Perfectly legal-A A +A
Friday, January 11, 2013
AFTER keeping his own counsel for a long time, President Noynoy Aquino has finally come out with his home-spun words of wisdom on the Capitol controversy. “In short, napaka-klaro po nung ebidensiya. There was a violation of the pertinent rules and regulations, and there is a corresponding penalty,” Aquino maintained in an interview.
“They are only executing the law,” Aquino added.
Making it perfectly legal and acceptable for him, I suppose.
I suppose the German authorities who herded targeted groups with differing political, racial and behavioral ideologies (i.e. Jews, non-Nazis, and homosexuals) into torture and death chambers were simply executing the law as well. It was perfectly legal in 1933 Nazi Germany.
When President Ferdinand Marcos signed Proclamation 1081, declaring Martial Law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in 1972, it was couched in legal terms. Military barricades and warrantless searches became perfectly legal.
It is normally the legislatures or legislative bodies of states that lay down the law and define what is legal. Generally, lawmakers try to match laws to what citizens accept as morally acceptable or ethically permissible.
An article I read in the Legal Information Institute of the Cornell University Law School noted the spread of Western religion and law into pre-industrial societies that extinguished many cannibalistic practices and eventually outlawed cannibalism. Before that, cannibalism must have been perfectly legal.
But oftentimes, perfectly legal is not necessarily morally right or ethical to all of the nation’s citizens. For example, the passing and signing of the Reproductive Health (RH) Bill into law has made contraception perfectly legal but not necessarily morally or ethically acceptable to practicing Roman Catholics. Thus, the controversy.
When Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa signed the order suspending Gov. Gwen Garcia for six months based on some bureaucratic charge, the Liberal Party (LP) claimed it was perfectly legal. Governor Garcia and her supporters believe otherwise. There is a Court of Appeals to rule on it.
But regardless of the outcome, questions remain: Is what LP doing ethical? Just because it is legally permissible, does that make the action totally acceptable?
A new story making the rounds is that of Imperial Manila withholding the pork barrel of a number of Visayan, non-LP congressmen based on various charges. Perfectly legal, of course.
Comparing Cebu’s cantonal Capitol stand-off (and other systematic political maneuverings emanating from Imperial Manila) to the horrifying Nazi Holocaust may seem like a hyperbole to many. But it is well understood that exaggerated statements or hyperboles are not meant to be taken literally. Rather, it is meant to unsettle the reader into thinking and reflecting.
In the American Holocaust Encyclopedia, the Holocaust was described as an event that was state-sponsored, bureaucratic, and systematic.
All pointing to being perfectly legal, in fact.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 11, 2013.