Richard Holbrooke’s Note to the Readers of his book, “To End A War” is a wise counsel to young politicians – it may as well serve as a valuable advice to young Filipino politicians. With the pragmatism of old politicians and their corrupt ways, Rizal could still be relevant in his hope that the youth is our future.
“Today, public service has lost much of the aura that it had when John F. Kennedy asked us what we could o four our country. To hear that phrase before it became a cliché’ was electrifying and led any in my generation to enter public service for me it was the Foreign Service, which I joined right after graduating from college. Less than a year later I found myself in Saigon. It seems like yesterday, but this was almost thirty-six years ago. I do not wish to suggest that in some distant “golden age” all was altruism and that today idealism is dead. Such easy myths may satisfy, but they are not true; every era has both heroes and scandals. But in an age when the media pays more attention to personalities than to issues, Americans may conclude that public service is either just another job, or a game played for personal advancement.
The public sector contains countless men and women who, whether liberal or conservative, still believe in hard work, high ethical standards, and patriotism. This book is dedicated to three of them. As this story demonstrates, public service can make a difference. If this book helps stimulate few young Americans to enter the government or other forms of public service, it will have achieved one of its goals.”
There is a good counsel — full of yearnings for young blood to enter the government to make a difference. We cannot rely in our old politicians who have mortgaged the future of our motherland; polluted the environment with their putrefied carcass, traded their souls for earthly fortunes and leave future generations in foreign debts to survive scavenging food from the dumpsites. The future of the country is bleak and is even bleaker with VP Binay ahead in the polls and the UNA spokesmen unrelenting in their rubbish pitch to the public!
Jeffrey or Jennifer Laude, a transgender was a victim of a hate crime and VP Jejomar Binay was poor man being persecuted by the rich mestizos in the Senate. These are two high profile national narratives that don’t get much traction in the print media and the social networking sites. You just have to read the reactions of people on PDI, Rappler and GMA online news or browse Facebook to find this out.
Though how tawdry these narratives are – they are being drilled into the public consciousness as testaments enough of our contempt against public’s sense of right or wrong. These are lies unworthy of the billing in the national landscape because they are contrary to the truth but they get important coverage nevertheless.
Jeffrey, aka, Jennifer died on October 11 allegedly at the hands of a U.S. marine soldier inside a cheap Olongapo motel room because the soldier hates gays. Obviously absent in this narrative is the sleazy angle that the victim sold the gringo the way an snake oil salesman would sell a potent cure-all medicine which turns out to be outright phony. The gringo expected a more curvaceous tadpole ensconced in between the peddler’s lower extremities instead of a rigid flagpole in between them. It must have come as a shock to the poor gringo, that he turned allegedly “violent.” Our local boys could have done the same — but we are oblivious of this possibility because the “suspect” here is a Gringo and not our own local suspect. We refused to bring up this angle in the narrative because we should be respectful of the dead.
This misguided outrage continues and political groups find this incident enough to reduce American’s prestige in the country. Politicians join in the fray to re-spark the luster in their careers that has been dimmed. They called for the junking of the VFA and looked at this isolated crime as an insult to the sovereignty of the republic — though they were never as loud and as enraged when China insulted our sovereignty over Spratleys.
Politicians who called for the abrogation of the VFA are political lightweights in geopolitics who saw the predicate of joint US-RP military exercise only for the best interest of America and not for the protection of the dear Republic. Yes, that is true – America’s “pivot” in Asia was to contain China’s influence over the region for its own imperial interest. These joint military exercises were adjuncts of this Asia pivot. This military cooperation though between the countries indirectly benefits the Philippines from further aggression from China, though they were not undertaken chiefly for the noblest intention to protect us against this giant flexing its obnoxious muscles in our face. As a regional weakling or beggar we cannot be choosy, though majority of the Filipinos would rather hitch their fortune in the stars and stripes rather than on pure yellow stars in blood red fabric.
