Moral force – the new campaign platform

Moral force – the new campaign platform

Practitioners of futuristic scenarios and high impact analyses may be able to see the thin thread woven along what seemed to have been a simple personal view of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Puno when made to react to a rumored threat that an impeachment against him is in the offing. Two developments have been sparked right after the call of the chief justice namely – one, Puno becomes the beacon or icon of the opposition for the presidential candidate they want to field; and two, the 2 million signature drive will be launched by the religious sector led by a certain Bishop Nilo Tayag in what may be a political test flight.

The call made by chief justice Puno amounts to a shield to pre-empt any attack against the judiciary, the independence of which, Puno appears to defend to the death as when he said – if the independence of the judiciary is attacked, “we can kiss democracy goodbye”. In other words, Puno does not want to see a situation where a chief justice of the Supreme Court is being impeached for grounds other than judicial. In this case, it is clear to him that the move is a purely political one – perceived as he might be by Malacanang, Inc. – to be a threat to the gameplan that was the cha-cha (or charter change).

A disinterested observer, however, might see some point in what former Congressman Paras has said so far on the issue. It was not clear he was the one who directly said that he plans to impeach Puno – it came apparently from some other quarters. It was again with regard to a resolution about to be signed by the chief justice after all of 14 associate justices have already signed except that for reasons Paras wants to know – the resolution cannot be promulgated until the last and final signature of Puno.

This reminds us of the case of justice secretary Gonzales where a resolution is said to exist dismissing the case of the Alabang Boys and a subsequent release order having been drafted for signature of Gonzales except that it has been made public even before it was properly signed for promulgation as a matter of procedure. Apparently, the menu lacking in the controversial document which Paras showed in public is the fact that the reasons for the position taken by those signatories should likewise appear in the resolution as a matter of course but since these did not appear, the action taken en banc must first satisfy this protocol.

The spokesperson of the Supreme Court tried to say that unless signed by Chief Justice Puno, a document of any consequence, might just be a scrap of paper however signed by the 14 associate justices less the 15h. In short, this document is not only being disowned but even the work that produce it to the appreciation of the justices who signed – are all placed to another round of thinking process. What this appears to tell us is that – the whole work may have all been half-cooked to give any level of fine intellectual delight so far as Puno is concerned when served in public.

The call espoused by Puno for moral forces to now tear the fabric of invisibility and actively become a catalyst for change in the context of perceived state of moral decadence has acquired adherents as we again hear Senator Pangilinan in the forefront of this advocacy which is simply reminiscent of the same style that pole-vaulted him to the senatorship in the eve of Erap’s ouster. Ping started to spread the virus, Francis joined the fray and the social contagion has just begun. From the ranks of the religious sector, we heard and saw the bishops endorsing Puno’s call as a now emerging new platform for governance. Bishops Cruz and Tayag are exerting influence as though to approximate the effect of religious icons to inflame passions to propel People Power.

It is quite possible, after the last signatory has signed this 2 million signature drive, the number can be increasedto five million signatories, again via a peaceful approach called the moral forces movement a la the political campaign of William Lovett who led the Chartist Movement – not by physical force but by moral force.

The call will surely gather more grounds, count more adherents, invite more public attention across the tri-media environment. It might soon become opportuned for the tree to bear fruit and ready for the servings. In the meantime, Puno consults with his professed Council of Advisers who, quite melodramatically, means his grand children who he said will be the ones to shape his decision. It must have been said in jest if only to confuse observers from Malacanang eager enough to see the first sign that Puno is serious in launching a new political platform via a moral revolution.

This moral call should put the CBCP to shame since it is in fact uncharacteristic of the High Tribunal to be the first to ring this kind of bell in a listening universe. Perhaps, we want to see and hear loud and clear – a pastoral letter from the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines – circulate and fill the air with hope upon humankind, if that is not too much for the asking. Sadly stating, if this call heats up, spin doctors from Malacanang’s media bureau will certainly be up on their toes to launch their own counter-offensive which is predictably a demolition job that will discredit the chief justice. Let this sad day not come, please.

UP Diliman, Quezon City Email: