Strangled to Debt (Panghuling Yugto ng Buhay si Lapu-Lapu)

Rep. Gary Alejano poses in front of Magdalo sun with signatures of members.

ni Wilfredo G. Villanueva

“Strangled to Debt ang tawag ko dito,” sabi ni Cong. Gary. “Usually, ang mga mahihirap na bansa na may unstable finance record ang target ng BRI. Lihim ang mga financing agreements, walang full disclosure, the two sides of the loan agreement lang ang nakakaalam ng detalya. Strangled to debt, nakasasakal na pautang ang nangyayari, at walang malay ang mga mamamayan.”

“Sa Build, Build, Build program ng Duterte administration, 75 flagship projects worth a combined total of $170 billion ang nakaumang. Ang sabi ng Department of Finance, ang TRAIN (Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion) law ang susuporta sa Build, Build, Build. Subalit, sa Senate hearing on the TRAIN bill, napag-alaman na 83 per cent ng BBB projects ay popondohan ng local at foreign borrowing.”

“Two million construction jobs ang mabubuo,” patuloy ng congressman. “Heto naman ang sabi ng China-owned contractors: manggagawang Tsino ang ide-deploy, hindi mga Pilipino.”

“Pero ito ang mas nakakatakot: maaaring gawing garantiya o collateral sa loan repayment ang natural resources. Masama ang ibig sabihin nito. Delikadong mapasa-Tsina ang most valuable natural assets natin; pati ang ating sovereignty nakataya.”

“Tingnan mo, sa Pakistan, na-secure ng China ang Gwadar Port dahil sa ganitong kalakaran. Sa Djibouti, nakapagpatayo na ng military base ang China, under lease agreement. Sabi ng IMF at World Bank, malabo daw makabayad ng malaking pagkakautang ang Maldives sa China dahil sa kaguluhang politikal. Ang Tajikistan, hinaharap din ang tinatawag na debt distress, o kahirapan ng buong bayan dulot ng pagbayad ng nakasasakal na utang. Mga 1,154 square kilometers ng teritoryo nito ang napasa-Tsina. Ang Hambantota Port at ang Mattala Airport ng Sri Lanka ay ganun din: 90 per cent ng raw materials na inani sa Hambantota projects ang napasakamay ng China. Sa Venezuela, ang langis nito, kung kaya taghirap ngayon duon.”

Federalism?

“Walang assurance na problems will be addressed. It will be an experiment, a continuing experiment like the Local Government Code of 1991, which is supposed to provide more local autonomy. Ang tanong: gaganda ba ang buhay natin? Do you think dynasties will end, and the political culture will change?”

“We have to destroy Imperial Manila, sabi nila. Pero National Capital Region lang ang kumikita, lahat ng regions in deficit. Eighty-two per cent of government revenues collected by the Bureau of Internal Revenue come from NCR. For example, Davao contributes around 1.2 percent to the total tax collected by BIR, but takes five per cent in return. Mahihirapan lalo ang mga regions outside NCR. Ang mga pwedeng gawin imbis na federalism: review the Local Government Code, disperse and equalize economic opportunities, restructure share of taxes, pass relevant and effective measures such as anti-dynasty act and political party reform act.”

Kumusta naman ang pamilya ninyo?

“Ang sabi ng asawa ko,” sagot ni Gary, “kung papasok daw ako sa politika, h’wag akong magdadala ng nakaw na yaman sa tahanan namin.”

Bata pa ang pamilya nila. Ang kambal, 14 years old. Ang mga susunod, 10, 6 at ang bunso, one year old. Pero mulat ang mga nakatatandang anak sa concepts ng plunder at corruption. Alam nila na mali ang mga ito.

Religion?

“Christian kami, Christ’s Commission Fellowship ang center namin. Napag-aaralan namin ang Romans 13:1 sa Bible na nagsasaad: ‘Ang bawa’t kaluluwa ay pasakop sa matataas na kapangyarihan: sapagka’t walang kapangyarihan na hindi mula sa Dios; at ang mga kapangyarihang yao’y hinirang ng Dios.’ Radikal ang Magdalo. You are given free will to act against wrongdoing. Tayuan mo. Maybe you aren’t taking action because you are commanded to love other people, but we cannot keep quiet, gagawin namin ang dapat gawin. Kami nila Sonny, palaging leap of faith, God’s will. Ang mali ay mali at dapat itama.”

“Ang panalangin ko, kung wala na kaming purpose, kung ‘di na tama ang ginagawa namin, patayin mo na, Lord, ang apoy sa puso namin. At kung tama naman, i-bless mo po kami.”

Anu-ano ang set of beliefs mo, ng Magdalo?

“We believe that politicians make politics dirty. And if we want to be in politics, ang importante, h’wag kami magpakain sa sistema.”

“Government itself is the problem. Nalaman namin ito sa field. Sa isang partikular na bayan, ang nakatira sa municipal hall, mga kambing. Ang  opisyales, nakatira sa mansion. At kung may mangyayaring masama sa ‘yo, o mamamatay ka, statistics ka lang. Kaya kami bumuo ng brotherhood ng Magdalo. Ayaw namin sa corruption. Hindi matatapos ang gyera kung may korapsyon. Ito ang reason kung bakit kami nag-converge sa Oakwood, sa Manila Pen.”

“Naituro sa PMA ang idealism, ang honor code. Meron kaming tanong sa isa’t-isa o yung tinatawag naming “challenge.” Mula sa “Is this room all right?” na tanong ay ang challenge na, “All right, sir.” Ibig sabihin lahat ba sa buhay mo maayos, walang krimen, walang ninakaw, sinaktan; sumusunod ka ba sa honor code? Kapag ang tinanong ay sumagot ng “All right, sir,” konsyensya na niya ang iiral. Ito ang honor code. Kailangang yakapin ang konseptong ito at isa-buhay.

“Sa kulungan pa lang, itinuloy namin ang pagbabago. Lumaki ang hanay ng Magdalo mula sa mga boluntaryong ordinaryong mamamayan hanggang mayroong mga 90,000 members nung 2010 paglaya namin.”

“This is about responsible citizenship, kaya inopen namin ang ranks para sa mga ordinary citizens. Ang aming paniniwala: una, mahalin mo ang Diyos, bayan at kapwa tao. Kasunod nito, mahalin mo ang iyong pamilya. Mahalin at alagaan ang kalikasan. Tulungan ang nangangailangan, lalo na ang kapwa Magdalo. Makilahok sa eleksyon at h’wag ipagbili ang boto. Magbayad ng tamang buwis. H’wag manuhol at h’wag magpapasuhol. Maging mabuting halimbawa sa kapwa, modelo ka dapat ng pamilya mo, modelo ka ng grupo mo.”

Nang nabanggit niya ang pamilya,

naramdaman ko ang init ang apoy ng kanyang puso, tibok mandirigma:

“Dapat manalo pa rin ang pamilya. How can you lead the country when you cannot lead your family? When you say I will take care of my family, then you can take care of the country. Yung katabi mo nga hindi mo tinutulungan, saan mo huhugutin ang passion mo kung wala ka nito para sa iyong sariling pamilya? While we want to help the country dapat may foundation ka. Family yun.”

“May hypocrisy ang karamihan. Once and for all, we have to put sense and value in what we’re doing. Vicious cycle, maraming nagpapanggap na magagaling, pero wala sa puso ang pag-serve. Tama ba yung values mo? Something intangible, yun ang importante sa atin. I believe in family. When you compromise your values, when you have kabit, if you cannot understand what love is, how can you apply that in a bigger scale? If you do not have patience to teach your children to become good citizens, how can you be sure that children of other Filipinos can grow up as good citizens?”

“So we shouId ask ourselves if we serve our families enough. Family is our primary responsibility. I spend time with my children because Minnie and I are teaching them (home-schooling ang mga Alejano children). Wala akong boys’ night out.”

Ano ang panghuling salita mo, Cong?

“We are a lost people. We still need to be educated, just like parents educate their children. We have to mold our people, inspire them for a higher goal. Meron tayong good opportunity to unite and be bigger than ourselves—ito ang aggression ng China. Ito na ang pagkakataon natin. Country nga tayo, pero nation ba tayo? Tatayo ba tayo o matutunaw, matulala, kailangang kaladkarin? Ang ginawa ni Pangulong Duterte, tinanggal niya ang mga bakod, kaya wala nang balakid kung gagawa ng masama. Wala tayong pupuntahan, walang direksyon. We have to be optimistic, alam natin may problema, alam nating may mali. Ngayon, kaya mo bang tumayo para ituwid ang mali? At kung natatakot ka dahil baka kung ano’ng mangyari sa ‘yo, sino’ng nagsasabi mabubuhay ka? Baka sa susunod na minuto wala na tayo. Kung gusto mong mabuhay, tumayo ka. Wala tayong option kundi to fight for what is right.”

“Kapag natakot ka, pati yung tropa mo, matatakot na rin. Walang tatayo kung tutupi ang leader.”

Gary Alejano. Mandirigma sa panahon ng kadiliman. Ilaw ang sandata. Kahit na halos lahat ay nasisindak, ‘di makatayo, mabigat ang dinadala, siya ay tatayo at tatayo. Buhay niya ang tumayo.