Incidentally, the normal refrain of the public from Jeffrey/Jennifer’s death is this: “Some of our young innocent school girls had been raped and their limped bodies dumped in grassy abandoned lots just everywhere and there was no outrage – no outpouring of sympathy, no expression of condolences, let alone crocodile tears for their tragic fate from VFA critics and Jeffrey/Jennifer supporters. Our society has been addicted to circus –the more ruckus the vaudeville, the better is the entertainment and merriment. Jeffrey/Jennifer’s death rekindles our hatred against the gringos and provides fuel to our misplaced outrage. Other deaths are too insignificant to stir our passion and inebriate our hysteria for dramatics.
The other narrative was provided to us by no less than the second powerful man in the country who claimed he was poor and was being persecuted by the rich “mestizos” in the Senate. He denies owning some 350 or 150 hectares of elegant hacienda in Batangas, or having overpriced the constructions of government buildings in Makati to pad his pockets or of having expensive mansions and residential houses in choice lots in city and adjoining summer hideaway in Tagaytay.
Construction projects were undertaken at the time that VP Binay was the Mayor of Makati and which the Blue Ribbon Committee of the Senate considers overpriced. VP Binay denies the construction being overpriced and ever pocketing a single centavo from these projects. Arrayed against this “immaculate” personification of himself as honest and incorruptible public servant were the testimonies of the members of his inner-circle which were privy to these corruptions and how VP Binay fleeced the treasury of Makati of millions through dummy corporations.
Omni Janitorial And Security Services, which according to his erstwhile henchman, ex-Mayor Ernesto Mercado, is owned by VP Binay and fronted by his dummies. This company had cornered all the janitorial and security services of Makati City and of late, of the Housing Urban Development Corporation, a government entity which he now heads as a cabinet official.
The contractor of Makati Building/Parking, according to Mercado was Hillmark Corporation, which is said to be the contractor too of the structures and improvements on the Batangas Hacienda. Unable to collect from the Batangas project in millions of pesos, Hillmark vied for the Makati Building/Parking project and won the bid because the Binay people “trapped” the competitor bidder in an elevator that supposedly got stuck midway to the bidding room. Mercado said Hillmark overpriced the building for about a billion pesos to offset its inability to collect from VP Binay from the hacienda construction in Batangas.
Overpriced hospital equipment to Ospital ng Makati were sold through a middleman company which sourced the equipment from a company previously owned by Anthony Tiu, who now conveniently claims he is the owner of the Batangas hacienda through a usufruct agreement with Leonardo Gregorio. Mr. Gregorio, Senator Cayetano of the Senate BRC said could be fronting too for VP Binay. The price of the hacienda was supposed to be P446 Million but Tiu or his company paid only P11 Million but he said he was already the owner of the property. Tiu’s connection with the Binays goes deep and long according to Mercado and that his being the “new” owner of Hacienda Binay was too coincidental to inspire credence and belief.
The allegations of corruption against VP Binay and his family were made at the halls of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee and they were televised for the entire nation to watch and see. The witnesses were those of “mafia-type” operatives who had fallen from grace and turned to the government for protection in exchange for information. Their credibility has never been doubted if you were part of the objective public and not the members of the Binay camp or the Binays themselves.
All the public have heard from VP Binay, however was that the allegations of corruptions hurled against him and his family were politically motivated by the rich “mestizos” in the Senate who were out to malign his good name because he was poor and his skin color is dark and he was leading in the survey in the Presidential survey of candidates for 2016.
VP Binay’s explanation was lame and it was meant for the “hoi polloi” class and the members of his own party who will support him and his family regardless of his tarnished reputation that makes him unworthy of the office he assiduously seek.
VP Binay’s numbers in the polls continue to slide on account of his narrative failing to get traction from the public. How much distance he would go to prolong this political hemorrhage is a question he himself can answer. But from the looks of it, he is devoid of any Japanese fortitude that looks at honor as a question of life or death.
