Culture of death and indignity


DEATH. We fondly bid goodbye to Manong Ernie Maceda, gone, a Senator’s Senator who had perfect attendance in the Senate in 1987-92, a record I shared. To us, nothing was more important than serving the people loyally. (Manong was a bar topnotcher and Harvard Man, which feats I am lucky to share as well, along with Uncle Jovy Salonga, also gone.)

What they did not know about parliamentary procedure was not worth knowing. I was uhugin in 1987.

On Sept. 16, 1991, Manong was one of the Magnificent/Malevolent 12, led by Uncle Jovy, who voted to end the continuous presence of foreign troops on or soil for nearly five decades. We continue to be lauded and derided for our vote but we remain convinced we were on the right side of history. On Manong’s Explanation of Vote, he foresaw the Philippine issue of today but accepted that a country has no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests. – Lord Palmerston.

I insist that the people, through the Senate, may not be ignored on anything involving the fate of our people, including five divine mga apo, the most good-looking in all creation. I would not yield to any interpellation. No more presscons. Teka, linya yata ni Digong ‘yun, ah. No talk, no mistake.

A sharp interpellator Manong was, but like Stephen Curry, he did not win ‘em all. Once, Sen. Vic Ziga delivered a paean to Joker Arroyo, his fellow Oragon, who had just left the executive in 1987.

Manong wanted to know if Vic was willing to invite Joker to join the Liberal Party and be its vice-presidential candidate. Vic paused and then said, “Mr. President, much as I would like to do that I can’t.” And why not? “Because,” he said, plaintively, “Mr. President, my own people are rooting for me.” Cheers! He had to be loyal to his followers. Manong was silenced, for once. Perfect squelch. Like Lebron blocking Curry, under two minutes. Decisive, in my view.

And, it would take decades to have a veep from Bicolandia, who shafted an aspirant from Ilocandia.

Si Manong Ernie, hindi bulaang propeta. On Sept. 16, 1991, he said “The Americans have made it clear that the bases cannot be called on to support us in the event of an open dispute in the Spratly Islands. Yet this is the only imminent external security problem that we foresee over the next few years.” He did not see the hooting pro-US throng; his eyes were fixed on the eternities. – Cardozo.

He also had good timing, concluding in 1991: “In the summer of disaster and discontent, I vote NO to a DOCUMENT OF ENMITY, DIVISION AND DISADVANTAGE AND ANOTHER INSTRUMENT OF SURRENDER. Mr. President, Sen. Tañada, at 3 o’clock in the afternoon [like on Good Friday], for God and country, consummatum est.” It was 3 o’clock when he voted.

Manong Ernie, who was often concerned for the little guy, was loyal to the flag and the Constitution.

Could it be true that Digong is so loyal to and considerate of Bongbong Marcos (BBM) that he did not want to offend BB by having a joint oath-taking with Leni Robredo, who had defeated BBM?

Not that I am crazy about oath-takings. I joined the Cabinet without taking any oath, but then we were revolutionary. Were it not for People Power, we might have been lined up against the wall, or jailed in Caballo Island if not deep-sixed under Operation Mad Dog.

I did witness Cory and Doy taking their oaths at Club Filipino. I had prepared their unconventional oaths as I could not have them pledge fealty to the 1973 Siopao Consti (in the Jan. 17, 1973 Barangay Assemblies, the attendees were asked, “Sino sa inyo ang may gusto ng siopao?” Just about everyone raised his hand. “O, ilagay mo 95 percent, ha.” Hence, Siopao Consti).

The Marcoses cheated in 1973, 1978, 1980, 1981 and 1986 (JPE cheated by at least 300,000 votes in Cagayan Valley in the snap elections), and in plebiscites in between. The Robredos have never been linked to such perfidy.

How soon do we forgive the far from contrite Marcoses?

Last June 17, Reinhold Hanning, 94, a willing and efficient jail guard, was convicted in Germany. Hanning, who had helped run the notorious Auschwitz death camp, was told by the judge he could have asked to be transferred to the war front. He was convicted for being an accessory to the murder of at least 170,000 people in the camp (Phil. Star, June 19, 2016, p. A-22, col. 1). Parang pinabibili lang ng suka.

A Premier visits War Shrines in the Land of the Rising Sun, rioting in China and Korea follows, in memory of fathers and grandfathers.

Father’s Day was nonexistent in my youth but thanks to commercial advertising, merchants make a killing—again that word—today. I got a few gifts from my nuke family. But beware.