 

Comments
165 Responses to “Strangled to Debt (Panghuling Yugto ng Buhay si Lapu-Lapu)”
  1. edgar lores says:

    *******
    Watching the Jericho March. Old women. Young kids. People of all sort. Purple scarves everywhere. Placards saying, “Laban CJ.”

    The atmosphere is relaxed, even festive.

    If the magistrates do not have the sense of fairness that the people feel, if they are intent on breaking the law, then cry, the beloved country.
    *****

  2. karlgarcia says:

    Magaling per usual.

    Homeschooling. Maaring di ako agree dito pero nakabilib ang mga magulang ng home schoolers dahil sa oras na maiibibigay nila.
    May paraan naman para sa extra curriculars at sports.Yun kasi ang primary concern ko na maging nerd at hermits at walang social skills ang mga home schooled, pero sakin lang yun.
    Sa lahat ng bagay- Nasa nagdadala yan.

  3. Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

    In the rally. Entire Padre Faura from Roxas Blvd. to Taft is closed, so with Taft southbound from UN Avenue past Philippine General hospital. Catholics and evangelicals alike delivered their prayers of petition and supplication under the hot-iron sun. “Amen,” was the word of the day. The pro-Constitution (pro-CJ) advocates numbering about a thousand deep cheered when 5,000 students with signature flags reinforced the peaceful gathering. The other half of Padre Faura was sealed off for pro-quo warranto rallyists of a smaller number, maybe 200, bused in by white Dept. of Justice buses, about ten of them. A man who looked like Topacio was directing. I could detect Sapang Palay. Going back now after a quick call at a KFC rest room, and after having written this report. The Lord is pervasive among pro-Cons. The other side, that lawyer with malleable lips lords it over.

    • NHerrera says:

      I say it again here — ad nauseam — our institutions may be have their faults, including the Judicial System, but if the Supreme Court itself acts with integrity and wisdom we can be proud of then there is hope still. [Add: the Armed Forces of the Philippines, without whose full support the aspiring full-pledged Dictator will be constrained.]

    • madlanglupa says:

      I try to imagine what if De Castro was the CJ and… I’m pretty sure that kind of SC would be rubber-stamping everything.

      And are those SC employees thinking right? As someone said, follow the money.

  4. NHerrera says:

    FOR TSH READERS WHO HAVE BEEN BUSY TO READ THE NEWS

    Justices who voted to oust Sereno (8)

    Noel Tijam
    Teresita De Castro
    Lucas Bersamin
    Francis Jardeleza
    Diosdado Peralta
    Samuel Martires
    Andres Reyes Jr.
    Alexander Gesmundo

    Justices who dissented (6)

    Antonio Carpio
    Presbitero Velasco Jr.
    Mariano Del Castillo
    Estela Perlas Bernabe
    Marvic Leonen
    Benjamin Caguioa

    https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/05/11/1814263/sc-votes-oust-sereno#ha50XWZJZfBBYdck.99

    • caliphman says:

      How tragic and ironic that the last bastion defending and upholding the primacy of the constitution. That this court should trample it in service of individual bias, politics, ambition, if not greed and arrogate for itself power and process deliberately and specifically granted elsewhere by the constitution is unconscionable, illegal, if not treasonous.

      • NHerrera says:

        A paper’s editorial today before the SC’s decision on Sereno:

        http://opinion.inquirer.net/113104/the-court-in-the-wrong#ixzz5FBIT08CY

        The wrong that the Supreme Court is poised to commit today is so clear, and so clearly unjust, that over a hundred law professors, led by deans and former deans of law schools in different parts of the country, published an advertisement calling on the Supreme Court to stop resisting the constitutional tide. “We, members of law faculties, express our deep concern at the move to unseat the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court by means other than by impeachment.” Adding their voice to those of other lawyers, including former justices of the Supreme Court like Hilario Davide Jr. and Vicente Mendoza and the president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, Abdiel Fajardo, the shapers of today’s generation of law students focused on the constitutional issue and then drew the necessary and terrifying consequence.

        “We have been taught in the College of Law that the Constitution provides only one means to remove a sitting Chief Justice. That is by impeachment by the House of Representatives and conviction after trial in the Senate. Any other means would be unconstitutional. It will expose those involved to the same vicious cycle of extrajudicial removal process which will subvert the constitutional check and balance and endanger judicial independence.”

        Will the justices listen? It isn’t only Sereno’s position that is at stake; the diplomatic language of the law professors’ statement cannot hide the truth, clear even to the students they teach, that the justices’ lifetime reputations, and the integrity of the Supreme Court itself, are also in the dock. In time, the tides of reason and history and justice will come crashing in, and will drag them all out to the unforgiving sea.

      • caliphman says:

        http://opinion.inquirer.net/113104/the-court-in-the-wrong

        This piece explains why the en banc court is wrong to decide on whether CJ Sereno stays or goes. The only thing worse than a court deciding that theft is legal is for it to actually engage in it. Which is what it does when it actually steals from the legislature the power to remove someone who can only ve impeached.

        • NHerrera says:

          ONE LAST FROM ME ON THE SUBJECT

          In an indirect way, this action of the Supreme Court implies to me that the Senate is seen to be more independent and superior than the SC, and is thus worthy of more esteem. There is the fear by the Administration and its minions in the House of Representatives — and most probably rightly so — that the Senate will not act the likes of SC’s De Castro, especially as the Justice Carpio, with his integrity and wisdom intact, will be present in the Impeachment Trial. And so the Impeachment Trial with arguments in full display — House Prosecutors versus Sereno’s lawyer(s) with the Senators acting as Judges — may display the full facts and legal arguments conducive to wiser judgment than the House and the SC have displayed.

    • trebor9 says:

      The bloodletting in the SC has become so brutal that the en banc session has come to resemble abattoirs. This is how they murder our democratic institution by viva voce and a ‘dagger’ in their hand. The system of “checks and balances” that enshrined in the constitution is dead.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      1. In the event that Sereno files an MOR, Hilbay suggests the possibility that one of the 8 might change his/her mind to reverse the legal abomination. Who could that be?

      2. Duterte’s appointees, the Devil’s advocates, are these 4: Tijam (ponente), Martires, Reyes Jr., and Gesmundo. They are unlikely to change. No independence, no probity. That leaves 4.

      3. De Castro is the archenemy of Sereno. That leaves 3.

      4. Bersamin is almost devoid of any sense of justness. He has forever been on the wrong side of decisions, diametrically opposed to Sereno, Carpio, and even Carpio-Morales (on Corona’s midnight appointment). He is legally blind and incorrigibly so. That leaves 2.

      5. Peralta’s sense of justice is slightly above Bersamin’s. On significant cases, he has voted on the same side as Carpio and Sereno twice (Del Castillo’s plagiarism case and the TRO on Corona’s dollars). But Peralta is the JBC acting chair who did a Pontius Pilate on Sereno, claiming he was unaware of the SALN non-submission. Can Pontius Pilate unwash his hands? That leaves 1.

      6. Jardeleza. Ah, Jardeleza. The PNoy appointee who has disagreed with Carpio on Poe’s cases and Arroyo’s release. Can he dissolve the huge ball of spite lodged in his throat that he carries against Sereno for impugning his integrity on Itu Aba? Can he rise above himself? It’s possible but I don’t believe so. He will — must — have his satisfaction.

      6.1. I have often wondered why PNoy went ahead and appointed Jardeleza who had to run to the Supreme Court to have his name included in the shortlist but who was not on the top of the list. I believe it was a case of “utang na loob” and I think it was one of PNoy’s worst decisions. Again, the dark Filipino trait bends the road towards unintended byways and consequences.

      7. And then there were none.
      *****

      • Most interesting assessment, throwing gloom across my monitor which I shall erase via bouts of silent but violent cursing throughout the day.

        • NHerrera says:

          … silent but violent cursing throughout the day.

          There must be lots of that today. Careful about that BP for those of us above 60. [Better to release it through the punching bag. 🙂 ]

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          There is a post-Duterte scenario.

          … But if it’s Bongbong, bouts of cursing and the throwing of monitors are not only permitted but encouraged.
          *****

      • NHerrera says:

        De Castro and Jardeleza must have their pound of flesh.

        Leonen — also Pnoy’s appointee — more than makes up for the decision to appoint Jardeleza in integrity, intellect and legal acumen. Unfortunately numbers count and not quality.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        6.2. Jardeleza wants to clear his name by proving the lack of integrity of his opposer. I wonder if he is aware of the irony that in doing so he besmirches his name for the whole of eternity.

        (You think reading this will jog his mind and release him from his spite?)
        *****

  5. NHerrera says:

    I am one of those who advocate, when addressing members of the Supreme Court as “Justice,” a Lesser Court Magistrate, “Judge” instead of “Your Honor” — until that glorious day comes to this benighted land — for a reason: aside from insulting them by being hypocritical, one may uncontrollably puke on the lectern and cause damage to that poor lectern.

  6. chemrock says:

    May 11. A Black day. The sun has set forever in the Philippines. Yet in the darkness, rejoice. For it sets a clearer landscape for the ICC.

  7. edgar lores says:

    *******
    1. It is a pity that this excellent profile essay has been overshadowed by events. I see a glimmer of a solution of the problems taking over the country.

    2. The perspective on the problems relating to reliance on China and on Federalism and the need to stay clear of these are clear and compelling.

