During the reign of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (2001-2010), Senator Ping Lacson was charged with the murder of publicist Bubby Dacer and his driver, Emmanuel Corbito. He cried ‘political vendetta.’ He elevated his case to the Court of Appeals up to the Supreme Court and won. He called it the triumph of ‘the rule of law.’
By some stroke of fate, his accuser a couple of years ago would now cry ‘political vendetta’ for her being made to account for ‘election cheating’ and plus other tawdry deals that enraged the nation. In various maneuvers she wants the case for election sabotage which was one among those so far filed, quashed by the Supreme Court. She would want the rule of law to prevail in her case.
So the rule of law is synonymous with a judicial short-cut that is favorable to the litigant. If GMA is cleared by the SC without allowing the trial court to look into the details of the charges against her, in the same way that the case against Senator Lacson was pre-empted by the Court of Appeals and by the Supreme Court without allowing the Regional Trial Court which issued the warrant for his arrest to look into the finer details on how Dacer and Curbito were torched and ditched in one grassy field in Cavite in 2000 — that in their warped sense, is the ‘rule of law.’
But in the case of Lacson, there are some that were not convinced with the ruling of the Court of Appeals/Supreme Court, nor of another case being in held in “limbo” that has something to do with the death of 11 members of the Kuratong Baleleng in 1995.
But public perception does not count.
GMA wants the same full measure of the ‘rule of law’ that works well in the case of Senator Lacson.
Whatever opinion the public have, is inconsequential. It is only the courts of law that can say that GMA broke the law and must suffer from that breach. The courts said so in the case of Ping Lacson.
Both Lacson and GMA know how the system works, but you would be amazed on how both of them had adeptly played the “vendetta” card and its flipside, the “victim” card outside the courtroom with the objective of winning a favorable public opinion even if this opinion has no bearing on the matter.
If their concept of the ‘rule of law’ is a fair trial, they must not quarrel with with public on their perception of their guilt – after all it was only a perception of their wrongdoing. They would still be processed by the courts. If they have an unshakeable faith in the integrity of our judicial institution, let that institution alone settle the accounts — not public opinion!
But as politicians, both of them know how public opinion unravels politicians. So they must not only win their battle in the “courts of law” but in the bar of public opinion as well.
The ‘rule of law’ in the case of Erap was Congress acting as an impeachment court, said that the second envelope containing the alleged account of ERAP with Equitable Bank cannot be opened in the impeachment proceedings in 2001.
But public opinion went against ‘the rule of law’ and demanded that Erap resign the presidency.
The ‘rule of law’ in the case of Marcos was when the Presidential Electoral Tribunal declared him the winner of the snap election in 1986. But public opinion went against that rule of law.
Pandora’s box was opened, because the rule of law does not always sit with the common man’s simplistic view of what the law is or what justice is. If GMA is cleared today by the Supreme Court, you can expect a pandemonium on the streets by people clamoring for her blood.
The princesses of our judiciary have no problem calling them a ‘mob’ but did not the same judiciary team-up with this ‘mob’ to depose Erap from office in 2001?
But who really is a mob? The noisy people demanding that justice be served or people wearing purple robes pondering quietly and methodically on how to pervert the law and allow their patron from whom they owe their offices get away with the law? Or to extend a favor to a Senator and put clossure to the victim’s families frustrating pursuit for justice?
What is the essence of establishing a regional trial court if its authority can be short-circuited by those who have the money and hotshot lawyers that can shop for a forum that is very friendly to their quest for the ‘rule of law?’
We are contemptuous at a group of tumultous people on the streets who broke the law on civility, harangue pedestrians and civilians in order to bring their own concept of what justice is, but on the other hand, we cozy up and droll at another group of people that had observed all civility in their cloistered ivory towers filled with rituals and swearing at Themis’s side in order to break the law of the land and the constitution!
The first group were up in arms in righteous indignation against corruption and crime, the other, hideous in protecting them. We call the first group a ‘mob’, the other, “Your Honors” and there’s the rub!