One can understand why the New York Times was bad mouthing President Benigno Simeon Aquino. He did not bring business to New York. The crooks did. More crooks in the mold of the Marcoses, stealing from the Filipinos and splurging those stolen millions in this sleepless city, means more business for New York.
“One winter morning in 1988, Imelda appeared at federal court in New York to Plead innocent, swathed in an aqua-colored puff-sleeved terno more appropriate for evening wear. Beforehand, she stopped at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on Fifth Avenue to pray, and when she reached the court TV cameras zoomed in for close-ups of what one commentator referred to unkindly as “crocodile tears.” Her bail was paid by friend Doris Duke, the tobacco heiress.”
“Soon after the first edition of this book appeared, the Marcoses’ New York lawyers asked me for help. “The book contains a number of extremely interesting revelations,” they said, “which are potentially of considerable significance in connection with the pending indictment.” If I made certain files available, they could get the indictment thrown out by showing how American officials had encouraged Ferdinand and Imelda to misbehave and participated in their illegal activities: smuggling gold from the Philippines, helping sell it to the Gold Pool and the Trilateral Commission ; urging the Marcoses to invest in stolen assets in the U.S. so they could enjoy them when they “retired”, knowing all along that the Marcoses had set up the California Overseas Bank and other corporations to funnel the loot. A quid pro quo had existed between the Marcoses and Washington under the table.” (Marcos Dynasty, Sterling Seagrave, p. 432).”
After Imelda and Adnan Khashoggi were acquitted from racketeering charges, one juror, Thomas O’Rourke, said: ”It was on the wrong side of the ocean. It was a totally silly case. We are not big brothers to the people overseas.”
Yes of course, American jurors must look at Imelda’s racketeering as substantial business to New York and to hell with the people overseas.
Some 8509 miles from across the globe, New York Times counseled President Benigno Simeon Aquino to step down from power after 2016 because the fragile democracy in the country is in peril if he amends the constitution to run again and to clip the powers of the Supreme Court. This unsolicited advice betrays a certain measure of white man’s arrogance in the transportability of his values across the globe with indigenous culture different from his own and expect them to work. Or was it a carry-over of that vintage imperial attitude towards RP still his vassal archipelago whose colonial leaders he can lecture upon on constitutional issues and good government at will and with gusto?
Doesn’t the U.S. constitution itself been amended 33 times to address new challenges of the period? Why can’t President Aquino initiate for the first time the amendment of the 1987 constitution for the same reason?
Incidentally, two Asian countries whose style of governments were a far cry from western ideals — Japan and Singapore, had long been Asian economic tigers while RP despite its government being patterned after the U.S. tripartite system, remains an economic kitten for so long a time. May be it is about time that we weaned ourselves from the coattails of Uncle Sam and pursue our own unique system that is devoid of western values that gave us a rambunctious press, an arrogant Supreme Court and politicos that robbed the people blind and with impunity.
But why is “democracy in peril” if the President can run again for a second term, when American presidents are allowed to run for the second term and yet its democratic ideals have never been at one time or another placed in great peril?
And why clipping the powers of the Supreme Court imperils democracy when American presidents since Thomas Jefferson and Abraham Lincoln up to Barack Obama would like to clip the powers of the US Supreme Court too?
“Lincoln did not accept the Dred Scott decision and defied the Court opinion by issuing passports to blacks and otherwise treating them as citizens and he signed a legislation to place limits on slavery in the Western Territories. The Dred Scott decision exacerbated the conflict over efforts to restrict slavery and pushed America toward a terrible war to correct the injustice wrought by the power-grabbing Supreme Court.” (Schlafly, The Supremacists).
President Obama in his State of the Nation address had criticized the Supreme Court for voiding a century-old practice of limiting election contribution from lobby interests and urged Congress to overturn that court decision.
Isn’t it an American value that echoes throughout this narrative that the unelected members of the government (judiciary) should not be allowed to engage in policy making because this is destructive of self-government and removes the power from the people? Isn’t it power without accountability according to Thomas Jefferson?
