The rule of law as a pillar of democracy

The rule of law is based on human rights: on reason and ethics.  The rule of law is clear, and predictable.  The rule of law is fair and impartial: it applies equally to everyone.

whereas

Natural law is based on the right of might: on power. Natural law is arbitrary and capricious: it reflects the fleeting whims of the mighty. Natural law benefits the privileged few. In summary, natural law is unjust.

The rule of law enables a well-functioning system of justice.  If the legal system, including regulation of other social institutions, does not function properly, the society will fail.

The rule of law is the direct responsibility of government.  To accomplish this, the government must be free of corruption, and also flexible and adaptable, to confront new threats as they arise.  When government is corrupted, there is no rule of law.  Equal protection is denied, and the wishes of the majority are ignored.

These qualities of the rule of law have clearly been applied to former SC Justice Renato Corona.  His impeachment case, regardless of its objectives, has set the bar for a speedy public trial of a public official.  It should also be applied to the public officials (Senators and members of Congress, the highest leaders of the land!) implicated in the multi-billion peso PDAF scam.  (In fact, now that we’re all on the topic of corruption and fraud by public officials, how come the former President GMA was allowed to run for public office despite the graft and corruption cases she was implicated in?  I’ve heard lots of people vehemently call the former President all sorts of bad names yet when the moment came for them to stand up for their convictions in public they were silent or nowhere to be seen.  I don’t understand this behavior.  I think the operative word is respect and freedom.  I haven’t called her names, in public or private, because kindergarten taught me to be respectful – I give her that due as the highest leader of the land then – and I didn’t know the truth about all the accusations thrown at her, but this doesn’t mean that I will deny myself my rights as a citizen when her decisions and actions are against public morals and the law.  Other than that she has all the freedom to live her life however she wants.)  Only then, when the rule of law is a constant in public governance, can we say that the country is a democracy and its people are truly free.

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