Wednesday, March 17, 2004


When an incumbent President, who is also a candidate for re-election, implements a program of government, she does so as the Head of State of this country. That is her duty. The fact that it has partisan political color is merely secondary and even incidental. Indeed, she doesn't stop being President just because she is running for re-election. In other words, when she doles out those Philhealth cards with her picture, she doles them out as President not as candidate. Sori na lang po sa oposisyon.

What is my basis?

UNIDO V. COMELEC (G.R. No. 56515 April 3, 1981).

"....(I)t is undeniable and but natural that the head of state of every country in the world must from the very nature of his position, be accorded certain privileges not equally available to those who are opposed to him in the sense that, since the head of state has the grave and tremendous responsibility of planning and implementing the plan of government itself, either by virtue of the popular mandate given to him under the corresponding provisions of the Constitution and the laws or any other duly recognized grant of power and authority, the opposition cannot be placed at par with him, since logically the opposition can only fiscalize the administration and punctualize its errors and shortcomings to the end that when the duly scheduled time for the people to exercise their inalienable power to make a better choice, the opposition may have the chance to make them accept the alternative they can offer.

Therefore, when the head of state is afforded the opportunity or when he feels it incumbent upon him to communicate and dialogue with the people on any matter affecting the plan of government or any other matter of public interest, no office or entity of the government is obliged to give the opposition the same facilities by which its contrary views may be ventilated. lf the opposition leaders feel any sense of responsibility in the premises to counter the administration, it is up to them – and they are free – to avail of their own resources to accomplish their purpose. But surely, it is not for the administration to hand them on a silver platter the weapon they need. We are not aware that there is any existing system of government anywhere in the world which is mandated to be so accommodating and generous to the opponents of the current administrators of the national affairs.

In instances where the head of state is at the same time the president of the political party that is in power, it does not necessarily follow that he speaks with two voices when he dialogues with the governed. Unquestionably, there are matters of vital public interest wherein partisan considerations could in some degree be involved, but then such partisan interest would be purely secondary. The President/Prime Minister of the Philippines is the political head of all the people. His is the sacred responsibility to protect and defend the security of all the people, the stability of the government and the integrity of the national territory, not only for the tenure to which he has been elected but for all times. When, as in the instant situation, he deems it warranted by the circumstances to present to them a plan of government which includes the modification of the existing structure of government together with its concomitant allocation of governmental powers, it is not only his right but his duty to take the people directly into his confidence and impart to them to the fullest measure of his capacity and by all available adequate means the reasons therefor and the corrollarily advantages thereof to their welfare. The opposition, if it opines otherwise, has naturally the indisputable right to make every effort to thwart his objective. But, surely, this is far from saying that it is the duty of the administration to generously grant to them the means to wage their campaign against it."

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