• Ex-CJ Panganiban’s contempt vs the Supreme Court


    Justices not for sale
    MY best sources tell me that Sen. Grace Poe Llamanzares’ unnamed principal funder has been told there is no way the majority of the 15 Supreme Court justices could be “bought” to declare her a natural-born citizen, who has been living in the country for not less than ten years before the May 9 election, and therefore eligible to run for President. This means that the Commission on Elections en banc ruling disqualifying her as a presidential candidate and canceling her certificate of candidacy will ultimately run. But instead of hurling himself against a speeding vehicle as some despondent billionaires did at the height of the Wall Street and transatlantic economic crisis, the funder, who may not long remain nameless, reportedly decided to intensify the operations on behalf of Mrs. Llamanzares.

    Ex-CJ’s thesis
    So while vice-presidential candidate Francis Escudero mounted a two-fisted attack on Commissioner Rowena Guanzon over her reported conflict with Comelec Chairman Andres Bautista in handling a Comelec memo to the Supreme Court, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban contemptuously told the Justices, in an op-ed column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, how to dispose of Rizalito David’s petition for certiorari against the Senate Electoral Tribunal’s five-to-four ruling on his quo warranto petition against Mrs. Llamanzares.

    Through his legal counsel Manuelito Luna, David, who has alleged grave abuse of discretion against the SET, is now asking the Supreme Court to take appropriate action against Panganiban for his highly improper and unethical effort to sway the ruling of the Court. Panganiban’s act “is as dangerous as the attempts of foreign governments to influence the executive decisions of the president of a Republic,” says David.

    What SC can do
    This was not the first time Panganiban had committed the same offense, David said. The Court, if it so pleases, could order the former Chief Justice to “show cause” why he should not be cited for contempt for his highly intrusive remarks.

    The offensive piece
    In his Jan. 10 column, Panganiban said:
    “Concededly, the case of Sen. Grace Poe is unique. The texts of the governing laws neither include nor exclude foundlings in their lists of citizens. The facts of her residency are torn between her mistaken computation in her 2013 certificate of candidacy for the Senate and the truth that she actually transferred her domicile to the Philippines as early as 2005.

    “Beyond the text, I believe her case presents a rare moment for judicial greatness for those who see beyond the text and ponder on these:

    “1. Poe is a foundling who certainly deserves the overarching social justice principle of giving more law to those who have less in life.

    “2. The framers of the 1935 Constitution explained that it was never their intention ‘to exclude foundlings from natural-born citizenship…and the only reason that there was no specific reference to foundlings…was that foundlings are few…[and]by international law…children of people born…of unknown parents are citizens…”

    “3. The grand axiom of ‘Slus populi est supreme lex’ (the welfare of the people is the supreme law) may be invoked “extra-constitutionally” (beyond the constitutional text) to render social justice, famously wrote the eminent Justice Jose P. Laurel.

    “4. Frivaldo vs Comelec teaches that ‘in case of doubt in the interpretation and legal provisions involving popular sovereignty, it is best to interpret such provisions in a manner that enables our electorate to elect freely their leaders.” Bengzon vs. HRET affirms that natural-born Filipinos who became aliens reacquire their original citizenship when repatriated. And Marcos vs. Comelec instructs that the truth, not the mistaken statements in a certificate of candidacy, prevails.

    “5. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the covenants on civil and political rights, on the reduction of statelessness and on the rights of the child favor foundlings like Poe.

    “6. The presumptions of good faith, nondiscrimination and regularity in the performance of duties undoubtedly benefit her.

    “Judging from the gutsy ‘Comment’ filed by Solicitor General Florin Hilbay in the Supreme Court, I believe he, too, has seen the moment for judicial greatness. Given his sterling track record as a bar topnotcher and law professor and my personal knowledge of his writing ability and excellent reports as a court attorney 15 years ago, Hilbay—if he were a sitting jurist—can, in my humble view, rise to the moment and craft a grand historic decision.”

