Maleficent/magnificent eagle or lion?


PREZ Cory had a friendly Supreme Court and was chief executive and sole lawmaker for more than a year. The 1987 Congress wasn’t unfriendly, either. She was the world’s darling, at Edsa ‘86.

PNoy inherited an arguably unfriendly SC and a Congress full of critics. He hasn’t had it easy. From all indications, darling is not in the cards, like marriage (?), for him.

He thinks out of the box. He got Chief Justice Rene Corona—unconstitutionally installed by GMA during an interdicted, caretaker, lame-duck-dead-duck period—ousted. He had some previous Untouchables jailed, like GMA and JPE (for whom I argue for house arrest on humanitarian grounds).

Not bad for one dismissed as a naif, weakie or pipitsugin.

He has in fact validated and shown that the Prez “is not a Gulliver immobilized by ten thousand tiny cords, nor even a Prometheus chained to a rock of frustration. He is, rather, a kind of magnificent lion who can roam widely and do great deeds so long as he does not try to break loose from his broad reservation. Our pluralistic system of restraints is designed to keep him from going out of bounds, not to paralyze him in the field that has been reserved for his use. He will feel few checks upon his power if he uses that power as he should. This may well be the final definition of the strong and successful President: the one who knows just how far he can go in the direction he wants to go. If he cannot judge the limit of his power, he cannot call upon its strength. If he cannot sense the possible, he will exhaust himself attempting the impossible. The power of the presidency moves like a mighty host only with the grain of morality and liberty.” Clinton Rossiter.

PNoy can roooaaar or fly high, subject only to the Constitution.

PNoy, a Maleficent/Magnificent Lion or Eagle — if you will — does not understand chain-of-command? I think the critics do not understand Rossiter’s edifying observation, and insist on a GMA formula that failed, spectacularly. And utterly. Ours is not a culture used to giving and accepting apologies.

I do not agree with the imposed limitations on the presidency which reminds me of the hyperbole we used during martial law: military intelligence is a contradiction in terms. The Prez may think out of the box, as FDR, JFK, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Dubya may have done in Pearl Harbor, Bay of Pigs, Iran, Beirut, Black Hawk Down and Iraq. They have answered to history.

Joker, Teddy Boy, Ching Escaler and I did not chain Prez Cory to an academic concept in advising her how to deal with the coups in her time. As in firing JPE one tense Sunday in October 1968. One Tough Cory’s instincts were very sound, we thought.

PNoy weathered those failed coup tries (and almost died in one).

As I told my late ever-loving wife, Dulce, in early December 1989, when Ed Araullo and I were about to leave for Arlegui, “if the President must go down, some of her friends must go down with her.” Unquestioning, as always, Dulce just hugged and gave me a St. Benedict medal.

Resign! was not heard.
We cannot dwell much longer on Mamasapano, an incident that has not merited attention elsewhere where troopers routinely kill or get killed. Somebody has to mind the store here while tourists, investors and donors come.

The patriotic Japanese widow of a journalist — not a trooper — beheaded by the ISIS, spoke not only in grief, sorrow and pain, but also in pride, fervor and glory. There must be more of the Spartan or Kamikaze in us and see Marwan’s termination with extreme prejudice as partial justice for the 16 Filipinos killed in the 9/11 attack.

PNoy has just helped millions of coco farmers. Leftist Bobby Tanada gives PNoy the benefit of the doubt here, but PNoy is just fated to be underestimated, like his Mom. The Extreme Left is something else for instance, which puzzles.

Another puzzler. In the case of Mayor JunJun, elected for three years, (unlike the four years of before), did the lawmakers really intend to have the Ombudsman nullify six months of his short term? There is no parity in citing the case of a local treasurer who may hold the post for decades. Prudential considerations suggest that in case of an elected local official, the suspension should be much shorter and so should the probe.

But a case I monitor, involving a bouncing check case in a Metro Manila Metropolitan Trial Court was set for hearing last March 16. Postponed and reset to March 14, 2016!

Again, I won’t comment on the merits of a case as it is sub judice and I continue not to know anything about the merits of JunJun’s case. Joker and I had only gone to the Senate because of the arrest episode, but not to tackle the case on the merits handled by other, able lawyers.

Decent defense? It must be a lawful and ethical defense allowed by the laws of the land, which sanctify the presumption of innocence, and mandate counsel to raise every possible defense. The defense of a coerced confession from a tortured accused may be indecent but it is constitutional.

The Rule of Law is not about decency but fairness: “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].” United States v. Rabinowitz, 339 U.S. 56, 59 (1950).

The Binays may not look to critics like a nice team but we cannot let go such great themes.

And pity the ants while elephants quarrel. Kapakanang pambayan, di pansarile. Others, not self.

