Thursday, May 04, 2006

1017

It's interesting to note the manner by which our local media spins the news.

In the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the headline blares "Shades of Marcos, SC says of Arroyo's 1017". But the Philippine Star's headline shows "SC: '1017' constitutional". Predictably, the Daily Tribune's headline reads "SC slaps down GMA’s 1017 abuses as unconstitutional".

It
's only when we read into the story that we get the complete information.

And the story is this: the Supreme Court voted 11-3 to uphold Proclamation 1017, which allows the President to declare a state of national emergency, as constitutional. The President is allowed to "suppress lawless violence," according to the wording of the decision.

However, what was deemed as unconstitutional was the manner by which 1017 was implemented. The crackdown on street protests, the warrantless arrests of political opponents, and the raid on the Tribune were condemned by the Court , saying that the President had overstepped her legal boundaries.

In short, 1017 in itself is considered to be legal and constitutional, but how it was implemented was unconstitutional. While the administration claims victory in the SC decision, I can't see that, considering the unconstitutional acts it committed in the name of 1017.

By ruling against the administration in consecutive decisions (the SC also struck down EO 464 and the so-called 'calibrated preemptive response', or CPR, as unconstitutional.), the Supreme Court is displaying its independence from the President, despite the fact that majority of the Court was appointed by GMA. May the members of the SC continue to exercise their minds free of administration influence, and continue to be a guiding light in these dark political times.

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