• The sovereign people, human rights and decay


    I AM back from the hospital, far from well, but able to walk from bed to computer. Not much else I can do though.

    Many fine patriotic minds I respect continue to differ on whether Grace Poe and Digong Duterte qualify to run for Prez. If the issue is valid, then campaign against, and not vote for, them. It is a campaign, not legal, issue. The more, the merrier.

    A type of political question courts cannot touch is one left to the people, in their sovereign capacity, to decide. I submit that the issue of who will lead us in 2016-22 is, with all due respect, too important to leave to the Senate Electoral Tribunal, the Commission on Elections, the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, or the Supreme Court, to decide. The People should.

    In Tañada v. Cuenco, 100 Phil 1101 (1957), the Supreme Court said that a political question “connotes what it means in ordinary parlance, namely, a question of policy. It refers to those questions which, under the Constitution, are to be decided by the people in their sovereign capacity, . . .”

    Prudential considerations favor Grace and Digong, in my view. No policy choice higher than choosing a prez.

    Grace – who got 20,337,327 votes in 2013, from electors who did not suspect she was not one of us. I have had a lifelong sympathy, as a human rights advocate, for perceived losers, for the handicapped. She was a pulot, in Jaro, Iloilo, for whom the law should be biased under Art. 24 of the Civil Code, in our society that would be “humane,” in our Constitution’s Preamble. An abandoned love child comes to this world with two strikes against him; I won’t join anyone dumping or piling on him. “Ikaw, pulot, anak sa labas, putok sa buho, patunayan mo kung sino ang magulang mo. Pinoy ba?” Cruel, insensitive and unreasonable. Less than fair, from where I sit.

    I won’t commit today to vote for her, either. A week is a long time in politics. Harold Wilson.

    Let the People reject her, in the ballot box, not some agency meandering in the bowels of our bureaucracy.

    But, I posit that Grace is a natural-born Pinoy in the sense defined by Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, in our class, “one born a citizen.” I do not see her as a natural-born born Martian smuggled in surreptitiously as an infant. She looks and talks like many of us, she laughs. Probability is the one witness who never lies or errs.

    No fair to demand that Poe-Lot prove that she was not a natural-born Manchurian.
    She attended Assumption, UP and Boston College (as my late Dulce did).

    One perceived to have been elected has legitimacy, vital in trying to lead an arguably ungovernable nation of more than 100M conejos.

    So let the voter, as a particle of popular sovereignty, decide who we will next punish to try to lead unleadable us, a nation of scofflaws.

    Grace’s residence? Short by a few months, if that? This jurassic standard was meant to make sure one is familiar with the problems of her turf. But, one can keep track today of local conditions even when abroad, by radio-TV, computer, fax, mobile phones, email, ipods, etc.. No more American President Lines or old propeller craft. One can fly from Manila to San Franco nonstop in a little over 12 hours. So, el sitio nada importa. The place does not matter. That is why it is easy to accept that a promdi Cong staying mostly in Metro Manila, where he may have a second home (and family?), qualifies as a Cong representing some faraway place with a strange-sounding name.

    It is important the next Prez, whoever he/she may be, enjoy the widest, biggest mandate.

    Let not the SET, Comelec, SC, but the People, as particles of popular sovereignty, decide.

    Are the sovereign people to be factored in on human rights? The UN Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated on December 10, 1948. Sidelined, say some observers. It seems to me all candidates should be asked where they stand on the issue, which we hope they can tell from a hole in the ground.

    Anyway, it is not nice to say to any foundling who looks and sounds like us, “you are stateless,” in a society that would be humane, and should not impose inhumane, even impossible, burdens. A foundling cannot prove who abandoned and maybe rejected him or her.

    If the cycle is savagery, civilization and decay, who among the aspirants has the fast lane to the third?

    [Note from Opinion Editor: We apologize to readers and Columnist Saguisag for moving his column from Page 4. The column will be in its normal place next Friday.]


