Manly arts

Rene Saguisag

Rene Saguisag

For the first time ever, Fil-Am San Fran Giants pitcher Tim Lincecom threw a no-hitter over the weekend, reported in this paper (only?). For the first time also, I was in Solaire last Saturday night to dancexercise. I met Noli de Castro. I finally got to thank him for gracing my Dulce’s St. Scho wake with his vice-presidential presence. With him last Saturday was superlawyer Jesse Andres, who said that they had just watched boxing in Solaire. I politely nodded, not wanting to spoil our pleasant mini-chat by my saying I avoid watching the Manly Art of Modified Murder: aim, hurt a fellow human being. Supposed mismatches, I learned later. My visit to the Solaire dance hall was marred by two brownouts, resulting in suspending our dancexercise, first for a few minutes, and the second, for the night. Frustrating, given the gross inconvenience in a supposedly world-class joint, upsetting those who dance exquisitely or look like they are resisting arrest or moving furniture. You don’t want to know what happened the yesterday afternoon when we inquired.

No generators and good electricians in a plush place? I was incredulous.

Exciting as Solaire matches are, how about the bouts in the Supreme Court where Justice Art Brion reportedly seeks that ex-CJ Art Panganiban be cited for contempt of court. Superlawyer Art P did not join us in our human rights crusade during martial law but was here all the time. What about Art B (Bar No. 1, out of 1,956 examinees, ’74)? Where was he after he topped the bar? We may have a right to ask and know who our Justices are. High and mighty officials chose limited privacy: the right to be let and left alone.

Justice Velasco, a ’71 bar topnotcher (No. 6) may be lawyering for his son in the SC. Even if false, the perceptual problem is acute. Maybe the Velascos, with Ka Cesar Virata, are simonpures, but we want to see kapakanang pambayan prevailing, di pansarile o pang-pamilya. The Velascos and Viratas may have to sacrifice.

Ex-CJ Art’s column of last Sunday’s PDI, which mentioned me, made me pause. He is my compadre. When one recounts a war story, he (Bar No. 6, out of 4,216 examinees, ’60; I was also No. 6 out of 5,453, ’63, ang gulo talaga naming mga hambog na abogado) validates the Durants saying that all autobiography is vanity.

2001 saw the successful power grab of the Arroyos and the generals, who by the couple’s own account, they started hatching a year earlier, per GMA, narrating in a plush Makati hotel on Feb. 21, 2001 (headlined by PDI, Feb. 22, 2001), and in Mike’s own statements in an interview with Quijano de Manila in the March 5, 2001 Graphic issue (page 3-9). Fish caught by its mouth?

The awesome spectacle of J. Art and CJ Jun Davide in Edsa, on Jan. 20, 2001, will never be beyond easy recall. Art, arms spread-eagled, while CJ Davide administered GMA’s oath, meant that the would-be refs, joined one team. Judging their own cause. Like a Mommy umpiring a pitcher-son’s softball game. Jan. 20 we don’t mark, unlike Feb. 25.

I agreed to be Erap’s counsel after his fall from power and he became an underdog (I had no part in his impeachment, when he was overdog). I asked the two visible Justices to recuse themselves, on Feb. 5, 2001, in open court, in the orals; they graciously consented. I had spotted J. Puno at Edsa but he did not as dramatically prejudged and showed his support for GMA; that came later when as ponente, he used the Angara Diaries to unseat Erap, who had nothing to do with writing same, and came up with “constructive resignation” to rule against the only Prez, in recent decades, to win unquestionably.

I have three pamphlets on the episode, In Defense of Constitutional Democracy; Ditto, Part 2 and Part 3. Material for an anti-book, but for which I have no time really.

In 2001 the Supreme Court (SC) could have invoked “removal from office,” under Sec. 8 of Art. VII of the Constitution; I would have been hard put answering a Bench question, “Mr. Saguisag, was that not what you exactly did with Mr. Marcos?”. If you look at what the Justices wrote then, they seemed triumphalist and felt proud they were to give us GMA, for which Prez Cory later apologized.

Art recounted how she hesitated but Cardinal Sin pounded the table and so the wish of Art and Jun D prevailed, saying that their matutinal habit of cutting the Bible guided them to remove the secular leader voted overwhelmingly into office as Prez in 1998. A Sandiganbayan Special Division was created by the SC for Erap; none has been created as to Marcoses, GMA and their cronies, whose cases have been pending; no Special Division like the one created and programmed to convict Erap; the people have vindicated him).

I really should write my own book to supplement the late J. Isagani A. Cruz’s 2002 book I use while awaiting son Carlo’s update which I hope will contain this recollection of Art: “At 6:20 a.m., Radio Veritas announced that Cardinal Sin was giving Estrada until noon to resign, otherwise the Vice President would take her oath as President.” Was that the place of a Cardinal heeding the elitist Metro Manila’s “hooting throng?” Is this our institutional arrangement in a secular society? The world which admired Edsa’86 looked askance, puzzled, at the 2001 aberrational regime change. Erap, No. 2 in the 2010 polls, winning in Mindanao, and has just won in Manila.

In the Republic of Davao, Rudy Duterte runs everything. Gutsy, like his Mom, with whom I used to march in Davao, and equally gutsy daughter, Sara. So also is enraged gutsy Justice Sec. Leila de Lima. Grabbed-the-Gun? Sans finesse. Garapal. Some people’s idea of dealing with our alleged overpopulation is the Duterte Way, popular in Davao. The SC’s Way is to lower the lawyer population? L’affaire Art versus Art should have been referred to the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP). Sub judice? Who obeys it? So more speech, not less na lang? Douglas.

Pareng Art should not be above—nor beneath—the law. The IBP should have first crack – and recommend accordingly. I am against the SC quickly acting on a complaint against one of its ex-own; I am also against the unelected SC being asked to nullify wholesale the work of the elected Prez and Congress.

There must be an actual case brought by a real party, for a concrete factual setting. The leaky unelected, must wait for a proper case. All I mention here, judged by their very best, I have learned from, and am grateful. Again, more speech, not less.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.

Comments are closed.