While I was walking with the Sumilao farmers yesterday in what the media has labeled as the “Jericho March” one of the hottest issues of the day is Executive Order 464. This order was issued by Gloria in 2005 to prevent cabinet members and top officials not only of the civil government but also of the military to be dragged into congressional and senate investigations without the expressed authorization of the
Thief Chief Executive. Since the “Hello Garci” scandal, EO 464 gave Gloria’s cohorts a safe haven from the inquisitive eyes of the public. EO 464 became Malakanyang’s shield that silences not only the crooks in the cabinet but the decent ones as well (I used to believe Romy Neri was decent). It became a carrot as well as a stick to ensure silence among top government officials accountable to the President. Brig. Gen. Francisco Gudani and Col. Alexander Balutan of the Philippine Marines who were court martialled because he testified before the senate during the “Hello Garci” investigations in violation of EO 464.
Yesterday, in her efforts to appease the Catholic Bishops, Gloria gave in and rescinded EO 464. Was it a victory? Will this bring us nearer to the truth in the ZTE-NBN scam and other scandals like the “Hello Garci” and the fertilizer scam (remember Jokjok Bolante?)?
Do you think Gloria will give in just like that? Ain’t this just another calculated move designed to project an image of introducing changes because she has her back on the wall?
For the most part, EO 464 was already declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Rescinding an order declared unconstitutional by the highest court of the land is not an act of goodwill. In fact, faking goodwill by rescinding EO 464 make it an act of deception.
Without EO 464, high government officials can now be summoned by congress and the senate to their investigations even without the consent of the president. This will just ensure their appearance but can they be forced to talk much less tell the truth? They still have Executive Privilege to hide behind. The scope of executive privilege is still being debate on. In the case of Romy Neri, the senate can force him to appear before the senate but he will just invoke executive privilege every time they will delve into his communications with the president. We may end up going to the Supreme Court with every question asked to which he will invoke executive privilege, making our search for the truth a constant and slow legal struggle.
We cannot legislate honesty. We cannot abolish dishonesty nor the conspiracy of deception and silence of the Arroyo administration. Honesty is a personal virtue, a virtue abandoned by even the most decent in the Arroyo cabinet. They can even lie under oath and lie in front of millions o Filipinos watching the live coverage of the proceedings (remember Abalos, Manny Gaite, Gen. Razon, Sec. Atienza and the airport gang?).
Gloria and her cohorts have calculated the risks of rescinding EO 464 to fake goodwill to the Catholic bishops. They concluded that taking out EO 464 will not damage their concealment of the truth.
EO 464 has been abolished. Will it bring out the TRUTH?
I still believe the abolition of EO 464 is a hollow and meaningless act. Like the declaration of a state or emergency, it is just a disposable barrier that Gloria created to derail the search for the truth just like the rusty container vans that she uses to block the entrance to the palace.
The Arroyo administration should be taken to task for imposing EO 464 in the first place. Rescinding it after it has been declared unconstitutional to appease the Church and to project an image as is the Arroyo administration is seeking for the truth makes it an act of deceit and a ploy for survival.
Gloria and her highly paid and richly commissioned gang of a$$lickers can shove EO 464 up each other’s A$$ES and consider that their Executive Privilege.