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    1. I guess circumventing the law is acceptable standard now. or is the Norm?
      Is that what you are promoting?

    2. I beg to disagree.

      It is a PROCEDRAL question with very significant political implications.

      It is a test as to whether this nation of ‘scofflaws’ as you say can start mending its ways by respecting the CONSTITUTION and follow the highest authority as promulgated by the PEOPLE and not scoff at it as well.

      It is not about FOUNDLINGS nor is it about ‘el sitio nada importa’ because of technological developments in communications.

      It is simply about following the RULES.

      Then, maybe our nation can move away from the pejorative ‘scofflaw’ description that you so like to use.

    3. Johnny Agustin on

      Rene Saguisag seems to complement former Comelec Chief Sixto S. Brillantes, Jr. idea with regards to Grace Poe DQ. Set aside the Constitution as the fundamental law of the land and let the people decide, that’s it. Now the question is who is higher, the Constitution duly ratified by the people or the voice of the Filipino citizens? Former Comelec Chairman Christian S. Monsod opined that the Constitution as fundamental law of the land is much more than or above the vox populi, vox dei.
      Rene said, Let not the SET, Comelec, SC, but the People, as particles of popular sovereignty, decide. Whew! I am not amazed therefore that the continuing violations of the Constitution that are being committed in our midst is due to this mindset of “people power” kuno! Grabe! Then, lets put in trash the Constitution!

    4. As you lawyers often tell us, “Dura lex, sed lex”. Until everything is made inequivocal ior very clear in our Constitution.

    5. Nobody should trust the Filipino voters, majority remains to this day as Palengke Voters, putting into office actors & actresses, womanizers, voting more on popularity and looks, and name recall rather than substance. So I say, we should not let the voters decide.

    6. Glad to read your column back,Rene and straightened all the goobledygok on Poe,Duterte and all the presidential wannabes. Just dont vote for them or any candidate you perceive as not deserving to be president . As simple as that! Do I need to say more? Meanwhile, let us not allow unelected and unelectable justices Comelec commissioners or columnists to decide the fate of the nation come 2016.

    7. Marcos had every right to come back to face all the charges against him after EDSA ’86, yet you opposed that. Today, Grace Poe as a foundling and a liar- she stated before the Bureau of Immigration that she was the real daughter of Susan Roces and FPJ to regain her citizenship when she knows that the world knows that she was adopted- yet you support her. You are indeed a top guru of insane yellow logic. Keep it up because it is logic like this that inflames people even more against the hypocrites of this yellow regime.

    8. Bert O. Romero on

      What’s the Constitution for if crucial issues like qualifications of the president will be decided and settled by the people? Isn’t it that it was the people themselves who ratified these constitutional qualifications requirements in the first place?

      • Who is higher, the constitution or the voice and decision of the Filipino citizens ? That is the sovereign question. Is the letter of the law or the will of the people ? In my opinion, let the people decide. Imagine if Sen. Poe and Duterte are disqualified, this is the greatest injustice that may happen in this country. I just do not want to be here if that happens. That is shameful and embarrassing to say the least.

    9. Saguisagng Katangahan on

      Candidates for president must meet the qualifications set forth in the current Philippine constitution. Otherwise, the constitution should be amended to accommodate foundlings, and those no-read, no writes and permit them to run as president of the country, and even foreigners at that, since you’re at it. Can you not see the illogic of your reasoning? Or is that one of the side-effects of the medications you’re taking that your doctors warned you about?

      • Ikaw naman, naghahanap buhay lang si Rene. Kailangan may maisulat lang sya para naman maka boundary. Note that column writers have deadlines so maski ano na lang ang sulatin basta lamang may maisumite before the deadline. Pagbigyan mo na yun tao. Nakita na naman natin ang fallacious reasoning ng mga abugado at walang pinagiba dyan si Rene. Maski ano sasabihin in defense of their client.