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An Independent View
Monday, February 25, 2013
ALMOST half way through PNoy’s administration and there is some good news.
Slightly lower levels of corruption are reported. The economy grew by 6 percent in 2012 and in 2013 is expected to grow similarly.
The not-so-good news is that corruption is still extremely high by international standards and that unemployment remains obstinately prevalent.
PNoy still scores well in the opinion polls. This, I surmise, is that he is perceived by the populace to be trying hard, and to some extent effectively, to deliver his election promises. The nation’s morale is discernibly higher than six years ago when we were heading for elections which we knew would be fraudulent. Mr. Zubiri who, in 2007 was the ‘unwitting beneficiary’ of electoral malpractice is running again. If he is successful, it will hopefully be because he will be elected fair and square. The aftermath of 2007 was that dubiety was immediately cogently expressed, but it took four years before the fraud was definitely exposed and he resigned.
PNoy has made some retrospective inroads into the impunity of GMA’s administration. The unconstitutional appointment of Renato Corona was overturned by the Senate which voted 20-3 for his removal from position of Chief Justice. Maria Lourdes Sereno was appointed by PNoy as the new Chief Justice but her preferment over other supreme Court Judges, for example Associate Justice Carpio, who seemingly saw himself as more senior than Sereno, has resulted in some sulkiness. We hope that a fully cohesive Supreme Court with Sereno as ‘primus inter pares’ (first amongst equals) is now completely accepted by her colleagues. Unfortunately we doubt it. The Judicial Branch, for much reason, though not through the Constitution, is the weakest branch of government. The inability of the Courts to deal with the horrendous Maguindanao massacre in an efficient and timely manner is symptomatic of weakness. GMA is under hospital arrest for an indefinite period, her cases not being dealt with promptly due to Judicial Branch self-imposed inadequacy.
More prosaically, the fact that case involving Negros Occidental and SM Properties as to whether the province can sell its property to Ayala Land or, indeed to anyone, does not reflect well on Bacolod RTC. A hearing in December was adjourned with a subsequent hearing scheduled for 18 January. But the case seems to have gone down the black hole. Who is responsible for the delay? The Court? SM? The Province? Many billions of pesos coupled with a very large number of local jobs associated with property development are at stake. Those who previously said that Ayala should keep its hat in the ring should, by now, recognize that Ayala did that right thing by disengaging.
Meanwhile Iloilo is developing fast and Bacolod is being left behind. RTC seems to be letting us down.
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on February 25, 2013.