• Great lawyer interpretation of history

    Rene Saguisag

    Rene Saguisag

    I see that during my “forced leave” due to illness, not only Frank Chavez, but also Tata Sensing, is gone. Tata Sensing (Jose E. Suarez) may be the only one to have voted NO to the 1973 and 1986 Constitutions. Such a courageous independent thinker who did us proud by going to lawyering.

    The first time I met him was in the municipal trial court of Makati, in the mid-60’s, before Judge David Concepcion, when our elder companeros were so caballeros guiding tyros. He was then with Bausa, Ampil & Suarez on Escolta; we were on Rosario (now Quintin Paredes) nearby.

    This week also marked the first anniversary of Mario Ongkiko’s “homegoing.” A few years my senior, another true companero/caballero, with whom I kept the faith for Hubert Webb.

    Any Great Lawyer Interpretation of History cannot exclude lawyers. So, the exhortation, “the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” Shakespeare’s line in “Henry VI, Part II,” Act IV, Scene II. But, the speaker was Dick the Butcher, a know-nothing thug in Jack Cade’s gang. Context is all.

    Tonight, I just may meet socially with Gigi Piit, daughter of ConCon Delegate Rolando, who also voted NO in 1973 on the 1973 Constitution.

    (I am now able to walk very, very slowly but far from what I was. From bed to wheelchair, walker and cane, with alalay.)

    We are not lacking in men like the heroes I mentioned above, and those of Balangiga, Eastern Samar, who, on September 28, 1901, showed that we weren’t a nation of cowards, and sent 48 Americans to the Promised Land. Bloody Sunday. Bolo Men. But, in our nation, I am afraid we have failed to produce a Vo Nguyen Giap, a lawyer, diminutive but defeated France and the US in Vietnam, who just passed away at 102. He said in 2000: “We can put the past behind. But we cannot completely forget it.” He had attended no military school but showed up the finest Saint-Cyr and West Point had to offer. He had gone to law though in Hanoi U.

    Heart. Puso. Like that of our Gilas team. Or that of Giap barely five feet and never went to military school.

    On September 28, 1901, Balangiga patriots massacred US soldiers but we had no Giap—Red Napoleon—to soldier and carry on. A colony for centuries. No Brown Napoleon?

    If Obama would come during PNoy’s term (I had been invited to the cancelled dinner in his honor tonight but I had not said, yes, as I dealt and deal with health issues, basically with nothing more glorious than cellulitis), serious work should start to convince the Americans to return the Bells of Balangiga now in Fort Warren just outside of Cheyenne before PNoy steps down in 2016 (PNoy has 982 days to go). A third bell is in South Korea. Those bells are ours which can be replaced with replicas in Fort Warren.

    I saw the bells (and a cannon) in 1993, with lawyer Chuck Medel (now in town, working with the team of Paul Reichler, heading our legal team on a world issue, a sea row with China involving the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea; am dining with Chuck this evening; Paul and I are both alums of Harvard Law and Washington DC’s Arnold & Porter, where I worked out of a townhouse Lafayette once lived in; A&P now has at least 800 lawyers). Chuck and I saw no way a two-man commando raid, would have succeeded. That’s how Americans regard those who serve in uniform. I may be stupid but not insane. Let’s talk with the Kanos.

    War of course is hell and they grossly violated our human rights when they came to “Christianize” us, per McKinley who had not the foggiest notion we had long been being baptized when we were too young to object.

    Americans speak with more than one voice though as we do. Democracy is noisy.

    In our chaotic democracy, the Senate and the Ombudsman are not speaking with a single voice on calling Janet Napoles to a legislative inquiry in aid of legislation.

    But, what about her human and constitutional right NOT to speak? The Constitution is a Document of Distrust, of leaders meant to protect the people leery of those in power. “It is a fair summary of history to say that the safeguards of liberty have frequently been forged in controversies involving not very nice people. And so, while we are concerned here with a shabby defrauder, we must deal with his case in the context of what are really the great themes expressed [in the Constitution].” Frankfurter.

    I am with the Ombudsman.

    The Senate probe is arguably in aid of something but not of legislation, from where I sit, with all due respect. Due process, said Frankfurter, has to do with what we do with “not very nice people.”

    And, yes, in fewer than a thousand days we won’t have PNoy to kick around anymore, in Malacañang, in this country of many Circular Firing Squads.

    Hey, Jojobama, tahan na.

    Only 982 days to go, the way Providential President Cory and Accidental Public Servant I would mark our days at where the power was. Part of such power is in the Supreme Court where a Justice may ask questions but should not let it be known that he has thrown his weight on one side before ALL the arguments are in.


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    1. Virgilio Dacalos on

      yeh, i like the idea of replacing the bell in Fort Warren, and the one in Korea…saving faces ?

    2. jose p.g. santillan,jr. on

      Tata Sensing was a rare breed. He was a very honest,nice and principled person. He was every inch a gentleman lawyer. He was right and correct in voting NO to the 1973 and 1986 Constitution. He was one of the heroes of the ConCon. I am very much honored and privileged to have known him. God bless him.