Gutter view of the stars


ANG pumatol sa sira, lalong sira, sabida.

Mar Roxas should have ignored Digong Duterte’s kanto-boy Wharton taunting. Or simply say Digong might be confusing him with the reported Wharton-Oxford claim of the son of Macoy, who himself reportedly also asserted, per some urban myth, that he had obtained bar grades so high that an incredulous Supreme Court (SC) ordered a recomputation.

(Digong is for moving the remains of Macoy to the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LMB); my only condition now that I have mellowed is to rename LMB as LMBATBP, Libingan ng mga Bayani at Iba Pa, after paying the human rights victims next year under R.A. No. 10368.

Where was Digong anyway during the Years of Darkness? Ilagan, Arellano, Respicio, Risonar, et al., were the prominent human rights advocates in Davao then, along with his Mom, Soledad, Tia Chuling.)

The real bar record-holder is the late Justice Florenz Regalado, whose 96.7 percent may stand till the desert sands grow cold, as one song puts it. His ethical standards were celestial.

Once, I led the class in making bulakbol, piesta po sa Pasig kasi, on December 8, 1961, Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Flor gave all who had played hookey “5,” and his nephew, Jess Regalado Cornago (also gone), a double “5,” a case of avuncular cruelty.

My concern is that the people are not getting enough info on issues and platforms. All of us may be in the abysmal gutter with Digong but some of us must look at the stars. Oscar Wilde.

A slap with a glove may be a gentleman’s invite to a duel (criminalized in the Revised Penal Code, Arts. 260-61). But, it does not tell us where the candidate stands on the BBL, salary standardization, federalism, nine-dash line, or even EDCA.

In the latter, I was lead petitioner in the SC. Martial law introduced me to great men, heroes like Tanny Tanada, Ka Pepe Diokno, Gerry Roxas, Soc Rodrigo, Ninoy, et al., and from afar, relatively obscure Con-Con Delegate Rolando Piit, one of the very bold  few who voted NO! on the 1973 Siopao Constitution [on Jan. 17, 1973, in the supposed citizen’s assemblies, attendees had been asked who wanted siopao, and nearly all raised their hands; six Justices voted that there was no "further judicial obstacle to the new Constitution being considered in force and effect.”  Javellana v. Executive Secretary, 50 SCRA 50, 141 (1973)(four dissented)].

Tanny would stress the importance of going on record, for a deposition for history. How then can one lose a lost cause? One man in the right can be a majority.

Now, Gerry, your son proposed a fistfight (I was corresponding with Gerry until he left for a better world in April 1982). Sad. If fighting is resorted to as a test, then Manny Pacquiao would be an odds-on fave, even a shoo-in, in 2022. Digong countered with a gunfight at some Corral. PNoy has many Kabarilan (I must have read somewhere, if my fading memory is true, that PNoy said in one interview that my late ever-lovin’ wife, his Boss in Mondragon, my Bossing everywhere, advised him to take up some sport or diversion: he picked shooting. Kaya naman pala?).

Today, how we miss the edifying rhetoric of Recto and Diokno. I heard Gerry, Ninoy, Raul Manglapus (in San Beda) and Uncle Jovy (in Silliman) — deliver commencement addresses. Bilib.

More on Ka Pepe. At Harvard Law — I got admitted, on a full generous scholarship (one can look it up now that talk is about academic credentials and braggin’ rights), on the strength of a rushed letter written in a few minutes via a rinky-dink typewriter. That was in 1967. Thereafter, students got to read about a truly great Filipino, thusly: “It is pertinent to recall the wise words of Jose Diokno in rejecting what he termed `currently fashionable’ justifications for authoritarianism in Asian developing countries. One [j[justification] that Asian societies are authoritarian and paternalistic; that Asia’s hungry masses are too concerned with providing their families with food, clothing, and shelter, to concern themselves with civil liberties and political freedoms; that the Asian conception of freedom differs from that of the West; that, in short, Asians are not fit for human rights. [.[. . . This]s racist nonsense . . . . Authoritarianism promotes repression not development — repression that prevents meaningful change and preserves the structures of power and privilege’. . . . H. Steiner & D. Vagst, Transnational Legal Transactions 445-46 (1986). One should read Ka Pepe’s “To sing our song.” Elevated.

On EDCA and the SC at Yuletide, a check of maiden-year SCRA (Supreme Court Reports Annotated) shows a number of cases were decided on December 23, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30, 1961, at a time when Justices were read, not seen nor heard (today we even see parties and counsel remarkably exhibiting what they have filed, unheard of before). Have we gone from the skies to the gutter in many respects?

