The public perception of people is reality for them as far as those in tenure of public office are concerned. This is the way strong impressions become strong convictions. This reality is premised on the saying that where there is smoke, there must be fire. And when there is much smoke, the conclusion is one and the same: there must be a big fire. While only the smoke is seen, the conclusive existence of fire comes as a matter of course.
This is precisely the case of the Smith issue. His transfer from local confinement to foreign custody maybe according to the provisions of VFA – or otherwise. The strong handed and surreptitious method used to bring him out of an ordinary jail to a place covered by immunity, could be consonant with the particulars of the judgment of conviction against the soldier and in favor of the people of the Philippines – or otherwise.
But the public impression, consequent perception and pursuant conclusion on the part of many nationalist are but one and the same: Juan de la Cruz is merely a vassal of Uncle Sam. The Filipinos in reality constitute but inferior allies of the Americans. In short, the Philippines is not a sovereign but a country subservient to the U.S.A.
Worst of all, there was already the perception that the legislative department has been long since under the rule of the present administration. Its allies have consistently followed the bidding of the national leadership, repeatedly protected this from the impeachment process, loudly echoed its desire and design to change the fundamental law of the land – through all possible means and alternatives.
Now, there is even the public perception that the executive department feels and acts as a section of government that is in effect superior to the judicial branch. This is a very dangerous popular impression even if only for its negation of democracy in the country. It actually promotes the conclusion that the government is veering towards authoritarianism.
This perception and conclusion are not based only on the isolated Smith case. The present administration has more than once tried to be over and above the constitution of the land--such as with its vain declaration of “National Emergency” in its paranoid insecurity to lose power and influence. The records show that it was the judicial branch of government that cut it to its right shape and size.
The handling of the Smith case is thus disturbing to the common tao--be it rightly or wrongly done--under the command of the executive department.
3 January 2007