Thursday, December 03, 2009

Shocking Supreme Court decision

I am truly shocked at the decision of the Supreme Court which effectively held that appointive government personnel who run for public office need not resign their positions.
To my mind, this is a decision that rubs salt on the wounds of Juan dela Cruz.
The decision adds insult to injury.
The decision means that an Comelec election supervisor can run for mayor, councilor, board member governor, or any elective position, and still continue to supervise the elections of which he is among the candidates.
This also means that a provincial fiscal can run for any elective post, and end up in the board of canvassers which will canvass the votes of candidates, including his own, most probably.
This means that the chief of police can run for mayor, and then, continue to be the chief of police.
While being chief of police, he can set up checkpoints as mode of harassment in areas he believes are sympathetic to his political adversaries.
This is what the Supreme Court refers to as “equal” protection of the law.
I must have missed a lot in law school.
Last Tuesday The Supreme Court promulgated an extremely strange ruling in Eleazar P. Quinto versus Commission on Elections (GR 189698)
The full text of the decision, including the dissenting opinions can be accessed from the Supreme court website at:
The Supreme Court laid down a bizarre concept of “equal protection of the law”.
In simple terms, the Supreme Court is saying that there is inequality if elective officials are not deemed resigned when they run for office, while appointive officials are compelled to resign.
The Supreme Court’s "equalizing" solution: allow appointive government personnel to run for office without resigning, just like elective officials when they run for office.
Dios ko dai!
Let me put it straight: This Supreme Court decision all the more fosters greater inequality in our electoral processes.
It puts ordinary citizen-candidate Juan dela Cruz at a far greater disadvantage
Let me explain why.
The main reason why government officials and personnel (those who have access to public resources) should resign if they run for public office, is that this will prevent them from having undue advantage over an ordinary citizen Juan dela Cruz, who may also want to seek an elective post, but does not have the same access to public resources
By public resources I mean the government vehicles, the intelligence funds, pork barrel, the casuals, the office budget, etc.
There was a time (in the election code) when both government appointive and elective officials (running for a different position) are deemed resigned upon the filing of their certificates of candidacies.
But this has been gradually eroded.
First, Congress removed elective officials from the ambit of compelled resignations, when they run for public office (self-serving)
Now, the Supreme Court has removed appointive public officials from the ambit compelled resignations too, when they run for office.
If we, ordinary private citizens run for public office, we are put at a tremendous disadvantage not only by elective officials-candidates, but now also by appointive officials-candidates.
Nisamot ang pagkadehado ni Juan dela Cruz. (Juan dela Cruz’ disadvantage has been aggravated).
To my mind, to equalize matters, we should go back to the old rule that both elective and appointive officials should be deemed resigned when they file their certificates of candidacies.
This will genuinely level the playing field, with the ordinary private citizen-candidates who run for public office.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court, instead of equalizing matters, worsened the inequality.
Where is the equality for ordinary citizen-candidate Juan dela Cruz?
Where is the equal protection of the law here?
Lets go to the fundamentals: Is a private citizen-candidate a second class candidate?
Are public officials-candidates a special breed?
The majority of the Supreme Court justices only looked at the equality between elective and appointive officials who run for public office.
They did not bother to look at the equality between a public official candidate (elective or appointive) vis-a-vis an ordinary citizen -candidate.
Where will the ordinary citizen-candidate Juan dela Cruz petition for equality before the law, now?

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