Not lions, not eagles, but only sharks, loan sharks, rejoice.


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  1. You have limited the option to a lion or an eagle? I am not playing your game.
    Benigno Aquino is a dirty and very mean rat.

  2. Renito (“small Renato,” his original name) Saguisag is one of yesterday’s men who will say anything– never mind if outrageous — to be noticed and be relevant again. He was part of Cory Aquino’s disastrous government — Mendiola Massacre of farmers, 24-hour brownouts, traffic gridlocks on Edsa, Meralco Midnight Deal, chronic rice shortage (including illegal diversion of rice shipments allegedly masterminded by now DAP architect Florencio Abad), Roppongi Scam, Petroscam, and other corrupt deals you can find in the newspapers of those years.

    After Cory Aquino, Saguisag disappeared for a while. Then he resurfaced as defender of Mayor Sanchez, the killer-rapist of a young UP Los Banos student. Later, he also became a relentless critic of Gloria Arroyo, whom he never forgave for not appointing his wife Dulce as head of DSWD.

    When Dulce died in a traffic accident, Saguisag disappeared from public view for a while.Then after some time, he appeared on a TV interview — crying, blubbering in his squeaky voice, unshaven and unkempt. A perfect slob.

    Today, Saguisag is back [no thanks to Manila Times]. In effect, he’s saying it’s okay for Benigno Simeon to ignore the chain of command. It’s okay to allow the massacre of Filipino commandos. Saguisag is praising Benigno Simeon for thinking “out of the box.” He is telling this pyscho is that he is above the law and that he can ignore the Constitution.

    We might revile Saguisag, but he’ll thank us. He is still alive, and he knows we know it. That’s what’s important to him.

  3. I have a different opinion. The yellow administration of Pnoy is intimidated by the MILF to pass the BBL. and it is afraid. We might as well change the gold colored sea lion in the president seal with a yellow chicken.

  4. I have a different opinion. The yellow administration of Pnoy is intimidated by the MNLF to pass the BBL. and it is afraid. We might as well change the gold colored sea lion in the president seal with a yellow chicken.

  5. Bert O. Romero on

    Indeed, Pinoy feels and acts like a magnificent lion who has remorselessly wielded his unrestrained power these almost past five years. But has he exercised it with wisdom with the greater good for the greater number of Filipinos as the ultimate goal? Is completely relying on a suspended CPNP, completely disregarding the chain of command, for a critical mission which ended tragically, an indication of a rational and wise leader whose decision is not based on a comfort zone of friendship ? Is giving priority to attending an auto assembly plant inauguration rather than welcoming the cadavers of 43 of his best troopers who died pursuant to his approval of an assault plan a mark of a decisive leader who knows his priorities? Does it mean that the practice of American presidents – from Kennedy to Obama – of dropping all other official functions to be at Andrews air base to lead in receiving bodies of American soldiers who died fighting in wars from the Vietnam war to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars a meaningless gesture? Is Pnoy indeed an embodiment of a great leader?
    The spiraling downward performance and trust ratings of Pnoy speak volumes of the growing hopelessness of the Filipino people on him as their leader. When people lose their faith on their president, the mandate – whether God or necro or PCOS given – that he previously enjoyed is necessarily lost too. And if indeed Pinoy has the interests of the Philippines and its people at heart, he should not wait for 30 June 2016 to stop the national hemorrhage. He should resign now!

  6. Justaskingseriously on

    Just in case my option for maleficent does not pass the moderator’s taste, here is my second option. Obviously magnificent. Magni for big, large, as in magnify. Magnified sense of accomplishment, as in the “economic reforms”? If that refers to a list of reforms, absent any that has been reported, DAP would be it. Even that was done in secret. Everything seems to have grown out of proportion: BOC and smuggling, MRT and breakdowns, Crimes upsurge, poverty enhancement, selective prosecutions, traffic jams, DND procurements, electoral sabotage. Probably more that the bald eagle can see and the lion can whip up. Just wait for the big mouth to open.

  7. Carl Zimmerman on

    How can you condone the imprisonment of Gloria Arroyo without trial for three years? This is how a police state operates not a democracy. Aquino seems blind to the requirements of justice.

  8. Justaskingseriously on

    Definitely “maleficent”. Not male efficient. More like “mali” ficent. Trite but true: a fruit does not drop far from the tree it came from. The gene came from someone who was not a “political rival” but “an enemy of the state.” Not my words. Just quoting from a writer who was close enough to hear the words spoken in Hawaii, which is one of the states of the United States. Just a reminder.

  9. Saguisag- great defender of BS Aquino! How much do you get paid sourced from their intel funds? Just asking. I bet it’s a fantastic amount.