• Greg Ong, et al., entitled to due process


    PILLA Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc of the Daily Inquirer wrote in last Sunday’s Inquirer about the supposed three wives of Shy Torpe Harmless Me. I get joshed all over. Not true of course. Two intrepid journalists had enterprisingly asserted they were Mrs. Saguisag; thereby, they were allowed to visit me in detention, where, willy-nilly, I became a Batang City Jail Candidate Member in early 1983, for calling Mr. Marcos a “super-subversive” in open court.

    Not the first time to be cited for direct contempt in the case, which was when I said to make of record that the civilian court was getting “militarized,” given the presence of Gen. Dimaya and many other officers. “I hereby fine you, Atty. Saguisag, fifty pesos!,” barked the Judge. Said I, pulling out a hundred-peso bill, “I’ll gladly pay it, Your Honor. Can I say something more for another fifty pesos?” He changed the subject.

    No free speech then. Today, PNoy gets hammered regularly. I praise him most of the time but also shaft him occasionally. For instance, I am the lead petitioner in the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) suits in the Supreme Court (SC) believing the Senate cannot be ignored in entering into any international agreement (Const., Art VII, Sec. 7) as understood by the voter in the plebiscite. I think he has the votes so why not honor the constitutional institutional arrangement?

    Anyway, about my alleged wives, I became a widower in 2007 but in all likelihood, no second Mrs S. I mean how does one replace one who was perfect?

    Perfect my Dulce was, which characterization I would not attach to SC save in the case of one Bedan alum: Justice Gregorio Perfecto. Clase Superior, 1905. It does not scandalize any more that political pressure is exerted on our SC. Inquirer columnist Ron Nathan wrote: “The most important event was the SC reversing its decision on the 1995 Mining Act. Two weeks earlier, I watched Jose de Venecia for an hour [on TV]and . . . he said that he was talking individually with every [justice]trying to convince them to change course for the good of the country. Well, he succeeded and they voted by 10 to 4 with one abstention, thereby reversing their decision. Congratulations to all concerned.” Dec. 7, 2004, p. B3, col. 1.

    I just had a talk with Ever Helpful Sunshine Joe de V. He sees the dough, not the hole, in the donut. A crisis is an opportunity.

    J. Marvic Leonen was not in the SC in 2004 when the PDI item appeared. Would he have told Sunshine Joe where to go?

    I met Janet’s lawyer in City Hall, Manila last Monday; he was firm in that Greg Ong only connected with her to lead him to a monsignor for prayers for his prostate problem. Guilt by association could be so unfairly toxic. If a Justice cannot get due process from the arguably judgmental SC, what can ordinary Joes expect? May a desperate Greg be blamed for writing “an informal letter circulated through some colleagues,” which J. Marvic saw as “another basis for his dismissal”? How many men of letters could be disciplined on this basis?

    (There is this reported petition to recuse CJ Meilou Sereno in a mining case. Prudence may require an informal ex parte contact to alert her because precisely that may be what she’d like to do anyway, mooting recusal.)

    “However, the SC ruled last Sept. 23 when it dismissed Ong from the judiciary that corruption charges were not proven since Benhur Luy and Marina Sula did not witness Ong actually received [sic]money from Napoles.” Phil. Star, Oct. 1, 2014, p. 8, col. 1. Guilt not proven then. In re Yamashita, dissenter J. Rutledge reminded us: “He who would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression, for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.”

    Should an offer to resign be taken against one? I, Pusong Mamon, think not. In the real world, that is not an unusual arrangement. So what is the central point and outer limits in dealing with the SC? In my case, once a friend gets named there, I suspend the friendship. I avoid sitting Justices, save in orals. But, trial Judges you cannot help but meet. May PNoy summon Justices?

    Ka Doro (columnist Amando Doronila) wrote about Macoy’s inviting the Justices to the Palace to ask them to support martial law. PDI, Oct. 1, 2014, p. A15, col. 3. JBL Reyes had just retired and CJ Roberto Concepcion weren’t invited. They would not have accepted, I don’t think. Marcos appointee Justice Secretary Dingdong Teehankee and Macoy had no idea Dingdong would be vocal in blasting martial law abuses. Ka Doro quotes a Sept. 24, 1972 entry in the Marcos Diaries: “I asked Justices Claudio Teehankee, Antonio Barredo, Felix Makasiar and Felix Antonio to see us.” On Sept. 25, Macoy met Justices Fred Ruiz Castro and Salvador Esguerra and asked for their help. Ethics was among the first brutalized victims of ML.

    I feel brutalized in that, speaking of my Dulce, we have a Safari she bought while in Mondragon 20 years ago (among his staff was one Noynoy Aquino) thru their coop and loan association. We are still using it, one of the things I remember her by (on top of the long luxuriant eyelashes she bequeathed to our four apos, eldest, six). The Department of Environment & Natural Resources (DENR), it is reported, may phase out 15-year-old vehicles. No matter how well-maintained?

    Maybe, the agency can instead help us find our way in solving our energy crisis. Do we go nuke? “The volcanic eruption of Japan’s Mount Otake may strengthen the argument of activists campaigning to keep the country’s 48 reactors shut.” Business Mirror, Oct. 1, 2014, p. B3-3, col. 1. But, I agree with Mark Cojuangco: time to make an up-or-down decision on whether we would put on line a building costing us P40M year in upkeep. I am for moving Congress to the Muntinlupa penitentiary for administrative economy. Or to the nuke plant, where Senator Manny Pacquiao may visit his hobby or sideline site even less often. He is the PBA’s oldest rookie. And maybe the richest.

    Money is the root of many evils. Another institution he will harm. The House, Senate and the PBA should not be seen as doing anything for money.


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    1. I always enjoy your whimsical, amusing, funny and witty autobiographical pieces, something to look forward to every week. The political analyses and digressions are sometimes not equal to the writing ability but that is easily forgiven, Can we look to the collection into a book in the near future?

    2. victor m. hernandez on

      For the moment, this is all we can do to save, if we still can, a damaged culture, by intermittently blasting our politicians and so called leaders. Thank God, for this residual freedom of speech. What a way to end the week. YOLO, so enjoy.