True and false prophets

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RENE SAGUISAG

THE time will come for history to judge our current Supreme Court, which includes our paper’s “Justice” Jomar Canlas, who I commend for enterprise. Tunay, di pobulaang propeta. He has done it again. I am again shocked and awed.

Our SC leaks like a sieve and has done nothing about it that I can see.

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In the Marcos era, we filed lost cases for winning causes, as depositions for history, and to make the other side doubt its moral premises—to be judged at a later time, in the calm of our study. The Marcos SC is not remembered fondly today, for its blind spot when it came to martial law (ML) cases (e.g. the ratification cases of March 31, 1973, a day of infamy; it was excellent otherwise elsewhere). Last Tuesday’s majority ruling may satisfy the high feelings of the moment, in certain sectors, but in the sober afterglow may come the realization of a sorry constitutional overreach, or folly, to paraphrase Justice Frank Murphy.


Judiciary succumbs
Rottweilers Speaker Bebot Alvarez and Rep. Rudy Fariñas, Digong’s attack dogs, had threatened the SC (and the Court of Appeals) with impeachment complaints, etc. Digong himself said he would rely more on the military and ignore an unfavorable verdict; egregious shades of Macoy. The judiciary, beleaguered on more than one side, by being bullied, arguably succumbed. Survival or self-preservation, after all, is the first law of mankind.

Those who do not remember the past, warned Jorge Santayana, are condemned to repeat it.

Sen. Tito Guingona, my fellow freedom fighter and Senate contempo, marked another birth anniversary last July 4 (his 89th). His sage counsel I have not forgotten: “Deny, deny, deny, until you die.” What used to be denied is now flaunted, very much in the open. Prez Digong does not deny, but even exhibits, if you know what I mean. Change has come, and I just may have to eat my heart out here.

Maybe after a year of governing by braggadocio, arguably, our amazingly popular Prez—like Manny Pacquiao—should now consider Teddy Roosevelt’s sage counsel: “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” if we have the latter.

And stop ?misusing the ?human rights salute? of the oppressed (clenched fist).

China?s creeping baseless spurious irredentism is reducing our territory. We are perceived as lambs meekly settling for its cheap bribe of firearms. We are not winning elsewhere, or so it seems, from where I sit, choked in traffic, worse than ever. A disaster was the ?Battle of Brisbane,? exposing certain Manny Pacquiao backers as false prophets.

And stop misusing the “human rights salute” of the oppressed (clenched fist).

China’s creeping baseless spurious irredentism is reducing our territory. We are perceived as lambs meekly settling for its cheap bribe of firearms. We are not winning elsewhere, or so it seems, from where I sit, choked in traffic, worse than ever. A disaster was the “Battle of Brisbane,” exposing certain Manny Pacquiao backers as false prophets.

The July 3, 2017 Time cover carried the caption or title “Battle of Marawi.” After a year of Digong, we’re again in the limelight. But, I am going on 78, born 1939; one marathon ML regime is enough for one who has survived martial misrule by the Japanese and the Marcoses.

Now, we seem to have a police state. And the narcotics trade is back in Bilibid, resurgent, admits Injustice Secretary Vit Aguirre, courtesy of “tainted” cops. Mga Pulis Na Patola (PNP). A colossal disaster then, Digong’s failed costly, bloody, hardline policy on drugs, which in fact has not succeeded anywhere else.

Will Thailand for instancereprise its spectacular failure? Who has copied Digong after a year? Human life and dignity continue to be respected elsewhere.

Better off today?
Has Digong’s ascent from local mayor to the presidency, been good or bad karma for the nation? Aside from Honeylet Avanceña and his reported two kulasisis in Davao City, where his children are mayor and vice mayor (the Durants’ “paradise of pedigree”), and his alleged kalaguyo in Cagayan de Oro, his fellow Davaoeños and frat brods, how many of us can truly say “I am better off today than a year ago?” The killer traffic alone, costing us billions, affects and limits me, and I, with health issues, dread going out. Unaffected, has he said or done anything about it? Am I the only one left expressing concern over the Duterte dynasts? (My pal, Ting San Diego, head of MAD—Movement Against Dynasties—was murdered in 2015.)

The Prez has to slow down his hectic social life that can kill a horse. He is 72, with health issues.

Aboard the Skyway bound for Muntinlupa last Friday, to lend my moral/immoral support to Sen. Leila de Lima’s legal team, the gridlocked Makati-bound traffic was horrid. Nothing like it a year ago. I was late for her hearing but FLAG-MABINI stalwart Alex Padilla was there. Alex should be in the Senate, as his father, Ambo, was (a star athlete, like Bill Bradley of the Knicks; they worked as full-time senators and did not minimize the position as a sideline or hobby. Great Pretenders they were not).

