• Cha-cha in a scofflaw nation



    SO, ex-Customs Chief Nicanor Faeldon is now a Batang City Jail (BJC) candidate-member, in Pasay. There we visited Doy Laurel midnight of February 17, 1984 when he was arrested for alleged illegal possession of a gun.

    Maverick Judge Dionisio Capistrano dismissed the case the next day, a Saturday. We were 42 lawyers, led by Ka Celing Muñoz Palma, Soc Rodrigo and Paddy Padilla. We argued that the gun had been planted (good that on dismissal, no one suggested that we ask for the gun’s “return,” ha, ha. Doy, a hero but,​ muy pillo).

    I was a BCJ candidate-member myself in early 1983, in Quezon City, not good enough for ABC—Aguinaldo, Bonifacio-Bicutan and Crame. On February 4, 1983, Judge Jose Castro jailed me cuz I had allegedly “arrogantly announced that President Ferdinand E. Marcos is a super-subversive…” and “this is now the second offense of contempt [I] committed. “Fined P50 earlier for bitching that the court was getting militarized given the presence of so many uniforms I said, “I’d gladly pay it, Your Honor,” pulling out a hundred-peso bill, and asked, “may I say something more for another P50?” He changed the subject cuz I was loony even then.

    There in Pasay also I visited Gina Doe in the mid-1990s. She had retained me by phone patch, over Radio Veritas, one early morning. She had been accused of mutilating John Doe, her lover while he napped in their motel room, after telling her their affair was over; his wife was coming home from abroad as a contract worker.

    The bobo awoke, yelling in pain, feeling very much diminished. The woman, a modista, always had a pair of scissors in her bag. Case dismissed by Judge Aurora Reciña. The Tsikboy simply got tired of appearing in court with a towel wrapped around his head and hearing, “iyan ang naputulan.” We invoked denial of a speedy trial. His manhood had become Exhibit E, in a bottle.

    As I understand it, in the US, Congress may not detain anyone, unless it first secures an arrest order from a court when the resource person refuses to talk, invoking the Fifth, even after assurance of immunity. Courts routinely cooperate. A test case may be needed here lest Faeldon be detained until the cows come home.

    Last week, the cows came home for Tony Cortes, my law classmate, who will miss our emerald anniv program tomorrow at San Beda. The friends of one’s youth are the finest one can ever have, to paraphrase Robert Penn Warren in All The King’s Men. Tony was a good lawyer who was with nationalist Abe Sarmiento, for decades, before the latter joined the Supreme Court.

    Rappler’s unforgivable crime

    Last Sunday, I attended the Sto. Niño march-procession in Mendiola; for the first time ever, I couldn’t complete it. We’re ageing and ailing and current events can only aggravate our condition. Such as Rappler’s fate. Its true unforgivable crime is being critical of the Prez. Had it been brown-nosing Digong, Maria Ressa, like blogger Mocha Uson, might have even been invited to accompany him on his trips abroad. Thus, a conundrum.

    When you reach a fork in the road, take it, NY Yankee Yogi Berra’s sage advice I am reminded of cuz of the weird insistence that PNoy be charged with reckless imprudence resulting in homicide for Mamasapano; the latter offense does not involve malice or moral turpitude. I became a widower cuz of reckless driving, upping my familiarity with it.

    A reckless imprudence accused is entitled to probation on conviction, for “mere” recklessness, no matter how painful the consequence is to the victim or his survivors. PNoy’s legal team is quiet and should not protest too much. Or at all.

    But, graft, filed by gutsy ​Ombudsman Chit Morales, is something else. One charged with it, as PNoy is, in effect is being labelled a crook. No probation necessarily available on conviction for a grafter. Bad faith is involved. Evil and malice mark the offense.

    The Mamasapano operation resulted in terrorist Marwan being sent to the Muslim paradise where virgins await deflowering by a martyr. Casualties? One should stay a civilian or avoid being sent to fight historically fierce Muslim warriors to avoid the risks that go with joining special operation forces against them. Lore has it that Black Jack Pershing had the lethal .45 pistol devised to stop fanatical Muslim juramentados. Howling dervishes, sort of.

    And it should be Mamasapano 62, to include the Muslim victims. Their lives also mattered. Not to forget that the goal of bagging Marwan by those singing “ang mamatay nang dahil sa ‘yo” was attained. So, not a total failure unlike Jack Kennedy’s Bay of Pigs and Bill Clinton’s Blackhawk Down debacles. Neither was charged for failure. And rightly so. They answered to their conscience, and to history. “La historia me absolverá,” cried Fidel Castro.
    “History will absolve me.” They were not asked to pay the families of heroes or victims of collateral damage for judgment calls in good faith. If there is financial assistance, well and good, but heroism is not necessarily ​monetized.

