"...linking poverty and torture, and we have evidence from the ground that proves a direct link."- Edeliza Hernandez, Executive Director, MAG, on Human Rights Brief, American University Washington College of Law, Center for Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, Volume 19, Issue 4 (Spring 2012 Special Edition), issue on the final Forensic Evidence Against Torture (FEAT) Conference held in Washington, D.C. in February 2012.
Aristotle once said “The rule of law is better than that of any individual.”
The supremacy of the law is a fundamental concept in the western democratic order. The rule of law requires both citizens and governments to be subject to known and standing laws. A corollary to this is that the rule of law presupposes the absence of wide discretionary authority in the rulers, so that they cannot make their own laws but must govern according to the established laws. Those laws ought not to be too easily changeable. Stable laws are a prerequisite of the certainty and confidence which form an essential part of individual freedom and security.
The idea of the supremacy of law requires a definition of law. This must include a distinction between law and executive administration and prerogative decree. A failure to maintain the formal differences between these things must lead to a conception of law as nothing more than authorization for power, rather than the guarantee of liberty, equally to all.
The promotion of patients’ rights has been a growing concern of international organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), and local non-government and people’s organizations in the Philippines. This concern has been triggered by two things: the paradigmatic shift in viewing health as a human right and the increasing cases of violations of patients’ rights committed by health professionals and workers, particularly in Third World countries.
It is a well-known reality that in the Philippines, as well as in most other Third World countries, a significant percentage of the population are not aware of their basic human rights, more so their rights as patients. Poverty as well as lack of education and access to information has brought about this state of ignorance. Concomitantly, the dominance of a culture of subservience and silence has persisted, particularly among the poor, when relating with people vested with authority and power like health professionals. People have been made to believe that doctors and those comprising the medical institution are all knowing and competent, and ready to act only in the best interests of the patient.