• More stringent standards; Oh, that towering feeling!

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    “MAY the experience of our youth and the memory of our faith growing in various forms and depth, including NUS [National Union of Students], ISA [Institute of Student Affairs] and public service eventually, unite us tonight (for us in the US) in prayer when Tessie’s Mass of Resurrection occurs there Wed. June 17 at 8 a.m.” Email from Nita Salvador-Burris, a distinguished alum of what we used to call in San Beda as Holy Mamaw [Holy Ghost] College, which produced such outstanding colegialas, Cecile Jimenez [Bennett], Lily Ledesma, Gloria Manalang [Angara], Vicky Pineda [Garchitorena] and Edna Zapanta [Manlapaz], among so many others.

    I had planned to pay my last respects to Tita Tet “Tessie” Nitorreda the other morning but in the end traffic trumped me. She was such an inspiration. In San Beda, I would cross the street to teach catechism in Mapa High. SCA (Student Catholic Action) was our fraternity and sorority. In 1955, as a Rizal High School senior in what is now Pasig City, we had Fr. Delaney as guest venting his frustrations on Greek-letter fraternities, with another fatality very much in the news then. (In Makati Elementary School, we would sing, “for Rizal was born on June 19. . .”

    The Supreme Court aptly honored him this week in a ruling that granted a temporary restraining order against the construction of a structure marring the view of the Luneta monument to the man after whom my high school was named. Let’s see what happens next in the complex case with polycentric dimensions.

    Another email came from the British Embassy, as follows, boilerplate or de cajon: “The British Ambassador, His Excellency Asif Ahmad, requests the pleasure of the company of Senator Rene Saguisag at an intimate reception in honour of Lord Mark Malloch-Brown, Former Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and Advisor to the late President of the Philippines Corazon C. Aquino, on Monday, 22 June 2015 from 7:00 pm until 9:00 pm.

    “Lord Mark Malloch-Brown is a former number two in the United Nations as well as having served in the British Cabinet and Foreign Office. He now sits in the House of Lords and is active both in business and in the non-profit world. He also remains deeply involved in international affairs.

    “Lord Malloch-Brown served as Deputy Secretary-General and Chief of Staff of the UN under Kofi Annan. For six years before that he was Administrator of the UNDP, leading the UN’s development efforts around the world. He was later Minister of State in the Foreign Office, covering Africa and Asia, and was a member of Gordon Brown’s cabinet. . . .

    “Currently Lord Malloch-Brown is Chairman of the electronic voting company, Smartmatic. . . .

    [Well, well, well. . . .]

    “Lord Malloch-Brown is also a Distinguished Practitioner of the Blavatnik School of Government at Oxford University and was formerly a visiting distinguished fellow at the Yale Centre for the Study of Globalisation. He has a number of honorary degrees.

    “He was knighted in 2007 for his contribution to international affairs. Lord Malloch-Brown is the author of `The Unfinished Global Revolution; and continues to write, broadcast and lecture about international issues.”

    From where I sat, I saw him as a key figure in Edsa 1986. His snap polls suggestion I would dismiss to myself as unworkable, except that it worked! Ted Locsin should also have positive memories of the Milord. I plan to go on Monday, even if it would mean I have to cancel meetings with the President and the Pope, ha, ha. I have not seen this hero for nearly three decades and the possible reconnection may be our last meeting, as our days dwindle down, to a precious few, as may be seen in Tita Tet’s passage.

    Mention of the Smartmatic link may interest Jarius Bondoc, Gus Lagman, Rene Azurin and Co. but I cannot associate Mark with any skulduggery. I admire both sides but I am really computer illiterate, unable to follow the fine points of the controversy so it is up to the Supreme Court (SC) now. I am not certain how computer-savvy the justices are. I am not.

    I am glad though that the SC has retreated from its position of secrecy on SALN, which the President, the Vice President and the Cabinet, along with the Senate and House, routinely release every May. I may have to stop asking my students to secure copies from the Supreme Court, where they meander through the bowels of the bureaucracy.

    But, there’s a companion assignment or challenge to get a guaranteed passing grade. Late former senator Arturo Tolentino’s Republic Act (RA) 3019, the anti-graft act, requires in its Section 7 that the President down to the last barangay dogcatcher, file every April “a statement of the amounts and sources of income earned, the amounts of his personal and family expenses and the amount of income taxes paid for the next preceding calendar year.” Did our RA 6713 repeal it? But, I put in as Section 13: “Provisions for More Stringent Standards. Nothing [in]this Act shall be construed to derogate from any law, or any regulation prescribed by any body or agency, which provides for more stringent standards for its official and employees.” “More stringent standards”-I lifted from American praxis.

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