Judges, priests and laws: making a bed for crime in the Philippines

Imelda blessing

“You are forgiven. Go with God. . .”

I’m talking about honest judges and priests as well as corrupt judges and priests. And laws that coddle criminals. And a society that talks a good game now and then but is lacking in compassion for ordinary people.

Why are there so many governmental crooks in the Philippines? Why is it an accepted way of life? Why do crooks thrive and run for president?

There is one reason and one reason alone. They thrive because the fear of punishment never threatens their conscience or way of life. Impunity, after all, is the avoidance of any obligation of caring for those of little means or power. The corrupt are seldom held to account.

Impunity is shaped by institutions that give crooks a free ride. And by laws that promote ways to get away with crime.

  • Philippine judges fail to mete out justice quickly and precisely.
  • Philippine Catholic priests play pal with the influential and forgive bad deeds.
  • Philippine laws favor the entitled over ordinary citizens.

Compassion is missing in the Philippines among people of great power and social standing. After all, compassion would demand that bad people be held to account for their misdeeds so that bad people would stop hurting good people.

Is that hard to grasp?

Why aren’t judges, the smartest people in the land, able to see that they are complicit in the Philippine culture of criminality?

Why can’t priests, the keepers of Philippine morality, see that they are complicit, too? That coddling the bad, the people who choose wrong over right, hurts good people?

Why are laws that blatantly favor the entitled still on the books? In 2015. This is not 1896.

Judges and priests operate like Saint Peter on earth, screening those who pass before them. One evaluates the flock according to the nation’s laws, the other according to God’s.

Heaven would be Hell if Philippine judges and priests were to man the Pearly Gates.

When there is no personal accountability, we have people willing to game the system. When people game the system, there is no institutional accountability. When there is no institutional accountability, we have impunity. With impunity, we have the Philippines.

The Philippines is place where bank secrecy laws give stolen money a secret path to America or Switzerland, where the lack of anti-trust laws congregates the wealth of the Philippines among eight families, where dynasties establish local feudal realms and leverage their favorite sons into national positions of influence and favor, where SALN’s of government officials are cooked books and information is not free, where an out-of-control tabloid press sheds no  light on anything but conflict and negativity.

Where judges and priests are agents of the entitled.

Where else does the primary church threaten to ex-communicate or impeach a president because he wants better human rights for poor Filipinos and more punishment for the crooks?

Where else do you have esteemed judges just fine with the slaughter of 58 people going unpunished after six years? And if you question why, they cry that their independence is being impugned.

Do you want to know why the Philippines operates with precious little logic or productive might?

Because it is not anchored to values of goodness that benefit the people. It is anchored to values of favor and patronage, of decisions that go left or right, up or down, forward or back, depending on the whims of those in power. The president may have a good path in mind, but that path has to go through fields of judges and priests and crooks who knowingly . . . willingly  . . . undermine the moral fabric of the nation, and its ability to operate well.

“How do we get out of this rut, Joe?”

I’m glad you asked that question.

Senator Bam Aquino gets it. Maybe ask him while he still has the candor of youth.

I’d say pass some new laws that crack open the walls of impunity that favor the few. FOI now. Anti-dynasty. Anti-trust. Get rid of mafia-like bank secrecy laws. Regulate media; media owners have shown they are incapable of adhering to the most basic of ethical practices. Whereas the Philippines ought to be a vibrant, uplifted, well-informed nation, the tabloid media promote a beaten-down nation of sensationalism and concocted conflicts and precious little journalistic distinction whatsoever.

“Tear down these walls of impunity!”

For the judges, we-the-people ought to demand that the Supreme Court, and its subordinate courts, give us justice. It is a simple request and there is a simple solution. The Supreme Court can get it done in a year:

  1. Make speed a mandated part of fairness. Study judicial procedures to identify and get rid of processes that impose delays. Mandate resolution of cases within specified time-frames.
  2. Make sure judges have authority over their court calendars. The calendar ought not be set by lawyers exercising legalistic “rights” that wrong the people.

You say you are doing those things already? Where are the RESULTS? That’s what we look for.

Move with a sense of commitment, a sense of purpose, a sense of dedication to what is RIGHT. Stop the excuses, the pedantic legal wrestling, the nitpicking, the laziness.  Get it done.