    3. But what strikes me is the Magdalo philosophy. Rooted as it is in the honor code of the PMA, the philosophy may well be cleavage we have been looking for… for a mature political party system. Not owner vs. worker. Not left vs. right. Not church vs. state. Not federalism vs. unitary. Not Western vs. native. But clean hands vs. dirty hands.

    3.1. In a word or two, Magdalo vs. Trapo.

    4. In Part 1 (Una sa Dalawang Yugto), Irineo recognized Magdalo as nationalists, pro-democracy, and right-wing (but not liberals). In this Part 2 (Panghuling Yugto), Gary has expounded on the Magdalo philosophy.

    4.1. In addition to the central tenet of clean hands or a “clean room,” there are other precepts.

    o Concepts are to be lived. Idealism is not enough.
    o Citizenship is a responsibility.
    o The primary loyalties are to God, to country, and to fellow men.
    o The secondary loyalties are to family and to nature.
    o Help the needy.
    o Etc.

    4.2. And in addition to the precepts, there are moral values to be lived and vices to be avoided.

    5. What the Magdalo philosophy needs, apart from these precepts and values, are a cohesive program of government guided by its central concerns. The precepts must be expanded. An anti-corruption platform is not enough. There must be a progressive developmental platform.

    6. It must continue to attract and consult with the grassroots. And it must attend – kailangan magdalo – to the present conflicts.

    7. If we are a lost people, then the Magdalo may well lead us to the promised land.
    *****

    • NHerrera says:

      Today’s much darkened socio-political landscape — with the big quantum addition of another black from Lourdes Sereno’s ouster from the SC — gives more meaning to the patches of white such as the Magdalo. It is a cliché but is still apt here: we need the kind of shocker from that SC event to give sense to the people who are otherwise not mindful of what is happening and being lost. Even the AFP and the Senate — the two remaining bastions — need that shocker.

      Patches of white becomes that much brighter and meaningful in a background of a dark landscape.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Agree on all points. I hope people will find hope in Magdalo.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Will, a couple more points.

        1. Corruption is the poison that is killing the nation. Apart from PNoy’s slogan of “Kung walang kurap, walang mahirap,” Magdalo’s philosophy of clean living is the only antidote to the poison of corruption.

        2. When I said “excellent profile essay” I was alluding to both the subject and the author. Awww.

        Thank you.
        *****

    • Clean room principle. Japanese Zen masters say “before enlightenment, sweep the floor. After enlightenment, sweep the floor”. The first thing novices get is a broom. In Japanese schools, there are no janitors, students sweep themselves – to inculcate sense of duty.

      Similarly, military principles are about cleanliness and order – a principle that is expected to radiate into all aspects of one’s being. Just like old school bosses look at shoes to check whether a candidate is consistent in being orderly – or is just putting on a show for him.

      Consistency in values is what I also believe in – the pretender mentality many Filipinos have, clean kitchen / dirty kitchen, turns me off. But the dugyot authenticity of Duterte turns me off even more. Be at least neat if you can’t be picture perfect, even if it is just in jeans.

      Edgar, you have mentioned a sort of Meiji reform as a good thing for the Philippines. Magdalo have samurai-like values to do it, or at least be a catalyst for more improvements. The sheer number of bills Alejano has drafted, for example, has truly impressed me now.

      Besides, warrior-like role models have always had a certain appeal within Filipino culture. From Lapu-Lapu, the first defender, via Heneral Luna to the defenders of Corregidor. Such role models could be successful guides on the way from barangay culture to modernity.

  8. Bernard adan Ebuen says:

    Quo vadis…..Pilipinas Kong mahal?

  9. NHerrera says:

    A DISSENTING OPINION

    The SC vote on the ouster of Lourdes Sereno is 8-6. I term this as relatively close. One of the Dissenters, and one of the bright and sharp legal minds, is SC Associate Justice Marvic Leonen. It is in this context that I find his Dissent Statement rather persuasive.

    Leonen cites two provisions of the Constitution:

    – Article VIII Section 5 (1)
    – Article XI Sections 2 and 3

    He said “a better reading of the Constitution requires us to read words and phrases in the context of the entire legal document” noting that the general grant of jurisdiction for quo warranto actions under Article VIII Section 5 (1) of the 1987 Constitution should be read in the context of the provisions of Article XI Sections 2 and 3 as well as the principles of judicial independence and integrity inherent in several sections of the Bill of Rights.

    Article VIII Section 5 (1) provides that the high court “exercise original jurisdiction over cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls and over petitions for certiorari, prohibition, quo warranto and habeas corpus.”

    On the other hand, Article XI Sections 2 and 3 –- which he said should be read in the context of the first-mentioned provision — enumerates the officials that can only be removed by impeachment, the specific grounds and who has jurisdiction to initiate all cases of impeachment.

    “This petition should have been dismissed outright and not given [the] due course. It does not deserve space in judicial deliberation within our constitutional democratic space,” Leonen said.

    In short, Leonen calls the decision ousting Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno without an impeachment trial “a legal abomination.”

    [Highlighting, mine.]

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      The Philippine Constitution is based on the US Constitution. The copy-and-paste is not exact.

      The US Consitution does not use the permissive phrase may be removed from office on impeachment.” It uses the imperative “shall.”

      It reads, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

      However, the Philippine Constitution contains this sentence after the permissive term: “All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment.

      To me, the implication is that the named officials can only be removed by impeachment.
      *****

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        Addendum:

        The 1935 Constitution uses the imperative “shall.” Indeed it has an entire article devoted to the subject of impeachment.

        I think this and the US Constitution are the bases upon which the idea has grown that certain officials can only be removed by impeachment.

        The 1987 framers have a lot to answer for.
        *****

        • NHerrera says:

          The critical item is: what the SC says or how it interprets the law is the end point, unless the SC itself changes its interpretation. Thus, no matter how detailed or air-tight the law or Constitution is, its interpretation by the SC is the end point. Which, as a corollary means that a larger fraction of the SC membership can, through its own twisted self-interest, have its way against the many brilliant lawyers, Law Deans, Professors and former Justices whose average interpretation is persuasive to a critical mind but runs counter to the interpretation of those malicious majority of the SC.

          • NHerrera says:

            If the SC has 9 Calida, De Castro, Topacio types and 6 Carpio, Leonen types then you may as well not have an SC.

            • sonny says:

              What irony. Just when a well-deserved hagiography of the Filipino warrior is written, then appears also the brazen chauvinism of some justices of the land;

          • kalakala says:

            yvonne wrote to raissa’s blog:

            “Even if we assume for the sake of argument that a quo warranto is legally binding, which it is not, the Constitution provides a specific majority of 2/3 votes to remove from office an impeachable officer, such as in the case of former CJ Renato Corona.

            Clearly the 8/6/1 vote did not meet that threshold. It would require 10 votes to remove CJ Sereno.”

            • NHerrera says:

              Kalakala,

              Yvonne may have forgotten who “inspired” the move against Sereno. Consistency or fairness relative to the Impeachment Trial votes by the Senators of course will not be used. Ang sasabihin nina De Castro at Tijam — ano si Sereno, sinisiwerte?

        • caliphman says:

          Edgar, one plunges into a legal and lingyal quagmire to delve into the arguments for and against the question of whether the supreme court can remove a chief justice by other than through impeachment. I used to relish strapping on my legal wading boots and engaging with the resident legal experts here and at Raissa’s about the merits of opposing judicial views. Unfortunately these so-called experts no longer come here and I am too busy to indulge myself.

          But having said that, it is true that the US constitution uses more iron clad language to make sure that the only recourse to remove impeachable officials is by that process. Therein lies the rub because the Philippine version uses the word ‘may’ instead of ‘shall’ and leaves the door open for strictly scriptural or linguistic arguments to justify using quo warranto as a tool for subverting the basic design and intent of the framers to separate the three branches of government. On this issue, the court ruled 9-5 that quo warranto allows ousting impeachable officials as opposed to the 9-6 allowing the hatchet job on Sereno. This is to point out that the memorandum of reconsideration is not to reverse the SC ruling that stealing is not a criminal act (using my prior analogy). But that perhaps applying this legal perversion to deprive the Senate of its excludive power to actually oust Sereno still hangs in the balance.

          Here is a press article that summarizes the judicial reasoning used by these rogues in robes to support the decision of the majority.

          http://news.abs-cbn.com/news/05/11/18/sc-quo-warranto-remedy-ensures-only-qualified-hold-public-office

  10. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    More than many old pair of eyes of those who are not even lawyers may have missed the comments and facts here in TSoH, the impact and consequence to a respected and competent Judicial and Bar Council, supposedly composed of honorable persons who like Caesar’s wife should be beyond suspicion if those who they recommended and in effect caused their appointment to the country’s highest court have now been exposed to the public to have committed irregularities and probably done an illegal act by endorsing the appointment of a Chief Justice who failed comply with the requirements. Should this powerful and upright council of learned and honorable persons be made to answer for such injudicious act in effecting the choice of possible unmeritorious candidates to the higher courts of law, even in the past? Is this not the case of latigo sa kabayo pero ang latay ay sa mga Kalabaw? The fault and shame is not on the appointee but those vetting the appointment.