    Unique, indeed
    Indeed, as Panganiban says, the case of Mrs. Llamanzares is unprecedented and unique. Never before in the nation’s history has anyone succeeded in getting “elected” to the Senate (never mind, for now, the questionable manner of the “election”) by misrepresenting herself as a natural-born Filipino, (only to be exposed later as a foundling whose parents have remained unknown); who later became an American citizen without having ever been naturalized first as a Filipino; who renounced her American citizenship later and then fraudulently “reacquired” her Philippine citizenship, which she never possessed in the first place.

    This is a serious case of injustice, but the victim here is not the foundling, as Mrs. Llamanzares, Panganiban and company would like us to believe, but the entire Filipino electorate, which has been made to believe and is being made to believe that she has a right to be “elected” to the Senate–and even to run for President.

    Completely uninformed
    Where on earth did Panganiban get this notion that “the texts of the governing laws neither include nor exclude foundlings in their list of citizens”?

    The first relevant text—-Article IV, Section 1 of the 1935 Constitution which was in force and in effect when Mrs. Llamanzares was born and found in 1968—-clearly excludes foundlings from the five categories enumerated as citizens, namely:

    (1) Those who are citizens of the Philippine Islands at the time of the adoption of the Constitution;

    (2) Those born in the Philippine Islands of foreign parents who, before the adoption of the Constitution had been elected to public office in the Philippine Islands;

    (3) Those whose fathers are citizens of the Philippines;

    (4) Those whose mothers are citizens of the Philippines, and upon reaching the age of majority, elect Philippine citizenship;

    (5) Those who are naturalized in accordance with law.

    The undisputed rule is that what is not included in any enumeration is excluded. It is a tautology. So if the framers of the Constitution never intended to exclude foundlings from the enumeration of citizens, they should have included foundlings. But they did not. The action of the entire constitutional convention, as reflected in the Constitution itself, must be distinguished from any opinions expressed by one or two of its members. And we must read and understand the Constitution as it is, and not as some of us would like it to be.

    Not underprivileged
    It is quite a leap from reality for Panganiban to say that Mrs. Llamanzares , having “less in life” should have “more in law.” From the time she was adopted into the Fernando Poe family until now, she has lived a privileged life; she has gotten away with so many lies under oath, and she traveled at least 24 times to and from the US on her American passport, even after she had supposedly abandoned her US citizenship. She also acquired several real estate properties in the country, while she was still an American citizen, apparently in violation of law.

    The “salus populi” doctrine is best served by making sure that the law applies equally to all, not by making Mrs. Llamanzares or anybody else an exception to it. The cases of Frivaldo and Marcos are not on all fours with that of Mrs. Llamanzares, and should not be thrown into the discussion by lawyers who have no right to presume the public will swallow everything cast in their direction.

    What international law?
    Likewise, “international law” does not precede nor supersede the Constitution, especially when it refers to treaties, covenants and conventions, to which the Philippines is not a contracting party and whose provisions are in conflict with the Constitution. When the Constitution says the Philippines “adopts the generally accepted principles of international law,” it puts itself in control of what international law to adopt, not the other way around. Those who quote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights should first know that it is not a treaty, but merely a Declaration, although a highly respected one.

    Panganiban’s reference to Hilbay as “gutsy” for proposing that the Constitution be read on the basis of what is not written there, rather than on what is expressly written there, must be music to the Solicitor General’s ears. His dream is to follow his immediate predecessor Francis Jardeleza to the Supreme Court, and he has to believe that Panganiban’s saccharine paean to him is helpful. “I believe that he, too, has seen the moment for judicial greatness;” were he a sitting jurist, he could, “in my humble view, rise to the moment and craft a grand historic decision,” says Panganiban.

    So much self-praise
    Don’t let the first part of that sentence pass you by. He is praising Hilbay for his attempt to deconstruct and unplug the Constitution, but only after praising himself first. This is why he says, “he, too”—“he, too, after me,” that is. This is as good as PNoy saying the Pope is his “kindred spirit,” after insulting him at the Palace. Panganiban is an old practitioner of a very crude art of self-praise.

