Reichler wins; the right to dignity; stronger together


WE have just won against China. Frankly, I have not read the 501-page decision. Ingles pa po. I need time. I cannot intelligently explain or comment on what I have not read. I have to admire the courage of others.

Heading our legal team is Paul Reichler, who represented Nicaragua in the World Court and beat the US three decades ago. No one had bothered to interview the man of the hour?
He finished law, cum laude, in Harvard. He joined Arnold & Porter (A&P), which Nicaragua retained, against the US and won. (A&P is famed for its pro bono work.)
Enforcement could be a problem. China may be a rogue state and the US may not complain. Last I checked, the Kanos still have to comply with the Nicaragua ruling of 1986 Reichler toiled for and earned.

When I joined A&P in 1969 – 70 to train, we were about 70 lawyers. I worked in a townhouse where Lafayette used to live. The firm is now in downtown with at least 800 lawyers, last I checked years ago.

I have worked with Paul, and with the diplomat Paul Warnke and Chuck Medel, an Atenean who earned his law degree in the US. Chuck rushed news to me of the Permanent Court of Arbitration victory, by email with the marathon decision attached. He had introed me to the two Pauls. Diplomat Warnke is gone. Reichler I was last in touch with two decades or so ago.

The three are courageous, principled fighters, like gutsy Tony Gonzalez, of Mondragon and Mimosa, Prez Cory’s Tourism Sec, another longtime and valued friend. He just turned 78(?) and celebrated last Saturday. Not really all that close to the Aquinos, he gravitated toward them when martial law was inflicted by Marcos and Ninoy was detained. It was unusual; for when you laugh, the whole world laughs with you, but you weep alone. I had not known Ninoy at all but I, stranger to the Aquinos, with a few others, wept with them.

And wept with Macoy opposer Tony, for and with whom my late Dulce worked, in Mondragon, beginning in 1984, and helped ensure our kids would not walk around barefooted, shirtless, unable to go to school.

I was not to meet Cory until the “mad adventure”—Sen. Lorenzo Tañada’s term—of LABAN, in 1978, and Ninoy, in 1982.

Happy birthday, Tony, whose shindig I missed and the fun of which I could not share last Saturday late morning.

Sharing, not joy, but pain of a sort was partly the reason I went to the MOA Arena last Saturday and Sunday for the FIBA games. I had thought few would watch the guests who had booted us out. To my pleasant surprise, the venue was crowded by real fanatics who stayed to the end, even after all the players had left. They cheered when France was honored after the title game. Loser Canada had left earlier.

In the NCAA and UAAP, a tradition began, I know not when, when the losers were made to stay, sing their school song, and endure the pain of defeat, which their loyal fans shared. It seems to me the old practice was better, allowing the losers to leave ASAP, and weep privately.

My son, Rebo, had secured ducats for weekend last, good ones, but not as good as those of Hans Sy and seatmate Bobby Jaworski Sunday last. In 2013, I was lucky to be with these fellow billionaires of mine, ha, ha. This year I could not get tickets to our country’s games, not for love or money. By last weekend, our country was an also-ran. Demand for tickets lower.

Anyway, la belle France, whose Tony Parker was clearly a crowd fave, emerged champion last Sunday. Yesterday marked the Fall of Bastille, critical to human rights. Liberte egalite fraternite, and today I add, sororite. Tuesday nights in Solaire, I expect the band Hiway 54 to sing Edith Piaf’s haunting La Vie En Rose.

Oh, happy birthday, too, Birthday Boy Alex Padilla. He had his wingding last Saturday night to mark his acquisition of an additional citizenship: Senior. Among the guests was Tony Moncupa, East-West head honcho, detained in 1982 with Boy Morales, Development Academy of the Philippines head. Boy went underground the night he was proclaimed as one of the country’s Ten Oustanding Young Men.

Many Repentant Capitalist Roaders I saw in the wingding would remain mercifully unnamed. The band was Ateneo’s nonpareil Spirit of ‘67.

