Thugs

Published by rudy Date posted on March 23, 2010

Twice last week, thugs were in the streets, upholding pigheadedness over reason, substituting demonizing in place of civil dialogue, replacing name-calling for abiding by procedures. Incidents like this can only impoverish our civic culture.

After a majority of justices at the Supreme Court ruled that the sitting President could, indeed, appoint a Chief Justice after the present one retires, a demonstration was mounted before the Court. The overwhelming majority of magistrates held that since the Supreme Court was an independent branch of government, appointments to the bench fall outside the usual coverage of “midnight appointments.”

That sounds like a fairly plausible ruling. But for the leftist agitators and other rabid anti-Arroyo groups, that is excuse enough to march raucously against the highest court in the land, attack its integrity, impugn the reputation of the sitting magistrates and slander a grand institution.

Asked about the noisy demonstration, Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez replied curtly, but correctly, that if anyone feels strongly against the ruling, the proper course of action is to file an appeal against it. Needless to say, the appeal must aspire to be better argued than the ruling itself.

That is the way of the law. That is the manner disagreement is resolved in a civilized society.

But that is not the preferred method of those thugs who marched against the Court and attempted their best to drag the grandeur of a key institution to the gutter where they frolicked.

The preferred method of these thugs is to try and intimidate the Court with their angry slogans, their irresponsible characterization of the justices and their sheer rowdiness. They think that by throwing a tantrum, the institutions will bend over backwards to appease them. They have such a low opinion of our institutional order.

These thugs attacked the Court with the weapons of the absurd. They tried very hard to politicize the issue at hand by accusing the Court of being politicized.

These thugs appear to be possessed by the incoherent idea that should the sitting President appoint the Chief Justice, that will compromise the independence of the Court but not if the next President appoints the Chief Justice who will render decisions while that successor chief executive is in office.

That is an incoherent idea that is defied at every instance in recent history. Recall that Hilario Davide was an Estrada appointee. He presided over the impeachment trial with independence and with grace.

Recall, too, that Antonio Carpio was appointed to the Court by President Arroyo. Yet he has penned decisions against the Arroyo administration with an added dose of nastiness that defies the norm of restraint in judicial language.

The thugs marching against the Court are, in the last analysis, trying to bamboozle a key institution, hoping it will succumb to smallness of their plaints. They are small minds with the temerity — or an overdose of self-righteousness — to try and cow the Court.

By slandering the justices, they are demeaning the court. By passing intrigue rather than offering reasoned argument, they undermine the quality of public discourse. They insult all of us by what they do.

The other incident when thugs of leftist inspiration ran amuck was at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP). We saw the ugly video clips of what happened there: a frenzied mob using tuition fee adjustments as an opportunity to incite rage began throwing equipment out of school buildings until they formed a large and ugly pile at the courtyard.

The opportunist agitators at the PUP simply seized at the issue in order to foment an orgy of intimidation and mindlessness. These agitators do it all the time, of course, making a cottage industry of such forms of garrulous protest. But this one is particularly striking because it is totally ignorant.

As it turns out, the PUP had not adjusted its tuition fee rates for 34 years! How this could even happen is mind-boggling.

Could it be that every university administration that presided over the decay of this institution was too intimidated by leftist thugs that none dared to realistically adjust tuition fee rates? No wonder the facilities in this school are so degraded. No wonder PUP has been unable to register its presence in research or even in public debate. No wonder it has been unable to recruit a reasonably competent faculty roster.

According to the PUP president, current tuition fee rates stand at P12 per unit (!). Hereabouts, one could not buy an undersized bottle of allegedly distilled drinking water for that amount of money. But that is all the rabid agitators at PUP want to pay for a university education.

It has been said that if you pay peanuts, you get monkeys. And if the violent thugs at PUP want to pay only peanuts for a university education, do they actually expect to be given world-class training so that the graduates are at the very least employable at some job that requires skills other than hurling both invectives and desks out of the top floors?

Unless the PUP administration finds the political will to put these destructive leftist thugs in their place and raise enough resources to improve this pathetic school, the better policy option is to kill this institution. It cannot deliver on its mission. It has become a cesspool for know-nothing fanatics.

They shoot horse, don’t they? The same principle holds true for educational institutions. If they cannot raise the resource requirements their mission demands, it will better serve society to close them down. That will end the fiction that this institution actually educates — and the fact that it has become nothing more than a cesspool for violent but ignorant militants. –Alex Magno (The Philippine Star)

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