Capiche?

For priests, perhaps the National Government should ban the practice of forgiving sins. This practice undermines the secular State’s need to impose punishment and accountability upon those who break the law, and a conscience upon those THINKING of breaking the law. The rite of forgiveness promotes continued criminal acts. The practice of forgiveness flaunts the legal mandates of the State and is tantamount to encouraging a criminal to conduct a crime.

Imelda’s forgiveness ought to come AFTER restitution of stolen money. AFTER accountability and honest repentance. Not so priests can be good fellows pampering the entitled, the well-moneyed . . .

Stop with this show, this fakery, this  . . . this . . . this . . .act of impunity propped up by priests.

If the Church doesn’t like having a sacred rite banned, Government should obtain from its leadership specific proposals as to what the Church will do to hold its members accountable for crimes. The Church has so far not demonstrated the ability to hold its flock accountable for their transgressions. The Church has coddled so many crooks that it would be the royal laughing stock of the nation, except that needy people have nothing but their faith to cling to.

 “Joe, that’s just naive! Your ideas go against the entire Catholic Church.”

Very good. Then you tell me how we can stop the Church from undermining values like accountability for harmful acts. Compassion is not found in forgiving crooks. It is found in making whole those hurt by crooks, and ensuring it does not happen again.

What, specifically can the the Church do to move away from a culture of impunity to one of accountability? Preaching it is not enough when priestly rites favor the entitled who say their three Hail Marys and then go out and grab some more taxpayer money. Then contribute generously to the Church.

Maybe the priests don’t know it, but that is a kickback, not a gift to our Lord.

I propose that  the Church excommunicate Imelda rather than forgive her. The Church should speak sharply against those who hold public office and engage in sins so gross as to feed dirty bread to our children. I believe that is the way Pope Francis put it. They should have demanded exclusion of Vice President Binay from the Pope’s welcoming committee so as not to cast stains of association on the Holy Father.

Maybe the Church should actually DO something to help this nation, as a nation. Instead of blaming others.

We need a bold church that follows its own advice. Not an excuse-ridden gang of criminal collaborators.

For the record, in 1902 the Catholic Church of the Philippines excommunicated founders of the Philippine Independent Church because those founders objected to the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal and went their own way. The Church is fully capable of doling out punishments. If it wants to.

Priests are smart, right? They are kind? They can comprehend, can they not?

I’d say three Philippine institutions need to put acts where their brains are, where their mouths are, where there accountability OUGHT to be:

  • The Legislature needs to get moving on important new laws that break down walls protecting the favored.
  • The Supreme Court needs to apply its mental might to get speed into the court system. Quickly. Like now, with a sense of urgency.
  • The Catholic Church needs to stop coddling crooks and act to impose penalties on the wayward, not forgiveness. Forgiveness of crooks is not compassionate. Stopping crime is compassionate.

Addendum: to the point that judges do not control their own calendars, read “Justice irked: ‘Philosophers’ in pork barrel case delay trial” from the Daily Inquirer, January 24, 2015

 

Comments
115 Responses to “Judges, priests and laws: making a bed for crime in the Philippines”
  1. karl garcia says:

    Well put.

  2. Bans Godoy says:

    Well said, an eye opener, a mental awakening for every Filipino, a netional call to change.

  3. macspeed says:

    Very well stated…

    I feel helpless but its true, if one has money, the law clings in his/her favor, end story not guilty.

    Same with the priest, when the sinners waving violets, forgiveness is very imminent.

    There is corruptions in all walks of life, survival of the fittest, the one with cards and check are

    always on top of impunity.

    Somehow, PNOY has started breaking walls. He needs to be careful not to trust anybody, the

    mafia kills even his brother or any blood relatives when needed. The Network of PNOY defense

    should be enhance to enable protection and shield the ongoing process of jailing the corrupts.

    2 more years, a lot of these crooks are still at bays, cant move while PNOY is around. I pray, a new

    “6packs” well define President will lead the way after PNOY for Philippine progress…

    • Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

      It is not Filipinos fault. Filipinos have been ideologically colonized by the Philippine Press.

      • Joe America says:

        The Press does impose its ways on the nation, lacking much real information, full of conflict, seldom unifying or uplifting. It is a form of sneaky colonization.. . . for profit.