Finally, I had staff go to the SC last Monday to check the records of a case decided in 2003. He was told to return in 2016. The other day courts closed in City Hall, Manila.

The indolent judiciary may not be a role model on work ethic in a good-time indolent society where Christmas carols are heard even in July, not only the ‘ber months. But, was I disappointed when, last Saturday, no stude of mine in Mendiola could accompany me (second voice) in singing “Whispering Hope.” Maybe I sang with more courage than ability, I am afraid. But of course my studes heartily applauded.

Mga Sipsip.



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  1. Ano kamo Rene Saguisag…”ANG pumatol sa sira, lalong sira”! Eh bakit ka pumatol! Eh di lalu kang sira!

  2. Lahat tayo ay ipinanganak ng pantay pantay. Kaya lahat tayo ay babalik sa alabok…
    Anong kinalaman ni Marcos after EDSA revolution 1?? Nasaan ang logic ng isipan ng mga taong ito. Palibhasa ang pinagmamagaling nilang democracy ay isang fake, sa totoo lang. kung si NInoy ang naging Presidente ng Pilipinas marahil part na tayo domino Theory o communismo… Alam ito ng may akda nitong issue na ito.. dont pretend na isa ka sa makademocracy, at kaya nga dineclare ni Apo macoy ang martial law ng dahil sa inyong mga left wing na makakomunista hindi ba?? bakit si JOMA sison nasa netherlands na pinalaya ni corykong during 1987….???

  3. I like and agree with the articles of Rene Saguisag. It is truthful and and very factual. I left the homeland on 1977 to work abroad and I have seen and experienced the facts that he recollected. Excellent journalism – Mr Saguisag.

  4. LOL…. hahahahaha…. “LMBATBP, Libingan ng mga Bayani at Iba Pa” – so appropriate for Mayor Duterte’s plan. Clearly, he considers the late dictator F. Marcos a “hero”. His method of governing in Davao City (“Bang, bang, you’re dead”) is ala Marcos, and for him, it is a good thing. Imagine, bragging about his 1700 “kills”. Who are these victims, and where are the bodies?

    I enjoyed reading about the “siopao constitution”. Apart from your column here, I think you should have your own blog so you can write some more anecdotes of those “legal days” gone by and about those legal luminaries who have passed on. I am sure you will get a lot of readers and “clicks”.

  5. Buy the yellow dailies and experience the mirage of democracy. Gap between rich and poor has widened. I would rather have censorship and even duterte will agree for he needs it of course. Euphoria and U.S. /UK’s agitation to make human rights and democracy work has failed us. The balloon/ bubble has burst, it became worse. It has made more Filipinos envy the rich, the oligarchs and the taipans. And hegemony by the US is what needs to be nipped/deleted. Rebuild Filipino nationalism Cull the un-patriotic.Force the elite, the capitalist class to immerse and blend their thoughts about the goodness of being populist. Call It authoritarian rule, but that will work for an archipelagic nation.

  6. Di ba si Raul Manglapus ang nag-advice nito para sa mga rape victim?

    “Just relax and enjoy it!”

    Tsk, tsk. nakakabilib nga talaga, tulad ni Ninoy.

  7. Why don’t you yellows ever mention Plaza Miranda anymore, even just to enhance some more your inflated views of yourselves? Remember that the entire opposition at that time led by your hero Ninoy accused Marcos of the bombing, even if Ninoy himself could not satisfactorily explain why he stayed away from the rally just to attend the debut party of Doy Laurel’s daughter (nililigawan ba niya yung anak ni Doy? ) when in fact as campaign manager he should have been the first to arrive on the scene not the last. Don’t you guys just love to remind the world how evil Marcos was? So why don’t you guys remind people that Ninoy and his gang accused Marcos of bombing Plaza Miranda? Are you afraid that if people look hard at that crime of the century, and connect the dots, they will see not the face of Marcos but Ninoy’s?

  8. “…after paying the human rights victims next year under R.A. No. 10368.”
    Just some questions, Atty Saguisag:

    1. Do you think Cardinal Sin could be legitimately called a human rights victim?
    2. Do you think Joma Sison and his comrades deserve all those millions?
    3. How about our soldiers who suffered in the struggle to defeat these communists?

  9. When Macoy was first elected president in the mid-1960’s my late father and my uncles often talked about politics. Even though I was only in grade school at that time, I was able to notice their political opinions which they all had negative view of Macoy. Sure, he was supposed to have had a brilliant mind, just like many of the people in congress at that time. Many were highly educated politicians as I gathered.