Our Supreme Court upheld the punishment of a clerk of court for receiving a slightly-used air-con as a gift from a private individual. “Highly improper conduct.” One should read about the gifts Pastor Quiboloy supposedly gave to Digong, a Safari and an Expedition, free use of aircraft cum free fuel, etc. For birthday gifts, Sen. Sonny Trillanes said Digong had received gifts in the hundreds of millions, even billions, now glossed over in the afterglow of triumph but which the Office of the Ombudsman should look into.

Meantime, Digong has picked a small place for oath-taking and told his Cabinet not to bring spouses to his oath-taking. Would this exempt him? Displaying trophy Honeylet should be evaluated for its impact on the young. And the feelings of practicing Catholics. Their Church frets about the Culture of Death given the way our population is reduced in a manner that would not displease him. His ego is now being stroked by Top PNP Gun Bato de la Rosa and his boys. How many are gone, as cops and informants settle private scores, is hard to determine as the brown-nosing surges. Rhetoric has a powerful effect on human conduct. The Culture of Death amid Immunity and Impunity.

And the Culture of Indignity. Tanauan Mayor “Thony” Halili must be an admirer of China, which parades suspects. Digong is 1/4 Chinese. The mayor parades suspected illegal drug users and traffickers. The Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are checked at the Tanauan boundary. The shameful malpractice grates in the case of users, who are frail and sick, but are not criminals. Both should be rehabbed. We should not confuse a shortcoming with a wrongdoing.

The Shame Campaign through spray-painting the houses of suspected drug offenders of then-Mayor Fred Lim we succeeded in nullifying in the Court of Appeals in Jan. 2000. (The mayor’s attempt to go to the Supreme Court was shafted because of a flimsy technicality. The lapse of counsel, for which the client should not be punished by the dismissal of a case.)

But the Comelec did not err, I believe, in giving the LPs more time to file a Statement of Contributions and Expenses (SOCE). The non-complying individuals should be fined, say X amount a day, X1 for the second day, X2 for the third, etc. Parties, like the Liberal, maybe a million buckaroos every day of non-compliance. A Comelec member resigned from the panel concerned on the matter. Resignations are not helpful. In the US, the SC is said to comprise nine scorpions in a bottle. The creative tension benefits everybody.

Mayor Halili should stop humiliating people, as this benefits nobody. Whether it is a Scarlet Letter (for adultery, in New England), a White Feather (for cowardice among the Brits), or a Yellow Star (on the door of a Jew in Nazi Germany), Tanauan’s Walk of Shame offends the dignity of a human being. Government is not in the business of degrading anyone. This is not China.

Why shame the Comelec by asking it to explain the departure of a Smartmatic exec? Were the critics able to get a hold-departure order, which is against the basic human and constitutional right to travel? Rule of Law.

OK, where does the incoming royalty stand on dynasties? It is a concern but Digong flouts the constitutional spirit; two kids run and took their oaths this week? Before June 30. Premature ejac?

Bottom line, anyway: every life matters, and so does the Rule of Law. Else, Decay.

And the humongous bank accounts issue will keep coming back to haunt Digong.


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  1. Really, Mr. Saguisag, the Comelec did not err in extending the deadline for the filing of SOCE? Which part of “final and non-extendible” allows for the extension that the Comelec granted? The Comelec’s job is to enforce the law not interpret it.

  2. Amnata Pundit on

    If its in favor of the yellows, its right, but if its for the contra-yellows, its wrong, right? Bravo to the yellows for raising hypocrisy to a profession.

  3. It is our justice system that is at fault. Cases filing up. Criminals out of jail spreading terror in our streets. What is our alternative ? Same as before with 300. Percent increase in our criminality and 90 drug infested barangays. Make this be clear… It does not work. The system does not work. The society is breaking Down.

    • The problem is not at all the fault of the judiciary but the law enforcement agencies who had first contact with the accused or culprits.

      Police dont keep all the necessary evidence, they wont appear during trials leading to repeated postponements, sometimes they dont appear at all leading to dismissal of a case. The law provided for procedure of apprehension, they wont follow it leading to illegal arrest.

      The first step in the execution law law lies so much in the hands of the law enforcement, thus defect in this initial stage will have a domino effect up to the the time the case reaches the court.

  4. Bukod sa DYNASTIES

    J U E T EN G o H W E T E N G…bakit walang sinasabi tungkol dito si Digong?