    • Joe America says:

      You know, so few people see Mr. Aquino as a man of courage because he looks like everybody’s uncle, is quick to smile, can speak with a bite, walks with a little hitch in his gait (just like the Pope, I would note) . . . doesn’t wear a gun in his belt or a cowboy hat. But he is the sheriff in town, and his speech to the Pope illustrates he has the people’s interest ahead of servitude. Servitude, after all, is one half of the culture of impunity. Bowing to the power of others, rather than to reason. You point out the dangers in his being a crime-fighter, and I agree that the next President will have to be courageous as well, if this is to continue.

  4. we need a higher standard for everyone specially those who hold power in the moral and legal landscapes.

    This happened in powerplant mall rockwell. I saw some people fawning and shaking hands with the Vice President. I wanted to take a picture to post in facebook because the kids were wearing ateneo/ateneo law branded stuff and I wanted to rib some ateneo friends. That was my second reaction my first reaction was i wanted to slap those people and say fuck this is a fucking plunderer people like that should not be fawned. They should be shamed and slapped.

    I was really surprised with my indignation in seeing the VP. had to hurry home and take some Blood Pressure meds.

    What I am trying to say is if people like them can’t show indifference or disdain for people in power what more the multitude of destitute people who are less informed.

    I blame the President and his cabinet on this. We cannot and should not tolerate people like them. It starts with us our freedom of expression as free citizens to show people in power we do not tolerate their acts.

    • Joe America says:

      I felt the same way seeing VP Binay even near the Pope, or when he sidled up to the Pope after the Luneta service. His presence made President Aquino’s genuine expression of appreciation seem like trash. Because the Pope knew he was being gamed, politically.

      The standard is an ethical courage and discipline that sees the well-being of the nation as the primary interest of all. People hereabouts are not stupid, but they are subservient to the influential, or to some notion of family loyalty that is more important than the poor.

    • chit navarro says:

      We live in a civilized society and we have a President who respects the position and the authority that comes with it. The President already made a statement that if the VP believes the Cabinet is not doing the right thing, he is free to leave. But he did not. Makapal talaga…. At the arrival ceremony for the Pope in Villamor, the camera panned on the President with his Cabinet laughing, discussing, etc – one big jolly family and nowhere in sight is Binay. Sabi ko sa sarili ko, “salamt, wala ang VP”… because you know, the feeling is different. But then, when the Holy Father started walking towards the line with the President beside him, there comes the VP, ahead of everyone else, taking his hand and kissing the papal ring! pati ang Presidente mukhang nagulat… and the the cold treatment is very visible…Nasira talaga ang gana ko….I an checking out the Luneta Mass because the live streaming we saw did not show the President after the Mass.

    • matina52 says:

      i too am disgusted at seeing people – the well-educated ones, some of whom are my friends – succumb to the celebrity allure of dubious people in power like Binay as if they deserve to be applauded. They should be ostracised, snubbed and boycotted instead. You don’t have to stage a protest rally – just turn your back on them when you see them in public. Why anyone want to take selfies with them is beyond belief. Shame them in your own little way. The Filipino excuse of “respeto” is not justified. Anyone can do this any time and anywhere people like Binay are around.

      • karl garcia says:

        I like the attitude.But about the respeto thing, closes thing to binay I was introduced to and have say hello sir how do you do,was kit tatad.
        I would not know if I could do the same to Binay out of courtesy at least. In a wake of a mutual friend of my father and binay, he approached my father and they embraced I just kept a poker face.good thing he was not introduced no need for niceties.

  5. Manuel Monge says:

    “When there is no personal accountability, we have people willing to game the system. When people game the system, there is no institutional accountability. When there is no institutional accountability, we have impunity. With impunity, we have the Philippines.”— Joe America

    Sums it up really.

  6. Karl garcia says:

    Since this country is already a land of laws. Let us get rid if some to give room for a few more. Yes bank secrecy is one, there are lots more at the tip of my tongue or in this case the tip of my fingers.
    So many lawyers too. Even old timers are taking the bar exam.
    Yet the sandigan bayan has too few judges, one has to multitask to submission.
    Priests are very few because there are many lawyers.
    The few young ones are ideal at first hopefully they wont be like young lieutenants full of fire at the start until the spark runs out when they get their stars.

