“Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.”
– From Invictus by William Ernest Henley
My last column is the last about EDSA. I have dispensed with the lessons learned from that uprising. It is presumptuous of me to tell everyone the lessons I have learned. I’ll just keep them to myself in preparation for the final plunge, whatever that means.
The vicious attacks
I was shocked to read the vicious attacks against Senator Grace Poe and the Supreme Court after the release of the Supreme Court decision. I never thought that people who pretend to have intelligence and education could come out with such vicious, ignorant and irrational attacks against Senator Poe and the SC. There are several reasons why I am passionately enraged. First, I hate ignorant and irrational discussion in any form. Second, I have no respect for arguments offered by people who are not authorities on the subject.
Third, there is no room for argumentum ad hominem in a civilized discussion; that may be good for gutter politicians, who constitute the rule in our society, but not for polite and decent company. Fourth, I dislike the approach of people who lecture to us on honesty and morality when they have no basis for doing so considering their background. Fifth, I rage against injustice in any form.
What these attackers should do?
If these attackers do not like the decision, why don’t they just argue their position well, so the people can consider whether they are right or wrong? They don’t have to malign Senator Poe and the justices who rendered the decision in favor of Poe and the foundlings.
The rule in decent debate and conversation is to avoid going into the motives, character and qualifications of Senator Poe and the justices; discuss the issues and present your legal and factual arguments for examination by your audience.
Let’s leave the justices out of the public discussion and spare Senator Poe of the viciousness that characterizes street political debate in this country and in the world for that matter. Let’s just argue with a high degree of civility by presenting our arguments well.
Since a motion for reconsideration is obviously an exercise in futility, the vicious attackers have these options: First, take the issue to the people and intensify their campaign against Senator Poe so she will not be elected President. Second, file an impeachment case against the justices that they hate under Section 2, Article XI of the Constitution. Third, mount a revolution under Section 1 or 3 of Article II of the Constitution, if they have the means, guts and intelligence that are necessary for victory.
And let’s see how good they are. In the meantime, they should not pollute the air with their vicious, ignorant and irrational arguments.
First things first
These are things people should know about me. For the moment, I do not believe that elections will pave the way for the choice of a national leader, that is why I have no candidate for President, Vice-President or senators. Anyhow, my endorsement has no pragmatic value in electing any of these officials. I have shed off membership in all political parties except my own, which is for now dormant, the Mindanao Alliance. I have no ambition to be President or anything else except that I am working for a change of system. I believe in this country and the validity of my ideas, vision and principles. I don’t get disturbed by what people say of me or my writings – they can go to Hell for all I care. I will just do what is right.
I believe in a peaceful constitutional revolution. If it is no longer possible, I believe in what President John F. Kennedy once said: “Those who make peaceful revolutions impossible render violent revolutions inevitable.”
Back to Senator Poe, foundlings and the SC
I am neither a campaigner nor supporter of Senator Poe; she has enough campaigners and supporters to elect her president. She does not need my vote. I am not a defender of the Supreme Court; the members are old enough to defend themselves and the institution. I am writing this piece as a contribution to intelligent, rational and civil discussion on the subject of foundlings and whether Senator Poe can run for president of this country. So let us go back to basics.
What is a foundling? It is child found after it is abandoned by unknown parents.
What is the citizenship of a foundling in the Philippines before the decision? There is no law in the Philippine, before the decision, which defines the citizenship of a foundling.
In the absence of such law, who is empowered by the Constitution of the Philippines to resolve that issue if there is a case before the courts or any of her institutions? The body or institution which has the sole power to make that determination is the Supreme Court
(SC) under section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution
Why must the SC rule on the issue? It is because the Constitution says so and it is a legal doctrine in this jurisdiction that law abhors a vacuum and there is an existing vacuum in our laws on that particular issue.
Absent the existence of such law that will resolve the issue on the citizenship of foundlings, what is the remaining point of reference of the SC to provide the answer to this question?
There is nothing, except section 3, paragraph y of Rule 131 of the Rules of Court (RC) which states that “Disputable presumptions. – The following presumptions are satisfactory if uncontradicted, but may be contradicted and overcome by other evidence: …(y) That things have happened in the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of life;”
What is the ordinary course of nature and the ordinary habits of life? That the disputable
presumption that foundling abandoned in the Philippines, as in the case of Senator Poe, is that her parents are Filipino citizens.
Why should that be the disputable presumption? Because it is the ordinary course of nature and natural habits that only a Filipino parent/s could have left a foundling in the Philippines. It is absurd to imagine that a foreign parent/s would come to the Philippines just to abandon a child. And in this jurisdiction, under the rules of statutory interpretation, one should not give a law or rule an absurd interpretation?
That being the case, what then is the citizenship of a foundling? Of course, she/he is a natural-born Filipino citizen. Being a natural-born citizen, he/she, as in the case of Senator Poe, can run for President under section 2, Article VII of the Constitution.
Can the disputable be disputed and overcome? Yes, under section 1, Rule 131, if the one who disputes the presumption can present any credible contrary evidence.
In the case of Senator Poe, have the claimants who maintain that she is not a natural-born Filipino citizen presented any contrary evidence to support their claim? Absolutely, none!
This in a nutshell is the case of Senator Poe. Any other interpretation is not consistent with our laws and the English language.