And why it was only President Aquino who committed the grievous constitutional sin when he criticized the Supreme Court over its decision on DAP, while American Presidents are free to engage their court for its judicial missteps? Free speech is rooted in the American culture and yet NY Times finds it obtrusive that a Philippine President upbraid the court for its ruling on DAP, but it is entirely speechless when its own Presidents took potshots at their court.
President Aquino is a reformist President. He wasn’t afraid to fight toe to toe with the most secretive and powerful branch of the government, the judiciary. He also put his predecessor at hospital arrest for thievery and election fraud and the crooks and their proxies behind bars and more crooks are in the pipeline waiting their well-deserved chains.
President Aquino was a square peg in a political round hole. He does not fit in the priorities of most politicos and the judiciary where thieving is the chief business. The crooks, the jukebox media including NY Times wanted Aquino to exit after his term.
You may ask why NY Times?
Please remember that Imelda Marcos was acquitted for racketeering charges filed in New York courtesy of the press and the jurors who cannot convict the first lady and her cohorts because their racketeering activities were sanctioned by the U.S. government itself and New York was always a beneficiary of Imelda whenever she was in city to splurge. The economic benefits to New York was tremendous – and an estimated $140 Million was stashed in that city during the time that Ferdinand and Imelda ruled the country.
Under an incorruptible Philippine government, New York would lose prospective patrons that can splurge their loot in this prestigious city. (Imelda’s caper). NY York Times perhaps was only echoing a business concern that without bad guys and their wives attracted to the neon lights of New York willing to squander stolen millions, the city and its press can lose substantial business.
Filipinos value the American constitutional traditions but are turned off by the fundamental mechanics that nurture these constitutional values. Part of this “value” recognition is the habit of the Supreme Court of the Philippines to cite American jurisprudence on constitutional law whenever it is confronted with constitutional questions itself. The classic case of Marbury v. Madison found a comfortable home in a 1936 case of Scheckenburger v. Moran. Practically, Philippine jurisprudence is intertwined with American jurisprudence in search of constitutional wisdom and directions.
Our fascination with American jurisprudence on constitutional issues was more pronounced in the 1973 case of Javellana v. Comelec.
Marbury v. Madison and other American constitutional law cases are like mushrooms sprouting abundantly in the Philippine legal landscape despite our having been waned from American tutelage in 1946. The latest of our “intimacy” with American constitutional heritage is the 2009 case of Lozano v. Nograles.
The 1935 commonwealth constitution, the 1973 Marcos constitution, the 1987 Cory constitution grandly proclaim in their respective Art. II (Declaration of Principles and State Policies) that “The Philippines is a republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.”
The 1987 provisions though added the word “democratic” to the first sentence and it became “The Philippines is a democratic and republican state.”
Republican form of government is already defined by the article itself. “Sovereignty resides in the people and all power emanates from them.” If the people are sovereign, they are empowered to determine who should represent them in the bureaucratic corridors of power. If they don’t want their representatives they can boot them out of office on elections. This scenario provides in full measure the meaning of what sovereignty and power is all about.
But what happened if they want to put their elected representatives back to office because of their exemplary service to the people but the constitution says no? Does that not in fact curtail their being sovereign and render meaningless the power conceded to them as the embodiment of what a republican state is all about? Can the people hold in suspension their being the source of political power and still consider them sovereign? Or can they be directed to exercise their power only in a particular way, but not all the way? Does this not create an illusion of sovereignty?
You bet it does!
This is where our American constitutional scholars come in to lecture us on constitutional values.