    • Joe America says:

      Do you read any John Grisham books? Generally about attorneys and the courtroom process. His judges usually have great character. Old, cantankerous, not willing to be pushed around by lawyers, demanding respect, law-based, straight talking, driving the calendar . . . I’d suggest the Philippine Supreme Court hire Grisham to write a “how to” book for judges.

      • karl garcia says:

        i watched the firm and pelican brief. I have the books and it is time to read them .and yes if they need a “how to book” They should just look at their shelves and start reading Grisham.

  7. phoebus says:

    I enjoy the optimism in your articles. I agree to your many points but we differ in some instances. I’d like to make some comments and corrections.

    1. “For the record, in 1902 the Catholic Church of the Philippines excommunicated founders of the Philippine Independent Church because those founders objected to the execution of Dr. Jose Rizal and went their own way.”

    Your Wikipedia link does not support your statement. Most likely, Aglipay and his companions were excommunicated because of heresy.

    2. “This practice undermines the secular State’s need to impose punishment and accountability upon those who break the law, and a conscience upon those THINKING of breaking the law.”

    I find a disconnect here. We have a separation of Church and State. The Church does not impose “earthly” punishments inside Confession box. We acknowledge that there is a “spiritual” punishment later and it’s called “purgatory” or “Hell” depending on the state of your soul before you die. Accountability on “Earth” should be imposed by the State, accountability “later” can only be imposed by God and not even by the Church.

    Pointing out Imelda as having been forgiven is not really accurate. Who really knows?

    BTW, the sacrament of Confession is not a washing machine for rags.

    3. The Church with the capital ‘C’ is not represented by the opinion and biases of noisy and show-off members of the clergy. Just like any institution, now everyone has wisdom like Cardinal Tagle. Who have heard of him before becoming a cardinal?

    • Joe America says:

      Good of you to stop by, phoebus, and to point out some . . . um . . . places where refinement is in order.

      1. Yes, that excommunication episode requires more elaboration to understand it fully, and I’d agree heresy was likely the reason for punishment. My point was that the Church can punish as well as forgive.

      2. Yes, a fine improvement to the point. My argument is that it is difficult for the State to do its job when the Church is undermining the essential checks to crime: a conscience (too easily appeased by the rite of forgiveness) and punishment (which the Church seems to undermine). In fact, the Church and the State are in it together and need to get on the same page. You are right regarding Imelda. I have no idea what took place between her and the priest. All I know is that contrition does not seem to be in her deck of cards. Again, you go for precision, and I go for meaning. As for the sacrament of Confession and rags, I’d say that depends on what the people bringing their souls in for cleansing do when they leave the confessional.

      3. Good point. The good priests should not be unfairly smeared for the poorly behaving, who are probably the minority. You are right. I could have made that point in the article, and in the past have done so.

      • Joe America says:

        Afterthought on 2. There is a kind of chemistry going on, I think, between social impunity that comes with power and favor (monetary), and the way the Church works. Combined, the two seem to produce a sense of royal right of acquisition. However it works, it is not working well . . .

        • phoebus says:

          It may seem like that because we observe people like Imelda, Napoles, Estradas, etc seem to be close to some men of the cloth. Hmmmmm. . . Some strength in character is really needed when dealing with people with the likes of Imelda, Napoles, etc. Pope Francis have dealt with a similar experience before which he shared recently. I am hoping many priests would follow suit.

          What I’m more worried about is the media that brings about tabloid journalism and mind-numbing entertainment. It is not social impunity that they bring but distractions (e.g. Marian – Dingdong wedding). Another is the INC, block voting in return for favors and powers through nepotism.

          • Joe America says:

            The media for sure are worrisome, and the huge block of votes controlled by INC. They “buy” votes by religious intimidation. Ach, I am coming to have great distaste for moral custodians who are not moral.

      • phoebus says:

        I don’t find any capacity for the Church to punish. Excommunication, the severest punishment, is only applicable to very few situations. Nowadays, the opinion of the noisy clergy does not hold much water. Those, pro-RH politicians who were publicly shamed by “noisy” member of the clergy got even a boost among the faithful. Further, I don’t believe that callousness of conscience can be attributed to the availability of an “easy” forgiveness inside the confessional box. It’s more complicated than that or there are other reasons that contributes more to such callousness.

