Bigwigs already weighed in on the pending disqualification cases against two presidential candidates for 2016—Sen. Grace Poe-Llamanzares and Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte—for being an alien or for disregarding Comelec procedures.
Well and good—whatever the big cheeses had to say would always be headline material in any part of the globe, and the entire business community has been eagerly following the twists and turns in the political drama of late. Still, to the guys down here in my barangay, in their naive and simple ways of looking at convoluted subject matters like the forthcoming elections, they care for only one point. And that was, for heavens’ sake, why could we not just leave it all up to the Supreme Court, since the court already took jurisdiction over those cases?
Indeed, big time personalities, the likes of former President Fidel “Kuya Eddie” Ramos, Commission on Elections Chair Andres Bautista, or even former chief justice of the Supreme Court Artemio Panganiban, seemed to have already decided the outcome of those cases. In effect, they have decided that the whole nation of 100 million people should just allow those two politicos to run in 2016, meaning, that we should let the voting population of roughly 52 million decide on the fate of those two. In short, we should just ignore the disqualification cases filed against them.
Never mind that, actually, no matter who or what instigated those disqualification cases against the two, the cases brought up some compelling, legitimate and valid constitutional issues. Those issues, which to me were rather touchy ones, point to violations of the Constitution and the rules of the Comelec. And so our famous personalities—Ramos, Bautista and Panganiban—happened to share one and the same thinking on those cases, and their position could very well be so emotion-driven that it could be the romantic hit of the century.
Like it or not, however, the Supreme Court would still have to resolve some constitutional questions contained in those cases. For the underlying basis of their position could only be the aphorism “vox populi, vox dei,” literally meaning the voice of the people is the voice of God, which, as history books told us, dated back to the 8th century in the time of the Holy Roman Empire. The phrase might have taken the semblance of common political wisdom in recent history, provided of course the “voice of the people” would not come from a riotous mob of loudmouthed vested interest groups.
Anyway, the cases actually talked about the Constitution that an overwhelming majority of the same people—with or without the political voices today—ratified in an internationally recognized plebiscite in February 1987, which was just some 28 years ago. From our view down here, it seemed that the Constitution was the incontrovertible original “voice of the people,” and it would be foolhardy to throw it away, just because some famous personalities made the call for another “voice of the people.”
In our interviews on our daily radio program (Karambola on AM radio 882 khz), election lawyers insisted that the Supreme Court must still rule on the basic questions in the disqualification cases precisely because these were questions on the constitutionality of them all. The last time I checked, the Constitution itself—and not just any other law or act or Comelec rule—actually spelled out the rules governing those running for high public office such as the presidency.
Understandably, both the camps of Llamanzares-Poe and Duterte would support the call for “vox populi, vox dei” regarding the cases against their candidates, if they really did not instigate those calls, in the first place. But the questions still must be asked: How many historic “vox populi, vox Dei” confrontations over life-changing issues could this country really afford? Granted that even the titular head of the Liberal Party, our leader Benigno Simeon, aka BS, opened in various media interviews that Llamanzares-Poe should be allowed to run for president in 2016, despite the constitutional issues that were raised on her citizenship.
Maybe those four distinguished gentlemen—i.e. Ramos, Bautista, Panganiban and our leader BS—would be considered “morally right” in their honest beliefs that the law, meaning, the Constitution, should also have a humanitarian side to it. Fine. But it would still be up to the Supreme Court, with the collective wisdom of its members, to give this nation the guidance on the whole freaking thing. Not every Tom, Dick and Harry named Chiz! Instead, the most important personalities in the land should try to persuade the Supreme Court to do their best to settle those constitutional issues before the elections in May this year. For that would be the right thing to do.
Look, former Comelec chair Sixto Brillantes would take the issue a bit further, as he reportedly warned us that the 2016 elections would be “chaotic” if the Supreme Court would leave those issues hanging when the campaign period starts on Feb. 9 this year. That should give the Supreme Court just about a month for those difficult cases.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.