Fire! Aim! Ready! Justice?


PREZ Digong has pronounced five top police honchos as guilty. Which prober, prosecutor or judge would now dare contradict and embarrass him? A Prez is pledged “to do justice to every man.” The presumption of innocence is enshrined in our Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Human Rights. We have to go by other than relying on accidentally unfortunate surnames like LOOT and PagDILAO.

Nixon said on Aug. 4, 1970 that Charles Manson, et al. were guilty of the grisly murder of glamorous celebrity Sharon Tate, et al. The accused, American Bar and others quickly and loudly protested. Press Sec. Ron Ziegler scrambled to stage a presscon and said his Boss failed to use “allegedly” and in effect retracted what Nixon had said. For a detailed account of the incident, in civilized America, one should read Vincent Bugliosi’s and Curt Gentry’s Helter Skelter (1974).

I await how our Integrated Bar of the Philippines, the Commission on Human Rights, media, law firms and faculties, individual legal practitioners, and the general public would react in our arguably decaying polity. The Supreme Court would soon crawl with Digong’s appointees.

He talks too much. He should let ex-Sec. Bingbong Medialdea, Justice Sec. Vit Aguirre and Communications head honcho Martin Andanar grab or share the mic with him, and take bullets. Never mind fellow scofflaw PNP chief Bato de la Rosa.

Our Prez we’d all like to succeed, for everyone’s sake. He may choose not to stand on ceremony. Within reason. He must not disrespect the Constitution and due process. As he grossly did last Tuesday, again aping Macoy, who condemned by publicity Ninoy, et al. (including Ka Pepe Diokno, who was not even charged at all).

Yes, to due process, no to shame campaign by trial and conviction by publicity.

Anyone’s name and dignity matter. And had the Disgraced Five not been PMAers but ordinary folk, the body count would have risen. The Quintet should realize how lucky they are still to be in the Land of the Living, not being poor, obscure and powerless. Kinakaya.


It tore away my heart by the roots not to be able to watch, last Tuesday, Team France, from the land of Mlle. Edith Piaf’s and her haunting La Vie En Rose and where they kiss a woman’s hand, “cuz mon ami, you have to start somewhere.” I had to be elsewhere to make boundary (but saw in a lobby that France was ahead by only two points at the half; mirabile dictu!). I had wanted to cheer myself hoarse for our team.
Maybe cheer with the same effervescence that funeral parlors and memorial park owners, florists and sepultureros exhibit for the new administration’s population reduction programs. The cops seem have known all along who to send to the Promised Land or where an adversary is told to go. They are on an adieu spree. One entertainable raison d’etre: dead men tell no tales. You’re from the PMA? You get warned, and shamed, but you remain in this vale of tears, with more lagrimas to shed, thanks to a seemingly reckless Prez.

I am waiting to hear the answer to my question: Where in the universe has a hard-line policy against drugs succeeded? Judicial and extrajudicial executions would not matter if profit remained high. No one may repeal the law of supply and demand. Hard line only improves the bargaining power of scalawags in a lucrative trade.

Users are sick to be rehabbed, not criminals to be shamed (as is done in Tanauan and China) and killed (all over here).

The eye-for-an-eye-rape-the-rapist death penalty does not validate the supermarket theory of the criminal law: that felons carry a copy of the Revised Penal Code, as amended, look at the penalties, to see what crimes he could afford. “Ah, bitay ito, ‘wag na lang. Dito na lang tayo sa life term, mga katoto.”

Shorter time in jail if hanged by the neck till dead. The way blacks would get it from the whiteys.

More time in Manila for Prez Digong? Absent in the Palace flag ceremony last Monday? Why? In Dreamland? Not a morning person? And whose aircraft is he using flying to and from Davao? His? A crony’s? If the latter, such would violate a fiat of his apparent idol, Macoy, whose good PD No. 46 punishes both giver and receiver of favors and gifts when the latter is in government. Digong, in our fraternal public-interest view, should attend flag ceremonies, and should change himself, not others or the system.

