Thursday, 10 October 2013 13:45
LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… save others by snatching them from the fire…” (Jude 23, the Holy Bible).
SC’S JUDICIAL POWER VS. PDAF, DAP: Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was legally impeccable in raising the possibility that the petitions questioning the Constitutionality of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the pork barrel system maybe considered inappropriate, since PDAF or pork barrel issues may properly be considered “political” in nature and hence are beyond the review powers of the Supreme Court or of the judiciary.
However, it is at once relevant and material to immediately point out that, under the 1987 Constitution, the power of review by the Supreme Court over all government acts, dealings or transactions—legally called “judicial power”—is now institutionalized and fully recognized, under the so-called “grave abuse of discretion” test.
JUDICIAL POWER OF THE SUPREME COURT: Consequently, even the legality or the compliance with the law of disbursing government funds through PDAF or the pork barrel system can now be looked into by the Supreme Court, which can declare them illegal and unconstitutional on the ground that the use of government money for PDAF or pork barrel is not only against the Constitution but also constitutes “grave abuse of discretion”.
Here is the full expression of that “judicial power”, under Section 1 of Art. VIII of the 1987 Constitution: “The judicial power shall be vested in one Supreme Court and in such lower courts as may be established by law (and it) includes the duty… to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government…”
PROBE PNOY’S PORK, TOO: Now that Supreme Court Justice Teresita Leonardo is clearly dismayed by the failure of the Commission on Audit (COA) to check on the misuse of pork barrel over the last several years, there is no longer any justification for COA Chairman Maria Gracia Pulido Tan not to conduct a wider investigation of pork barrel expenditures, including those that were made by President Aquino while he was still Tarlac congressman and senator and those of his allies.
To continue zeroing in on the pork barrel funds by known political foes of the President will surely give the impression that all disclosures about any pork barrel scam were meant really to decimate the political opposition, especially those who are angling to run against the President’s candidate (whoever he maybe) in 2016. Now, there is no more reason why COA should not investigate the President and his allies over the pork barrel issue.
Along this line, I suggest tighter security measures for the COA main building and satellite offices along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, near the House of Representatives building. We cannot afford to lose vital and important documents in relation to the pork barrel expenditures of our lawmakers due to the usual “faulty electrical wiring” or “accidental throwing of lighted cigarette butts”.
CHRISTIANS LEAD IN QUESTIONING PDAF, DAP: Did you notice that most of the petitions questioning PDAF and the disbursements of government funds under the pork barrel system were filed before the Supreme Court by Christian organizations and Christian and/or Born Again believers? Yes, that is an undeniable fact, and it should be rightly so, because true Christian believers can no longer disassociate themselves from what is going on in politics, in particular, and in society, in general.
Proverbs 24:11-12 of the Bible says believers cannot say they cannot mind what is happening around them, for it is their duty to do something. Here is the exact verse: “Rescue those being led away to death; hold back those staggering toward slaughter. If you say, `But we knew nothing about this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it? Does not he who guards your life know it? Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?”
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By Batas Mauricio
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