    In one of his last public utterances after the ouster of President Joseph Ejercito Estrada in 2001, Panganiban began his address at the UST Central Seminary on Feb. 19, 2002 by enumerating those who had invited him to the forum, and then saying: “May I publicly thank them for congratulating me on my ‘active involvement and display of statesmanship during the critical events of the Republic’.”

    Wow, what cheek! It made me retch. I discuss this at length in my little book “Power Without Authority,” Icon Press, Manila, 2003. Obviously, retirement from the bench has not put any more polish to his old practice.

    Panganiban’s thesis, that the High Court must adopt what the Constitution excludes in order to honor what it includes, and in so doing reach new constitutional heights, found its first flowering in January 2001 when, according to his own public confession, he and then Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr., separately opened their respective Bibles to a particular page, and reading what was written there, decided that it was their direct “instruction” from Heaven, and so acted to swear in then Vice President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and oust Estrada as president.

    Ousting the Constitution
    Their act was clearly unconstitutional, but it succeeded in ousting a sitting president. Now, simply by reading the theory of Florin Hilbay, Panganiban, who has never been accused of superior brains or brilliance, wants to oust the Constitution, and the Supreme Court’s and the people’s way of understanding and holding it sacred– all in the service of a former American citizen who is still surrounded by her American family but would like to impose her political ambition and unquestionable lack of experience on all Filipinos, as the next machine-elected president of the Philippines.



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    1. I have a strong feeling that the unnamed billionaire backer of the American candidate is Roberto Ongpin.

    2. Why disgrace looking for her parents she knows already know already why not ask Susan Roces about. Susan cone tell did Grace who is her parents.

    3. Mr Tatad , are you insinuating that everybody, I mean everybody in this nation is corrupt ? I do not know why Manila Times does not censor your column. I mean some but not all are corrupt. Even all of the Supreme Court are corrupt Per your statements. I have deep respect in all of the members of the Supreme Court.

    4. Let’s wait for the SC decision on this issue, since its already in the SC. Ex-CJ Panganiban is a former SC Justice, whose legal opinion bears the same weight as that of ex-Senator Tatad (lawyer?), but has no significance in the resolution of the legal issue.

      • To much has been said about what is in the law and what is not or what is included and what is excluded. Did any one consider more lofty reasons about GP’s unfitness to be Pres? Did she commit an act of DISLOYALTY to our country when she took an oath as an AMERICAN, thus:

        Naturalization Oath of Allegiance to the United States of America
        “I hereby declare, on oath, that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen; that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by the law; that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; so help me God.”

        GP may have reacquired PH citizenship, under RA 9225
        PETITION FOR RETENTION/RE-ACQUISITION OF PHILIPPINE CITIZENSHIP UNDER R.A. 9225 but under said law granting her dual citizenship she has retained her American Citizenship likewise.

        TOTAL PHP 3, 010. 00.

    5. Sir,
      With due respect, a former magistrate and happened to be the first among equal and now appeared in his dissertation of poe’s qualification at the flanking ,a de facto counsel of Grace poe camp.
      Well, former Supreme Court Justice Panganiban, I think if you wont mind, need some purgative imagination.

      For the record, I’m in full disagreement with him when he reversed the unconstitutionality of the Mining Act of the Philippines.

      Mabuhay Sir!

    6. There is an intersting post written by an Yvonne in the raissa blog regarding grace answers to US authorities viz her use of her US passport and why grace claim to intent to Philippine residence can not hhold water. Maybe, the justices can take a look and therefrom infer why those voluminous documents presented by george can never support a claim to “honest mistake”.

      • Then why don’t we put Hillary Clinton in the list of presidential candidates and let the people decide if she deserves to be the President of the Philippines. Or may I suggest that my dog, Brownie, be added in the list of Presidential names to be voted by the electorate? Sounds, pretty cool to me.