OK, yes to constitutional change. It may be done thru a 1) Convention (Con-Con) 2) People’s Initiative (PI) 3) Constitutional Assembly (Con-Ass) 4) Ordinary legislation with a higher vote. The people will vote on a draft in a plebiscite anyway.

And yup, 5) A constitutional amendment via a Supreme Court (SC) ruling, which is not subject to a plebiscite. Rene Corona’s post-midnight appointment was challenged but the SC came out with a mangled ruling validating it; the people overruled the SC via impeachment. Bribery? A year after the vote? ‘Di po kaliwaan? Hahaha.

Anyway, the stark reality or lesson is, the Consti is what the SC says it is. Here, in People v Pomar, on Nov. 3, 1924, it ruled unconstitutional the law on maternity leaves as violative of the right to contract. Today, not only allowed, but there’s paternity leave even. Lamang ang mga Estrada at Revilla. Can one imagine Prez Digong availing himself of it? Makamandag at kilabot pa kuno. And we, like the French, are not bothered the way Kanos are. A French Premier was buried with his wife and kulasisi marching side by side during the final, funeral walk. Liberte, egalite, sororite.

In the US, blacks were chattels per a Supreme Court headed by Catholic (first ever) Chief Justice, Roger Taney, in Dred Scott v Sandford (1856); then separate but equal in Plessy v Ferguson in 1895; then equal, in 1954 in Brown v Board of Education (cannot segregate white and black in public schools). Today, that Black Lives Matter remains a rousing 2016 battle cry.

Do courts make laws? Yup, said one American judge, “I do it all the time.” In fact, the SC can tell a lawmaker whose statute is in question, “Mr. Lawmaker, this was what you meant when you wrote the law.” Indeed, one man’s belief may not be superior to the perceived common will of the legislature.

Changes? Review the Judicial Bar Council concept. I want to see term limits removed.
You cannot have enough of a Lorenzo Tañada. What has happened is that the elected official may park the position in his spouse, kulasisi, or children.

Thus, the Royal House of Duterte in Davao City. Sara is on leave as Mayor. So, her brother, Vice Mayor Pulong takes over. Family parlor game. I am the only one raising another foolish question of the day, aren’t I?

PNP Chief Bato challenged drug lords to a duel last month. Why hasn’t he been charged for violating Art. 261 of the Revised Penal Code? For challenging to a duel or scoffing at another for refusing to accept one. We cannot have a Government by Braggadocio and Bluster by Mayabangs, Hambogs at Palalos.

Ordinary folk get no second chance at all.

Again, the French. De Gaulle said the cemeteries are full of Indispensable People.
Here, if you are ordinary, you get graveyard priority treatment from the constables and the gendarmes. No warning.

Cemeteries in Ampatuan Country are full of indispensable people. But it should not be taken against any lawyer for handling any case ethically. He should take seriously the presumption of innocence under our Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, for which Digong does not seem to care.

Panyero Sal Panelo should not be begrudged for once-upon-a-time lawyering for the Ampatuans. Or that I handled cases for controversial clients. Even if Mother Teresa were my client, I’d remain the horned devil I am, fighting haloed critics. We in MABINI handled many controversial cases, for Nat-Dems, Soc-Dems, Let-Dems and Gad-Dems. So? DFA Secretary Perfecto Yasay, to me, remains Digong’s only Perfect appointee, his being former Banco Filipino counsel, notwithstanding.

But the only Perfect Justice is another Bedan—Justice Gregorio PERFECTO!

Again, let us see whether this combo of those who attended San Beda Law (Leni was my grad law stude) can lead us to Deliverance, with our help and prayer, or deeper into the wilderness, if Digong and Bato will continue to believe na sila lang po ang magaling.

Arrogance of Power, we don’t need.


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  1. Better President Ferdinand E.Marcos time no drig lords and drug pusher……..30 years later drugs and drug lords all over the place………No such crimes around…Daming addict…….

