An appeal for fairness. Wassisname?


A YEAR ago to the day, I lost my partner, Lex Carao; there’s a memorial this afternoon at the Philippine Christian University (I have a conflict) which he headed; gone to a better world, he therefore could not make it to a meeting last Tuesday of concerned San Beda law alums, in this vale of tears, where the initial working draft of a statement read:

“The San Beda Law Alumni Association (SBLAA) Board of Trustees takes very strong exception to a Resolution filed by Senator Antonio Trillanes IV `calling on the Senate to conduct an investigation into a purported `justice for sale’ system in the Court of Appeals, identifying two outstanding Bedan magistrates, Justices Jose C. Reyes, Jr. and Francisco P. Acosta as having allegedly received a Php25-Million bribe each to stop the Ombudsman’s suspension of Makati Mayor Jejomar Erwin Binay, Jr. on corruption charges.

“Such serious allegations without any hard evidence made public, unfairly tarnish the very good reputation of the concerned magistrates, and, undermine the very integrity of the entire judiciary as an honorable institution.

“We are one in expressing support for the integrity and credibility of these two Bedan justices whose public and private service records are both unassailable; whose record of professional conduct is consistently evidenced by the observance of the highest respect, courtesy and regard for the Rule of Law; and, whose adherence to the Benedictine principles of `pax, ora et labora’ (peace, prayer and work) is undoubted.

“We are one with our Filipino people in upholding the time-honored principle of justice, accountability and fair play in the administration of justice in our country.

“Above all, we appeal for a sense of fairness in the dispensation of Justice to all parties concerned.”

The signatories were led by Atty. Aveling V. Cruz, SBLAA Prez.

I recall that when Mayor Erwin Binay was ordered arrested by the Senate and he surrendered, Senator Trillanes concurred in the instant decision to lift the warrant and speedily authorized the release of the Mayor. I believe that the Senator did so in good faith without having been bribed.

I urge him most respectfully to extend to his co-workers in government the benefit of the same presumption. They are overworked, overcriticized, underpaid, underappreciated and at the end of the day, unfairly maligned.

* * *

Maligning is the name of the game on the Bangsamoro Basic Law exchanges. We are distracted by side issues as aliases, etc. The intent is to solve a bloody problem of centuries, not to quibble on peripheral issues. Forgetting purposes is the most common form of innocence (Nietzche used a much stronger word). We should not lose sight of the central point. What’s in a name? – asked the Bard.

So, let’s go ahead and let the caravan finish its journey of a thousand miles. Let it not stop at every barking dog, howling about aliases, etc. Again, the purpose is to stop the killings and reconcentration (“bakwits”) of centuries.

Mohagher Iqbal’s real name? A non-issue. Were I a Senator, I’d simply ask for the background from Intelligence (police and military), Foreign Affairs, Muslim agencies, etc.) of one government has been dealing with for decades. He has a right to speak – or not to.

Not to prosecute him may be bad. But, in government, and in life, often our choices are bad, worse and worst. Iqbal should get probation, if convicted. But, he’s needed in the meeting, not the court, room.

What’s in a name anyway? In Makati Elem, we all hailed NCAA’s Moro Lorenzo, not being sure of his first name. Eldrick Wood who? Just stick to Tiger, in pro golf. Schicklegruber who? Hitler. Tamerlane or Timur the Lame? So, whether is it Saladin, El Cid, Stonewall, Black Jack Pershing, Butt Naked or Tulisan Something of the Manila Police, what really is in a name? A rose or thug by any other name would smell the same. Just as sweet or stinking.

* * *

San Beda produced the only perfect Justice, Justice Gregorio Perfecto. Seriously, how true what Justice Felix V. Makasiar would sing in our class parties, “Sapagka’t kami’y tao lamang.” Tony Bennett and Manny Pacquiao need not worry they’d be forgotten as singers. I admire Manny’s courage.

Joey and Nick may have their shortcomings. We all do. But, wrongdoing? Let’s hear it, Sonny, but the right thing must be done in the right place at the right time.


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  1. jason bourne on

    I guess our esteemed writer Saguisag can sign his checks with whatever name he wants and still get his business done.

    That same stunt landed Ex-President Erap out of Malacanang and into jail.

    The Law is The Law, no ifs, no buts……

  2. I am happy for our country and fellow men that we still have an Atty. Saguisag who have risen back to defend the rule of law and appeal for fairness. I will support his call for the return of political sanity ruined by the corrupt yellow LP regime of Aquino, Roxas, Drilon, your law schoolmate Nueva Ecija Gov. Aurelio Umali. Egay Erice, Nestor Mercado and their political cronies led by Nacionalist senator Antonio “Tonny” Trillanes.

  3. If Fairness be thy name, Atty. Saguisag, being once one of the fiercest and most indignant voices against Corruption, I am waiting with bated breath to read you once writing about Binay, your friend, and what you feel about the allegations of corruption against him. Just being curious, if you are like the rest who say they hate corruption daw, pero galit lang pala pag kaaway.

    What’s in a name, you say? It would not matter really if you did not know it was an alias you knew him by. And having known it, he would insist to keep it a secret for reasons unfathomable. There must be a reason why he wants to keep it a secret and we need to know why. You must be a fool to just shrug it off.

  4. One of the items mentioned recently — that while Iqbar (or whatever his name is) had convinced his colleagues so that the HouseBill for BaBaLA did not have it, Senator Marcos is going to introduce the requirement for oath/affirmation of pledge of allegiance to the Republic of the Philippines. (This oath is formally required for Autonomous Region/Mindanao elected officials per the Republic Act. Iqbar removed the requirement in House Bill/Babala.)

    • jesus nazario on

      What is an OATH ? Isn’t it something you promise to uphold and among many or in many instances, one of those most likely is the TRUTH ? So when Iqbal (aka aaa, aka bbb, aka ccc, …aka xxx, aka yyy, aka zzz,…) removed that oath in BaBaLa then it means he does NOT want to promise to uphold the truth among many upholdables,