Pork is not toxic per se. See Sen. Bob Byrd and West Virginia. So instead of saying an egg is rotten, we should be trying to lay better ones. I may want pork allocated to doubling teachers’ salaries and supporting poor Ivy League scholars, for starters.
My wife, who I lost on November 8, 2007, and I, were both privileged to be Fulbrighters. (Sen. Fulbright had this brilliant idea of allocating surplus government money for scholarships.)
So we have also lost Chief Justice Andre Narvasa. On going home Tuesday night, I saw a TV crawler saying the University of Sto. Tomas would have a Mass for CJ Andre (a UST scholar who landed No. 2 in the bar tests and was its former Dean).
Too little too late?
Earlier, nothing I had noted for an alum who had served the country long and well. UST had gone on record in 2000 as denouncing him for not abandoning Prez Erap when the hooting throng, mainly of the Metro Manila religious and social elite wanted everyone, to despise him, seen as a womanizing crook.
But, a lawyer is sworn to undertake the defense of an accused regardless of his personal opinion as to his guilt, and therefore to take seriously the presumption of innocence in the Bill of Rights and the International Declaration of Human Rights. Charged with non-bailable murder, the defense can show ethically that only bailable homicide is what a case is all about.
Andre became a household world as General Counsel in ably probing the salvaging of Ninoy Aquino in 1983.
Grateful to Benedictines
I will forever be grateful to the Benedictines for taking in my wife on November 8, 2007 after our unsayable family tragedy. My wife Dulce paled beside CJ Andre but what would UST have lost if right off it had taken a stand in sympathy of a great alum? There would have been the poignancy of its recantation for its UnChristian Unprofessional denunciation of the CJ more than a decade earlier.
The wake in Mt. Carmel was fine but how much better it would have been if it had been held in UST, which should posthumously recognize a good son.
On November 23, the UST alum Association headed by Justice Oscar Herrera Jr. may want to consider in his class’s golden jubilee correcting the situation by some public tribute to a great son named by his folks after Gat Andres Bonifacio. In all my dealings with him, he never said anything in remonstrance. So old school. Class. Lo cortes no quita lo valiente.
Also gone is Fr. Joe Dizon, who I might have last seen at the tarmac last August when we honored Ninoy Aquino. He looked and sounded unwell to me then. Diabetes I see. Many a time during martial law, kapit-bisig we were, as we fought a dictator.
“To be 70 again”
Last Saturday was more festive. Kith and kin had an asalto for Jun Factoran on his 70th (70, same with his classmate Jojobama Binay; when Holmes espied a sweet young thing, at 93, he sighed, “oh, to be 70 again.”)
At the asalto was Joker exchanging pleasantries with Ballsy and Pinky with Eldon and Manolo, in our table. But, Panginoong Joker sat in another. In yet another table was Jojobama, pointed to by a fan as the highest official of the land then present. How true. Hanggang Cabinet at Senado lang kami.
Fely, wife of Joker, asked me to help drum up support for Kim Gargar, the environmentalist arrested by the military in Mati, Davao. Years ago, I might have flown down forthwith but I now have health issues, like many TGIFs (Tigulang Gurang Ingkong Frat members) but we do have younger members of Mabini, like Fely; we associate ourselves with the Free Kim Movement. On pork, we may differ.
What to do with pork
A good number say pork must be outlawed. Who then decides what to do with it if not the elected accountable? The unelected non-accountable? Again, pork, not toxic per se.
Yes, why not allocate pork to double the pay of public school teachers? Or that anyone admitted into the Ivy League would be financially supported if need be? Strengthen national health care? And start a pension program. Instead of prosecute, prosecute, prosecute, for decades.
Again, the case of Lenny Villa, killed in frat hazing on Feb. 11, 1991, still pending, in the Supreme Court (SC), which does not comply with the accounting and reporting requirements of its billions in the Judiciary Development Fund started in 1984. Executive Judges all over the land are supposed to get quarterly reports but no stude of mine has produced a copy, to pass.
Go to Br. 19 of the Manila Metropolitan Trial Court and weep (not the fault of the diligent Judge and personnel). The nation’s capital has no decent courthouse, a continuing shame and scandal. No majesty at all.
The unelected Justices may not be the best judge of how to deal with pork as an institutional arrangement given its silence on the Judiciary Development Fund collections since 1984 under P.D. No. 1949. Does the money go to wellness, travel, vehicles and Baguio mansions not intended by P.D. No. 1949? Sec. 3 of the Decree says: “The Commission on Audit through the Auditor of the SC . . . shall quarterly audit the receipts, revenues, uses, disbursements and expenditures of the Fund, and shall submit the appropriate report in writing to the Chairman of the COA and to the Chief Justice, . . . copy furnished the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeals and all Executive Judges.” Any stude of mine producing a copy of a 2013 report within the month I will pass.
Are we in the proper forum given policy considerations? The search for a superior institutional arrangement continues.