UNA sees 'specter' of constitutional crisis


Posted at Jul 15 2014 05:04 PM | Updated as of Jul 16 2014 01:04 AM

MANILA - The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) sees a "specter of constitutional crisis" after President Benigno Aquino III made a scathing remark against the Supreme Court.

In a statement, UNA secretary general Toby Tiangco said he believes Aquino threatened to impeach the justices after provisions in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) were declared unconstitutional.

According to Tiangco, even the Supreme Court is now being bullied and threatened by the heavy hand of the state.

"What will happen to checks and balances if the President wants his way? What will happen to the High Court when it becomes impotent? When the rule of law is given a cold shoulder by the President who is supposed to defend it, can we still find refuge in the law? This is a dangerous precedent,” he said.

He said Aquino’s speech was worse than the DAP that he sought to trumpet.

“It shows total disrespect for the Constitution. Ang gusto niya, 'He Is The Law'--he is right when he says so. Pasalamat nga tayo hindi inutusan mag-sorry ang SC," Tiangco added.

In his televised speech on Monday, Aquino issued a message to the high court: “We do not want two equal branches of government to go head to head, needing a third branch to step in to intervene. We find it difficult to understand your decision.”

He even noted, without clarifying: “You had done something similar in the past, and you tried to do it again; there are even those of the opinion that what you attempted to commit was far graver."

"Ang tindi nito--we can already see a specter of Constitutional crisis. Gusto ni PNoy na makialam na ang Kongreso at kung hindi babawiin ng SC ang desisyon nito sa DAP ay malamang na ituloy ang impeachment sa mga justices," Tiangco said.

No respect for Cory’s legacy

Tiangco expressed sadness that the SC was “openly disgraced and insulted.”

In a separate statement, Tiangco added: “As President of the Republic, he has a sworn duty to protect and uphold the Constitution, the same constitution that is his mother's legacy to the people and nation.”

“Do the people need to remind the President that his father fought against a dictatorship who blatantly disregarded and twisted the law to his favor?” he added.

In defending the DAP, Aquino took note of Section 39 of Book IV, Chapter 5 of the Administrative Code: “Any savings in the regular appropriations authorized in the General Appropriations Act for programs and projects of any department, office or agency, may, with the approval of the President, be used to cover a deficit in any other item of the regular appropriations.”

Tiangco said Aquino may need a law student to explain that the Constitution is supreme to the Admin Code.