    7. Maliwanag na ang Plan A ng mga dilaw kasama na si Boy Sayad, Bam Aquino at SolGen Hilbay at CJ Panganiban ay si Grace Poe. Ang Plan B ay si Binay. Si Mar for some unexplained reason ay wala sa plano. Tignan ninyo nalang ang sinasabi ng UNHOLY ORACLE nila na SWS at Pulse Asia dahil sila ang magsasabi kung sino ang ipo-program ng Smartmatic na “mananalo.” Gaya ng ginawa ni Cory kay Doy Laurel pagkatapos niyang gamitin si Doy para maging presidente at kay Mitra na nilaglag nila ni Peping in favor of FVR nung 1992, ito ang laro na ginagawa nila kay Mar Roxas ngayon. That is why they are moving heaven and earth to save Grace Poe, pero kung hindi si Binay okay na rin sa kanila. Si Mar walang pagasa, mas may pagasa pa si Miriam at Duterte pero sa pamamagitan ng people’s revolt, hindi sa balota. Why can’t the Aquinos trust Mar Roxas? Because they know that Mar knows who really bombed Plaza Miranda and nearly killed his parents Gerry and Judy.

    8. Kahit anong mangyari, madami paring tao amg may gusto at susuporta kay Sen. Grace. Hindi siya basta basta susuko sa laban dahil alam niyag may karapan siya bilang Pilipino…

    9. Kahit anong mangyari, madami paring tao amg may gusto at susuporta kay Sen. Grace. Hindi siya basta basta susuko sa laban dahil alam niyag may karapan siya bilang Pilipino.

    10. I always look forward to a column by Francisco S. Tatad. :)

      As for Chief Justice (ret.) Panganiban, he must have twisted himself into a pretzel to come up with his quoted column. :( No amount of rationalizations can justify what is basically an indefensible position. That said, it is both saddening and sickening that the former CJ, the present Solicitor General Florin Hilbay, and the past and present Comelec Chairmen Sixto Brillantes and Andres Bautista will go down in Philippine history as villains to the cause of truth and justice

    11. Lawyers, lawyers, lawyers………..they think they have a monopoly of common sense that they expect the non-lawyer public to swallow everything that comes out of their mouth. We have too many of them in this country, which is probably the reason why this country is a consistent laggard.

    12. Panganiban is just living up to his name. Talagang isang masamang damo ito na dapat sugpuin ang dalang panganib.
      He was illicitly made a Supreme Court justice and then became Chief Justice under the cloud of a lie–that he was told to do the dishonorable thing he did agai8nst the Filipino people.
      Now he has the gits to say all the stupid and anti-rule of law things he is saying because he is again obeying his “God” — the foreign powers, the rich group of oligarchs backing up Grace Poe and are now paying him to spout all the nonsense his sick brain vomits.

    13. The “let the people decide religion” followers are basing their argument NOT on the EXPRESSED and DOCUMENTED will of the people BUT on a POSSIBLE EXPRESSION of the will of the people since election has not happened yet. Survey results, especially given their increasing unbelievability, cannot be the basis of any election. Do our Constitution and laws use as levers probabilistic proofs or evidence to decide a question of law or the Constitution ? At what confidence level and sample size (based on voting population ? This will be incorrect for not all voters vote. It cannot as well be based on those who voted for election is still to happen on May 9, 2015. So, what sample size nga and how will this be determined ?). Give us a good and better arguments along this line you apostles of the “let the people decide religion” please. Then let’s talk.

    14. bravo, sir kit tatad, you hit the nail on the head of former SC panganiban…he’s prostituting his former office he headed…that our sitting justices turn away from our constitution to favor grace poe…no way, sir, our present SC justices, unlike panganiban, will remain steadfast and honorable to protect the laws of the land against political charlatans, like grace poe and former SC chief panganiban….kudos, sir kit, please continue the fight…

    15. Elpidio Montebon, Jr. on

      Haha. So, what is deemed not included is deemed excluded? No wonder I heard a LAWYER from the south saying that it is quite okay to covet ones neighbor’s daughter because the prohibition in the bible is against ones neighbor’s wife. Can’t you guys sprinkle a bit of common sense?

