CONDOLENCES to the family of Sen. Helena Benitez, who I never met; also to the kin of Bong Daza, for whom I did a little unremembered (by me) favor 15 years or so ago. We met briefly at the Intercon, at his request, to thank me. He sent to our Palanan home a big box of bottled water with the grace note that if I needed more, he was just a phone call away. Politesse and Civility, if no zeal.
“Above all, no zeal,” young diplomats are advised by Talleyrand. Henry Bensurto, Jr. is one diplomat who heeds the advice. I saw him last Monday on ABS-CBN’s take on the West Philippine situation. Edifying, sans flamboyance or braggadocio. Too many seem to speak for us; indeed, victory has a thousand fathers while defeat is an orphan. Given China’s Irredentist designs, no need to provoke Godzilla by gloating. We cannot go to war against it, the risk of winning notwithstanding.
I have written about my friend, Paul Reichler, our arbitration lead counsel, not an amateur in these situations. We cannot go to war with China, we need to talk. One must read Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by my late Harvard teacher, nego guru Roger Fisher, and William Ury. Paul’s long-time sidekick, Chuck Medel, continues to be a source of info. Chuck was the first to tell me about the win and sent 501 pages to back it up.
In loser China, do they still have 16 hours mandated for work, work, work (contrasted with the supposedly Indolent Pinoy’s praxis)?
In more than one Metro Manila unit, when traffic would prevent me from reaching a government office by noon, I know that the public would be attended to. On the wall is mention of RA No. 9545, no noon break (saw another one in the DENR the other day). I am sure the law is known and followed in law-abiding Davao City, “An Act to Improve Efficiency in the Delivery of Government Service to the Public by Reducing Bureaucratic Red Tape . . . SEC. 8. Accessing Frontline Services. – The following shall be adopted by all government offices and agencies: . . . (e) Adoption of Working Schedules to Serve Clients – Heads of offices and agencies which render frontline services shall adopt appropriate working schedules to ensure that all clients who are within their premises prior to the end of official working hours are attended to and served even during lunch break and after regular working hours.” No need for a new issuance.
Just enforce the laws with which newbie Digong had nothing to do in crafting but he seemingly gets credited for everything. In the plunder case of GMA, where I assisted very able Panyero Junji Altamira in defending co-accused Rey Villar (1971 Con-Con Delegate; a Provincial Board Member of Pangasinan, 1980 – 86 and 1988 – 2012, was with the Commission on Audit, where he rose from the ranks to become its first home-grown Chairman), we had the case dismissed in 2014 on a demurrer to evidence (a motion to dismiss, without us presenting any evidence).
I am not privy to GMA’s case; but I was not surprised by its dismissal by the Supreme Court (SC), which our enterprising Jomar Canlas reported in advance. Our SC continues to leak like a sieve; marami pong makwento. To the SC, GMA should be thankful, but added to the Digong Mystique by thanking him also. I doubt that he had anything to do with the dismissal of the case. Ethics. Separation of Powers.
Last Monday, two long lines I saw, for rides, in Kalayaan, Makati. At a time when the automotive industry keeps reporting high sales, Transpo Sec Art Tugade may have a well nigh Mission Impossible. I hope old vehicles won’t be phased out so that I shouldn’t have to give up a 1994 Safari of my wife. Pastor Quiboloy has reportedly given Digong a late model Safari, with a state-of-the-art Expedition to boot. Quiboloy has problems with the Lumads who link him to murder.
We hope to see due process in that case and that of everyone.
“What due process? Due process, ulol, it is given once you are in court. It is not given to the President.” Thus, reportedly, spake Prez Digong addressing fellow Bedans Thursday of last week in Club Filipino. I try to teach that due process seems to begin earlier. It may start with the police. Or in some prosecutor’s office. I am sure he observed due process when he was a fiscal/prosecutor. A Prez swears “to do justice to every man [which embraces woman].” 1987 Const., Art. VII, Sec. 7. Strike me, but hear me first, is an ancient cry.
