With the resignation of suspended PNP Director General Alan Purisima, will emotions now run low? If one will only listen to people of varying classes, one will sense disenchantment, anger and mourning. Too many questions remain unanswered and there is a general sense among many that the truth will be kept hidden on how the carnage of the SAF 44 really happened. Many doubt too if the persons responsible—both on the MILF/BIFF side and the government side—will even be made accountable.
If the Muslim rebels act like they already exercise sovereignty over their territory, claiming that law enforcement authorities should have coordinated with them, our government has only itself to blame. The government has, for decades, treated the separatists with appeasement; always giving in to what they demanded in the name of peace. Crimes have been committed by terrorists with impunity and no act committed by them, no matter the number of deaths and damage caused, has ever put anyone in the bar of justice. That is the tragedy we now face: how can the separatists who have grown in number, in weaponry, and strength through the years, be made to abide by the rule of law? Will the passing of the Bangsamoro Basic Law change the scenario for the better?
Apart from the nation’s despair over the unnecessary deaths of the 44 fallen SAF men, disenchantment and dismay have built up for a number of reasons that not even the euphoria from Pope Francis’ visit could overshadow. First, our discovery that the street children and families living on the streets of Manila were uprooted by Social Welfare Secretary during the entire stay of the Holy Father and kept them in a luxury resort under the pretext of getting them out of harm’s way when crowds would flock to meet the Pope. The probe on this questionable act was beginning to yield findings that it had the sanction of the country’s top officials when the Mamasapano massacre of 44 elite commandos happened. News spread that then suspended PNP Chief Purisima was calling the shots and had directly reported to the Chief Executive regarding the operation that went awry. The acting PNP chief, as well as the DILG secretary Mar Roxas, were kept in the dark about the covert police operation. Yet, they had to be the ones to grieve with the fallen heroes’ families, and meet their remains in caskets because the President was busy attending a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Observations that the President seems to lack maturity and the ability to empathize have fueled disenchantment even more. Still, because resignations and admission of fault are unheard of in this part of the globe among its elected officials—in contrast to the rest of the world–the Chief Executive has stood his ground. He even publicly stated that it was with a heavy heart that he had to accept the resignation of his loyal friend, police officer, Purisima, as he turned a deaf ear to calls for his own resignation.
Then, the decision of the Supreme Court came, reigniting anger at how the Executive Branch has been illegally diverting and appropriating approved budgets by government agencies for its own use and purposes. The Supreme Court decision essentially affirmed its decision in July 2014 which declared as unconstitutional the acts of the Executive constituting the Disbursement Acceleration Program. The recent Supreme Court ruling affirmed its earlier declaration that the acts by the Office of the President in creating savings from un-obligated allotments prior to the end of the fiscal year, was unconstitutional. To recall, the creative authors and designers of DAP sequestered the funds from so-called slow moving projects of some government agencies and declared them as savings even before the end of the fiscal year. The moneys the Executive has declared as “savings” built up a multi-billion peso fund at the disposal of the Office of the President.
The Supreme Court also affirmed as void the cross-border transfer of funds by the Executive Branch to other branches of government for being unconstitutional. Remember how the DAP came to be exposed? When Senator Jinggoy Estrada was charged with plunder for misuse of his PDAF allocation, he, in turn, exposed how the Office of the President paid off the senators to vote for the conviction of then Chief Justice Renato Corona with sums ranging from P50 million to P100 million each, coming from the DAP fund.
The Justices of the Supreme Court said that a significant portion of the administration’s DAP fund, supposedly created to speed up spending, violates Section 25(5), Article VI of the 1987 Constitution and the doctrine of separation of powers of the executive and legislative branches because of the cross-border transfer of funds.
While the Court’s decision amended its July ruling by saying that only the authors of the DAP and not its implementers should be held liable, the fact remains, the Chief Executive has allowed his office to commit acts in violation of the Constitution. Whether or not he was the DAP’s author is irrelevant because of the doctrine of command responsibility. With all these grave misdeeds, it is interesting to watch what the President will do next.
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