• Legislative overreach and prosecutorial terrorism?


    I HAVE received a kind invite to “A Summit for Change” on July 22, 2015 in Club Filipino. One whole day, with an impressive list of initiators and speakers. My health issues may prevent me from going. The old fire is gone.

    Last week I was two days in Makati Med, which I had been visiting due to swelling in my left hand; I had refused to be confined until early Wednesday of last week, when I awoke to excruciating pain for what seemed forever. I was discharged after two days but have all sorts of medical appointments.

    The idea of the patriotic group is to have a System Change. “Bagong Sistema, Bagong Pag-Asa: A Call for System Change.” It is said that good people change others, better ones change the system, while the best ones change themselves.  Attitudinal. Also Structural.
    I wish the organizers the best in our unceasing effort to give our people a better life.

    But, there’s a limit to the ability of seniors to restructure the existing order. Of course, Grand Old Man Tanny Tañada, Chino Roces, Armando Malay, et al. didn’t use that ready excuse, and got shot at, teargassed, water-cannoned and/or arrested in the process.

    Today, just going out of Palanan, Makati, where all sorts of repairs and constructions are going on, could be quite a hassle. It takes time to get anywhere. Last Monday morning, from Palanan to Makati Sports, an hour! I can remember the time a decade ago when from Palanan, to Club Filipino, in Greenhills, twelve minutes, if I got to be lucky; all green. Today, with the volume of vehicles sold, not enough new roads, and little discipline in our scofflaw nation, moving about is hellishly scary.

    We may need an amended or revised Constitution but will that prevent our Barangay trike drivers from making a confusing counterflow? Alexander Pope said long ago, for forms of governments, let fools context, whate’er is best administered, is best.

    We are all sticklers for our rights under the Constitution, which should also have a Bill of Duties. Obligations. Nietzsche said forgetting purposes is the most common form of innocence (he used a far stronger term).

    I have emailed to Speaker Sonny Belmonte a concern, a sentimiento, or complaint, on forgotten purposes, if you will, against Cong. Jose Atienza and Cong. Jonathan de la Cruz.

    In I.S. No. XV-07-INV-15E-02688, in the Office of the City Prosecutor of Manila, my two pals seek to jail co-workers in our common effort and dream to have peace in Mindanao. The situation I think calls for action by the House ethics panel or its functional equivalent, even an ad hoc one, to avoid a repetition of the arguable mischief.

    Debate and dialogue are staples in the democratic institutional arrangement. The superior idea should prevail and therefore the seemingly misguided duo should be reminded not to pick any needless quarrel with the executive, and even a sitting Supreme Court Justice, with remarkable insensate charges of treason and sedition.

    The proposed BBL is but a bill, pushed by the President; respondents have been asked to help solve a crisis of centuries. Treason is a wartime offense while Holmes said every idea is an incitement. Respondents’ only weapon: words, words, words.

    The two congressmen have to be probed by their peers as a guide to future action and prevent a repeat of premature ejaculation, as it were, causing needless departmental squabble. I regard them as long-time and valued friends but for them to ask that the likes of Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, Chair of the Government Peace Negotiating Panel; Secretary Teresita A. Quintos-Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process; and former Secretary Senen C. Bacani, and even Justice Marvic Leonen, and many other well-meaning, solid citizens, like former ConCon Delegate and Congressman Michal Mastura – crosses some fine line, in my view. No scienter, or criminal intent.

    Two well-meaning Congressmen at war most needlessly with Malacañang and a member of the Supreme Court is not in the national interest. They were elected to convince their colleagues with their logic in Congress, intramurally, and not use the criminal law elsewhere to subdue opposition, extramurally. As my courageous comrades in the struggle against the late unlamented dictatorship, the two should have learned that free speech protects expressions we disagree with, and even despise, absent a clear and present danger of trouble.

    The House should have rules and policies on the matter of suing the mere proposing of a law. More speech, not less, per J. Douglas, in the free competition of the market. Not, “agree with us or we will have you jailed.” We want the widest participation in a government of, by, and for the people.

    NO! then, to prosecutorial terrorism. Am I at war here with the sub judice rule? I doubt it; I have no purely personal stake and the matter calls for the widest public discussion anyway. This may be the first time lawmakers filed a criminal complaint against those making a proposal they reject and should, it seems to me, simply argue and vote against on the majoritarian principle, in camera.

    Holmes did say that every idea is an incitement and that all life is an experiment.

    The proper party cannot be a lawmaker who can make his case in his chamber and if he loses, which has not happened, he should not be recognized as a proper party making sumbong to another branch. This would be an improper institutional arrangement even in our litigious society. Lawmakers should only litigate institutionally, not personally, when their constitutional prerogatives are at stake, not to bestow on the SC the role of a Super-Congress, will-nilly.

    To enable congressmen to engage in prosecutorial terrorism is not in the national interest.

    The Department of Justice cannot be expected to embarrass a President; nope, to have the judiciary stop a process by criminalizing what respondents are doing is to have a Super-Congress, by limiting the power of Congress to incite, with ideas.

    The Manila OCP is not empowered to do what complainants want it to do – tell respondents “Thou Shalt Not Help Try To Solve A Problem of Centuries.”


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    1. Teddy Sevilla on

      Senator Saguisag, thank you very, very, very much for expressing what many have feared and are afraid to do. And to use such eloquent language. I would have used my choicest cuss words if only I had just half your courage.

      The vilest of trapos cloaking themselves in mantles of patriotism and love of country to attack and discredit some of our country’s finest, not only in terms of intellect but more importantly purity of intentions. Where do their motivations spring from? Posturing for the coming elections? Or something deeper? Deep-seated prejudice against our brothers who are different from us?

      We still need you, dear Senator.

    2. Prosecutorial terrorism? Wherever did you get such a concept, Sir?; forgive my ignorance.