There must be a moral outcry by now, over the growing body count, unless Decay has really sunk deep. I had thought that by now, Digong would have become less uncouth, if only for the sake of the youth, who we try to teach to use the polite PO, and avoid ULOL. Lo cortes no quita lo valiente; courtesy does not detract from valor—Justice Eduardo Caguioa taught us in San Beda, practised by the Benedictine priests, many of whom came from the land of urbanidad.
Digong urged his fellow Bedans not to handle drugs cases. In short, not to take seriously the Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights with their presumption of innocence. But top cop Bato even cried with police biggies Digong had prejudged and denounced. And Digong met Peter Lim, an alleged drug lord, in the Palace! Had they been ordinary folk, their remains might have made happy funeraria owners who grouse that many corpses are not claimed, bespeaking the short and simple annals of the poorest of the poor following the first law of mankind: survival. Their damnation would have been equivalent to Henry II’s “who’d rid me of this turbulent priest?” And Becket was dispatched to the Promised Land by knights who considered themselves told.
As a Christian, human being and a lawyer, I take seriously the presumption of innocence. Nothing wrong in defending anyone, as long as he plays by the rules and acts within law and ethics. Peter Lim is lucky, even allotted valuable scarce presidential time. Yagits, riffraff and isang-kahig-isang-tuka hampaslupas are just taken out; funeral parlors complain that they don’t get paid for their services. Different if the Lims and Police Director-Generals were the ones needing their services, along with other upper-crust types, who may not understand the plight of the many poor sleeping on sidewalks and bridges.
Last July 14, Digong flew home to be with Honeylet, her radiant Ms. Universe in Davao. By private aircraft? No PR pix this time showing him flying commercial. Whose then? His? When the Freedom of Info Order is out, we may know. Was the plane or its fuel someone’s pork?
Sen. Ping Lacson is at it again, the scourge of pork.
I had pork in 1987 – 92, to me, not toxic per se. I went to Pangasinan last week. A former Mayor of my late Dulce’s hometown again thanked me for the town’s market funded by my pork. I had another mart in Cebu, a library in Isabela, an ambulance for Pasig, and I had the open canals in our Barangay Palanan covered. Sen. Bob Byrd, in his long Senate stint (five decades), improved West Virginia with his prudent use of pork. Not all lawmakers are devils (not a singkong duling we got); not all executive officials are saints in pork. Should the latter have all the fun(d)s?
Nietzsche said the most common form of innocence (he used a much stronger word) is forgetting purposes. Competent and credible FVR remembers purposes; he is said to have health issues that make him hesitate to rep us in dealing with China. Good choice; it would be better if he would team up with sis Manang Letty, with her vast diplomatic experience and expertise. The duo, who doesn’t use “ulol”—I don’t think—should also try to convince Digong not to push for the transfer of Macoy to the Libingan ng Mga Bayani while 75,000 claims are being processed. He should be less insensitive to the feelings of those who opposed Marcos and suffered in particularly intense ways.
Now willy-nilly, Digong is forcing us, relics and remnants of MABINI, to rise from morgues, wheelchairs and hospital beds to rattle the bones of skeletons from which all semblance of life may have long departed. Just a step or two ahead of the funeral director, I am but I see young lawyers responding. Sadly, the I in IBP stands for Inutil Bar of the Philippines, as it did during the Dark Years when many lawyers prospered amid widespread oppression and suffering. Almost everyone was a Good Pinoy, prudent, as the Good Germans of Hitler.
In everything, BETTER, STRONGER, TOGETHER. We can do much more if we stopped behaving like a Circular Firing Squad and if no one cares who gets the credit. And democracy continues to have room for ULOLs, who may be disturbed by Digong’s advance promises of pardons of killers/murderers of alleged druggies. He even promised to double the pay of anti-drug enforcers. But the Power of the Purse is with Congress. And I haven’t seen any tree with money growing on it.