France pioneered in the human rights movement, which emerged and rose to prominence here, thanks to the Marcoses, in the 70’s. Late yesterday afternoon, relics like Jojobama Binay and Jun Factoran and near-relic Mon Esguerra, et al., of MABINI (Movement of Attorneys for Brotherhood, Integrity & Nationalism, Inc.) were to meet with other human rights advocates alarmed by the Killing Fields and Assault on Dignity all over. (We formed MABINI partly inspired by Nicaragua’s Sandinistas.)

My son Rebo and I had motored yesterday to and from the North earlier to make boundary, but determined to join the effort to resist the new Reign of Terror. Never Again! I am in my Second Childhood while Jojobama and Jun are said to be in their Second Adolescence.

PNP chief Bato de la Rosa announced “23 DRUG MAYORS WILL ALSO BE NAMED.” Weird. Why not simply properly charge them for due process’s sake so the defamed could give their side? Would there be another PMA Mistah whose pain Bato could tearfully share? Are all body counts material? But Mayors are not riffraff so immunity also. But it seems Bato de la Rosa gets an orgasm prejudging, throwing the presumption of innocence in the Bill of Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Right into the discard. Decay?

In Denver for a conference of law-enforcement officials, on Aug. 3, 1970, lawyer Prez Nixon complained that the press tended “to glorify and make heroes out of those engaged in criminal activities. … I noted, for example, the coverage of the Charles Manson case… Front page every day in the papers. It usually got a couple of minutes in the evening news.
Here is a man who was guilty, directly or indirectly, of eight murders. Yet here is a man who, as far as the coverage is concerned, appeared to be a glamorous figure.”

Following Nixon’s remarks, presidential press secretary Ron Ziegler scrambled and said that the President had “failed to use the word ‘alleged’ in referring to the charges.” On the way back to Washington on Air Force One, Nixon said: “I have been informed that my comment in Denver regarding the Tate murder trial in Los Angeles may continue to be misunderstood despite the unequivocal statement made at the time by my press secretary.
The last thing I would do is prejudice the legal rights of any person, in any circumstances.

To set the record straight, I do not now and did not intend to speculate as to whether the Tate defendants are guilty, in fact or not. All the facts in the case have not yet been presented. The defendants should be presumed to be innocent at this stage of the trial.”
Way to go. Not the apodictic style of Digong and Bato.

If all my reservations and apprehensions will have been proven groundless by Dec. 31, no one may be happier than I; that would mean a better life for our people. We would remain in Civilization, after Savagery. Humane and kind.

GMA was humane and kind to septuagenarians in her time in the Palace with her Memo Circular 155 and had the anti-poor death penalty abrogated. She and Mike can be additional Repentant Capitalist Roaders. We need everyone in resisting the anti-poor-eye-for-an-eye-rape-the-rapist death penalty.

We welcome the Freedom of Information (FOI) Executive Order applicable to the executive branch. Let’s see what it will say.

Change has to come. The Prez can start with himself. The Assault on Dignity must end.
Catholic Veep Joe Biden just said that the Pope had “electrified the world because he embodies the basic tenets of Catholic social doctrine that also cut across all great faiths [as exemplified by Saladin and Richard the Lionheart]—everyone is entitled to be treated with dignity, we have to help the poor…”

I don’t know that after the human rights advocates’ get-together in Makati yesterday that I will find the time to rush to Club Filipino, managed by my stude, Kamandag Obet de Leon, for a conflicting get-together to honor Digong. The Prez was OUR stude in 1972 but I was out of the country in his freshman-to-junior years, so he was never under me at a time when our enrolment was small. Leni was MY stude in our grad law school but had to leave when she became a Cong in 2013 (right priority).

Sana Digong would have been joined yesterday by Bedans Executive Sec. Bingbong Medialdea, Justice Sec. Vit Aguirre, Transportation Sec. Art Tugade and DICT Sec. Rudy Salalima.

If Leni Robredo would also go, I can only filch Hillary Clinton’s STRONGER TOGETHER, when Red Lions Roar Together.


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  1. I dont understand what Saguisag is trying to say. Mukhang nag nostagia lang sya and talks about his past encounter with the prominent lawyer.