    Sino ba talaga ang nagkulang o meron malaking kasalanan sa pagkakamali sa maling nombrahan ng Chief Justice. Paulit-ulit ba ang pagkakamaling ito? Minsan sabi ng mga Lolo at Lola, yung hataw sa Kabayo ang latay at sakit ay dapat madama ng kalabaw. Tahimik lang, Bihirang umatungal ang mga kalabaw.

    The truth judges and punishes in mysterious ways.

    • 1. “proven integrity” is the core of the argument. They try to prove that there is a pattern of non-proven integrity. My take is that they work very Dutertian, insinuating more than proving stuff. The key passage is on page 21: “When respondent failed to file her SALN, she did not comply with the Constitution, laws and appropriate codes of conduct. There is no need to allege or prove graft and corruption in order to prove an aspiring magistrate’s lack of integrity. ”

      2. page 20: “in any case, the Republic claims that the unique circumstances of the instant case behoove this Court to be liberal in interpreting the one-year reglementary period.” – this form of argumentation is known as casuistry – special case argumentation as opposed to by principle. Casuistry has the problem that it can be stretched into sophistry. “The Republic” is the admin represented by the Solicitor General.

      3. page 50 : “The oft-cited origin of quo warranto was the reign of King Edward I of England who questioned the local barons and lords who held lands or title under questionable authority. After his return from his crusade in Palestine, he discovered that England had fallen because of ineffective central administration by his predecessor, King Henry 111. 126 The inevitable result was that the barons, whose relations with the King were governed on paper by Magna Carta, assumed to themselves whatever power the King’s officers had neglected. Thus, King Edward I deemed it wise to inquire as to what right the barons exercised any power that deviated in the slightest from a
      normal type of feudalism that the King had in mind. The theory is that certain rights are regalia and can be exercised only upon showing of actual grants from the King or his predecessor. Verily, King Edward’s purpose was to catalogue the rights, properties and possessions of the kingdom in his
      efforts to restore the same.” This quote is interesting in the context that many Duterte and Marcos supporters call the Aquinos “pretenders” (illegitimate rulers). We know who Calida is..

      4. There is a pretty long passage about why quo warranto in this case cannot be considered as having a limit. The Latin term “Nullum Tempus Occurit Regi” (time does not run against the King) is used somewhere.

      5. Pretty long argumentation about why non-submission of SALNs somehow proves lack of integrity. The (new) BIR case against Sereno is cited. There is a touch of Spanish Inquisitional or witch hunt thinking in the argumentation, like those who refuse to submit to an ordeal are sinners. Or like in the Name of the Rose, where Inquisitor Bernardo Gui finds a black cat and some things which can be seen as forbidden symbols and uses them as proof of heresy to burn someone. All kinds of cases of people not mentioning their properties or having plundered are used as examples. I think this is false equivalence. Or it is the classic authoritarian thinking that everybody has something to hide somehow. “Everybody is criminal” is the classic statement of a prosecutor in a movie with Alain Delon as a fugitive.

      • The core of the argument is 2006-2009 where she earned money from the PIATCO case. There are insinuations that she lied about not being able to find the SALNs when she indeed was able to find them later on and Calida also secured them. This is classic old Filipino legal thinking which is indeed a bastard child of the Spanish Inquisition and street level palusot. “O bakit mo sinabing hindi mo nahanap e nahanap naman pala? Niloloko mo kami” is the simple translation of reasoning that is put in many highfalutin words. Finally they are saying there is no proof at all that 6 justices and the SolGen are biased. Come on, a SolGen who poses with the Duterte fist, just like Judge Freisler of the Nazi period posed with the Heil Hitler salute? There is a long passage as to how the statements against her in Congress do not constitute any reason to inhibit. The feel I get is of very selective interpretation and insinuation, not any proof.

        Finally she is being given a show cause order. Interviews she held about the proceedings are being seen as a violation of the sub judice rule. This is war in that it can lead to her possible disbarment. Jardeleza and JBC BTW is mentioned. His pound of flesh is clear in the text. Also you have the stuff thrown at her in the impeachment proceedings mentioned as additional “evidence” of lacking integrity. I am sure someone with enough time and patience and legal knowledge can take the 105 pages apart to ridicule the Hateful Eight.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          Irineo, thanks.

          To me, the central issue is whether Quo Warranto can be used against an impeachable officer.

          The dissenting opinions say no. There is a precedent that says no.

          Outside of constitutional semantics, the main argument is that Quo Warranto destroys the principle of the Separation of Powers and the notion that the three branches of government are co-equal.

          The independence of the Judiciary is lost in that the Executive, through the Solicitor General, can seek to unseat a seating Supreme Court justice.

          The Executive usurps the power of the Legislative branch.

          True, Sereno may have committed a culpable violation in the non-submission of SALNs. This is for the Senate to decide… after giving Sereno the opportunity to state her case. This is all she asks — her day in the court of the Senate acting as an impeachment tribunal.
          *****

          • karlgarcia says:

            Speaking of separation of powers, that is the same reason Drilon gave in saying that they coud do anything about quo warranto.

            https://newsinfo.inquirer.net/989824/drilon-separation-of-powers-blocks-senate-from-acting-on-sereno-ouster

          • Even if quo warranto were valid and could be tried by the SC in this case. I think:

            1) It is only for serious misrepresentations, as it is against usurpation of a position. Does non-submission of some SALNs represent a major misrepresentation. I don’t think so. The last SALNs showed her assets and there is no evidence of ill-gotten wealth anywhere.

            2) The integrity argument. She could be sloppy when it comes to accounting (some aspects of the BIR investigation point in that direction) or record-keeping (misplaced SALNS). There are geniuses (I think she is a legal genius for winning the nearly unwinnable PIATCO case) who neglect details while the mediocre are good at them (Castro). There is the attempt to prove malicious intent to fool JBC in the 105 pages, but I am not convinced it is proven.

            One can only believe the arguments of the Hateful 8 if one harbors significant malice towards Sereno oneself. The usual trolls will rehash and repeat those points with gusto.

            If we want to win this fight we must know their arguments – and have counter-arguments. This is of course not about winning against trolls, this is about convincing the neutral ones.

            • ” if one harbors significant malice towards Sereno oneself. ” – or against “yellow”.

              The propaganda line being pushed now is similar to Gadon’s statement that he wants a position were he can fight the “yellow disease” – whatever that is.

              Yellow is being portrayed as the oligarchy that has always oppressed the Filipino people, red as freedom from yellow. Sounds silly to us, but how about the majority of Filipinos? Unfortunately they might buy that, and by the time we try to argue their minds are made up.

              Sereno instinctively understood that the fight was no longer in the court, but on the street.

              or like my brother and me used to say in younger years, on the basketball court somewhere. Why else are the Hateful 8 so angry about Sereno seeking the court of popular opinion?

            • edgar lores says:

              *******
              1. All the justices, except Leonen during the orals, have given importance to the SALN. I guess it’s the law. Personally, working as a UP professor on subsistence wages, I don’t think it matters much.

              2. Agree. I would also argue that it is the government’s responsibility to safe keep SALNs. I remember Sereno said she moved house 7 times. There is a move to digitize future submissions.

              2.1. There is a question mark for me on PIATCO. Was Sereno working:

              (a) Directly for the government as an employee?
              (b) Indirectly as a consultant?
              (c) Indirectly as the employee of a private law firm hired by the government?

              SALNs would only be required for (a).

              3. Agree with your last paragraph, but for me knowing the fundamental issue and the principle involved is enough. I do not intend to debate with trolls — among whom I would include the Hateful 8.
              *****

              • My major handicap in debating with the other side is that I have been abroad for long and that I am not REALLY a Filipino in mindset – which is true, but I know the mindset well. Still I have given up discussing with trolls and use my energy where it is most effective, like you.

                But what we discuss here may help others when discussing with hard-headed family members, friends etc. – I have not forgotten Manong Sonny’s analogy of seeds in fertile soil

              • Right, it is all a grand absurdity to pretend there is legal reason when there is only personal and political. A pig’s ear plastered in legal language is not a purse.

              • NHerrera says:

                A PAGE FROM HISTORY

                History says that Henry II of England is supposed to have uttered these words with reference to Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in 1170: Will no one rid me of this turbulent [meddlesome] priest? Whereupon — though not expressed as an order, in fact it may have been merely a soliloquy of the King — it caused four dutiful knights of the King to travel from Normandy to Canterbury, where they killed Becket.

                In the case of Sereno’s ouster, the marching order — from the top — recalling my sense of the news, written or accompanied with videos, is that it was not a simple utterance to the wind or a soliloquy, but a real, honest to goodness marching order, much like what was done with De Lima. The implementer then was the ex-Sec of Justice Aguirre; now, Solgen Calida.

                I appreciate the fine dissections and analyses of the legal issues involved, in the usual way the many good people here dissect matters in TSH. But my simple mind — perhaps not able to grasp the legal niceties, partly because of laziness — leads me to the simple proposition that what happened [legalities came later] is similar to how the dutiful knights of Henry II acted on hearing and interpreting the King’s utterance. Here it is even much simpler: utterances by the barrel-full have been made, no need for interpretation; a marching order(s) has been issued. Knight Calida is no less dutiful than Knight Aguirre.

