Sunday, August 13, 2006

Rule of Law

Listened to Justice Anthony Kennedy expound on the concept of "Rule of Law". He stated 3 requirements. One was the active participation of the citizenry towards the creation of just laws attuned to human rights, another was the enforcement of these laws without fear of retribution but it was the third component that got me thinking. Kennedy said that a government and its agencies needed to be reminded that they were not above the law. He felt that it was this concept that could explain all the corruption and graft and dishonesty in nations with less-developed legal systems because government and its agents have this notion that it is them who have the power to grant licenses and permits and enforce laws when these agencies exist primarily to process these claims to those who are entitled to them.

If you expect to go far in Philippine bureaucracy you need to adopt this pose of utter humility and ignorance because many in this entrenched class will only pounce on you harder if you so much as demand for what is rightfully yours. These people think that but for their compassion and grace you are not allowed anything. A fellow physician told me about what Oprah said: Never accept a No from someone who never had the right to say Yes in the first place.

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