THIS paper carried last Tuesday a reprint of the front page of an old issue and mentioned Judge Bienvenido Tan as setting for hearing notorious Ben Ulo’s case on December 28. No big deal. When I was a young lawyer, I was in court between Christmas and New Year. Courts always open, say the Rules of Court. The lore was the Judge would fine anyone not in court at 8 a.m. but should be; if he was late, he’d fine himself. Fine work ethic. No Filipino time for him.
The other day, I was supposed to help bail out a septuagenarian couple, wheelchair-bound, in a building code violation but saw a TV crawler the day before, courts closed. I hope they don’t get arrested this weekend.
Last year, courts closed also on December 23 and did not reopen for business until January 5 of this year. Good that Jito Arreza, a lawyer I am assisting in a drugs case had a client released just before courts closed the other day. We had dealt with scalawags whose gang included rogue elements from the Bureau of PLANT Industry.
Else, indolence. No work ethic in a country with the longest holiday season in the world, this year not only in the ‘Ber months. The Supreme Court (SC) should not make a big deal of readiness to act on Grace’s case tomorrow or Tuesday. It is paid to work.
I head on radio-TV Christmas carols beginning in July. Part of the holiday climax for us was our Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach winning as Miss Universe in a manner that would never be beyond easy recall. I do remember Gloria Diaz’s win in 1969 when my then girlfriend, Dulce, called me from Boston to say that her fellow Scholastican, Gloria Diaz, had won. I have not met here but I did, Marige Moran, in Clark, in a get-together arranged by Mondragon’s head honcho, Tony Gonzales, a La Salle visionary who started rebuilding Clark after the Mt. Pinatubo devastation.
The Miss Universe gaffe early this week may be likened to Digong Duterte winning in May 2016 and proclaimed as Mayor of the Republic of Pasay.
Seriously, I am for allowing Grace Poe and Digong to run. As a member of the human rights community, I cannot see myself voting though for my fellow Bedan law alum, Digong, with the private population reduction program he brags about.
He seems to be focused on riffraff. If he starts dispatching crooks to the Promised Land or where my critics tell me to go, how many would be left? That is why we have to have Leila de Lima, another fellow Bedan, in the Senate. Digong dislikes Lei.
I have to question any wannabee’s preference for Manny Pacquiao, who is not preparing for the Senate, but for his next bout. I keep saying I do not underrate his capacity for subjective growth but he seems to have knocked out all opposition to his being the House’s Top Absentee.
Grace is the daughter of fellow Bedan FPJ, whose middle names are generosity and decency. Grace and my wife, Dulce, attended Boston College and may be expected to rely on Jesuitical jiu-jitsu in tough situations at the commanding heights of the presidency, where I was in 1986. Digong also attended Ateneo in Davao, per press reports.
At times, based on my Guest House stint in 1986, a Prez may have to choose among bad, worse and worst, guaranteeing flak no matter what. I may not like Pia’s answer on US bases but I can live with it. We fought for the right to express ideas we agree with and even those we disagree with and even abhor.
Grace continues to be a popular choice and again, as a human rights advocate, I see Art. 24 of the Civil Code as mandating that the system be vigilant in according protection to the handicapped. I include in this sector an ampon, anak sa labas, putok sa buho and illegitimate who must not be unfairly burdened with having to prove who his parents are.
Hey, orphaned Jojobama Binay reviewed for the Bar in San Beda in 1967. He stars as cover boy in the new Esquire issue (I am an extra).
My constant caveat has been I have not decided who to vote for in May. Let us see how many will remain standing when the smoke clears. I have cited case after case where the Supreme Court has refused to rule on political questions, avoiding legalisms and leaving it entirely to another Branch of the People in their sovereign right to decide, Tanada v. Cuenco, Sanidad v. Comelec, Daza v. Singson, Tanada v. Angara, Philippine Bar Association v. Comelec etc. Let the sovereign people decide who will lead us after Pnoy, not the unelected Comelec or SC.
This piece may be the first column I have appearing on Christmas Day.
May we all have the best and the finest the season of grace, generosity and goodwill and the coming year can bring anyone.