                (If I appear to diminish the fine discussions on the subject of Sereno’s ouster and offer only a simplistic explanation, I beg TSH’s indulgence. By way of further explanation: I feel so bad about the matter that my gut/ emotional feelings get the better of me, rather than the rational way I normally tackle a technical issue. I will now go look for that punching bag and gloves, so I may direct my feelings on the bag.)

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                I believe you are correct in the analogy to Thomas Beckett. Those were in simpler times when assassination was performed with the sword.

                In our times, assassinations are performed through “legal” means. And the legal rationalizations can be casuistry or sophistry (© Irineo).

                It behooves us to untangle the tricky reasoning in “important” issues — important being perhaps entirely subjective. We live in a confusing world and we need to gain clarity. For our sake and for others.

                All depends on our inclination and capacity. You grapple with technical issues in your field. You may not do so with non-technical issues. But you are sensitive and intelligent enough to know that something is wrong in this case. This means that we are all equipped differently — and all should be equipped with a punching bag.

                There are many issues that I do not grapple with for the same reasons of inclination and capacity. The mind can only encompass so much. And the issues with the Filipino mindset are legion.

                Caliphman raises the point that as non-lawyers we may not understand the intricacies involved. To a certain point, he is correct. But the law should not be left to lawyers. Justice is too important. It is not the case like medicine where one should rely on doctors and not self-medicate. Medicine is science, the law is not. The law is intersubjective and all men have a native sense of fairness.

                Tijam can try to dazzle and bludgeon us with a 150-page ponencia. That does not mean he is correct. It does not mean the Hateful 8 are rendering justice.

                And, as I have said before when trying to understand, find the principle. And this can only be done when we correctly categorize.

                If I don’t understand and try not to understand, then I cannot expect anybody else to do so. And so we descend and surrender to chaos.
                *****

              • karlgarcia says:

                I remember you using the Henry Ii narrative before maybe during our EJK discussion or was it during senator Delima’s case. Anyways, it is still
                very apt.

              • NHerrera says:

                karl, yes I did refer to that supposed historical utterance of King Henry II before. I do not recall though in what way I used it now [senior citizen moment]. Here my message is simple: dutiful Knight Calida did his thing on Sereno just as dutiful Knight Aguirre, on De Lima — using as template Henry II’s statement resulting in four of his Knights interpreting the statement as an order and killed Becket.

                At least in the local cases, it led not to a killing but the jailing of De Lima; and the ouster of Sereno. Rather humane, isn’t it?

              • NHerrera says:

                edgar, you make a lot of sense, as always. But sometimes, I take a different approach on certain matters — much as Joe’s statement somewhere in the blog seem to imply. I do not want to wade into entangled matters, when I know there is a dominant factor that, at least to me, explains quite a bit. Sorta, keeping my powder dry.

                If I may digress: an example of my wading into matters not of my expertise is my recent note about the GDP growth rate and the reactions of IMF’s Lagarde [gloomy outlook, notwithstanding a reasonably good growth rate] and President Duterte’s visceral reaction to Lagarde’s statement. I tried to study why Lagarde made that statement and posted in TSH accordingly. I felt good about taking my time on that.

                In Le’ Affair Sereno, I think I had my fill and went to what I believe is the dominant factor driving the events. Thanks again, edgar.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                NHerrera, We are both right. The dominant factor, as you put it, has been in essence an abuse of power. Thanks.
                *****

              • “when trying to understand, find the principle. And this can only be done when we correctly categorize.” – the principle of what they are trying to prove is clear: doubtful integrity.

                The way they are trying to do it I have described a bit, and mentioned that it does not convince me. Proof by insinuation and only partly related examples to give an impression of similarity of cases, while berry-picking reasons for their way and against objections.

                Or to use on of NHerrera’s maxims: “when the facts are on your side, pound the facts. When the law is on your side, pound the law. When both are not on your side, pound the table”. Basically Tijam is pounding the table for 105 pages full of olde English law, Latin and Greek.

              • NHerrera says:

                That is the solicitor’s (the desk and research man) advice to the barrister (the court arguer who appears complete with gown and wig): “when the facts are on your side, pound the facts; when the law is on your side, pound the law; when both are not on your side, pound the table”.

                Hahaha: poor table — by the time Tijam reached the 105th page he needed to requisition a new table.

              • sonny says:

                🙂 OT

                With all these references to Henry II, I have to watch or record THE LION IN WINTER and BECKET. Seems like only the costumes are different compared to today. The compositions are the same, the dynamics are the mere variants to the human themes.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Between the old times and the new times, the power struggles may be the same.

                What is different, what is new is the conceptual frame of reference — the separation of powers.

                Yesterday, there was no impediment to the king’s powers. Today, there is — and the king is no longer king.
                *****

              • sonny says:

                Thanks, edgar.

                My deficiency is so greatly compensated for, albeit so late in life, by what I read here at TSH for which I’m grateful.

              • edgar lores says:

                *******
                Sonny, we are at the same stage in life. I am equally deficient and equally compensated by what I read here. This is a learning experience for both of us. And this is the second time our lives have intersected — here at TSH in this time and space and aboard the SS President Wilson in different times but in the same space.
                *****

              • sonny says:

                Ah, that fabled ship, SS Pres Wilson. To my knowledge that hardy boat, two trips in a year (at least) bound for San Francisco or Manila. We can just imagine the dreams, expectations and fulfillments she carried on her deck during those trips. SS Pres Wilson was already 25 yrs old when I sailed aboard her, bound for Sn Francisco. 🙂 Great experience.

              • karlgarcia says:

                You Sirs are treasures!

              • sonny says:

                Neph, if indeed we are, V.2 & V.3 are in your midst, too.

    • On Twitter, someone mentions that Occam’s Razor died on May 11th.

      Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor the problem-solving principle that, when presented with competing hypothetical answers to a problem, one should select the answer that makes the fewest assumptions.

      Now I know what bothered me reading the entire text – too many assumptions were made.

      And that it also reminded me of so many situations arguing with Filipinos isn’t surprising. Much Filipino argumentation is circular, with assumptions made and conclusions fit to them.

  11. Tancio says:

    “O’ Rise Ye Land of Happy Fools!”
    – Adapted from PREPARING FOR THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION by Horacio de la Costa S.J., part of address to the Makati Jaycees, February 7, 1970.
    “This brings me to my first topic: the precise import of the demand that the elections for the constitutional convention be “non-partisan.” I believe this is one way of formulating a more basic demand, which is this: that the citizens of this country be permitted to choose the delegates who are to represent them in the constitutional convention in full freedom, without any kind of constraint being imposed on them, whether it be physical or moral constraint.
    Examples of moral constraint would be, if citizens were offered in exchange for their votes rewards which, in their present economic or social condition, they will find almost impossible to refuse; or if the cost of running for the convention were such that competent persons of modest means will simply not be able to afford it.
    As for the constitutional reforms that may be necessary, all I can offer for your consideration at the present time – and, indeed, all that our present time allows – is a very general proposal. It is, that all constitutional reforms be directed toward a redistribution of economic and political power in our society. For it seems to me that the basic defect of our society at the present time is precisely the very serious imbalance in the distribution of economic and political power.
    What would such a redistribution mean? It would mean, in the economic sphere, that we will not only maintain our efforts toward national development, but also effectively bring about a more equitable sharing of both the costs and the rewards of development. It would mean, in the political sphere, that we would build into our basic law provisions and policies that would ensure more effective control of government.
    More concretely, we might perhaps take a hard look at our tax structure, and see whether we can make it less regressive; redress, in other words, the obvious inequality of a situation in which the costs of government and development lies heaviest in the many poor who can least afford to bear them, whereas the benefits of government and development to the few rich on whom the tax burden lies easiest. We might also take a hard look at our electoral procedures and see whether they do not, in fact, favor control of government by a class, a powerful and affluent class, rather than by the generality of citizens.
    We might, secondly, take a hard look at the judicial branch of our government as at present constituted, and ask whether it possesses the independence and empowerment it needs to administer equal justice and swift justice under the law.
    I would merely emphasize, in closing, that to make a serious study of the kind of constitution this country should have, to seek information about it, to exchange ideas and opinions with others, and by this process of reflection to work towards a nation consensus, is at this time the obligation of every citizen, even those untutored in the law. It does not seem advisable – might even be dangerous – to leave the framing of our basic law to lawyers.
    We ask, therefore, the kind indulgence of the jurists and legislators among us if, at this time, we ordinary citizens come forward with our own views – some of them unwise, perhaps, or ill-considered – on matters which they have devoted a lifetime of study. For the fundamental law of the land is something that concerns us as much as it does them.

    We ask them, therefore, to listen to us with patience; and, taking whatever may be of value in our untutored insights, cast it into the form of a Philippine constitution of which we can all be proud.”

  12. karlgarcia says:

    https://joeam.com/2018/05/09/time-and-president-duterte/

    “Expectations
    Expect Chief Justice Sereno to be ejected from the Court, and expect the Consultative Committee working on the constitution to get an order to speed up their work. Expect slanders and fake news to dominate media.
    Expect Senator Poe to be a spoiler of any and all plans by any and all parties. She will bide her time.”

    —-

    The first sentence already happened, maybe they chose no longer to pursue impeachment to ram chacha down our throats.
    At firstI do not think congress will adapt the recommendations of the commission , but now I think,they will because of orders from the strongman.

