Today has been very sunny and bright, a stark contrast to yesterday's stormy weather, a result of the passage of typhoon 'Paeng.' But, then, the typhoon has left the country, so I guess the weather should take a turn for the better. And just in time too, for tomorrow's All Saints Day cemetery trek.
The buzz around the Supreme Court decision on the people's initiative still hasn't died down, with columnists from every broadsheet putting in their own two cents about the matter. The anti-Charter Change advocates hail the decision as a sign of the Supreme Court's independence, despite the fact that majority of the Justices were appointed by GMA, who is supposedly solidly behind Charter Change. Going through the concurring opinions, one of the most enlightening comes from Associate Justice Angelina Sandoval-Gutierrez, who notes that the oft-repeated justification for mass movements like the people's initiative, "Vox populi, vox Dei" (the voice of the people is the voice of God) actually is mentioned as part of a warning against it. The complete quote is “nec audiendi qui solent dicere vox populi vox Dei quum tumultuositasvulgi semper insaniae proxima sit,” which means, "And those people should not be listened to who keep on saying, ‘The voice of the people is the voice of God,’ since the riotousness of the crowd is always very close to madness.” In this case, Sandoval-Gutierrez rings true, I think, for it has been my contention that the people have been sorely and foully used in this sham of a people's initiative.
The pro-Charter Change advocates have been very vocal and very aggrieved about the decision, to the point of threatening mass action and demanding the resignation of Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the writer of the majority decision. They focus on the assertion that the Supreme Court is not a trier of facts, and shouldn't have ruled such.
What's telling is that members of the President's cabinet, notably Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Chief of Staff Mike Defensor seemed to insinuate that they were expecting a different decision, which raises the spectre of Palace pressure on the Court.
Pro-Charter Change advocates try to dismiss the fact that local governments were involved, which actually would make this a government's initiative. Wrong. In a real people's initiative, the politicians should probably distance themselves from it, to avoid giving it any political color. Instead, they did the opposite, which brought into question the motives for Charter Change.
They even try to raise the spectre of class war, practically saying that it's the elite who are against Charter Change, and that Charter Change will benefit the poor. Once more, the Filipino people are exploited by politicians who claim to have the people's best interests at heart. But, really, the politicians behind Charter Change are the ones who want to benefit, by prolonging their stay in power.
If these advocates did actually have 6.3 signatories wanting Charter Change, maybe they should mobilize these people to express their dissatisfaction with the decision. The fact that the people at large haven't raised up their voices in anger at the Supreme Court decision should tell these pro-Charter Change advocates what the people think of the decision.