• Aquino still Malacañang’s wild card


    The countdown on President B. S. Aquino’s exit from power has begun. And some people are al-ready looking forward to his “second term”—-in jail. I was a guest, along with broadcaster Herman Laurel,  on “Talking with Harry” at Harry Tambuatco’s GNN TV show on Monday afternoon, and off camera, the host mentioned a couple of individuals who are already preparing to file criminal charges against PNoy as soon as he vacates Malacanang, on July 1.

    Jubilee of Mercy
    I am not prepared to say whether or not  this is a wise move. “Impartial justice”—-a term used by senator-judges in the last two Senate impeachment trials—-must be served, and no crime should go unpunished.  But we must also  do what we can not to perpetuate the very evil we abjure.  Despite Aquino’s unpunished crimes, most of them the product of a juvenile and diseased mind, many of us long for a new system  that would have the courage and the wisdom to look to the future rather than to the past, and find a legitimate reason to embark upon a pilgrimage of  “mutual forgiveness.”

    We are all sinners, and at one point or another, we all have wronged one another. In this great Jubi-lee of Mercy, many are wondering, myself included, whether our country could advance by at least five years its celebration of 500 years of Christianity in 2021, by embarking upon such a pilgrimage.  Call it an utopian dream of a failed reformist. But I put it inside the pot from which we could draw our lottery prizes.

    Conversion for Aquino
    I dream of and pray for PNoy’s conversion, as Saul, our Lord’s great persecutor, was converted on his way to Damascus. I have no illusion that if it could happen, it would happen anytime soon, but our duty is to pray and to hope for the impossible, not just for what is possible. But right now, we must contend with certain ugly and unpleasant facts that involve Pony.

    The decision to reopen the Senate inquiry into the Mamasapano inquiry on its anniversary on Jan. 25 invites a lot of questions. It will be recalled that the Senate report on this inquiry was archived upon the initiative of the committee chair, Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares, without the report being dis-cussed on the Senate floor.

    Changed premises on Mamasapano
    The general impression at the time was that Llamanzares wanted to do PNoy a favor: she wanted to spare him from any embarrassment or incrimination by any further discussion of his role in the Ma-masapano affair.  She had topped the 2013 senatorial elections  because of PNoy’s 60-30-10 PCOS operation, and she was a PNoy ally at the time.

    The political premises have since changed. Although the reopening of the inquiry is apparently driv-en by new materials that had come into the hands of former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile dur-ing his forced absence from the Senate, which could include a video showing what PNoy actually did in Zamboanga city that led to the withholding of military reinforcement to the Special Action Force commandos in Mamasapano, Sen. Llamanzares’s political and personal motivations may have completely changed. This could affect the general direction of the inquiry.

    The SET and Comelec cases
    Mrs. Llamanzares is fighting for her  survival, both as a sitting senator and as a presidential candi-date. Five of her Senate colleagues  on the nine-man Senate Electoral Tribunal had tried to save her from being unseated from the Senate, for not being a natural-born citizen, although not for failing to meet the two-year residency requirement for senatorial candidates when she ran for office. But the three Supreme Court justices on the SET all voted to unseat her for failing to meet the citizenship requirement.

    Petitioner Rizalito David has raised the SET ruling to the Supreme Court in a petition for certiorari, alleging grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction. Solicitor General Flor-in Hilbay, who is seeking a seat on the High Court, has decided to defend the SET decision before it, raising eyebrows in the legal community among those who believe the ruling trashes the Constitu-tion in favor of purely political motives.

    At the same time, the Commission on Elections en banc has affirmed the rulings of the First and Second Divisions declaring that Mrs. Llamanzares is not a natural-born Filipino citizen and cancel-ling her Certificate of Candidacy as a presidential candidate. Mrs. Llamanzares has filed a petition for certiorari before the Supreme Court and asked the Court to restrain the implementation of the Comelec ruling.