    We all know how Macoy destroyed Philippine democracy, the two-party system and the economy was in ruins after he allegedly looted the treasury and mismanaged the economy through cronyism.

    Nowadays, perhaps half or more of the people in Congress are not qualified to be as lawmakers. There are too many celebrities, corrupt people and under-educated people occupying such important positions in government. Some people blame Macoy for destroying the American-style democracy that the Philippines inherited and he replaced it with his dictatorship. Now almost 30 years after Macoy was humiliated and was deposed from power, the Philippines is still suffering from what had transpired during Macoy’s long dictatorial rule.

    What could have been had Macoy not have been elected as president. I bet the Philippines would have been much better off politically and financially. Imagine that.

    • You can only assert that Macoy did everything wrong, if, after he left the office, the Philippined should have improved.

      But you also confirmed that this is not the case. Just imagine, no improvement for long 30 years, and yet blaming Macoy.

      Macoy did something wrong. Yes, that’s the fact. But not “everything” is wrong, like what PNoy is doing now.

      So, for 30 years, it only confirmed that Macoy have still done something good, which is way better than the next 5 admins

  10. It is always inspiring and entertaining, but more so perspective-setting, to read and enjoy how Mr. Rene present the facts, the not-so factual facts, the jokes and the memories behind the stories. So wonderfully enriching, mind-provoking that it renders one helpless but to really compare the dedication, honesty, hard work and wisdom of past public servants of the caliber of Diokno, Ninoy, Jovy, Tanny, Raul M, Pelaez, Rodrigo, and many more to include Sen. Padilla, Speaker Conne, if you may, to – in general – the present crop of “business” and “showbiz” politicians! Non-corrupt politicians now a days is the exception, most especially if one considers the alleged large-scale corruptions leveled against the Binays of Makati, some 14 senators, 47 congressmen and over 200 other public servants. May God Bless the PHILIPPINES….Mabuhay ka Mr. Senator Rene! Merry Christmas and may you have many more writing years ahead…

  11. Jose Bonifacio on


    Hello again…. I like this editorial about Duterte making Marcos a hero….
    Chat with you again, sometime…..

    BTW, all those loots by Marcos, hasn’t been fully recovered yet?


  12. Yes, I used to peddle We Forum newspaper until raided by Marcos goons but shifted to so called mosquito press. I never read a Duterte or these yellow brigades shouting ”
    daang matuwid”. What a mess this coming elections, you want a candidate to change these fakes but you cant find one.

  13. I am surprise that other Bedan graduates like you can fluently express yourselves orally and in written English communication. Duterte is the opposite of some Bedan graduates. When interviewed, he will first touch his face thinking (pa-pogi) and chew his gum thrice (because of bad breath and bad mouthing) of what words to say or not even sure of what to say. Sadly if Duterte becomes president, the Philippines will be a laughing state having a president who can hardly communicate. Sure, Roxas should have ignored the arrogance of Duterte but, for a number of years, Roxas had been brutally criticized by media (for not having a paid columnist or PR man) and the public for probably some mistakes. The corruption of the Binay family is heavier compared with some of his mistakes. In the U.S., if a government official is charged with corruption, that’s the end of the charged politician or government official. No legal technicalities, lies, alibis and denials involved.

    • English ba batayan, di magaling sa english si digong kasi di naman sya galing sa elite families you find in Forbes, Dasma and Ayala Alabang. But tell you what if he gets elected, more ordinary people will feel better because he is the president they can identify with. Yan ang mahirap dito sa bansa natin, mga pango naman ang ilong, mas pinapahalagahan pa ang wikang banyaga. Mababago yang mga pananaw nyo, May 2016. Ibato nyo na kasama kitchen sink kay Digong, pag aralan nyo mga surveys ng DZRH, SWS and the recent Magdalo survey, sige papano nyo iaangat ang kapwa nyo na elite na si Roxas. To defeat the Vis-Min votes, you need to dominate Reg 3, 4 and NCR. Baka kunin pa nga ni digong ang NCR. Kay Roxas na Reg 6. Ilalampaso namin yan sa Reg 7, 8 and whole of Mindanao. Tandaan nyo yan.

  14. your pop out ads WU and infolinks are so irritating…you don’t have any chance to concentrate reading your news. I decided to sop reading mania times

    • I totally agree with you, the pop-ups are pretty annoying!

      I am a Filipino-American who regularly remits US dollars pretty regularly to my folks back in the Philippines.

      I am so annoyed by WU’s pop-up ads that I vowed not to use them. Manila Times, come on now!