|DIE HARD III|
|Herman Tiu Laurel|
The recent Corona impeachment and conviction displayed the situation our title highlights today: Lawmakers as lawbreakers. In a sense, that is the rule instead of the exception because those who make the laws have the power — the same power that allows them to break the laws they make with impunity.
The same thing happened in 2001 with Estrada’s impeachment and street mob ouster where the Philippine Establishment — from the oligarchs to the Church, to the “evil society,” all backed up by the US — ran roughshod over the Rule of Law to install the leader they wanted.
But make no mistake: The same also prevails in the international stage where the US violates with impunity the multifarious laws the West has written for the world through the UN. For instance, despite the many anti-terror statutes written into international law, it is common knowledge that the US is leading the supply of arms to anti-Assad terrorist rebels in Syria today.
Last week, lawyers Homobono Adaza and Alan Paguia, together with yours truly, filed a petition for “Certiorari and Prohibition with a Prayer for a TRO (temporary restraining order), writ of preliminary injunction” against the Congress and the Senate, as represented by their respective leaders, and an urgent motion for “oral arguments” on what we allege are violations of the Constitution and the Rule of Law in the conduct of the entire Corona impeachment and conviction process. When a few friends say that the petition is laughed at by some, I contend that it is because they are ignorant of its purpose.
On the morning of our filing, former congressman Teddy “Boy” Locsin on his radio program took a pessimistic view of our action. However, according to those who tuned in to his evening TV “editorial” just about 12 hours later, he had changed his position and agreed that the issues must be raised before the Supreme Court (SC), even if just for the benefit of “posterity.”
My personal experience in this has been the same as my opposition to Edsa II, where many old friends looked askance at me but four years later, after “Hello Garci,” turned around to say I was right.
In fact, some of my political friends from the Estrada camp today (like Rez Cortez) even ask me, “On whose side are you, Corona’s?” By answering that I am on the side of the Rule of Law, I hope that they’ve seen the very reason for my being an ally of Estrada.
When I was asked by another in the same group about the reactions to our petition from Senators Lacson, Drilon and Enrile, I merely cited the very proof that was presented before the Senate but which it had clearly disregarded — the testimony of Rep. Toby Tiangco showing how the House and its Speaker Sonny Belmonte ran roughshod over the Constitution and rules of verification to railroad the Articles of Impeachment; and why it was wrong for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to have accepted it. But I don’t think these can be any worse than the non-action of the SC on a separate petition of ours last January — with colleague Rod Salandanan of Bataan and Raffy Tongco of Quezon City, represented by Paguia as counsel — questioning the severely infirmed and blatantly illegal Articles of Impeachment, plus five other petitions questioning the omissions and short cuts that had caused the grave injustice.
Enrile contradicts himself when he leads the conviction of his hapless victims then defends those victims by saying they committed no crime. If we are to go by the law, there should be a pursuit of all alleged guilty parties. But as Alan Paguia points out, the law and the matter of justice for the Filipino people in these cases of purported corruption and abuse of high government officials are merely made into chips in the horse trading of politics.
In the case of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, for example, all corruption charges were immediately dropped in the wake of her resignation. You see: There should have been no compromise if she had been guilty; but, as all the politicians know, most of them are as guilty, if not more, than those they accuse.
I think Corona believes that those who have accused him are far worse than anything they can ever accuse him of, with his final act of exposition of all that he is a declaration of how much more honest he is. To this day, Corona’s major accusers, particularly Lacson and Drilon, still refuse to execute waivers for their bank accounts and other financial records.
The latest news is that senators allied with JPE got the biggest pork — a product perhaps of that last JPE meeting with Legarda et al. to convict Corona?
The Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) is a law inspired and lobbied for by the US, supposedly to track illegal and terrorist money. But guess what? The biggest illegal funds transacted globally involve the $500-billion annual drug money transfers that have the Philippines as one of the biggest sources. Even though we have no data on the Philippines yet, we can see how the West and the US banks break the global anti-money laundering regime, by reading “Western Banks, Immune, Enjoy Biggest Slice of Drug Money Profits” posted by The Agonist and “American Banks ‘High’ on Drug Money” about Martin Woods, an expert at “sniffing out dirty money passing through International Banking Systems.”
So, the US as the originator of the global anti-money laundering rules, is in reality the world’s chief violator. Thus, every law abiding citizen of the world today, without yet capturing power and supplanting the present plutocratic structure, can only expose the chicanery, fraud, hypocrisy and misanthropy; and hope the majority comprehensively imbibes the practice of the Rule of Law to lay the groundwork for a genuinely democratic culture and political structure.
(Tune in to 1098AM, dwAD, Sulo ng Pilipino/Radyo OpinYon, Monday-Wednesday-Friday, 5 to 6 p.m.; watch Destiny Cable GNN’s HTL edition of Talk News TV, Saturdays, 8:15 to 9 p.m., with replay at 11:15 p.m.; visit http://newkatipunero.blogspot.com for our articles plus TV and radio archives)
(Reprinted with permission from Mr. Herman Tiu-Laurel)
Source: The Daily Tribune