    16. Isa sa pinakamahirap na parte ng buhay ay yung kailangan mong patunayan ang isang bagay na hindi naman kailangan ng patunay…

      Gaya ng sitwasyon ngayon ni Sen. Grace Poe, isang foundling na walang pag-aalinlangan na inalay ang sarili para sa bayan; isang foundling na minsang nangarap ng matayog na maiahon ang Pilipinas sa anim na taong panunungkulan; foundling na iniwan, nakatagpo ng mga taong mag mamahal ngunit dahil may layuning mabuti sa Pilipinas kinailangan nyang balikan ang nakaraan, hanapin ang mga nang-iwan upang patunayan ang isang bagay na noong una’y hindi naman kinailangan…

      Kapag tama ang pinaglalaban mo, pipilitin kang hamunin ng mundo. Kapag totoo ang sinasabi mo, gagawin nilang iba yung kwento. Hindi tayo natututo sa maraming beses na maling desisyon. At ngayon na may taong gustong manindigan para sa bayan, nagsasabing walang maiiwan, mas mabilis siyang hinuhusgahan kaysa bigyan ng pagkakataong ipakita ang sinasabing kaunlaran na sa pamumuno nya ay mararanasan.

      Gusto ko ng pagbabago. PAGBABAGONG INKLUSIBO SA PAMUMUNO NI SENATOR GRACE POE! Nawa’y bigyan sya ng patas na laban at payagang kumandidato sa pagka-PANGULO.

      • Just one point: why did grace poe ‘say’ in one of her documents that Fernando poe and susan roces are her biological parents? That’s a tiny bit of information that can be honestly answered – even if you were sleepy. But, obviously, she HAD to lie on this one, tiny bit of information. She HAD to…for some political ambition or, ‘placement’, if you will. The good of the nation had nothing to do with that lie.
        For someone passing off as a good leader with intact integrity and, yet, ably producing such a lie with an almost smooth indifference, that act is bothersome. The DAP is lie worth billions of pesos; the Mamasapano tragedy is a lie worth 44 lives; and, many more, of course. Now, here’s one more – grace poe – pretender who’s ready to tell a lie and is poised to do the pinoys more harm.
        C’mon guys…seriously?!?

      • Isang foundling na nagka interes na hanapin ang kanyang pinagmulan dahil kailangan niya para patunay na siya ay my dugong pilipino. Nakaraan ang ilang dekada nahindi naisipan na tuntunin ang kanyang tunay na magulang, ngayon lang siya nagka interes dahil kailangan niya. Iyan ang pagkatao ng gusto mong mamuno sa ating bansa.

      • Sana ganoon at sana tama ang sinabi mo.

        Pero dapat sundin ang batas. The law is harsh but it is the law.

        Kung sila ay hindi sumusunod sa batas, at ikaw ay sumusuporta sa mga hindi sumusunod sa batas, ano ka?

        Sino pa ang susunod sa batas kung mismo ang mga matatanda ay pinapakita ang pagsuway sa batas? Ganoon ba ituturo mo sa mga kabataan at anak mo’t, mga apo?

    17. Kaninong side ba talaga si Comelec Chairman Bautista? Gusto ba niyang matalo ang kaso nila sa Supreme Court? Bakit mukhang mas pabor si Comelec chairman Bautista kay Llamanzares kaysa ruling ng Comelec en banc? Pagkatapos itong si Brillantes ay nakikihalo na rin samantalang siya mismo ang nagsabing bias siya pabor kay Llamanzares in spite of the fact that Comelec commissioners must be independent and not beholden to the self-interests of the ruling administration and anybody especially to the powerful and wealthy politicians. They must be protectors of the Constitution and the laws of the land. But look closely at Bautista and Brillantes, they seem to be protecting Llamanzares instead. Pati na ang kampo nina Grace Poe at Chiz Escudero ay nakikihalo na rin. They are trying to take advantage of the misunderstanding to demonize, politicize and destroy the Comelec in a trial by publicity in the court of public opinion.

