world class achievements”. Understandably, it’s ignored by ads that depict her regime’s legacy
“There’s a strange charm in the hope of a good legacy,” the author of Don Quijote once mused. They can reduce of the sorrow of mortality. Indeed, the credibility of those ads isn’t set solely by their claim, That’s also determined by what they evade
Legacy propaganda excluded another “achievement”, namely: President Arroyo created more local government units than Presidents Fidel Ramos and Estrada combined.
“Under President Arroyo’s watch, (these LGUs ) were created or converted shortly before election periods,”. From January 2001 to December 2006, she added three provinces, 22 cities, 17 towns plus 52 barangays.
They dip with little accountability into Internal Revenue Allotments, noted “Evasive Candidates” ( PDI/ March 9 ). All too often, whoever controls IRAs controls the only government there is.
Then, there is the legacy of dictatorship.
After Ferdinand Marcos fled, rebels blew up his bust carved into an Ilocos hillside. In Paraguay, people shattered Gen. Alfredo Strossner’s statute. Saddam Hussien’s statue, in Iraq, followed. Romania’s Nicolae Ceausecu and wife Elena were executed in Targoviste. And partisans strung Mussolini’s corpse on a clothesline.
“The evil that men do lives after them,” Shakepeapeare said in his 1599 play “Julius Ceasar” Hard-to-detect legacies of authoritarianism are grafted into institutions, even habits.
Long after Generalissmo Francisco Franco’s dictatorship fell, death certificates in Spain never cited “bullet wounds”, the newspaper El Pais joshed. Engrained habits opted for “internal hemorrhage”.
Has our Court of Appeals been trapped by this flaw?
Justice Portia Alino-Hormachuelos and two associates recently exhumed a legal mummy from the ousted dictatorship: “Ilagan vs Enrile” Once a detainee is charged, he may no longer question incarceration through a habeas corpus writ, it states.
Violations committed by the military were “cured” by this mummified precedent. That kept the“Morong 43” health workers imprisoned, despite admitted infractions of their civil liberties.
The search warrant named the wrong person was among the “healed violations”. The 43 were denied counsel. Thus, the inquest proceedings were invalid. So was the information filed.
The “cure”proved worse than the illness.
“[T]he use of force cannot make wrongs into right”, Justice Normandie Pizarro dissented, “ An illegal search and seizure, as well as an irregular inquest, can not ripen into a valid… ‘remedial’ or ‘curative’ information.
“We must free ourselves from the shackles of ‘curative informations, “’ Justice Francisco Acosta wrote …”(That’d ) make every habeas corpus proceeding an exercise in futility, similar to salt that had lost its taste…The court“desert[ed] its duty as guardian of civil liberties…”
A Supreme Court challenge will be mounted against the farce of “remedial information”. .This is essential. Otherwise, lower courts, plus some would-be caudillos, will see the Court of Appeals decision as a wink for more-of-the-same.
The communists and their multiple fronts try to tar the military as “abusive”. Denial is one knee-jerk reaction by our gentlemen in uniform. Another is to fight with fire –and resort to constitutional shortcuts. But the only response a democracy allows is reform.
“Concerns about impunity persisted. Members of the security services committed acts of physical and psychological abuse on suspects and detainees, and there were instances of torture.
“Disappearances occurred, and arbitrary or warrantless arrests and detentions were common….Corruption was endemic…. Leftist and human rights activists often were subject to harassment by local security forces”.
That is not “agitprop”. Those quotes come from the Philippine country report in the US State Department’s report on human rights. Would our Court have embraced the legacy of “curative information”, with the same ardor, if they noted these harsh realities?