• EDCA on my mind


    MY piece last week misspoke when it mentioned 75,000 human right claimants as having registered with the Claims Board; it should be 48,000 or so (there may be a new deadline).

    It also omitted my last two paragraphs, presumably for lack of space. I accept this editorial judgment, under tight deadline conditions. Herewith, the dropped paragraphs on Ting Paterno’s On My Terms –

    “In Manila Polo Club, Ting Paterno’s book launch venue, the Africas (three Bedans), Ting’s kin, attended to me. Butch, former National Statistics Office head, assured me that our NCAA cage teams should not be weakened by the graduation of stars. So, 2015, again, on our terms. I genuflect in meeting Fr. Eduardo, ex-Abbot. Anton taught Music to my sons.

    “Ting and I differed in 1984 on boycott-participate. He may have been right then but not to forget that Edsa’86 was the quintessential triumph of the Parliament of the Streets, on our terms, as Kalyeheros or Street Parliamentarians, hand in hand with the institutional lawmakers.

    “Ting voted for the stay of U.S. bases in 1991 but he argues we should have been less reliant on aid from the U.S. and Japan.”

    Last Tuesday, I, 75, paos, laos, with a cane, salimpusa, was asked by our team to lead off for two minutes in the Supreme Court (SC) orals of the Enhanced Development Cooperative Agreement (EDCA) with the US.

    Co-petitioner Bobby Tañada I had pled to be the one but he invoked a prior conflicting commitment. So there was I but only for a couple of minutes ensuring that I would do a minimum of harm to our cause, only to be the link to the 1991 Magnificent/Malevolent Twelve.

    My right knee, eyesight, hearing and energy seem to be going. My sanity? Long gone.

    The last time I there argued was in late 2006, on People’s Initiative. We barely won, 8-7, and Justice TonyCarp wrote a stirring ponencia never to be beyond easy recall.

    Hearing? The public address or acoustic system in the SC can stand improvement.

    Fellow Bedan Dr. Tyrone M. Reyes wrote last Tuesday in the Star about hearing loss in that “among those 75 and older, three of four have difficulty hearing.” I turned 75 last August 14. But intervenor lawyer Rene, Jr., 42 last month, consoled me that even he did not find it easy following all the exchanges. Justice Tessie de Castro had to be given another mic at one point by court bailiff/barker Allan Coscolluela.

    Following me were heavy hitters Pic Agabin, Harry Roque, Rachel Pastores and Ging Ursua.

    Chief Justice (CJ) Meilou Sereno mercifully adjourned the hearing, which began at past two p.m., at past six, to resume on Tuesday. I don’t know if I can attend then. The Solicitor General asserts that we have no personality to sue. This was the same line used by Mayor Fred Lim when we sued him for spray-painting houses of drug abuse suspects or convicts. The RTC Judge, to whom the case was referred by the SC, dismissed the case on our alleged lack of proper standing.

    The Court of Appeals reversed and not only acknowledged our legal personality but in ringing tones condemned the spray-paint approach, on January 26, 2000, in Marohomsalic v. Lim, CA-G.R. SP No. 47946. To the human rights community, the shame campaign was reminiscent of Scarlet Letter (against an adulteress), White Feathers (in the British military), and Yellow Star (against the Jews).

    I dare not prophesy and predict how the SC would rule on EDCA. Mahirap ng matawag na bulaang propeta. If we lose, I hope not to read “Messrs. Saguisag, pere et fils, you, including Rene III, 6, have no personality.” The drift I get is that certain SC members wonder why not the Senate, which is in fact part of our prayer in two petitions.

    Have we won?

    Indeed, the Senate, as the body and the people are part of the institutional arrangement on treaties. Can we interest our Senate, busy with probes?

    Surely Sen. Miriam would not be the only one to tell EDCA from a hole in the ground, the Binay-Drilon probes notwithstanding.

    “P-Noy defends Edca,” the Inquirer reported yesterday.

    Fine, but please involve the Senate and maybe the people, as part of our institutional and human rights, we plead in response.

    Back to human rights, San Beda, which honored Arno Sanidad last year for human rights, GS’67 and HS’71, is honoring on November 27 another alum, Rudy R. Duterte, LL.B. ‘72, but not for human rights I should be sure. Yet, popular Rudy’s message, image and persona resonate in our scofflaw society with a number of people, who have asked him to run for President—and there are no “of what country naman kaya?” snickers.

    I know about his colorful background in San Beda Law.

    I exchange emails regularly with the Ateneo for a Better Philippines, which has this cryptic message: “Indeed – the Duterte/Ampatuan method of social control – with each practitioner operating at the two ends of the motivation scale.”

    It may not be easy for one in the human rights community to write positively about Rudy, widely seen as having his own population reduction program as a form of social control. As in the case of Mayor Fred Lim, and others.

    But, let me try. No one should decide who will live or who will die. But do many of us approve? What matters in a democracy and is majoritarian principle? When they say Duterte for President, many approve and do not ask, of which country naman kaya? Which I ask about Manny Pacquiao, a practitioner of the Manly Art of Modified Murder.

    -W.O. McGeehan
    Democracy teaches tolerance for ideas we may despise. And I simply am leery of executions, whether judicial or extrajudicial. Certainly, not of looters, who may be following the first law of mankind: survival. Hence, “hit me, but hear me first.”

    I first encountered Rudy when I was Law prefect or acting dean as Dean Feliciano Jover Ledesma was busy in the Con-Con which convened in 1971. Rudy’s message resonates with many people. Democracy is choice. I marched with his gutsy mother, Tita Chuling, for Soledad, in the rallies on Davao streets after Ninoy was salvaged in 1983.

    Here’s hoping ut in omnibus glorificetur Dei (that in all things God may be glorified) has not been forgotten by one of our outstanding national leaders and magnetic personalities today, popular in many places but arguably, not in the human rights community. Rudy to me is like Churchill’s Russia, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.


    Please follow our commenting guidelines.


    1. You are never a saling pusa, you actually became a real star, whose audience wanting is to see you always in front of the microphone stand….we patiently waited for your piece, its your advocacy which we we were after to hear, but CJ seems absent minded. She thought the hearing started at 1pm (while its sharp at 1400H) 8and when she saw her watch thats its already 2:02, she asked you to wind up your arguments. You must have said your honor it is hard to honor you!