    Let us not be surprised if they accelerate moves to make BBM VP if they can not wait for a post Duterte scenario.

  13. A VERY OBJECTIVE TAKE ON CJ SERENO’S PERFORMANCE AND LEADERSHIP THROUGH JUDICIAL REFORMS by Atty Agnes Maranan:

    ***

    “I have always said that I was uncomfortable with the way CJ Sereno was appointed to the Bench; to the Supreme Court. There are unwritten rules, and it does not matter how lofty a President’s purposes are (clean-up / shake-up the Judiciary), those rules must be respected when he appoints this country’s top magistrate.

    It doesn’t help that I have little respect for Aquino, who self-righteously violated deeply ingrained norms in pursuit of his own agenda. He wanted to clean up the judiciary? Well so do we all, BUT it can be done without pissing on tradition. (The same way the “war on drugs” does not necessitate snuffing out poor (emphasis on ‘poor’) bastards unfortunate enough to be in a cop’s crosshairs.)

    The rule? You do NOT appoint the most junior Justice to the highest post on the Court. It was an insult to the senior members of the Court, and repugnant to practitioners.

    But there is another rule: when the decision has been made, even if that decision was made in the exercise of Aquino’s dubious discretion, you bite the bullet and live with it, and hope for the best.
    And that we did. As trial practitioners, as brother lawyers, we accepted the appointment of CJ Sereno as Chief Justice.

    AND WE WERE PLEASANTLY SURPRISED. She exceeded our expectations. She was worthy of the appointment.

    Her Decisions are thoroughly researched; well written. Her Division has a high (possibly highest) monthly case disposition rate, and NOT minute resolutions but Decisions on the merits.

    Under her leadership, every courtroom has a computer and printer, and open court orders are dictated immediately after a hearing, with all lawyers able (and required) to get their copies of the orders within minutes after your hearing ends.

    I have seen judges at first struggle and sweat over this procedure when it was first implemented; I have seen these same judges becoming more at ease with the rule, able to dictate their orders clearly, succinctly, and competently.

    The strict rules on pre-trial, judicial affidavits, morning and afternoon hearings. The concept of continuous and speedy trial have been in the rules books since I was a student decades ago. Under CJ Sereno, these rules were enforced. And while practitioners moaned and groaned at no longer being able to litigate at a more relaxed pace, for the litigants themselves? What a relief for them to see their cases move swiftly.

    These were CJ Sereno’s changes which I personally witnessed.

    And — without question — there is not a single practitioner who can EVER claim that she can be compromised. Or that her integrity has a price tag.

    She is the country’s Chief Justice. She has marked her territory, and serves with honor and with competence.

    In becoming the Chief Justice as she defined that post to be, she erased the embarassment of Aquino’s arrogant disregard for judicial tradition.

    She is not, and should not be seen as, the Aquino Chief Justice.

    She is ours.

    She and Justice Leonen have done that Court proud; the bright lights of the Judiciary.

    My Justices of the Court. MY Chief Justice.

    I will not belabor the demerits of the quo warranto Decision ousting her. Every one knows the Decision was wrong. Everyone has already given his/her two bits on the possible motivation behind that Decision, whether personal ill-will, or political pressure.

    Some Judges and Justices have and will go down judicial history with ignominious reputations; they lose every “friend” the New York minute after they step down from the Bench. They are the profession’s jokes and clowns, and we gleefully sneer at them when they turn in their judge’s license plates.

    Not CJ Sereno. Her legacy is an unimpeachable reputation, and a record of leadership marked by changes that have and will continue to enhance the judiciary and the legal profession.

    It is an honor to have been a practitioner with her at the helm.”

    • How Our Democracies Die

      Unlike the good old days of blatant dictatorships, today’s would-be-autocrats chip away at democratic institutions under the guise of law and transformative reform, often with popular support or passivity. At their hands, law isn’t the expression of a constitutional order, but instead an instrument of power against critics and political rivals.

      Don’t be fooled by “rule by law” presenting itself as rule of law. In fledgling autocracies, the constitutional truth is in the eyes of throne-holder. In such system, principles of transparency and accountability only apply to those, who dare to stand up for democracy and oppose the erosion of fundamental freedoms. The top leadership, however, is beyond the reach of law — no matter how corrupt, inept and self serving.

      From Russia to Turkey, this is precisely how democratically-elected leaders began to build sultanistic regimes, where the whim of one man determines the whole texture and dynamics of the political order, with citizens reduced to nothing but loyal “subjects” under the command of an overbearing strongman. As for the rest, they’re branded as “enemy” of the people, the “other” that have to be suppressed or ejected.

      On the surface, all the trappings of democracy — regular elections and inter-party competition — are there, but the substance of democracy has been fully drained from the bosom of state institutions. What you have is a shell of democracy, hollowed and rotten from within, where the rules of the game are stacked in favour of the regime to full exclusion of the independent civil society.

      • NHerrera says:

        Irineo, thanks for posting the items from Ivy Lisa F. Mendoza and Richard Heydarian. I feel the sun shine at 10pm — complete with your cool 25 degrees Celsius — reading the former’s narrative on ex-CJ Sereno. Hooray for both Sereno and former Pres Aquino!

        • Like black and white, hot and cold are relative. Yesterday – and today – I go on the street with tsinelas and sando. Not bermudas as it would be too cold, but no need for shoes on a day I am not working and it is warm enough – for what we are used to over here.

          What I did notice – again a relative matter – is some garbage on the street today. What I realized is what the street cleaners do for the city on the early mornings of Monday to Saturday – I have seen them at work going on business trips at 4 or 5 am in the morning. Sundays of course they have their day off and whatever partygoers leave in the street stays there until Monday morning shift. But it is NOT much at all relative to pictures of Binondo or Davao esteros. Most commercial streets in central Berlin are “dirtier” on normal days.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Excellent.
      *****

  14. caliphman says:

    Lest it be unclear, what is just and what is lawful are two different things. The law whether it is constitutional or common law at core are but tools in service of justice. It takes legal acumen and training to craft, understand, and to use these tools. Just like an ordinary hammer, a level of skill and knowledge is needed to use it properly, but little is needed to understand things are wrong when the nail ends up bent. Society’s notions of what is just may differ over time and place, but it is based on principles, values, and traditions commonly shared and accepted by its members. When the courts and the law comes up with a really bent nail, its not just legal experts but for anyone and everyone to comment their views and feelings on these tools and the ones wielding it.

    • NHerrera says:

      I agree. The “bent nail” may be recognized in a lot of fields or profession. One may not know a lot of the principles or workings of the field, but many can recognize a bent nail in that field. A missile take off followed by a layman with binoculars will know if something is awry. He does not have to understand Newtonian mechanics to know that something is “bent’ with the missile.

      Definitely Tijam crafted himself a bent nail and no amount of explanation can make that nail look straight.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Caliphman, thanks. That is where I am coming from.
      *****

  15. karlgarcia says:

    Going back to Gary Alejano.
    When I met with Joe, Kuya Will and others I mentioned before. I overheard my dad and Leah Navarro talk about Cong Alejano and they agreed that he is “totoo”( genuine, no pretenses). Totoong tao sya sabi nila.

    • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

      Salamat, Karl! Sasabihin ko na sana: Parang awa ninyo na, pansinin ninyo naman ang writeup ko on Cong Gary. Para ding eyebags ‘yan. Pansinin ninyo naman at pinagpuyatan ko ‘yan.

      • sonny says:

        Wil, your pieces on Sonny Trillanes and now Cong Alejano are helpful eye-openers for me and thanks for the assist. I’m totally clueless to the Oakwood generation of our PMA grads. Now I’m more informed and updated since my familiarity base are the older grads and so glad to say my impression is most positive. I was afraid that the History of our country is not adequately covered and studied. This is patently wrong and am happy to be disabused thanks to your coverage and Karl’s input thru his closeness to his dad. Thanks all around.

        • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

          You’re welcome, Sonny. A nation with no heroes is a dangerous thing. We have to keep digging in the rubble.

  16. Sup says:

    My Sunday morning thought is ”The Supreme Court did the voting just before the Barangay elections so the people would be distracted soon after the voting….”
    The original date of the vote was May 17….

  17. karlgarcia says:

    Will,
    pwede pa naman humabol.
    Tungkol sa ating maaring maging sakal sa utang, buti naman ayon sa NEDA article ni Joe sa ngayon di pa naman ganun kadami ang popondohan ng China. Pero kahit siguro sampu o dalawampung project lang yan, mataas pa din ang interest.

    At kung Instik ang trabahador bad trip yan.
    Kailangan di pumayag ang mga labor groups natin.
    Wala akong paki kung mag traffic dapat mag protest sila.

  18. karlgarcia says:

    Re: Federalism.

    I read that the poorest Baranggay protesting their poorest ranking.
    What if we are on Federalism, what would become of them, would they survive on denial(that they are the poorest) alone?

    http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/989878/poorest-village-in-ph-no-longer-poor-mayor-insists

  19. karlgarcia says:

    On maraming nagpapanggap na marunong.
    ——
    Pano ba ito madedect,sa dami ng sinabi, sa asta, sa tono?
    I think as far as I am concerned as long as I can learn something without falling asleep, and I am afraid to say…. no I am not, so long as they don’t deliver a message like our president pwede na.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I know it is not easy, sometimes even in here, I get in trouble.
      After the dust settles, that is the time I learn.