“Why did the Framers of the Constitution reject term limits? Because they believed that frequent elections were a form of natural term limits: they required legislators to go repeatedly before the voters to earn their support. Frequent elections were the best way to prevent abuse of power by Congress. James Madison called regular elections “the cornerstone of liberty,” and argued in The Federalist Papers that effective legislators should be returned to office frequently. He believed that experience was necessary for a legislator to perform in the people’s interests:
“No man can be a competent legislator who does not add to an upright intention and a sound judgment a certain degree of knowledge of the subjects on which lies within the compass of men in private as well as public stations. Another part can only be attained, or at least thoroughly attained, by actual experience in the station which require the use of it.”
While the proponents of term limits sneer at “professional politicians,” the Framers of our Constitution thought that experienced and capable legislators were the best guarantors of freedom. And they were wary of inexperienced legislators. “The greater the proportion of new members, and the less the information of the bulk of the members, the more apt will they be to fall into the snares that lay laid for them,” argued the writers of the Federalist.
Term limits are specifically addressed in the Federalist No. 72, written by Alexander Hamilton, whose understanding of what motivated politicians was so uncanny that one might speculate such wisdom came from self-reflection as well as observation. He felt that one ill effect of term limits would be a diminution of inducements to good behavior. There are few men who would not feel much less zeal in the discharge of a duty, when they were conscious that the advantages of the station with which it was connected must relinquished at a determinate period.
Hamilton was no Pollyanna; he knew that the desire for reward is one of the strongest incentives of human conduct.. . the best security for the fidelity of mankind is to make their interest coincide with their duty. Term limits would reduce the rewards for public service, since leaders would not be able to see their policies through and, therefore, would either find their agendas unfulfilled or would get no credit for them if they were ultimately enacted.
Imagine if you were given a job and told that you will be taken off the job at a certain point in time, no matter how will you do it. What will be your incentive to work hard? In the same way, if legislators are allotted only a certain number of terms and are not able to see many of their goals achieved, they will have little incentive to do more than keep their seats warm and show up for roll call votes. Or worse, they can wreak havoc, since they won’t be around to suffer the consequences.
Open elections have the positive incentives that Hamilton mentions, giving legislators the opportunity to pursue their ambitions. And they also create negative incentives – if a politician does not perform or violates the public trust, the people can throw him or her out of office.
Madison correctly saw the reelection process as a means of popular discipline, accountability and control of elected officials. Officeholders will be compelled to anticipate the moment when their power is to cease, when their exercise of it is to be reviewed, and when they descend to the level from which they are raised; there forever to remain unless a faithful discharge of their trust have established their title to a renewal of it.
Experience was crucial to Hamilton. “That experience is the parent of wisdom, is an adage the truth of which is recognized by the wisest as well as the simplest of mankind. What more desirable or more essential than this quality in the governors of nations?”
During the debate for ratification in his home state of New York, Hamilton repeatedly made the following points:
- The people have the right to judge whom they will and will not elect to public office;
- Rotation reduces the incentives for political accountability;
- Rotation deprives polity of experienced public servants
These arguments were powerful enough in their time to convince the delegates to reject term limits. Their strength has not diminished in the two centuries since they were composed.
“Term limits aren’t going to make things any better. They’re only going to make these problems even more difficult to address politically. With Congress hampered by term limit and filled rookie legislators still learning the ropes and short-term ‘veterans’ angling for jobs when their terms run out, it will be next to impossible to get meaningful and effective legislation out of Congress.
Despite the historical record, term limits are being sold as a quick and painless cure to everything that ails our body politic. The people behind the term limit are promising one easy solution to a variety of complex problems. The framers knew that there are no quick fixes, and they found out the hard way that the term limits do not deliver as promised. That’s why we should honor their wisdom and foresight by keeping elections open to everyone, even experienced politicians.” (Giving UP on Democracy, Victor Kamber, p. 112-16, ISBN 0-89526-465-X).
Unabashedly, we appropriate every settlement of key constitutional issues in American landscape, but we do not embrace the structural framework from which they had been nourished. We define our government as a republican in form but we can hold in limbo the power of the sovereign if it’s exercise is to be made in a particular direction. While Americans consider term limit as constitutionally distasteful, Filipinos basked in it’s restrictive flavor.