Leila’s crime? Criticizing Digong’s human rights policies. Suppose she had been quiet or even joined the chuwari-wari choir? See the police generals and his BI brods. May advance pardons na, as promised?

To be fair, Digong is entitled to his fair share of rookie errors or lapses. But, positive change must come, beginning with bettering and refining his limited vocabulary. Has his continued cussing given us a better life? His audiences may stop applauding. Kumita na po ‘yan.

Sophomore jinx?
And even if his hardline supporters saw a spectacular rookie year, should we be concerned about a sophomore jinx? Beginning with the Debacle in Brisbane?

The Time piece mentioned above concluded with a militant telling kin about his plan: “I will die.” Our brave soldiers, patriots, with all due respect, serve to earn a living, by and large. How do we fight juramentados with the incentive that as martyrs, 70/71/72 virgins wait for them in paradise, distant promises of beauty untouched by the world? KJ me would want to know (my usual foolish questions, from an unhinged mind): these virgins, how old are they? How do they look? Does it explain why they have remained virgins? Sexist and anti-Muslim, you say? K, sorry. No fatwa, please.

Did we have to destroy Marawi in order to save it? The city of Ben Pre was supposed to have been destroyed in order to save it during the Vietnam War. Another memorable Time cover was its February 1968 issue showing national police chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan shooting a handcuffed Viet Cong. It won a Pulitzer for Kiwi Peter Arnett, who quoted destroy-and-save, and might have helped turn the tide of public opinion.

On February 7 to 8, 2017, 20,000 Muslims, along with Christians and aliens were killed in Jolo by our military. The suppressed media had no account on it. Today, the alert militant press may save lives and protect other human rights in Marawi, grossly violated per the Lanao del Sur Integrated Bar of the Philippines chapter.

Military Intelligence may again have proven to be a contradiction in terms which may explain why Digong was in Russia when the Marawi tragedy began.

Martial law continues to enjoy the brown-nosing support of those with legal problems and cases, save Leila who would not be in jail today had she kept quiet, or even apple-polished, the winning formula of those that Digong and Injustice Secretary Vit choose not to go after. Selective justice, administered with an evil eye and an uneven hand. Sen. Sonny Trillanes, a saving grace, to be punished for being a Voice, not an Echo?

After one year, traffic worse than ever. Malas po, which affected Manny Pacquiao. If his Wassisname? foe simply stood at the end of 12 rounds, he would not have lost, from where I sit, given the boasts and false prophecies of Manny’s camp.

What Manny can do now
Boxing manager Joe Jacobs became famous for two quotes Manny could use: “I shoulda stood in bed.” And “I wuz robbed.”

If loser Manny, top Congress absentee contender, is thinking of a rematch, the nation and the Senate might continue to be robbed. He has to retire now and focus on his 2022 run for the presidency. There’s hope for one who landed as No. 7 senator after a dismal record in the House as a Non-Performing Liability. But, he has to work very hard as a senator now (Manong Ernie Maceda and I had perfect attendance in 1987-1992, country above self) and share his billions with the Marawi refugees, after settling his tax issues.

Manny once promised to give up boxing to be a full-time public servant. But, he now treats Senate work as a diversion, sideline or hobby. His colleagues tolerate, instead of discipline, him, unethically damaging the institution. He is not the only one who needs to be taken to the woodshed?

Our decay continues. In my Senate stint in 1987-1992, I proposed that we all work as senators full-time, giving up our professional practice and businesses. It was dead in the water, understandably, as we would have had to settle for a take-home pay of P14,612.50.

Today, with all the extras and allowances the senators reportedly get, it may be time to resurrect my proposal.

The consentidores can start with Manny, who had better stop whining and thinking of another fight. They had better stop tolerating the spoiled brat, to help restore the dignity of the Senate as an institution.

He should be told that as prudent it is to know when to arrive so also is knowing when to leave. He should exit with part of the appreciative grateful bloodthirsty crowd still applauding. He should settle his tax issues involving billions with the BIR (Pambansang Balasubas?). And he should not fly out, and back, with an honor guard even. So much wastage of official resources.

Listen to Wifey Jinkee and Mommy Dionesia. The time has come. As a senator, be a man of respect. Look at my city, which has, for a mayora, Abby Binay, who, we can see after her rookie year, goes by the star of non sibi sed aliis, not for ourselves, but others.

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