    The provisional TRO
    In response,  Chief Justice Lourdes Sereno has issued a provisional TRO while the Court is on re-cess. This will have to be confirmed by the Court en banc when it resumes on Jan. 12.  But all seven commissioners of the Comelec, including the one who dissented against the decision of the First Division, agreed that Mrs. Llamanzares is not a natural-born Filipino.

    As principal petitioner in the Comelec First Division, I have asked the High Court through my law-yer Manuelito Luna to dismiss the Llamanzares petition and dissolve the TRO, for being entirely without merit. A writ of certiorari (from the Latin, “to be informed of,”) is usually issued by a supe-rior court on a lower court or tribunal if the latter has committed a grave abuse of discretion, amounting to an excess or a lack of jurisdiction, and resulting in the violation of the Constitution.

    In the SET case, this  appears to be the case. The Constitution was completely set aside by the ma-jority of five senator-members, who ruled on the basis of extra-constitutional considerations. By contrast, the Comelec First and Second Division rulings, which came after lengthy clarificatory hearings and submission of memorandums, were all premised on  the undisputed facts and the clear provisions of the Constitution.  There is not a tinge of abuse of discretion or jurisdictional error that could be adduced to by Mrs. Llamanzares.

    Malacanang against itself?
    Qualified sources have identified a powerful Cabinet member, who clearly does not support Roxas and would like to use Mrs. Llamanzares against his candidacy, as the one responsible for “securing” the TRO, together with the CEO of a well-known conglomerate who reportedly provided the need-ed “incentive.”  This means  Malacanang is not a monolithic LP bloc behind Roxas, but a house di-vided against itself.

    If this report is true, then Mrs. Llamanzares could use the Mamasapano inquiry as a gun to PNoy’s head—- to force him to use all his clout on the SC justices to rule in her favor on the SET and Comelec cases.  This will be impossible to manage.

    Irreversible fate
    The Comelec case against Mrs. Llamanzares is so clearly presented, argued and supported by the evidence that no SC Justice who cares for the Constitution and the law, and for his honor, reputa-tion, personal wellbeing and safety, would dare to read it in favor of Mrs. Llamanzares.  No amount of corruption or intimidation will work. Although corruption has now become the system, it still has its limits, and not  all the money in the world could turn a duck into a fighting cock. Aquino will have to physically usurp the authority of the Court, take the place of the Justices themselves and personally declare that Mrs. Llamanzares a natural-born citizen and a resident of the country  for the last ten years, and therefore eligible as a presidential candidate. Thus, even with a Mamasapano gun to his head, he may not be able to help  reverse Mrs. Llamanzares’s fate.

    On the other hand, if the videos presented by Enrile at the hearings prove to be sufficiently incrimi-natory, they could facilitate PNoy’s departure from office, and let Vice President Jojo Binay take over without having expected it,    or guarantee PNoy’s “second term” in prison after he vacates. Or it could set in motion the final “wild card” that PNoy’s  hard-core Cabinet supporters seem to be-lieve is the only thing that will save him from ignominy and imprisonment.  This group is not large in number, but it exercises control over the police, the military and the money, and it exists to please Aquino only.

    One cannot expect their game to be electoral. Their only objective is to save Aquino and themselves, and that is not compatible with saving democracy or the country. Yet it  could change the entire po-litical play.

    Openly for Binay
    On my Monday afternoon GNN interview, the host surprised us when at the closing sequence of the program, where we did not discuss any  presidential candidacy, he unexpectedly declared his support for Binay.   He said there was only one presidential candidate worth supporting in May. This was Binay,  and he was going all out for him, he said.

    At a business luncheon with some newspaper colleagues earlier that day, a number of well-known public commentators openly declared their support for the same candidate.

    The next day and the next I heard the same thing from individuals who were normally reserved on these matters.

    At a  university fundraiser yesterday, a couple of businessmen seemed so eager to tell me they were for Binay too.

