Will the veiled threat work?

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014


I WAS awakened by strong winds and heavy rain at around 4 a.m. yesterday. I thought typhoon Glenda made a landfall in Cebu. Thanks God we were but in the tail-end of the storm when it made landfall in Albay.

The preparedness shown by local government units (LGUs) in Cebu for Glenda was exemplary. Classes in some schools were suspended Tuesday afternoon and yesterday.

In Cebu City, classes were held. In the Province, the Department of Education (DepEd) ordered the suspension of classes. Several passengers and cargoes were stranded after sea travel was not allowed by the Coast Guard.

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We have every reason to thank God for keeping Cebu City and province safe.

The LGUs were also ready to serve stranded commuters after some Cebu City PUJ drivers did not ply their routes in Metro Cebu yesterday. The drivers attended a public hearing at the Cebu City hall yesterday to tackle the increase of fines for traffic violations.

The Capitol and the cities of Lapu-Lapu, Mandaue and Cebu had their buses and other motor vehicles serve their constituents who worked in other places.

As for the PUJ drivers’ strike, I already said that their objection to the increased fines for traffic violations that the Land Transportation Office (LTO) will impose is whimsical. The existing fines are already antiquated.

I think we are the only country where penalties for traffic violations are so low many drivers of motor vehicles blatantly disobey traffic laws, rules and regulations. For them, the fines are affordable. I haven’t even mentioned corruption by traffic enforcers.

The increase in penalties for traffic violations is long overdue. Stiffer fines for traffic violations can also discipline drivers. In fact, higher penalties are nothing if drivers obey traffic laws, rules and regulations.

Drivers opposing the increase in penalties for traffic violations only show that they do not want to improve. In other words, they are backward.

***

In refusing to accept the resignation of Budget Secretary Butch Abad, President Noynoy Aquino practically protected the person who engineered the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) that the Supreme Court (SC) declared unconstitutional.

The President could be misunderstood that he was/is part of the questionable distribution of government funds through the DAP. Part of the DAP were doled out to the senators during the impeachment of former chief justice Renato Corona.

The President, as chief executive, even predicted a clash between the executive and the judiciary on the SC’s decision, with a 13-0 vote, declaring the DAP unconstitutional. Malacañang will appeal the decision, but where?

While the SC during the time of impeached chief justice Corona flip-flopped on the cityhood of some towns, in most cases courts don’t reverse their decision in a motion for reconsideration.

Apparently, President Aquino was hurt by the SC decision that declared his use of government funds through the DAP unconstitutional. But I don’t think threatening the SC justices would make them change the ruling.

Perhaps, Malacañang needs the legal expertise and professional service of former solicitor general Estelito Mendoza if it wants the SC justices to reconsider their decision and declare the DAP constitutional.

The President should accept the reality that the SC is independent from the Executive. Otherwise, the principle of checks and balance among co-equal branches of government would be defeated.

Department of Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas even used the SC decision as excuse that his department could not provide the police with new vehicles.

In short, he blamed the SC for his department’s incapacity.

But to me, Secretary Roxas’s statement to the Cebu media the other day was an attempt to get the sympathy and support of the police and the public for President Aquino on this issue against the SC.

Would the veiled threat from the President scare the SC justices that they would cause their position on this issue? This remains to be seen.

(atty.ellieE@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on July 17, 2014.

Opinion

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