Thursday, October 20, 2005 [ 10:25 AM ]


“The rule of law is the only human order. Its perversion, going by the name ‘law and order’ or ‘national security,’ should fool no one except those willing to be fooled. To think of human rights at all, to be concerned about them, should be to think universally of human rights for all.”

These words were quoted from the speech of former president Corazon Aquino at the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, New York on September 21, 1986. The speech of Cory exactly 14-years after her predecessor Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law was to remember and recollect the human right violations Filipinos suffered during the regime.

That time, Marcos had always invoked the rule of law as the reason for all the oppressions and censorships done by his government. Media groups were seized, opposition groups were put to bad light and worst, some of them were killed. Irregular presidential decrees were given, rallies were barred and government criticisms were condemned. Cory was referring to these events in her speech.

This time, the events were seemingly the same and only the characters were different. The same rule of law is being invoked to defend the non-sense executive orders such as EO464. The same rule of law is being invoked to defend the calibrated preemptive response, which uses harsh dispersals of assemblies in replacement of the maximum tolerance policy. The opposition groups were condemned to the point that the press secretary is addressing them as destabilizers and terrorists. The same rule of law was used to defend the killing of the impeachment proceeding that would reveal the things that the people should know, whether in favor of the president or not.

The speech of Cory is not only applicable that time but even this time. The events of oppressions are still tremendously obvious and the rule of law is still being overused. The rule of law, as Cory said should be for the universal rights of all and not only for the selected powerful few. Above all, the rule of law was made for the benefit of public interest and not the for the benefit of the president’s interest. Using the rule of law to defend the violence against the people is basically idiotic. In another speech of Cory at Harvard University on September 22, 1986, she said:

“Non-violence is not the only force that can collect the power of the people and bring it to near overwhelmingly on an object. Religious fanaticism, class hatred and military patriotism can serve as well. But only non-violence can achieve a moral purpose without compromising it, especially if that purpose is peace.”


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