      The rule of law must prevail in our country not the rule of politics most especially dirty politics. 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. We pretty well know that the camp of Llamanzares don’t want the rule of law to prevail because according to COMELEC en banc, she is not a natural born Filipino citizen and lack residency. In essence Llamanzares is not even qualified to become a senator much more a president of our beloved country. In addition, she allegedly lied under oath and misrepresented herself in her Certificate of Candidacy and in her application to reacquire her Filipino citizenship. Lumalabas na dalawa ang kaniyang Birth Certificate dahil gusto nilang palabasin na si Grace Llamanzares ay natural born daughter of Fernando Poe, Jr at Susan Roces kahit hindi naman talaga totoo. Clearly, they had committed crimes with impunity. Nararapat lamang na maparusahan ang mga lumalabag sa batas. We must not allow anybody to commit crimes with impunity. Pero anyare? Bakit nangyayari ang ganito sa ating mahal na bansa at mamamayang Filipinos? Why is it that Bautista telling us that Llamanzares did not misrepresent herself in spite of the fact that there was a strong evidence that she lied under oath and they allegedly cheated in her Birth Certificate? Bias ba siya pabor kay Grace Poe?

      • Bias si Chairman Bautista for Llamanzares makikita yan sa kanyang mga opinion at ruling, pero majority of Comelec commissioners ruled against Llamanzares at dissenting lang si Bautista.

    18. First of all, she meets the residency and citizenship requirements. 2nd, CJ Panganiban can say whatever he wants to, just like how you offer your piece of mind, and how david keeps on blabbering.

      • Thirdly – and, finally! – the documentary evidences presented in the courts disprove your first and second points. And, you’re right (I guess…): Panganiban can say whatever he wants. But, David isn’t blabbering; he’s presenting his case, his arguments: that, grace poe isn’t eligible. And, he’s doing it properly – legal documents support his claims.
        Now, let’s await the Supreme Court. I’m sure they won’t ‘blabber’ like David.

    19. Ito ang napakasaklap na nangyayari. We certainly know that the final bout in the disqualification of Llamanzares is now in the Supreme Court where the legal side or the rule of law has a much better chance of winning against the political side of the controversy. The camp of Llamanzares surely knows about this that is why they are aiming or trying to win the 2016 Presidential Election even if it creates a much bigger controversy that can possibly destabilize our country. They want to win at all cost in spite of the fact that Llamanzares was already disqualified by Comelec en banc and her Certificate of Candidacy cancelled. In addition, the camp of Grace Llamanzares desperately wants the justices of the Supreme Court to ignore the Constitution and give Llamanzares a favorable ruling. But we cannot deny the fact that it is next to impossible because the justices of the Supreme Court must have a very good and justifiable reason to ignore the Constitution in order to give Llamanzares a favorable ruling. Of course, the honorable justices don’t want to jeopardize their integrity and reputation.

      But lo and behold, there seems to be gods of politics in our country who can make the impossible possible. All of a sudden, there is now a possibility that the legal side of the controversy will not win or the rule of law will not prevail in the Supreme Court. It seems like the chances of the Comelec to win their case in the Supreme Court is being sabotage in favor of Llamanzares. The damage had been done. Different scenarios can possibly happen. The Comelec might be destroyed and possibly weakens their case or possibly even make their rulings against Llamanzares null and void. Napakasaklap, di po ba? Siguradong panalo na nga ang Comelec sa Supreme Court pagkatapos ay matatalo pa yata. The rule of law cannot even prevail in the Supreme Court because of dirty politics in our beloved country.

    20. Mr Tatad, you write better than any lawyer both in form and substance. if you will be given an honorary membership BY SC, that’s the true judicial greatness because A learned non lawyer man becomes adept in law.