  20. chemrock says:

    Pihilppines is an inutile country lorded over by a few lawyers whose competence, integrity. moral and ethical standards, would never have earned them employment in the lousiest low down law firms anywhere in the world, To be exact – Calida, Aguire, Gadon, Dante Jimminez, the prancing idiot Topacio, and of course the canker from the South.

    What’s the point of post fact analysis, Opportunity for proactive show of ones feelings is over. May 11 the meagre crowd at SC simply showed Filipinos dont care enough,

    If one is reactive. the ground is lost. Filipinos are not just reactive, but worst still — non-active. Look at the WPS.

    Here’s one tip to be proactive. Obudsman Morales retires soon and we know the incoming replacement will videncethe work cut out for him or her — destruction of all evidence against the canker from the Soiuth. Be proactive — cart of all evidences to a safe place. Overseas, if possible.

    • What are modern measures of protest? Feet on the ground, or tweetstorms? Then there is the intermediary between fact and impression, where a hundred leftists rioting in front of the US embassy is squeezed by mainstream media into a photo to look large while several thousand oldsters marching in orderly fashion are ignored. Then there is the fact of the matter, the righteous (of western morality) is a wee small sliver of Manila. Yet they are outspoken enough to cause the President to fire the SOJ and head of tourism. This is whilst swimming up river against well-funded government propaganda. So I tend to think your dire painting is not exactly accurate, if read as condemnation of effort or passion among good-thinking people.

      • NHerrera says:

        Richard Feynman, the Physics Nobel Prize awardee and great Physics Lecturer, who would have celebrated his 100th birth anniversary has this to say to budding scientists and to people in general: “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.” It may be past the time to recall that line but may still be useful, complementary to the new thread of thought opened up.

        Still the mostly unsung efforts — unsung because media’s irresponsible selection of the sensational as against fair treatment of news — or protests of those few against odds has to be granted their due. But I agree there needs to be more, but measured so as not to give an excuse for bloodletting.

        • sonny says:

          Some members of the Christian firmament.

          St Thomas Aquinas: pure genius and pristine humility;
          Cure d’Ars: modest gifts and uncontested godliness;
          Louis IX of France: genuine royalty and unquestioned dedication to subjects;
          Benedict XVI: intellectual powerhouse and God’s prism of morality;
          Pius XII: Refuge to a world in chaos;

          • NHerrera says:

            Thanks, sonny.

            Among those in your list is Thomas Aquinas, the theologian and philosopher. For those who may debate his philosophy in support of theology, the Saint is humble enough to recognize between philosophy and theology.

            Stanford in its Philosophy series has this to say:

            If it relies only on truths anyone can be expected upon sufficient reflection to know about the world, and if it offers to lead to new truths on the basis of such truths, and only on that basis, then it is philosophical discourse.

            [On the other hand] Theological discourse and inquiry look like any other and is, needless to say, governed by the common [philosophical] principles of thought and being; but it is characterized formally by the fact that its arguments and analyses are taken to be truth-bearing only for one who accepts Scriptural revelation as true.

            I appreciate that distinction. That is why I do not discuss/ debate matters of theology when going to the depths of philosophy.

            • sonny says:

              Thanks back at you, NH.

              “That is why I do not discuss/ debate matters of theology when going to the depths of philosophy.”

              So many times I forget this and thus get into trouble. 🙂

              ***
              A parting Thomistic gem I’m trying to develop relating to our political quagmire:

              St Thomas Aquinas (On Being & Essence): “A small mistake in the beginning is a big one in the end”

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Chemrock, much of what you say is true.

      o Add the Hateful 8 to the list.
      o Post factum analysis is necessary to understand.
      o Your suggestion to preserve Ombudsman evidence is timely.
      o As to the passiveness of Filipinos — as compared, say, to the militancy of the Vietnamese –, there is no excuse. The criticism is well-deserved. The Filipino is not yet fully born. Will’s profile essay shows there is a growing awareness.
      *****

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Will will know the size of the protest crowd at SC.

      o There is a shed in front of the SC for protestors.
      o There was a hunger strike.
      o There is a coffin to symbolize the death of democracy.
      o I am aware of the efforts and personal sacrifices of some of the protestors.

      I do not think that we should diminish the protestors in any form. If there is any criticism to be made, I would say it is that the political elite are not fully engaged.
      *****

      • Wilfredo G. Villanueva says:

        From the top, like a drone shot, the two crowds of May 11 on Padre Faura–pro-QW and anti-QW–are mismatched. The antis have the numbers, seething intensity, purpose, creativity, wow factor. It’s like the Makati rallies post-Aug. 21, 1983. Here are clues on its expansion capacity: 1) Evangelical Christians are aboard, their pastors and bishops are touched with tongues of fire, their congregations spiritually charged for political action; 2) EDSA One-type families are apparent, inspirational for hearts and minds, present in body or spirit; 3) University students are on board, specifically law schools of UP, Ateneo, La Salle, Arellano; 4) Socmed stalwarts were there, for example, Jover Laurio of PAB, which means activism is a mix of watchtower, telescopic writing and boots on the ground; and 5) More importantly, we have charisma–EDSA One formula–in morally victorious CJ Sereno. Expansion capacity. Charisma. Shared pathos. These are keys. It’s like you get unblown balloons in one hand, but they bloom to a spectacular display beyond reach when inflated. Filipinos love spectacle, especially come-from-behind Cinderalla, Rocky stories. And we are beautiful when we grieve, united in tears. Inutile country? I don’t get any sense that it is. Not at all.

    • Some things have changed relative to EDSA One:

      1) there are leftists who believe in rule of law and democracy and liberals who are militant. Used to be leftists were too extremist and liberals to reliant on prayer and hope.

      2) democratic forces have joined in demonstrating. That you have left-wingers from Bayan to Akbayan, liberals and right-wing groups like Magdalo in the same demo is interesting

      3) There are more true believers in democracy – its essence, not just as a decoration which I think it was for some of the old yellow crowd. “We are democratic because it is what is IN”. The empty-headed and soulless crowd now goes for strongmen because they are the trend. Meanwhile in 30 years, from a few lonely voices there are more Filipinos who know and believe in the essence of rule of law and democracy, for whom it is no longer just a slogan. These people try to spread the word and have gone beyond the original yellow = Aquino.

      4) Not all Duterte supporters are anti-democratic. Many saw him as having the potential to bring a new approach into politics. I wonder how many of them are disappointed – there is a sizable mass of those who voted Duterte-Robredo, I wonder where they all are now? Could be that some are waiting in the wings. It might indeed take a Leni ouster for some to come out in the streets, but with an even greater anger. The Malay kind of long bottled up anger.

      5) Sereno’s ouster split the Evangelicals – most of them were pro-Duterte from what I gather. The face of the Duterte opposition was mainly Catholic – until now. This is a major tremor.

      Plus this: https://twitter.com/indayevarona/status/995603204296474625

      don’t confine #TutolAko to socmed. You can start small, organize brown bag discussions in workplaces, attend the “wake” on Padre Faura, rallies etc. You don’t defeat tyrants overnight. I also said, every person convinced is one less on the other side.

    • karlgarcia says:

      @Chemrock,
      I disagree on the inutile.
      I imagine a wife waking up his husband and shouting “hey you good for nothing $&@ ” it is already 5 o clock!

  21. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    A joke tickles the mind, when THE JOKE is plagiarized and modified:

    HEAVEN IS WHERE:

    The Police are British
    The Chefs are Italian
    The mechanics are German
    The Lovers are French
    It’s all organized by the Swiss
    There are No Politicians

    HELL IS WHERE:

    The Police are German
    The Chefs are British
    The Mechanics are French
    The Lovers are Swiss
    It’s all organized by Italians
    The Politicians are GUESS WHO.

    NOW for TSoH Commenters just for fun, FILL IN THE BLANKS –walang pikunan

    THE PHILIPPINES IS WHERE:

    The Police are _______________
    The Chefs are the Pampangenyas ?
    The Mechanics are __________________
    The Lovers are _____________________
    The Organizers are __________________
    The Honest politicians are __ __ __ __ ?

    All of the above are the _PINOYS____

    • Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

      MORE? sorry, no more na eh.

    • I guess a known Swiss brand of underwear has an Italian-sounding name to evoke sexiness.

      Imagine, or don’t, the SolGen of that name and his mistress wearing that kind of underwear.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      Hell is where:

      The Police are led by Bato
      The Chefs are SC Justices
      The Mechanics are Congressman
      The Lovers are the President and the Speaker of the House
      The Organizers are Senators
      The Politicians are dynasties
      *****

    • sonny says:

      Growing up (’50s) I heard:

      Humor is American;
      Cooking is Chinese;
      Wife is Japanese;
      Friends are Finnish;

      Timepieces are Omega;
      Durable cars are American;
      Shoes are Florsheim;
      Sneakers are Converse;
      Singers are Italian;
      Discipline is German;
      French are bon vivant;

    • Mayongod says:

      Hell is where…..

