Binay warns vs creeping dictatorship

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Thursday, August 21, 2014

MANILA -- Renewing his call against charter change, Vice President Jejomar Binay said Thursday the country's democracy will be in danger if moves to extend the term of President Benigno Aquino III and clip the powers of the Supreme Court (SC) will succeed.

In his speech after accepting the Ninoy Aquino Medal of Valor in Pasay City, Binay said the Constitution granted powers to the judiciary to avoid another dictatorship, which the nation endured under the late President Ferdinand Marcos.

He was referring to the constitutional provision that gives the judiciary both the power and duty "to determine whether or not there has been grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch of instrumentality of government."

"This provision was included to prevent a submissive and subservient judiciary that bends to the wills of one branch, or as was the case during martial law, of one man. Such power is our insurance against the threat of another dictatorship and the ensuing encroachment upon our liberties," said Binay, who will run for the presidency in 2016.

Marcos stayed in office for 20 years before a bloodless people power, which was fired up by Ninoy's assassination on August 21, 1983, drove him out of MalacaƱang in February 1986.

Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay remembers Ninoy Aquino
MANILA. Vice President Jejomar Binay (right) and former senator Heherson Alvarez lay flowers at the exact spot on the tarmac of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport where opposition Sen. Benigno "Ninoy" Aquino Jr. was assassinated 31 years ago upon returning from an exile. (AP)

Binay also urged his comrades in the anti-martial law movement to fight the plan to amend the Constitution, which he described as "insidious" but "clad under the guise of good intentions."

"This, I believe, is how we can best protect the legacy of Ninoy Aquino, and the best way we can ensure that our struggle to bring back a working democracy that serves the interests of the people, and not of a selfish few, will not be in vain," said the Vice President, who was honored by the Ninoy Aquino Movement (NAM) for his role as a human rights lawyer during Martial Law and for defending the newly restored democracy against the coup attempts to the late Corazon Aquino's presidency.

If Ninoy was alive, a militant youth group said he would have been the number one critic of the President, his son who goes by the nickname "Noynoy."

"Noynoy's undemocratic plans of using Cha-cha for term extension, curbing the powers of the Supreme Court, and filling his legislature of yellow zombies will surely infuriate Ninoy," said Anakbayan chairperson Vencer Crisostomo.

"As a critic, there is a chance that Ninoy would be a victim of the Aquino administration's ongoing fascism," Crisostomo added.

Martial law victims, meanwhile, trooped to the Aquino residence in Times Street, Quezon City to denounce the President's openness to charter change.

They held placards bearing signs that shouted "Biktima ni Macoy noon, biktima ni Noynoy ngayon! No to Dictatorship! Never again to Martial Law!"

The Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda) said Aquino is no different from Marcos, the man who sent Ninoy to jail for opposing the dictatorship, for his pro-American policies, alleged bad human rights record and political agenda to clip the judiciary's powers and perpetuate himself in power. (Sunnex)

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