Everything depends on the SC

With both legislative chambers garnering super majorities, the speculation these days is that Rodrigo Duterte, the President of the Republic in two weeks time, will be the most powerful president ever — even more powerful than the late President Ferdinand Marcos during the martial law years.
But Duterte and his super majorities in Congress can only be powerful if they allow him to be too powerful, and if the Supreme Court (SC) allows itself to be dominated and dictated upon by Duterte.
It is probably accurate to state that every new tenant of Malacañang, gets the majority of congressmen and even senators to swear allegiance to him, which in turn means that they allow their respective institutions — the House of Representatives and the Senate — to be prostitute by the Malacañang tenant, given the much abused practice of turncoatism of the members of Congress, which generally leads to too many members of Congress, in their desire to be in the majority with committees to head and perks to be had, pass legislative measures as the president and his aides insist on, even if such Palace bills are either defective and unconstitutional, or bills that do not serve the interests of the Filipino people and the nation — and we have such bills that have become law under the Aquino administration.
While such power can still be checked by the High Court, this also depends on whether the SC justices will play ball with Malacañang and its tenant and lose their mandate to act as an effective check on both the legislative and the executive powers.
One of the reasons Marcos succeeded in  becoming a dictator, or having transformed himself into a constitutional authoritarian, is that the SC when Marcos declared martial rule, failed to protect the interest of the people and failed to stop Marcos from cementing martial rule, to the point of his abolishing Congress and writing a new Constitution which cemented his powers as a dictator, and even had his constitution ratified unconstitutionally, as all what was called from  the voters was to raise their hands in agreement to ratify his charter.
Under a democratic system, there are checks and balances, to curb the abuses of the Executive branch and these powers are within Congress through legislation, which can be vetoed by the President but which the Congress can override the presidential veto.
However, in the post Marcos political history of the Philippines, there has never been a time when the presidential veto had ever been overridden.
The existence of a super majority in the Senate or the House, or both should not mean that their members should transform themselves into puppets of the Malacañang tenant.
The problem is, they usually do.
In the House of Representatives, for example, the voice of the opposition members is drowned out by the majority. Yet such a situation need not come about if the majority starts treating the minority not as an enemy of the regime but one that should be treated with courtesy as a constructive opposition, and not drowned out by votes, as dictated by Malacañang.
The opposition should always be given a voice to enable Congress to adhere to the democratic way of bringing in the check and balance mandated by the Constitution.
In the Senate, there is supposed to be a super majority allied with the new Malacañang tenant. Obviously, the opposition, whoever will make up the minority, will still have a voice, but it will still be a weak voice, given the numbers in the Senate majority.
There is also the danger of a super majority, whether in the House of Representatives or the Senate, of abuse.
In the 16th Congress which was dominated by the Liberal Party members and their political allies, it was evident that some of the majority members were too easy with the Cabinet members of Aquino, to the point of allowing them to go scot free despite an opposition senator getting the Cabinet member, such as Budget Secretary Butch Abad to explain the discrepancy in figures presented, where missing billions from the Disbursement Acceleration Program funds were not explained, despite his pledge to present more figures. Even as the opposition senator asked for the documents, and for Abad to be summoned again, the majority did not bother to do so.
Still, there can be a glimmer of independence in the Senate and the SC if they remain true to their mandate and protect the Filipino people from the abuses of the executive power.
Else, we end up with another dictator, which appears imminent.

Source: Tribune