    KSP lang si Saguisag, walang saysay yung writings nya.

  2. Mariano Patalinjug on

    Yonkers,New York
    15 July 2016

    I am not at all surprised that former Senator and top-flight human rights Lawyer RENE SAGUISAG should cover a lot of ground in this column of his in the Manila Times issue of July 14; a consistent reader of his columns like me is used to this–is it “strength” or “weakness” on his part? [I wonder.]

    With that comment out of the way, Senator Saguisag mentions the successful international lawyer PAUL REICHLER with whom he shared a Law Firm once upon a time in Washington, D.C.–and who was the Lead Lawyer in the territorial-dispute case which the Philippines lodged against China in 2013–and which the Philippines won by a unanimous ruling of the Permanent Court of Jurisdiction in The Hague on July 12, 2016
    Lodging that case against the PCA was a decision made jointly by President Aquino and his DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario. Both deserve plaudits for a move which was legal, lawful, amicable and civilized–and successful.

    My one plaint is that China, although a signatory to UNCLOS, like the Philippines, refuses to honor and obey the ruling. Instead it is even now acting like a wounded Bully, writhing and twisting in the wind with both pain and fury!

    Senator Saguisag also mentioned Bastille Day in passing. Here I need to comment that way back around April of 1964 I was on a tour of Europe and when I was in Paris, got a chance to visit the Bastille
    The Bastille is a historic prison and it figured in the French Revolution of 1789. In that fateful year the people of Paris, hungry and in rags, could no longer “take it,” stormed the Bastille, triggering the momentous French Revolution of 1789.The political and social context was that for centuries before this, France was held in the vise-like grip of a ROYAL-ARISTOCRATIC-CLERICO CONSPIRACY whose overarching Agenda was to perpetuate itself in power and wealth, the better to manipulate and exploit the people, in the process reducing them to the status of SERFS! It was the Revolution which broke that vise-like grip effectively.

    Too bad that renowned human-rights Lawyer Rene Saguisag is now a ripe tomato of 77 and may no longer be that vigorous as he was in the time of Macoy. To bad because under Der Fuhrer’s reign, there is a very good chance that the country will be turned into a KILLING FIELD, just like Cambodia a few years ago. The families of many of those who will be murdered extra-judicially–including drug addicts, drug lords, drug pushers and the protectors of those drug lords–may no longer benefit from the services of Lawyer Rene Saguisag, who deserves now to be completely at peace in retirement.


  3. I read somewhere that although the USA did not comply with the 1986 World Court judgment re: compensation for Nicaragua (for mining its harbors), nonetheless, as soon as there was a change it its government (after 5 years), it paid the money to the new government subject to withdrawal of the suit. At the time of the judgment, Nicaragua was governed by the “Communistic” Sandinistas – enemies of the USA.

    Nice to learn a bit more about Paul Reichler from someone who knows him personally. What a shame that he was not interviewed by PH newspapers. His legal team performed a trememdous job. China lost big time!! Together with the former president PNoy, Reichler and his team (which presumably includes SC Associate Justice A. Carpio) deserve a “Victory” trophy with their names engraved in gold or silver. Kudos and congratulations to all of them!!

  4. Just as I intimidated months before, assault to dignity has a second coming so you’re too young retire.

    Glad to hear MABINI is undergoing physical therapy and is about to walk again.

    Ma. Boo Hi!

  5. You know I totally regret opening your column which I don’t usually and it is because I can’t understand why you are are at all accommodated in any newspaper with your ramblings that don’t amount to anything useful. I am a little older than you and I advise you sincerely you better forget the thought that you still matter in any way with your thoughts unless of course it’s your last source of income to sustain your life. Sorry my fellow senior citizen I am just as guilty of doing senseless things many times perhaps out of desperation to be still relevant. Just go on I will just avoid the aggravation by ignoring totally from now on your uselesscolumns.

  6. What’s “kamandag” means? referring to ODL…he is my best cousin in the Francisco’s side….btw, my week will not be complete without reading your article which is very interesting and lots of chikas in one article that gives me dizzy spell after reading it….lol! Sometimes I sent few comments.