  2. Fire, Aim, Ready!

    This was same situation during the first few weeks after the declaration of Marshal Law in 1972. People identified or suspected as subversives were put away the same way those suspected drug related criminals are today. It looks like the game play was lifted from the same play book.

    After the “cleansing” process people adapted to the new norm. Hailed the president for the new found order and condoned his actions until he gained full control of all aspect of the government. And the rest, as they say, was history.

    I hope history won’t repeat itself; but, it usually does.

  3. Many have forgotten that this righteous lawyer kuno was once the lead counsel of ERAP during his impeachment proceedings. Does he really think ERAP was not guilty as charged?

  4. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers, New York
    08 July 2016

    Former Senator RENE SAGUISAG is famous not only as a top-flight Lawyer, but even more so as a successful Human Rights Lawyer.

    There is a very good chance that with a Der Fuhrer Rodrigo Duterte starting to behave and operate as a veritable Wyatt Earp or as a Detective Calahan, many of those who get caught in the dragnet that has already yielded 5 “narco-generals,” may try to get Rene Saguisag to defend them so that they avoid being hanged by a long rope from the branch of acacia trees on Taft Avenue–or killed outright and their fetid carcasses dumped in Manila Bay “to fatten the sharks there.”

    Rene Saguisag is no longer a “spring chicken,” and, in fact, may already be “in the winter of his long life.” So my question is: If those 5 “narco-gnerals” and other “criminals” seek his assistance as their Lawyer, will he take their cases?

    If he does, I fear that he also runs the risk of being judged “corrupt” by Der Fuhrer Duterte [according to the latter’s own definition], and could summarily be ASSASSINATED, and his carcass hanged by a long rope tied to the branch of an acacia tree on Taft Avenue.

    How about it, Senator Rene Sagiuisag?


  5. To Sen. Saguisag. Noynoy is better. The one who ALLOWED DRUGS and SMUGGLING to flourish, WRECKED the Department of Agriculture and the Agri Sector as a whole, increased the number of jobless, Destroyed the SUPREME COURT, treated DISASTER RESPONSE as less important than his PSP Game. The one who WASTED 6 years causing the Agony of the working class DENIED of proper or decent transport system by DESTROYING the WORKING ones. I could go on and on as to Sen. Saguisag’s IDEAL Prez qualifications, and they make me sick.

  6. Of coarse, this government will not succeed because it’s not Pinoy annointed. Teka ano ginawa ni Pinoy about drug menace in the last 6 years? Nasa katayan, kasama ng mga Brazilian pokpok na nag co cocaine?

  7. ‘I am waiting to hear the answer to my question: Where in the universe has a hard-line policy against drugs succeeded? ”

    “they tell us sir that we are weak. unable to cope with so formidable an adversary…”
    “shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction.”
    shall we …lie supinely ‘on our backs hugging the delusive phantom of hope until…”

  8. Gregg Ayran on

    What a wonderful piece of literature, witty, precise as in PERFECTO!

    This is the first time ever I have read any opinion at Manila Times online as I have not been a big fan of the paper. Although I sold them as hard copies as a young boy in the 60s when the paper was Supremo among the dailies then. This is also the first time I have written anyone from the media.

    Thank gad, as in gad damn, for this lazy and hot afternoon I ran out of website to swim in I stumbled and drowned on Atty Rene’s wisdom and wit in the comfort of the community room of a senior apartment complex in Lemoore, California where I follow the news back home.

    And this point please give me the liberty of praising Rene Saguisag for this brilliant and soul-bothering article on Digong and his henchmen. I’d like to see you post this reply.

  9. Isn’t the whole term of the congenital liar’s son a whole six years of display of the arrogance of power?

    In US homes, kids that need to be disciplined are “grounded”. Is that violative of the bill of rights? Well, the congenital liar et al were just grounded and in those times, they need to be – especially the congenital liar for his acts of treason. In fact, the congenital liar was so lucky that there was never a riot in the jail where an inmate could have stabbed him. Yet, Ms. Imelda has to spend for his and his family’s expenses for his US “parole”.

