“UTAK BUKBOK” aptly describes the state mind of the Du30 administration. Weevil (bukbok) has not only infested the NFA rice, it has also infected brain of the current occupant of Malacañang.
Bukbok mindset is the only explanation to the latest destructive behavior of the Du30 administration designed to raze down democracy in the country and usher in dictatorial rule. The country is inching closer to authoritarian rule with treacherous move of Du30 revoking the amnesty given to opposition senator Antonio Trillanes IV. This is another irrefutable proof that democracy is being pushed to the precipice by Du30, exposing again his obsession to become a dictator.
Du30 issued Proclamation No. 572, signed last August 31 but made public only on September 4 voiding the amnesty granted to Sen. Trillanes and ordered his arrest. Two grounds were cited by Du30 in issuing the order. Trillanes did not apply for amnesty and he did not admit his guilt.
Trillanes did not apply for amnesty Du30 claimed since his application papers are missing from the archive. This is not only the absurdist excuse but also the lamest and the most stupid. If the AFP records division lost the papers, it is not Trillanes fault and the people in-charge should be penalized for being careless and negligent with such important document.
Evidences that Trillanes filed-out an application form for amnesty have gone viral in the social media and were shown by the mainstream media. Photos of Trillanes filling the application and the copies of application itself were made public by Trillanes. If the government lost its copy, it is not the problem of Sen. Trillanes but that of the government.
Documents from the Department of National Defense (DND) reveal that Sen. Trillanes was the number one in the list of those who availed of the amnesty granted by President Noy under Proclamation No. 75.
But the most critical question is can Du30 revoke the amnesty issued by his predecessor especially if proper procedure and process was observed? Under Section 19, Article VII of the Constitution, the president may grant amnesty with the concurrence of Congress. Amnesty is given to groups who committed political offenses and once granted overlooks the offenses. It is a public act which court may take judicial notice.
The Supreme Court in Magdalo v. COMELEC had taken judicial notice of Proclamation No. 75. The High Court recognized “the express intention of both the Executive and the Legislative branches, in granting the said amnesty, to promote an atmosphere conducive to attaining peace in line with the government’s peace and reconciliation initiatives.”
Paragraph 3, Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code on the other hand states that the “criminal liability is extinguished by amnesty, which extinguishes the penalty and all its effects.”
Proclamation No. 75 granted amnesty to Sen. Trillanes and those who joined the Oakwood Mutiny, the Marines Stand-Off, and the Manila Peninsula Incident. The two Houses of Congress concurred with the proclamation through Resolution No. 4. They have complied with the process required for the amnesty (including admitting their guilt) and the DND Ad Hoc Amnesty Committee recommended that they be given amnesty. Taking judicial notice of the amnesty granted to Sen. Trillanes and company, Makati courts hearing their cases dismissed them on September 21, 2011.
Lawyer Tony la Viña called Du30’s act of revoking Sen. Trillanes amnesty illegal. “Without any doubt, Proclamation 572 is a patent illegality; if not outright unconstitutional…It should also be noted that an amnesty is not a unilateral act by the President. Granting it required congressional concurrence. This is to make sure the whole government, indeed the country, is bound that decision. It cannot be undone by the presidential fiat.”
Law Dean Joan Largo of the University of San Carlos slammed Du30 for encroaching with the powers of other branches of government when he voided the amnesty of Sen. Trillanes. “As is becoming glaring by the day, this President has been arrogating unto himself powers he does not exclusively possess, bastardizing all mechanisms of checks and balances so essential in a functioning democracy.”
Like the patently abominable and clearly illegal quo warranto against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Du30 is inventing legal mumbo-jumbo to silence the opposition. Revoking Sen. Trillanes’ amnesty is another addition to the long list of lies and crimes Du30 have committed in his effort to dismantle democracy in the country.
Ordering the arrest of Sen. Trillanes is not only executive over-reach but the clearest indicator that Du30 is a despot. Only courts can issue warrant of arrest and Du30 is doing that like a medieval tyrant. If Du30 can get away with this brazen travesty of the rule of law, dictatorial rule is just around the corner.
It is sad that Du30 is being aided by institutions that are not only tasked to check executive excesses but defend democracy and the principle of check-and-balance. The Supreme Court under the Gang of Eight, headed by a Du30 lapdog is likely to give him the legal cover he needs for his latest illegal act. Congress is expected to turn blind eye to his abuse of power. They are reduced to barking dogs of an utak bukbok autocrat.
What about the military? Section 3, Article II of the Constitution says the armed forces are the protector of the people and the state. Will the military remain true to their oath or become a private army of a budding dictator, repeating their mistake under the Marcos dictatorship? Their loyalty must be to the people and democracy not to a man.
Ultimately it falls upon the shoulders of Filipinos to defend democracy and the rule of law. Will they allow Du30 to get away with the murder of democracy?
Congratulations Mark Dorado (CHAMP), 2018 Mr. Intrams, USA 2018 Intrams.