Monday, December 12, 2011

Fr Joaquin Bernas SJ highlights the point that a lynch mob is not a 'people's mandate'

Politicians particularly those who go by slogans that are relics of 1980's popular movements presume to defer to what they consider to be the "source" of their mandate -- the "people". But democracy is a system composed of measures to systematically channel power. As such, the "power" of said "people" is channeled via institutionalised processes. These processes allow direct expression of this power (through elections, plebiscites, referendums, etc.) or through indirect representative expression (through the actions of people who are elected through the earlier type of process to represent them).

The good constitutionalist Fr Joaquin Bernas SJ makes this point clear...
Government officials have only so much authority as is given to them by law and the Constitution, and not what they might assume to be given to them by popular rallies.

In short, a lynch mob or an "occupational" movement (to use the current fad terms) does not constitute a mandate to govern or to implement state measures.

For a people renowned for their misguided emotionalism and lack of an ingrained tradition of applying a scientific or logical approach to evaluating their issues, it is exceedingly difficult to grasp simple principles like these. And this collective character of Filipinos is exhibited in the leaders they elect.

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