  10. Sir,

    Have you ever considered publishing a compendium book of your commentaries? It would absolutely make for an interesting read. Please do so before you fade away with nary a notice of leave. I wish Quiros and Soliven did theirs before they suddenly disappeared from the scene of intellectual journalism. Thanks for making my day.

  11. Just1patriot on

    Admirable insights and style, as always. Alas, criticism can snuff a flickering candle or disable momentum. Tame it or postpone it for patriotism’s sake. High ground lessons are useless when the country is mired in mud down the valley floor.

    At least three writers from this paper are undermining the new administration full tilt.
    Their candidate lost; they should give the President a break.

    Sadly, there are very few honest in all sectors of the society. But Filipinos are generally law-abiding in an orderly environment, the ultimate adapter. Many are willing to give Du30 a chance. Many did not accept “Lagays” when martial law was new. Then they adapted.

  12. Ramon Eamiguel on

    Indeed. If President Duterte is really serious about solving the drug menace in the country, he should cut the supply right there and then.

    Now that he identified the triad and public officials involved, he can now pinpoint the supply source and routes. Admittedly, the drug syndrome has already established the continuing demand for it. Cut the supplies and demand will slowly diminish.

    The killings are only band aid treatments with horrendous ramifications. Border patrol should be fortified to slowly kill drug sources from outside the country. Intensify raid on local manufacturers who cook drugs within the country. And monitor chemical companies who maybe source of components needed to manufacture illegal drugs.

    Massive information drive on the ill effects of the drugs introduce at early levels in the country’s education system.

  13. To Rene Saguisag..tanong ko lang po, why does it need a Duterte to eradicate these criminals. Puro na lang Human Rights ang ginagawa nyong panangga, ano kaya ang sinasabi nyo sa mga Kamag-anak ng biktima sa pang-re-rape sa kaanak nila ng isang adik, sa mga kaanak ng biktima ng holdap at pinatay pagkatapos, sa mga taong nagtatrabaho ng patas tapos tapos holholdapin ng isang adik, tapos mag-sosorry dahil ang dahilan nila ay hindi daw nila alam ang kanilang ginagawa. Kayo Mr. Rene Saguisag, kasama ng mga Yellow tribe nyo, may ginawa ba kayo.

    • the answer to your question will be your answer to this question? Ano kaya sasabihin mo pag mahal mo sa buhay ang bigla na lang binaril dahil pinag bintangan ng kaaway na drug pusher sya. or maqy naqg chichismis sa lugar nyo na pusher at user ka? Tpos bigla ka na lang hinuli (sana di binaril) tapos pinag lakad ka ng walk of shame na yan, then nasa tv news at dyaryo mukha mo na ang tag line pusher huli na naman.

      Ano kaya mararamdaman mo? would you not claim for your basic human rights? hindi ka kaya mag invoke ng presumption of innocence or sasabihin mo, ok lang yan for the sake of law enforcement,. ok lang na masira pangalan ko at di baleng mahgihirapan ako makakuha later ng trabaho kasi iisipin ng lahat totoong kriminal ako, pero ok lang kasi maganda intensyon ni digong?

      Para sa inyo and karapatang pantao at ang bill of rights parang user’s manual lang ng appliances, di mo pinabasa, wala kang pakialam, pero pag nag kaproblema na ang gadget or appliance mo dahil sa di wastong pag gamit saka ka mag aatubili na hanapin ito at babasahin baka anjan ang soluyson sa problema, pero madalas huli na.

  14. Perfect lecture, Mr. Senator Rene! People have to be reminded that no amount of good intention will justify the prostitution of the constitution and violation of the law. Mr. Digong – kaunting humilidad, respecto at kapinohan naman. Huwag masiyadong mayabang lalo na’t wala pa namang sapat na positibong resulta ang inyong panunongkulan. Believe kami sa iyo. So just lessen the arrogance and increase the performance. OK.