American legislators can hold office for eternity as long as the people reelect them, but we do not want our legislators to serve for more than 2 terms and our President only for a term.
We should go the American way by doing away with term limits. Let us amend our constitution!
A cacophony of discordant voices were echoed over the issue of proposing amendments to the 1987 constitution to clip the powers of the Supreme Court and to allow the President Benigno Simeon Aquino to run for a second term.
The 1987 constitution allows amendments to the constitution. It is within the power of the legislative branch to propose amendments to the constitution to clip the power of the Supreme Court because it is within the accepted principle of “checks and balance.” If the court now is perceived as imperialistically overreaching the two other branches of government, the court should be checked and powers of government should be balanced.
The idea of proposing for a second term for President Aquino works along the same line. The constitution is not written in granite, and the document itself says that amendments can be made to it. The people will vote anyway for the amendments in a plebiscite. They can reject the amendments or ratify them. There is nothing undemocratic or autocratic about the whole shebang contrary to what the doomsayers would like us to believe.
The constitution as it is, contains a perpetual libel against the Office of the President in supposing that no President can sustain a prolonged, dedicated and genuine public service, hence he should be barred from reelection. The constitutional commission that voted for such term limit was reeling from the trauma of Marcos martial law, and most of them were lawyers. The term limit was meant to deter a bad President from holding over. The term limit, while meritorious at the time it was promulgated, does not hold its wisdom now that you have a good President. Why fire an exemplary CEO because he was just contracted to manage the corporation for six years when you can simply redraft the contract to hire him for additional six years? Does that look like incomprehensible to anyone of you? Heck No!
I would add also that the lawyers who drafted the 1987 constitution while shackling the Office of the President and Congress with term limits, did not do so in the case of the members of the Supreme Court by allowing them to serve for life or until they retire at age 70. On top of that, the framers (who were mostly lawyers) invested the judicial department with “overreaching power” under the guise of “abuse of discretion” and “judicial review” which shattered the structural contour of a truly republican form of tripartite government with checks and balance in full play. While they punished future Presidents by barring them to seek for a reelection, the same group of people rewarded the judicial department that made possible a Marcos power-grab in 1972 with tremendous power as a reward. This is what Thomas Jefferson said “loyalty to the corps.”
Former Justice Secretary Juan Liwag under the presidency of Diosdado Macapagal, at a time when the judicial department was still in its nascent power had expressed his misgivings already when he said: “I dreaded to see the day the Supreme Court would virtually run the affairs of the government under the guise of judicial review.”(Marites Vitug, Shadow of Doubt, p. 39).
President Aquino or Congress wanted the power of the judicial department diluted so we can truly enjoy a truly republican system of government where the powers of government are allocated in three branches of government with effective “checks and balance” in place.
In her book, “The Supremacists” Schafly said about the U.S. Supreme Court:
“The unique and brilliant design of the Constitution – the system of checks and balances, with each branch checking on the power of two other branches – has been replaced by the Imperial Judiciary. Judicial supremacists have grabbed unconstitutional powers for the courts, and Congress has failed to restrain their power grab.”
President Aquino, while still enjoying a moral ascendancy today over his critics, must reshape our government to a truly republican form by going ahead with the constitutional amendments.
In the light of what I called the overreaching of the judiciary on purely executive terrain as the implementation of the Development Acceleration Program of the incumbent administration (DAP an economic/policy issue and not a judicial issue), I would like to share the summary of Coercing Virtue by Robert H. Bork printed on the dust jacket of the book itself:
“While the actions of legislatures in America and other democracies are closely watched and hotly debated, the power of judges is largely unchecked and unexamined. For two centuries, judges have steadily expanded their authority, reaching far beyond their traditional responsibilities. Judicial activism now threatens to undermine the power of representative government by usurping policymaking powers that are properly reserved to the people and their elected representatives.