        • Joe America says:

          I take it excommunication is rather legalistically employed when the church itself is threatened. Not when the nation or even people are threatened. It is therefore a very self-protective punishment, not a moral punishment for bad behavior. I accept that the situation is complicated, and is more than the confessional. Still, if the institution is behaving in ways that are political, against government, it minimally ought to be taxed. It is not doing charity work. I personally think the 83% Catholic statistic is rather like the count of 6 million people at the Luneta event. Exaggeration for effect. And for sure, if the Church keeps up its current ways of running against the wind of progressive development of the Philippines, the institution will become increasingly irrelevant.

  8. karl garcia says:

    We see from many angles.Some might say that Imelda is forgiven by the catholic church because she was seen receiving communion maybe even on national tv.

    If you are a priest how on earth would you escape that trap?
    what would you say? Excuse me you are not allowed to take communion.
    That priest and his family might end up dead.

    same with judges, isang bala ka lang. I know where you live.

    • karl garcia says:

      your honor that was not a threat, i was just trying to articulate something.

      • karl garcia says:

        damn! mom and grandma, I should have listened.

        • Joe America says:

          Oh, I suspect that, within, you have those lessons in the mix of your ways and means and motives. It’s like calculus. I don’t remember a thing about the actual work and terms, but I know it structured my mind to follow a “proof-based” and logical ordering in the synthesis and search for solution.

          • karl garcia says:

            yeah, got kicked out of engineering school because i flunked calculus too many times.maybe because i kept on repeating it, it stuck to me somehow.

            • Joe America says:

              Ha, I was a math major in college. My last course, the one that drove me into teaching, which drove me into the army, was “Tensor Analysis with Applications to Mechanics of Continua”. I still don’t know what the course was about but the professor gave me a C for having the dedication to show up each class. The other eight students in the class were from India and operated at some conceptual plane that I couldn’t reach.

              • karl garcia says:

                in my school, it was the chinese who were out of this world in their analysis. i tried asking their help but i could not understand them.

              • Joe America says:

                Ahahahaha, that is funny, and I can relate. My other “C” in college was in statistics. The instructor was Japanese. He’d write on the board with his right hand, erase shortly thereafter with his left, and ripped along at warp speed in heavily accented English. At least I understood the Thai instructor who taught me German.

              • karl garcia says:

                roflmao

    • Joe America says:

      That’s the question the Church high priests ought to be debating. How can we better direct our children toward good deeds and contrition? Rather than saying, “well, that’s the way we do it, so tough luck, and, hey government, why are you allowing so much corruption?”

      Accountability. Looking within. I see evidence that the Pope has it. Cardinal Tagle has it. But he really has no power within the Philippine Church administrative framework. The CBCP political bishops have none. They have blames and excuses.

  9. Bans Godoy says:

    In addition, Philippines Democracy System has many destructive system flaws or errors since we got our independence in 1946, to illustrate two factors.

    First, the public officials salaries from top top to bottom are not at par for survival, therefore there is systemic corruption, private and public corruptions are expected and accepted as norms.

    “There is no personal accountability, there is no institutional accountability” JoeAm said.

    Second, the Philippines, small country as it is has too many public officials, therefore, we have very high annual salary national budget resulting to high taxes collection that burdens the general public.

    Just these two factors alone are heavy enough to sink the Philippines as the poorest nation in Southeast Asia. Many more destructive systems are not even mentioned here.

    The philippines needs national pragmatic system change to every destructive system. Who can do it ? Who will do it ?

    Time for national change!

    • karl garcia says:

      many have tried to streamline the bureacracy, yes i think points one and two leads to a another paradox. One might solve the other problem, but does it really solve it?

      You increase the salaries by firing people.Will point two be solved?
      Privitization?
      One word comes to mind and it was pointed out to me in another thread, the word oligarchs.

      Maynilad and Manila Water is an example.Will we be better of if we denationalize everything?

    • Joe America says:

      I definitely agree with both points. Low salaries almost force sideline work or under-table payments. Chief Purisima is a perfect example. Huge responsibility. Low salary, High expectations of lifestyle. Cheat on the edges to make it fit.