    Indeed, after a prolonged season of being on the receiving end from all the attack dogs in the Sen-ate and in Makati, Binay is finally bouncing back.  You don’t need the surveys to tell you that, which falsely report that PNoy’s approval rating is on the rise too.  You only talk to people about it, and they tell you. This has prompted a loyal supporter to predict with a lot of hope and confidence that “the stone which the builders have rejected will eventually become the cornerstone.”

    The real wild card
    But it seems to be getting clearer with each passing day that ultimately Binay and the rest of the nation will have to contend not with Mar Roxas, not with Mayor Rodrigo Duterte, not with Grace Poe Llamanzares, but with Aquino.



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      It is so sad and scary just to think that the brutal murderers are still free to roam our streets fully armed to the teeth, heavily armed with high powered deadly weapons. Pagkatapos ay mas interesado pa sila sa ipinagpipilitang ipasang bastardo at unconstitutional na BBL ng MILF? Mas gusto at interesado pa silang maupo ang mga walang kaluluwang salarin sa trono ng kapangyarihan? Iyan ba ang gusto niyong pagbabago? Gusto niyo bang maupo ang mga walang kaluluwang salarin sa trono ng kapangyarihan? Huwag naman po sana.

      Kaya mag-ingat lang po tayo kabayan sa pagpili sa mga mamamahala sa ating bansa at mamamayang Filipinos. We are not getting any younger. We cannot afford to always go through the same shit all over again. We must stop electing unfit government officials. We must choose excellent leaders and team players that can fully unite our country and the Filipinos for building our nation and for us, Filipinos, to win the future.

      We must obey and follow strictly our Constitution and the laws of the land. Nobody must be allowed to become untouchable and above the law. Nararapat lamang na maparusahan ang mga lumalabag sa batas. We must not allow anybody to commit crimes or murders with impunity. St. Padre Pio said , “Where there is no obedience, there is no virtue; where there is no virtue, there is no good; where there is no good, there is no love; where there is no love, there is no God; where there is no God, there is no paradise.” Amen.

      Calling all our honest and trustworthy leaders and protectors of our Constitution. Are you still out there to serve and protect our country and its people? Please HELP!!!! SOS!!!!

      Kung gusto mo ng pagbabago, simulan sa sarili mo. Maging matalino sa pagboto.

    2. CORRUPT POLITICIANS will connive and conspire to pull Aquino down so that they will loot the surplus of Pnoy’s economy into their pockets instead of the CCt 130 billion . They will make it to 300 billion . The 170 billion will be divided among themselves. But we can not allow those thing to happen again.We made it in 2010 , 2013 and the more we will make it in 2016. Tuloy tuloy ang DAANG MATUWID sa pagsulong ng magandang ekonomya ng PILIPINAS at ng mga PILIPINO.

    3. BSAquino & his accomplice knows that their days are numbered and will do anything to save themselves. The Filipino people deserve to know the truth about the 44 mammasapano massacre / MRT/DAP/PDAF to name a few . This cannot be just
      ignored. Mr. Tatad , continue to write and speak out louder . We need to hear more of the truth that is being silenced. Maraming Salamat po!

    4. Wisdom dictates that while those elements are not yet sufficiently militarily prepared to use their “wild card” this early, the justices ought to dissolve the TRO come 12 January. For to prolong the decision will give the proponents of the “wild card” sufficient time to prepare and effect their plan M.

      While someone may try to fan unrest immediately after the TRO is dissolved, the M planners may not yet be fully ready to effect their operation, hence, a complete operational disaster. If the TRO is not dissolved, people will rant against the justices later especially after the SC decision to allow Grace to run and that may be used to agitate against the government as a justification for the “wild card”.

    5. Hindi pwedeng maging presidente si Poe teke teke rin ang magiging pamumuno nya, Sabihin ba naman na si Pinoy ang reponsible sa Mamasapano massacre pero hindi sya ang accountable eh para rin syang si Pinoy na may tama sa ulo, DISQUALIFY NA YAN!

    6. Amnata Pundit on

      So if its not the natural born liar, its Makati’s most corrupt mayor ever. What is happening to this country?!