      The complainants are Justices
      The witness are justices
      The judges are Justice en banc
      The executor is Jusctice en banc
      The benefactor is most probably one of the justice who can not wait to occupy the vacated seat,

      • Mayongod says:

        …..Its better to abolished the position now. Nobody will last in that seat because he/she will be ousted anytime somebody else decides to convince the necessary number of ousters. “Ku deta style”

      • Mayongod says:

        That is why its UNCONSTITUTIONAL….

  22. Popoy Del R. Cartanio says:

    In the tinderbox of a brush fire like the case of CJ Sereno, AFTER ALL is said and done, who really violated the provisions of the Philippine Constitution ? Will there be any lawyer who will
    file a test case in court to see if all the violators can be put behind bars?

  23. chemrock says:

    New Malaysian PM Mahathir has his own mind about Chinese investments in Malaysia, Lessons for Phils here.

  24. https://www.rappler.com/nation/202425-supreme-court-teresita-de-castro-concurring-opinion-sereno-ouster – echoes of Duterte vs Roxas re Wharton in the De Castro concurring opinion..

    look at page 25 and 26 of de Castro’s concurring opinion and the argument on where Sereno actually lectured. She did lecture for a program of the University of Western Australia in Manila. De Castro maintains that she was gave misleading information – which one can only see for oneself if the original information she filled up is quoted, not just the interrogation which De Castro quotes. This smacks of Duterte claiming Mar Roxas acted as if he had an MBA when he never claimed it.

    The rest of the document continues in that tenor, showing a petty mindset of a colonial clerk. (ow!)

    • There is also nitpicking on the position she held at CHR (probably the form was too tight, like many Philippine official forms, not allowing the whole story to fit in, so Sereno abbreviated) and at one point the issue is Sereno using an AFP SALN form and not a Supreme court one – Sereno explains she had little time and just took one which could be downloaded – and I doubt that there is a substantial difference, the old guard simply is like that in nitpicking.

      The picture that forms in my mind is Sereno – an academic and private sector lawyer – versus an old guard bureaucrat de Castro who lives in those kinds of details and formalities, while Sereno is results-oriented. This concurring opinion is more revealing than the main one!

      Also, there is a passage where Sereno had to ask her husband to tally figures of her earnings because they were demanded in a rush. Sereno the workaholic and the annoying government machinery, and as one knows mistakes can be made in such situations.

      Plus Philippine laws are a jungle, a mangrove swamp, where pitfalls are everywhere.

      A Philippine newspaper truly interested in getting the whole truth would make a tabulation of years, SALNs, where Sereno worked when, what she declared to BIR and in the SALN. The SC documents jump back and forth in time and mention bits and pieces – selective logic?

      • This is a matter where I am no longer up to date, I admit, but I find it striking that Sereno seems to do most of her stuff by herself. Even the rationale for business class flights – space to do work while travelling – is non-typical for the “feudal” Filipino boss of yore.

        An old school Filipino government boss will delegate all kinds of stuff from having stuff typed to his/her children fetched to employees who actually have other work. Somehow the approach of working hard oneself is very much Protestant ethic (c) Max Weber, Western..

        The old style of working in the Philippines is country club style for the bosses and the rest are the “niggers”. Real work stands in the way of wheeling-dealing which is the real thing. Wonder how much would have come out in a Sereno impeach trial re “clash of cultures”.

  25. caliphman says:

    Chemmy, some of us witnessing and commenting on the death of this democracy are on the outside looking in (I am an OFW). I can see and call out the looming national cataclysm in utter grief and dismay, you decry the seeming nature of a society who pick thugs and thieves for their leaders. And worse, they seem unmoved and uncaring as they are herded shuffling into the crematoriums of their rights and freedoms. Perhaps we benefit from the perspective if not the safety offered by our vantage point. But in the end, it is the Filipinos living in their nativeland who must decide if their perennial fate is nothing more than being a nation of pigs and carabaos.

    • chemrock says:

      You are right of course. Some of us looking in comment for the academic correctness, some to vent their emotion, some hoping to share their honest views anchored on perceived better moral, ethical, democratic and compassionate standards, and some comment to jibe and jolt the nation out of its stupor.

  26. kalakala says:

    from raissa’s blog: IMPORTANT UPDATE:

    I just read the 153-page decision of Associate Justice Noel Tijam and noticed a very interesting thing.

    Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, who was counted as having voted “YES” to the quo warranto, DID NOT SIGN THE DECISION!

    • caliphman says:

      If one reads the signature pages on the last two pages, Carpio’s handwritten certification attesting to the concurring and dissenting decisions of Jardeleza and Bernabe can be discerned either in consultation or separate communication. Neither signed. On the last page of the Tijam ponencia or writeup of the majority ruling finished after the individual conclusions are submitted and official judgement reached, Carpio’s official certification of each justice’s conclusion is signed and shown. Each justice may or may not issue a separate concurring or dissenting opinion which they refer to after their signature. Jardeleza who might have been away and could or chose not to write the rationale for his vote. What might be confusing is the Suprene Court website includes his opinion and decision not to inhibit himself from the decision to oust Sereno or not.

      Hopefully this might resolve any confusion arising from that inclusion in our forum.

  27. caliphman says:

    http://opinion.inquirer.net/113195/supreme-court-commits-suicide

    If there is one opinion worth reading that goes to the heart of why the Sereno ouster is so wrong on legal and ethical grounds, it is that writtn by Justice Caguiao. Writer John Nery summarizes how it rebuts much of the majority arguments. Pigs and carabsis need not bother.

    • edgar lores says:

      *******
      I just read Caguioa’s dissent. It shatters Tijam’s ponente even on the finer points of Sereno’s integrity never mind the central issue of the validity of quo warranto to dismiss a seating justice.

      He also addresses the missing SALNs, and comes to a different conclusion than Carpio’s wherein he (Carpio) thinks that Sereno is guilty of a culpable violation of the Constitution.

      All hail!
      *****

      • The logical progression of arguments looks a lot clearer to me than in Tijam’s ponencia.

        All the ICC in the Hague now needs is to take Caguiao and Tijam opinions side by side to prove that the Philippine justice system is incapable of an impartial trial. Q.E.D.

      • NHerrera says:

        John Nery, in that article linked above by caliphman, grieves the part that Justice Jardeleza — in whose first class in constitutional law Nery attended — played in upending everything he has taught about Constitutional Law:

        Like many others, I am still in shock over the Court’s suicide. It was not unexpected; the signs were there for all to see. Still. I grieve over the role our constitutional law professor, Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza, played in the tragedy—his decision to appear at the impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives had befuddled those of us in the first class he ever taught; but his vote to allow the patently unconstitutional ouster of the chief justice upended everything he taught us in Constitutional Law.

        A minor item: when Jardeleza argued before the Supreme Court as Solicitor General during Pres Aquino’s time, I had ocassion to say to my wife: watch out for him, he is a legal mind and force to be reckoned with. Now it seemed his hate for Sereno over the Sereno’s comment on him before JBC has easily overwhelmed his legal mind. You are right, edgar: I do not know if there will be regret as he comes to old age — but my gut tells me he will regret it.

        Then there is Justice De Castro. If I recall right, she supposedly said she cannot forgive Sereno for accepting the position of Chief Justice. If there is one to harbor such, it would be Carpio. But Carpio is larger than De Castro and Jardeleza.

        • edgar lores says:

          *******
          NHerrera, how right you are about Carpio. He rose above his “entitlement.” And he deflected — one might say sublimated — his rejection by working on the WPS issue.
          *****

        • karlgarcia says:

          I told one TSOH contributor who was in Padre Faura after the decision that I was expecting it, but I am as shocked as you

          Now it is important to read at least the opinions of our opinion writers together with the decusions. I hope the next generation will learnlessons, whether the take up law or not.

          It is nice again that there are places like TSOH who have opinions that are solid gold double platinum on top of a diamond.

  28. edgar lores says:

    *******
    Duterte did not vote in the barangay elections because, according to Rappler, he “wanted ‘to erase the suspicion’ from his candidate-friends on whether he voted for them.”

    This guy doesn’t understand democracy. His mindset is always utang-na-loob.

    He says all the candidates supported him in his campaign. So what?

    It is a civic duty to vote. It is a privilege and an obligation, contrary to the view of the Comelec spokesman. A president must be seen to perform his civic duty.

    And one does not vote on the basis of friendship or quid pro quo. Rather, one votes on the basis of merit, on which candidate, in one’s assessment, will better serve the community in terms of objective qualifications.
    *****

    • “His mindset is always utang-na-loob.” Minsan umuutang din sa labas. Sa China.

    • trebor9 says:

      Duterte did not vote in the barangay elections because, according to Rappler, he “wanted ‘to erase the suspicion’ from his candidate-friends on whether he voted for them.”
      Clearly, Duterte is suffering from “Suffraphrenia” – a person who loses touch with democracy. For him the election is irrelevant.

      • edgar lores says:

        *******
        I believe you’re right.

        The barangay election is irrelevant but not barangays themselves. Because whoever the barangay officials are, they can be made to bend and do Duterte’s will.

        The pivotal importance of the barangay can be seen in the micromanagement of the drug war, in the identification of victims and their residences.

        Further, barangays will be the spearhead In the coming ratification of the new Constitution and the imposition of Federalism. Duterte is taking a leaf from Marcos’ book.
        *****

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