      The nation has a huge government payroll in terms of numbers. Processes are laborious and manual rather than automated. It is the job market of first resort. Yes, bloated, inefficient. But employing people.

      The question is how to make the change. I don’t think a return to the instability of revolt is going to help. Too disruptive. It would destroy the international reputation for promise and stability generated during the past few years. I think the solution is simply to keep pushing. The middle class is getting substantial, and it is a voice of reason and demanding of better service. Social media are a force. Push for good deeds and good results.

  10. Greg Hill says:

    Love your line about donations to the church from the corrupt being kickbacks for absolution.

    In Australia there is currently running a Royal Commission into Institutional Child Sexual Abuse (http://www.childabuseroyalcommission.gov.au/).

    Royal Commissions have extraordinary powers in Australia. Unlike normal courts of law, they seeks to uncover the truth, not to find a winner in an adversarial contest. They are often used as a final line of defence against crimes that traditional law has failed to address.

    The Commission has uncovered many unspeakable accounts of abuse against children in institutions and churches, including of course the Catholic Church. On a number of occasions the Commissioner has questioned Priests and the churches legal representatives about the practice of concealing crimes, not just those committed by their employees (priests), but also those crimes discovered in the confessional.

    The current job description of Priests seems to include: “If I learn about a crime I will take NO steps to help authorities prosecute that crime.” It will be interesting to read the Commissioners recommendations on whether the practice should receive any protection under the laws of the land, or whether there will be recommendations for prosecutions based on the evidence of concealed crimes presented to the commission.

    The Church on the other hand seems to take the view that repenting is better than prosecution, so as you’ve said in your post, criminals can safely repent in the confessional. They seemingly can repent over and over without fear of any retribution such as excommunication.

    Checking Wikipedia for cases of excommunication, I can’t see any in recent times for offences against society. The most common cause is offence against the laws and teachings of the church, usually by priests. I can’t see any cases of excommunication for sexual offences against children.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_people_excommunicated_by_the_Roman_Catholic_Church

    On the other hand, Saint Mary MacKillop was excommunicated in 1871 by the church because “she discovered children were being abused by a priest and went public”. The priest was not excommunicated.
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-09-25/mackillop-banished-after-uncovering-sex-abuse/2273940

    • Joe America says:

      Absolutely wow. Moral custodian without a sense of accountability for wrongdoing, other than words of avoidance or forgiveness. The close says it all. The Philippines could use such a commission that could eject public servants on the basis of their readout of testimony and evidence. No arguments. Based on a desire for upstanding ethical behavior. Binay would be gone, along with a pile of legislators. Pacquiao, too, for abandoning his post.

      Sorry it took this one a while to post. Three links or more goes to moderation.

  11. manuel buencamino says:

    Not to excuse crooks, but there could be another reason why stealing from the government was “acceptable” even the rational thing to do in the past.

    It was okay even patriotic to steal from the government during the Spanish, American, Japanese times because one could argue that he was stealing from invaders not from his fellow countrymen.

    By the time independence came around, stealing had become a habit. But there were those who saw that with independence the crooks were now stealing from the people and not the invaders. A lot of idealists joined Magsaysay’s government and moved on to positions of leadership after his death.

    But then came martial law. And once again it was okay to steal, because one was stealing from the kleptocrats not from the people.

    Cory came into power and there was hope for reform again. We began to see that our fate was in our hands. But that was short-lived. Erap and Arroyo came along. And since they were stealing from the government on a massive scale it was alright for everybody else to steal from the government because that would be, in a circuituous sort of way, stealing eggs from their golden goose.

    Now we have Noynoy. He doesn’t steal so if we steal we will be stealing from our fellow countrymen and not from him.

    I hope Binay does not become president because, under him, stealing from the government would be stealing from him and that would not only acceptable it would also be the only rational thing to do. 🙂

    • Joe America says:

      I’m sure that would be a factor but it tends to make a joke of the 10 Commandments. So being Catholic is just a social club, or a playing of the spiritual odds, rather like feng shui. As we speak, I’m trying to figure out how to turn my house so the entry faces east.