    7. Samuel Santos on

      Kung hindi lang naka-pako ang mga paa ni Hesus sa cruz, malamang natadyakan na si PNoy sa wetpu.

    8. Ubusin po natin mga NPA dahil isa sila sa mga salot sa lipunan, ubusin din natin mga LUMANG Politiko at mga Family Dynasty para makawala na tayo sa pahirap nila. Maging Matalino tayo at huwag magpabola.

    9. Sa Term ni Pnoy, gumanda economy, nahuhuli mga criminal, napapalayas mga tiwaling politiko although hindi pa lahat, nagkaroon tayo ng BARKONG pangdigma at SUPER SONIC jets sa AFP. Tanong ko, ano nagawa nina Cory, Ramos, Erap at Gloria? sagot kung hindi konti lang eh pwede rin WALA talaga.

    10. Sana maubos na mga politikong nabuhay from 1930 – 1970 dahil yung mga taong yan may mga makikitid na utak at puro sarili lang mga iniisip, isama nyo na mga walang kwentang media people dahil nagpapagamit din kayo sa mga politiko. pag nawala na sila baka sakali gaganda pa buhay namin.

    11. After his term, PNoy should experience the vindication he did to many and make him face the consequences of what he have done to the country and it’s people. It is just right. Justice must be served regardless who it falls on. Let PNoy celebrate for the next 5 or so months and after he is out of power, send him to jail.

    12. Nakatuwa rin magbasa ng mga columm ninyo. Minsan lang muli gumanda ang Economy ng Pilipinas at bumali kang tiwala ng mga foreign investors at first time ever na nagkaroon ng credit rating na maayos ang Pilipinas, may mga nakaumkma agad na kaso kay PNOY. iba rin.

    13. I respect your opinion and your right to air it but Mr. Tatad, you and the others (COMELEC included) will lose at the SC. Llamanzares will win the case. The Presidency? I doubt that she will.

    14. SC will side with Poe because it is just right to recognise the international law protecting foundlings. They are natural-born unless someone can prove otherwise.

      • Leodegardo Pruna on

        SC will definitely side with the LAW. Disgraced GRACE is not the law and is neither with the law, the Philippine Constitution is. God bless the Philippines.

    15. Mr. Kit, I can not understand why you are free – and your paper does not censure you – to write you about your side of the case/s against Sen Grace you filed with the COMELE and/or the court/s. Not only are these supposed to be sub judice but you are at an unfair and arrogant advantage because you have space, the time, the paper, and the luxury of practically putting on print your unlimited but biased mind and postulation, and you want us, practically impose upon us, the public, to read it! What a shame. Perhaps, to put your adversaries in equal footing, you should ask your paper to give them similar space and opportunity; otherwise, please – Mr. Tatad – stop writing about your enemies, adversaries, and/or opposing controversy-parties. If you want, submit your “piece” and have other papers print them. Ok. Be fair. Be gentleman. Try to.

      • Tatad shall never stoop down to becoming a gentleman because he’s a dyed in the wool arrogant and all knowing person minted from the glory days of martial law as Information Secretary of the late dictator.

      • If you think the writer is biased and unfair, why are you here? You don’t have to read him. Who are you to tell him how to write his column? Are you Miss Manners? Mr. Tatad’s column is an “opinion” column, and so he writes about his opinion. He is not a news reporter!

        Many of Mr. Tatad’s readers read his column precisely because he keeps them up-to-date on the Poe disqualification cases since he is personally involved in one of the Comelec petitions. He has also a lot of informal contacts which provide him with inside “info” that you will not find anywhere else. This makes his column more interesting and worth reading when he writes about this info.

        You sound like a supporter of Mrs. Llamanzares. Sorry, but it seems it is the end of the line for her.

      • There is nothing wrong to write the opinions that will help the Filipino people to disect and evaluate the real circumstances concerning the political candidates.

        Thank you Mr. Tatad …