In Coercing Virtue, former U.S. solicitor general and bestselling author Robert H. Bork examines the usurpation of representative government by judicial activism in the United States, Canada, Israel, and through new institutions of international law such as the International Criminal Court.
Bork’s landmark work examines the history of judicial review, from its beginning as a tool to protect essential freedoms to its current role as a device used by judges to constrain the fundamental freedoms that constitutional governments were designed to protect. In the United States, the fundamental question for practitioners of the law has become not what the Constitution means – as defined by its text, history, and structure – but rather what judges will say about it.
Coercing Virtue follows the constitutional adventures of the United States Supreme Court and the rise of judicial activism in other Western nations and in international courts and forums.
Bork discusses the relation between judicial activism and steady erosion of the ideals of democracy and the rule of law. This erosion is slow but it has the capacity to unilaterally alter our form of government without public consent.
Bork places the history and practice of judicial activism in the context of the broader culture war in America and other western nations, revealing the uniquely powerful role of courts in this international intellectual conflict. Bork warns that if we do not understand the worldwide corruption of the judicial function, we cannot comprehend the scope of the political revolution that is overtaking the West.
Coercing Virtue shows how numerous aspects of the activists’ program- hostility to religion, destruction of sexual standards, endorsement of racial and sexual standards, endorsement of racial and sexual preferences in employment and university admissions, and invention of a constitutional right to abortion, to name only a few – have spread across national boundaries. Bork calls on citizens in all Western-style democracies to sit up and take notice of what is happening in their courts before it is too late.”
The executive department is accountable to the people, the judiciary is not. Its power must not be co-equal with the President, if we have to maintain the principle that sovereignty resides in the people. That, in gist is a Jeffersonian philosophy.
The spirit of republicanism is essentially this: every empowered bureaucrat should be within the immediate recall of the people. The jurists are not according to Jefferson. They retired at age 70, while other bureaucrats have to seek a regular mandate from the people through elections.
The independence of the judiciary sprouted in England where the King condescends on the magistrates. The ideals of justice and law dispensation must be free from outside pressure. (backdoor wrangling in our experience) America borrowed the concept of “independent judiciary” taking that experience from the British system of government. The idea that the executive department in America could mimic a royalty justifies the position that the judiciary must be independent from the King.
However, the spirit of republicanism (government of the people for the people and by the people) prevailed in America. Early political thinkers, the leading light among them, T. Jefferson saw an independent judiciary not elected by the people a “solecism.” ( translation: a big mistake) So he argued that jurists must be elected by the people themselves so they can share in the sovereign function of government. Or these magistrates be appointed for a fix term of 4 -6 years. This genius was shared by some States of America by having their Supreme Court justices and even inferior judges elected by the people. But that genius was hijacked by big business interests (banks and financial institutions) which saw a separate power chute as the judiciary that could protect business from the turmoil of political weather. Now you can appreciate the fact that Lucio Tan wins his tax cases in the SC and banks, instead of submitting to Central Bank measures to curtail their predatory practices have to go to the SC to avoid the regulations.
Jefferson’s genius did not go beyond state level, thus the members of the federal judiciary remain appointed and independent of the nation. Jefferson was the leading advocate of State’s rights against federal coercion.
If it was not adopted on federal level, it was not for reason that better political theorists came after him. It was because they could not comprehend the genius of Jefferson. The 3rd U.S. President has a granite memorial in Washington DC, like Abraham Lincoln. But in addition, a huge building housing the Library of Congress was named after him– as a testament to a man of letters; his political virtues and his commitment to democratic ideals. His being a vocal critique of the federal judiciary was not borne out of prejudice or hatred but of his abiding faith in the ideals that the sovereign power must always be with the people.
BTW, even President Barack Obama rebuked the Federal Supreme Court in its ruling over campaign finance reform and displayed his annoyance over that ruling in his Sate of the Nation address too. That position is only in conformity with the principle that the judiciary cannot impose its sanctimonious lecture on how to run the executive department — an attitude that is far less indicative of “autocratic propensities” but more of a legitimate protest over judicial incursions of the executive terrain.