  12. Mariano Renato Pacifico says:

    “ESTRADA WINS DISQUALIFICATION CASE” – Inquirer

    Is justice working the way I wanted it to work? Or, is my brain poisoned by unethical biased unprofessional news reporting by Philippine Press? Because I still find Estrada worthy of disqualification.

    • Joe America says:

      The court ruled that Arroyo’s pardon of Estrada was absolute. Inquirer: “The three justices who voted for his disqualification were: Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, and Associate Justice Marvic Leonen.”

      Seems to smack of a political decision, eh? It will be an interesting case to read, especially any dissenting opinions. The SC essentially upheld COMELEC’s decision that Estrada was properly qualified.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        The dissenters were Sereno, Carpio and Leonen. What happened to Perlas-Bernabe? I would have expected a 10-4 decision, not 11-3.
        *****

      • Adrian says:

        Seems like SC can redefine East too…

      • manuel buencamino says:

        One accepts or rejects the decision depending on where one sits. Personally, I don’t think there was a right or wrong side to the Erap disqualification case because the language of the pardon was so vague you could argue it from either side.

        • Joe America says:

          The alignment of the judges on the deal certainly shows a political interpretation. I look forward to reading the case decisions. Other than any precedents it sets, the case seems to me to be irrelevant. His term is done, he is late in life. He’s operating straight.

          • edgar lores says:

            *******
            The case should have been decided before the elections. Comelec might be remiss here. Certainly the Judiciary as well for taking so long to decide.

            The strongest argument for Erap staying would be the retroactive disenfranchisement of the voters.
            *****

            • Joe America says:

              EXACTLY to the point of the article. The whole process borders on lunatic to me. Even Roxas still has a case pending regarding who really won the 2010 VP election. It will get resolved after he gets out of office. Kafka is rolling in his coffin, driven by huge gales of laughter.

  13. Adrian says:

    The social structure of the Philippines is badly broken. We’ve lost the sense of community together with its values. So we have people outcrabbing each other for some and no reason at all. The best time to teach citizen of good values (ie. nationalism) is when they are still impressionable (ie. kids). I’m looking at education as our salvation.

    1. Retrain the teachers. Increase their salary so that they can live in dignity. Raise the bar on qualification.
    2. Overhaul the curriculum geared more on Science and Technology and History.
    3. Boy Scouts. Kick Binay out first. When I was a kid, I religiously followed the Oath. Let the kids do activities that give sense of responsibility. Give them projects that are of value to the community they are in.

  14. Karl garcia says:

    Any comments on latest laylo survey? Are we overestimating the internet reach in the philippines?

  15. Bans Godoy says:

    ” I think the solution is simply to keep pushing. The middle class is getting substantial, and it is a voice of reason and demanding of better service. Social media are a force. Push for good deeds and good results.” Joeam said

    I have question, when will it change, who will change it?

    Change is inevitable, it is natural occurrence. There are two changes to occur, one is gradual growth under normal condition, second is sudden change when it reaches it kindle point like fire

    Historically, Southeast and East Asia nations started with sudden change of rules, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Japan,
    Now China. In 35 years since Deng Xiaoping reforms, the country has change. The rest of the countries mentioned, in 60-70 years all started authoritarian then change into some form of democracy. All are progressive change.

    Overseas-Filipino diaspora and OFW in foreign cities runs to 12 million strong and increasing…plus some awaken indigenous Filipinos are demanding for system change in due time, or may reach its kindling point.

    Yes, inevitably natural change will come, which one? Gradual growth or Sudden Fire

    Righteousness exalts the nation, corruption destroy the nation.

  16. andrewlim8 says:

    My concern with that Laylo pollster is that he seems to “laylo” when there is no election. 🙂 That could be an indication he is not legitimate. What other surveys do they do the rest of the time? Do they have a standing with local and international social science survey organizations? Are their principals highly regarded in academic circles? He could be a rogue ex-SWS staffer for all we know.

  17. karl garcia says:

    senate elevator rumors

    SNB: what are your plans for the country
    ST: i will make sure that binay never becomes president.
    snb:Sooonny

    said to be during the time when snb and st were buddy buddies

    as in all rumors be sure you have tequila so you could use a pinch of salt.

