Thursday, June 14, 2007

What is Better? To Be Right or To Be Fair?

The Prosecution in the proceedings against Joseph Estrada for plunder before the Sandiganbayan make an appeal to History that sounds a little bit like making Erap pay for Marcos' sins. I think they must resort to this type of argument because their legal case is weak and in danger of failing right here to save everybody else higher up in the Judiciary the painful embarrassment of having to adjudicate it any further.

In this post however, I wish to present a novel reduction to absurdity (reductio ad absurdum) of the standard, politically correct, Civil Society approved justification rationalization of the Mobocracy that was Edsa Dos:

(1) A duly elected President of the Republic was impeached by the Lower House in November, 2000.

(2) Trial at the Senate, with the Supreme Court Chief Justice presiding, proceeded forthwith, in December, 2000.

(3) On January 16, 2001 a vote was taken by the Senator Judges on a matter known as the Second Envelope. Whatever the merits, if any, of that decision, it was perfectly in compliance with the Rules of the Senate Impeachment Trial. But it clearly demonstrated that indeed there was not then two thirds of the Senate likely to convict the accused. Indeed, the events of that Tuesday proved that the accused actually had more than enough votes to win acquittal. THAT was the real message of the Second Envelope Vote.

(4) Whereupon, reneging upon his sworn of Oath to prosecute the case of the accused on behalf of the House of Representatives, it appears that the Chief House Prosecutor and is entire team walked out on the Impeachment Trial, and the Presiding Judge in the subsequent days made absolutely no effort to reconvene said Trial.

(5) On 20 January 2001, as construed by the Supreme Court in March, 2001, then President Joseph Estrada voluntarily and constructively RESIGNED the Presidency, voluntarily and constructively SURRENDERED his immunity from all criminal and civil suits.

(6) Also on 20 January 2001, also as construed by the Supreme Court in March 2001, Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., (instead of reconvening the Senate Impeachment Trial as was his clear duty) then administered the Oath of Office as Acting President to then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

QUESTION: Because of the "Craven Eleven's" Second Envelope vote, by 16 January 2001, Erap was already sure of being acquitted. Why would he voluntarily resign, as the Supreme Court concluded, just four days later, and give up Presidential immunity?

Then for the next six years claim as a defense against plunder that he never resigned and was still immune from criminal suit. The Official, Politically Correct History makes less and less sense as the passage of time only shows how fully absurd it is. Occam's Razor produces the simplest possible explanation for all the facts as we know them. Erap did not voluntarily resign at Edsa Dos, but was overthrown and forced out upon threat of violence and death. The Presidency was vacated and filled by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, without whose positive and putschistic action, the Senate impeachment trial would simply have reconvened and proceeded on to ACQUITTAL.

This is not some kind of argument for a restoration of Erap to the Presidency. It isn't really even about Erap, per se, but the Justice system and our self-respect.

We are faced with a present moral dilemma:

In my own opinion it would not have been morally or poetically RIGHT that Joseph Estrada be acquitted at the Senate Impeachment Trial because I believe he was unworthy to be President and deserved to be impeached, convicted and forever banned from Public Office.

YET it would have been FAIR and in keeping with DUE PROCESS that the Trial continued, EVEN IF that meant Erap would then escape Justice, at least at that point.

As time passes, the difference between those who still support what happened at Edsa Dos and those that don't, will become more clearly the difference between what one thinks is BETTER in this case: to be RIGHT or to be FAIR.

Indeed, the question lingers over the very fate of Joseph Estrada: should we be right, or should we be fair?

(Related: The Kangaroo Court of Australia)



To be better, one has to be right and in order to be right, one has got to be fair.

All intertwined!


To be able to do the right thing, one can not always opt for a black and white vision of things.

DJB Rizalist said...

No fair choosing both in this case! there is a real dilemma.

Manila Bay Watch said...

That's a bit unfair to those who want to start off doing the right thing by being fair.

Objective: To be right

Process: Be fair

Result: Right


Sorry about the above confusing IDs Dean - blogging ID automatically appears when my link is on.

Anyway, let me continue under Hillblogger...

I would like to cite excerpts of Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Social Contract that a general will (of the people) could err as opposed to the ensemble of The PEOPLE (will try to translate in English, have only read him in French)

"Il s'ensuit de ce qui précède que la volonté générale est toujours droite et tend toujours à l'utilité publique: mais il ne s'ensuit pas que les délibérations du peuple aient toujours la même rectitude. On veut toujours son bien, mais on ne le voit pas toujours. Jamais on ne corrompt le peuple, mais souvent on le trompe, et c'est alors seulement qu'il paraît vouloir ce qui est mal."

It follows that which precedes the general will is always right towards public good: but it doesn't follow that the deliberations of the people are always right. We always desire their well being but they don't always see it that way. It is never their wish (general will) to corrupt the people but often, tehy mislead them, and only then does evil appear as if it is wished (on the people).

"Il y a souvent bien de la différence entre la volonté de tous et la volonté générale; celle-ci ne regarde qu'à l'intérêt commun, l'autre regarde à l'intérêt privé, et n'est qu'une somme de volontés particulières: mais ôtez de ces mêmes volontés les plus et les moins qui s'entre-détruisent, reste pour somme des différences la volonté générale."

There is often a difference between the will of all and the general will; the former only considers common interest, the other considers private interest, and is nothing but a sum of selfish desires: but detract or add from the same will, plus or minus, and you find that the difference is a general will (and not the will of all).

marvin said...

Frankly, DJB, I'd rather not be right and I'd rather not be fair as long as I see Jose Pidal and Jose Velarde together in jail.

DJB Rizalist said...


but the question is, are we willing to employ ANY means to achieve the end you describe which is the punishment of the guilty?

It really boils down to what justifies what?

DJB Rizalist said...

Good intentions do not excuse a wrongful action. It's perhaps unfair rhetorically to pose the "right" versus the "fair," when its metaphysical opposite is "wrong". But the idea is, what is happening IS wrong.


Agree Dean - Good intentions do not excuse a wrongful action just like a wrongful action will not make a thing right.

That's why I said they were intertwined.

The very basis of right is to be fair without which, right cannot on its own exist without the other.

That's the essence of the excerpts I cited - what happens when the general will prevails as opposed to the will of all. The plus and minus difference produces what is essentially good only for those with personal interests but not for all.

In my MBW quote, I forgot to conclude it, hence here it is:

You said, "No fair choosing both in this case! there is a real dilemma."

I said, "That's a bit unfair to those who want to start off doing the right thing by being fair.

Objective: To be right

Process: Be fair

Result: Right

I should have completed it with:

Application: Right and Fair or the will of all.

In Erap's impeachment case:

Objective: To be right

Process: Unfair

Result: Wrong

Application: Wrong and unfair!

marvin said...

Alas DJB!

You've exposed the failure of modern Philippine justice system.

To be right and to be fair, Jose Velarde and, probably Jose Pidal too, have too walk.

DJB Rizalist said...

BTW, The title of this post was inspired by the motto of an Australian humor site the Kangaroo Court of Australia

john marzan said...

The Presidency was vacated and filled by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, without whose positive and putschistic action, the Senate impeachment trial would simply have reconvened and proceeded on to ACQUITTAL.

they (the prosecutors) could have called for the suspension or delay the impeachment trial (as a tactic) until the 2001 midterm elections have concluded.

kung nakuha nila ang 2/3 ng senado, e di luto na ang goose ni erap. if not, then i assume people like bong austero or winnie monsod would have accepted the results.