"What this Country needs is not a change OF men but a change IN men" March 1980

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Respect Democratic Institutions

February 28, 2006

“The events of the past couple of days are the direct result of undermining the institutions that make up the Republic of the Philippines,” declared Senator Richard J. Gordon. “The media, the military, and Congress have all been desecrated and damaged by the recent events, culminating in the state of emergency,” he observed. “The state of emergency must end and we must allow our institutions to work for our country,” urged Gordon.

Gordon condemned the government takeover of the national newspaper, The Daily Tribune, calling this an unwarranted censorship or prior restraint and an infringement on the freedom of speech and press.

“It is good and healthy to have media to bring to light to a President what a coterie of advisors might otherwise conceal or sugarcoat in their efforts to please,” he said. “Certainly, honest and responsible reporting, while sometimes personally painful for the subject, should never be restrained or muzzled, as in the case of the Daily Tribune now,” Gordon continued.

Gordon also urged the people not to use the public institutions, like the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), to cause further insecurity and instability in the country. “The military cannot govern. In a democracy, civilian authority must, at all times, be supreme over the military,” he added.

“The AFP must be let alone of any partisan political hysteria because according to the Constitution, the armed forces must be insulated from partisan politics and no member of the military must engage directly or indirectly in any partisan political activity, except to vote,” he said.

“Any violation of this Constitutional prohibition on the AFP must be prosecuted immediately to prevent military adventurism. Otherwise, we will have no peaceful country under a regime of democracy to speak of,” stated Gordon.

Likewise, Gordon added that the Executive, in imprudently resisting the powers of Congress to perform its sacred task of checks and balances, has hurt the separation of powers between the Executive and the Legislative branches of Government through instruments like Executive Order No. 464.

Meanwhile, Gordon assured the people of the responsible performance by Congress of its legislative functions so that “it can work in harmony with the three branches of government without sacrificing its independence.”

Gordon stated that “the civil and military unrest that we are experiencing right now is a necessary consequence of the political crisis resulting from undermining the institutions that ensure our security and stability, and guarantee our democracy.”

“We must all work within the framework of the Constitution,” stated Gordon.

“In the long run, the preservation of democracy and the rule of law is always paramount so we need to put closure and end this crisis right now by working under the remedies allowed by law,” he explained.

Further, Gordon said that “the Administration and Opposition alike must break the habit of stubbornly resisting our democratic institutions in favor of quick-fixes like Executive Order No. 464, Proclamation No. 1017, coup d’etat, and even people power.”

“The dignity and reputation of the Republic of the Philippines are at stake, and in the final analysis, the greatest loser in this situation will be our country if we do not end this state of emergency, and give the proper respect due to our democratic institutions,” he continued.

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