  18. JD says:

    there should be a new law that bans any religious organization from participating in political exercises such as officially endorsing a candidate….or else they should be taxed. separation of church and state should be clear. the Catholic Church, other major churches and the rich want the poor to stay poor and uneducated so all they have is their faith. the laws of the land are so outdated. they need major overhaul. people get confused between what’s moral, what’s legal and what’s ethical and the church and the rich always gets their way because they keep those laws untouched. i got educated in a prestigious Catholic school and oh i can tell you guys all about the scandals and the corruption that goes on in that institution. i seemed to be the only one crying foul, everyone else just follows the crowd. i think nowadays, the filipinos are slowly changing, now some thinking for themselves. spread this blog around…it might just be the catalyst for a major change!

    • karl garcia says:

      i think there was a decision on team patay vs team buhay that does not favor the comelec.

    • Joe America says:

      Yes, I agree, organized religions ought not be allowed to play the game of special consideration because they are charities, and then turn around and get down and dirty in the political arena. Fine, play the political game, pay your taxes. Because you are affecting decisions, and acts arising from those decisions need to be funded. Like, State medical care must be provided to the poor who are giving birth or dying because your religious organization opposes RH. YOU help pay for it.

  19. karl garcia says:

    I would like to go back to that funny exchange on the making a law to reposition the east.

    You cannot just bribe one congressman, it has to be a whole village.
    substantial number of committee members then if it is not hush hush in which i doubt anything nowadays is; bribing two thirds of the majority would ensure your law.

    I just cant imagine the tobacco lobby, the anti tobacco lobby, the pro rh anti rh lobby and the rest of the lobby money and how much money is involved.

    after the two houses the lobbyists proceed to the supreme court for defensive and preventive measures.

    one example only and it just sounded funny at the start.

  20. David J says:

    Your writings are a must read for anyone concerned about the future of Philippines. Excellent works.
    Btw, you mentioned about Inquirer.What is your opinion about Rappler and Raissa Robles.Apparently, the sites are run by Filipinos who mean good and who don’t seem to have any hidde agenda but to see honest justice pervade a corrupt country.

    Your views please

    • Joe America says:

      Hi, David, thanks for the kind words. Let me give a snapshot of each, Inquirer, Rappler, Raissa. I’ve written blogs in the past about each, but they are getting dated, so here’s a quick view:

      Inquirer is the best of the newspapers but continues to disappoint me with their tabloid style that generates conflict rather than provides information. Today’s issue was a refreshing exception, and illustrates the direction I’d hope the magazine would take, given they have an upstanding Publisher. That is, informational as well as topical and “popular” news, more upbeat, and more along the lines of global newspapers that have good journalistic ethics. It ought to see it representing the Philippines to the world, not just the Philippines, and I think it would upgrade its game. The President of the paper is married to a Romualdez, and I think that influences their editorial decisions, like that places blame for slow Yolanda relief with the national government and is completely silent about the negligence of the Romualdez mayor that led to deaths and suffering. They should be quiet about both or criticize both.

      Rappler is good in ideal but I also took them to task for editorializing their news content, like calling President Aquino “bone headed” within a news article. They have since cleaned up their journalistic act and I can discern no particular bias any more. They used to give Binay a lot of breaks. That said, I find their layout confusing and I think I miss a lot of quality articles for the jumble of headlines. And Orange is my least favorite color. 🙂 So my objections are minor, and I hope they do well as an alternative source of news. I read the main headlines regularly but don’t comment there as much as I used to.

      Raissa Robles is a regular read for me, and I do a lot of commentary there. She does interesting pieces – just not enough of them because she has a regular job. The people who comment are generally progressive and smart, so it is good reading.

      Adding one. I wish the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) would somehow popularize their game. They do good technical work but don’t have a popular presence. With FOI, or even now with more information being made available by government offices, they could reveal so much that the rest of us don’t get to.

  21. Jake says:

    Shouldnt they be performing exorcism instead?

    • Jake says:

      While were at it, I think we need to mention the INC too.

      They’re less noisy than the CBCP but they’re stealthier with political meddling. Basically, the followers vote for their leader’s choice even if their personal choice is a different politician.

      This is problematic when it comes to election. “Buy” the leader, you are assured millions of votes during the election.

      Now, if they’re leader becomes good buddies with Binay during the election…..

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