Goth color

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Monday, July 21, 2014

TODAY I’ll go for goth fashion. You know, the fashion that uses a clothing style marked by conspicuously dark, mysterious, exotic, and complex features.

But there will be nothing mysterious when the Philippine Judges Association, Metropolitan and City Judges Association of the Philippines and the 3,000-strong Supreme Court employees association hold a “Black Monday” in the Halls of Justice in the country.

Call us the MWIB (Men and Women in Black). Most if not all of us who are associated with the courts will wear black today. I will, as a court-annexed mediator.


The “Black Monday” protest is to register the indignation within the judiciary over PNoy’s bullying of the Supreme Court and his threat to impeach justices over their decision to rule parts of his Disbursement Acceleration Program unconstitutional.

When I go to the Hall of Justice for my court-annexed mediation, I will be one of the MWIB. I will join this action in solidarity to emphasize the independence of the judiciary from that of the executive and the legislature.

Last time, a Black Monday was held in support of then Chief Justice Renato Corona during his impeachment trial in 2012. I didn’t join. I wanted the CJ to have his day in court at the impeachment trial.
But this time, the executive bullying has crossed the line. If the Supreme Court has ruled that certain parts of the DAP is “unconstitutional,” so be it.

It wouldn’t have been an issue if the executive branch simply filed a motion to reconsider. That would still be within the due process of law.

But hurling irresponsible threats that could compromise the independence of the judiciary, yes, the President has crossed the yellow line.

When Mr. Gregorio Navarro, president of the Management Association of the Philippines, asked PNoy how the Filipino people could assist in government reforms, he replied that he will come out with a “more detailed list of requests to our bosses.” He should have stopped there.

Then he quipped that a yellow ribbon could be a manifestation of support. Oh, that certainly opened a can of worms.

Suddenly, the country exploded into a war of colors: Yellow = PDAF, DAP and PNoy; Red = OUST; Peach = IMPEACH; Orange = RESIGN.

In the Halls of Justice, the judiciary is into a color of its own. The origins of contemporary goth style are found in the Victorian cult of mourning that I interpret as attacks on a co-equal branch of government that ensures checks-and-balance and the stability of the political system.

Facing a groundswell of protests, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. did damage control. Don’t take President Aquino’s yellow ribbon call “too seriously,” he said. “It was a light moment in the dialog. Wala namang layunin na magsimula ng kompetisyon ng kulay.”

Well that might be. But the judicial color of black is not to compete with the yellows, red, peaches, or oranges.
As Belinda Go, national president of the Court Stenographers Association of the Philippines, stressed, the “silent protest” of wearing black shirts is a manifestation of support to the Supreme Court. Offense is the best defense, it seems.

For me, going goth is a way of manifesting our support toward judicial independence.*

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 21, 2014.


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