    To err is human

    The Constitution cannot and does not require a Prez to be perfect or infallible. To err is human. And here, PNoy was not in noncompliance with any statute in our scofflaw nation. Washington enlisted the aid of chemist Sean Connery, a convict, in the movie, “The Rock.” In the film “Dirty Dozen,” the convicted murderous maniacs (e.g., Charles Bronson, death by hanging, Digong’s weapon of choice, as it were) became heroes. And former Top Cop Alan Purisima is only an accused, charged with PNoy. Not even a convict.

    Charged reportedly with violating Sec. 7 of RA 3019 (1960) and Sec. 8 of RA 6713 (1989), is Chief Justice Meilou Sereno; everyone in government from Prez Digong down to the last barangay dogcatcher may have a problem.

    Sec. 7 mandates filing by a public servant, of “a statement of the amounts and sources of his income, the amounts of his personal and family expenses and the amount of income taxes paid for the next preceding calendar year.” Its Sec. 2(b) defines a” public officer” as including “elective and appointive officials and employees, permanent or temporary, whether in the classified or unclassified or exemption service receiving compensation, even nominal, from the government…”

    If the House, busy with impeachment, looks at compliance with Sec. 7, its members should be prepared to show their own filings there under. If the Prez​ or his Cabinet members​, or anyone else​ for that matter, can show compliance with Sec. 7 last year, I’ll eat it.

    Misogynistic consultative body

    This provision may cover the fascinating consultative body the Prez created last week. Misogynistic, I submit, for naming only one woman out of 19 (thus far). From where I sit, she may be a household word only in her own household, with all due respect. Ka Celing Muñoz-Palma she isn’t; no wonder she is named Ms Susan-Hubalde Ordinario, maybe to stress that Digong much cares for ordinary folk. There are six more vacancies so there is time to heed the saying that the best man for the job is a woman, to join Ms Susan, who I wish Godspeed (the name of co-star Nicholas Cage, in “The Rock”).

    The body of consultants will meet for a year, derailing and shooting down Speaker Bebot’s reported choo-choo bullet train arrival date of May 2018. Its members must be preparing now to comply with Sec. 7 of RA No. 3019 which requires one to file the required statement within a month “after assuming office.” We need to know where its office will be, whether the members can hire staff, etc. Indeed, paging Budget Sec. Ben Diokno: how much will the consultancy cost the taxpayer? I bet he cannot find a single tree with money growing on it. The constitutional consultants, comprising an ad hoc body, will work for about a​ year.

    Our present Consti has a state policy against dynasties. Yet, we saw a Prez Duterte, Mayor Duterte and Vice Mayor Duterte. I seem to be the only one to grouse about it. Maybe others do but of which I am not aware. All seem to be afraid of the Godfather (I pretend not to be). The foreign model we now have seems to have originated in Sicily.

    Basically, the problem has been one of implementation of our laws. A scofflaw nation we have been since Macoy—Digong’s idol—took over in the 1960s and opened his William Saunders account in Switzerland while Imelda opened her Jane Ryan. Money for The Restoration?

    Will a new Constitution make a difference?

    Yup, Rappler’s mortal sin is that it has not behaved like Mocha Uson, who venerates the Godfather, who commends Aung San Suu Kyi on Rohingya, urging her to ignore us, useless human rights critics and advocates.

    I have ageing-ailing issues. And I don’t know what type of federalism we may get into. What I now seem to see arguably can be traced to Sicily, with a fellow Bedan for a Godfather (Duterte), aided and abetted by Bedan consigliere (Medialdea and Aguirre). And enforcers like Bato de la Rosa implementing a population reduction program. Another Bedan is gutsy ​Leila de Lima, our own Dolores Ibarruri, La Pasionaría.

    Balkanizing federalism

    At this point lawyers, led by the IBP, I for Inspiring (ok, Integrated Bar of the Philippines), cannot do more than warn fervently against a balkanizing federalism which may lead us to become Somalia or Venezuela, basket cases. At some point, lawyers may file cases but per se, any Cha-cha effort cannot be enjoined. More speech, not less. The noises and sounds of democracy.

    Gising! Bangon! Manindigan! Shakespeare wrote, “first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” in praise, not dispraise, of the profession. They ask the foolish questions of the day, as Tañada, Diokno, Salonga, Arroyo, et al. did, when Digong’s idol ruled and reigned and ruined our values, processes and institutions from which we have yet to recover. If we ever will, enslaved as we have been for centuries.

    ​“​When will [​we]​ ever learn? Long time passing…”​

    ​The Catholic Bishops, who have played key roles in changes in the past, have warned against a “creeping dictatorship,” which some see even now as “galloping.”​

    ​I am more concerned about “political syndicalism,” as it were.


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    1 Comment

    1. To justify the appointment of SUSPENDED Purisima to lead Oplan Exodus, you cited movies as examples?