My column for today is Moving On. Cebu journalist Max Limpag was kind enough to blog about our meeting at that event. As to why some local officials in Cebu are disgruntled with the President, as I mention in my column, the reason is explained in this article from the Sun-Star of Cebu. Let me make one observation, which further convinces me that the law I love to criticize, Republic Act 8491, needs many, many amendments. I heard the national anthem sung in Cebuano, and it sounded so beautiful. And recalled, at that moment, that on the few occasions I heard my father sing the national anthem, he did so in Spanish (he hated the Osias version, which his generation learned). We should be able to sing the national anthem in any of our historical languages; while I support a national language, I do advocate regional languages as well.
Instead of the usual punditocracy and blogosphere division, let’s merge them today. Let us begin with two views on executive privilege, the first by Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. and the other by Atty. Edwin Lacierda.
Then let us tackle the question of martial law, a state of emergency, and the new policy of a “calibrated, preemptive response,” all different facets of the same issue.
As for martial law, the Speaker says he won’t support it. Newsstand, however, asks if there isn’t, perhaps, a loophole in the Constitution that makes martial law much less difficult to get away with than we think.
As for a “calibrated, preemptive response,” the Palace justifies it in this statement: “Freedom of expression not a license to run roughshod over rights of majority”. I always thought democracy was always just as much about the rights of the minority as the majority, hence columns I wrote in the past, on things like Filibustering. Paeng puts it another way: are they just hypocrites? When they claim they want to respect representatives, then why didn’t they march to uphold the senators who voted against the second envelope, or support their representatives who are against the President?
The Inquirer editorial says this new policy “is bad policy and worse politics.” Whatever it may be, the policy is already being vigorously implemented (but former president Fidel V. Ramos says the policy is misguided). To be fair, the police say that the place for rallies are “so-called freedom parks such as Quirino Grandstand, Plaza Miranda and Liwasang Bonifacio.” Fair enough. Now there’s the Plaza Liga Anti-Imperialista right in front of the Palace, and someone told me it’s also a “freedom park” despite its postage-stamp size. Is this so? Or is the Palace’s “Freedom Park” somewhere else?
Anyway, thank God for bloggers like Punzi who has put together one of his online law lectures, this time on The Right to Peaceful Assembly. Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask, is there: what are the relevant constitutional provisions? And laws? And how do they apply to you and me? It’s all their in his entry. Read it. Tell everyone to read it. Tell government officials, both national and local, to read it. If they can’t read, take the time to read it out to them, with big arm gestures, if necessary. Or have them read JB Baylon.
And here’s something pointed out by a commentator and in Cyberbaguioboy: is the sudden energetic anti software piracy campaign, an effort to deprive dissidents of internet access?
In other matters, Sec. Rigoberto Tiglao says the economy is unscathed, and publishes an exposition on the economy. Go Figure points “forgotten” economic provisions in the Constitution which he thinks should be scrapped.
To which the best response I’ve seen on line comes from Ren’s Public Notebook, which bears quotation:
When someone calls the invocation of the “rule of law” something that is otherwise known as a “technicality,” that is a perversion of justice.
When someone calls justice the sole prerogative of the mighty, whether in numbers or in power, that is living in shadows.
When someone refuses to live in the truth and questions the very nature of Truth itself, that is not a life worthy of a human being.
Finally, there’s the question of the Palace getting back at those it doesn’t like. Fine. Going against the Hyatt 10, for example, could be a means for the public good. As I told Dinky Soliman personally on more than one occasion: the public needs to see you’re prepared to suffer for your convictions.