Here is again Thomas Jefferson:
“You seem to think it devolved on the judges to decide on the validity of the sedition law. But nothing in the constitution has given them the right to decide for the executive, more than to the Executive to decide for them. Both magistrates are equally independent in the sphere of action assigned to them. The judges believing the law constitutional, had a right to pass a sentence of fine or imprisonment, because that power was placed in their hands by the constitution. But the Executive, believing the law to be unconstitutional, was bound to remit the execution of it; because that power has been confided to him by the constitution. That instrument meant that each co-ordinate branches should be checks on each other. But the opinion which gives to the judges the right to decide what laws are constitutional, and what not, not only for themselves in their own sphere of action, but for the legislature and executive also in their spheres, would make the judiciary a despotic branch.” (Jefferson’s letter to John Adams).
The left-leaning groups and the misty-eyed dreamers of the country continue to spew rhetoric over the desire of the Americans to enslave the Philippines by renegotiating a possible US troops and armaments buildup in the country as a counterweight to China’s threat in the region.
These “misguided” were rehashing the narrative of Renato Constantino and Claro M. Recto in the 1950s that the archipelago was the crown jewel of Asia which America had coveted and is now presently coveting.
Our “intellectuals” and their surrogates on the streets have only to read Nick Joaquin’s “Culture as History” to find that RP was not admitted to the great USA as a state because its policy makers did not consider the islands of 1700 with different culture in each group of island “ideally” governable. U.S. policy makers had looked at the Filipino people like their native Indians and the Black Americans as social pests unworthy of civil acculturation. They have no problems conferring statehood for Hawaii because it is composed chiefly of 8 islands, much richer in terms of resources and occupied only by one homogenous group of people, the Polynesians. The Philippines have varied ethnicities: Aeta, Negritos, Malays, Chinese, Tausogs, etc. RP borders are porous and to secure the island was a challenge.
American policy makers must have read Jean-Jacques Rosseau’s “The Social Contract” which says:
“In every body politic there is a maximum strength which it cannot exceed and which it only loses by increasing in size. Every extension of the social tie means its relaxation; and generally speaking, a small state is stronger in proportion than a great one.
A thousand arguments could be advanced in favor of this principle. First long distances make administration difficult, just as a weight becomes heavier at the end of a longer lever. Administration therefore becomes more and more burdensome as the distance grows greater; for, in the first place, each city has its own, which is paid for by the people: each district its own, still paid for by the people: then comes each province, and then the great governments satrapies, and vice royalties, always costing more the higher you go, and always at the expense of the people. Last of all comes the supreme administration, which eclipses all the rest. All these over charges are a continual drain upon the subjects; so far from being better governed by all these different orders, they are worse governed than if there were only a single authority over them.
Not only has government less vigor and promptitude for securing the observance of the laws, preventing nuisances, correcting abuses, an guarding against seditious undertakings begun in distant places; the people has less affection for its rulers, whom it never sees, for its country, which to its eyes, seems like the world, and for its fellow-citizens, most of whom are unknown to it. The same laws cannot suit so many divergent provinces with different customs, situated in the most various climates, and incapable of enduring a uniform government.”
Americans had been guided by foresight in rejecting RP as its 51st State.
Rosseau’s observation finds meaning in what is happening in the country right now. The 1700 islands were simply ungovernable from a central government. The people were not prepared for that kind of a unified government. The muslims want their own government; the Cordillerans their own autonomous cordillera region; Mayor Duterte wants an autonomous Davao with a vigilante justice system; maybe the the Bicolanos should start their own separate claim as an autonomous region; the warlords have their own caliphate to rule; the bandits and the military scalawags their own turf and the trapos their own enclave to operate outside the central government but using the resources of the government. Oh, boy, we are screwed! :)