• WAM, Ka Pepe, Harper Lee, Antonin Scalia and Madonna


    LAST Tuesday, I guested in PTV4 and connected or reconnected with Cindy Domingo, Mila Aguilar, Girlie Avila and Mila de Guzman, who just came out with “Women Against Marcos – Stories of Filipino and Filipino-Americans Who Fought a Dictator.” WAM! Cindy I met two decades ago in the Seattle home of my hipag, Alma Q. Kern. These patriots, who have not stopped caring for the Motherland, had assisted the families of Silme Domingo (Cindy’s brod) and Domingo Viernes, salvaged by Marcosian thugs in 1981, to obtain justice. In my time in the Senate, my proposed Resolution No. 28 dealt with it. (The other day, we launched Raissa Robles’s gripping “Never Again,” in the finest law school in the entire Rockwell Complex.)

    In November 1987, I went to Seattle and met Judge Barbara Rothstein, who I sensed was a Cory Aquino fan. The court ruled against the Marcoses and awarded millions of dollars to the victims. I again met the Judge, a fellow Harvard Law alum, in Shangri-La Makati, more than a decade ago, over breakfast arranged by my compadre, Chief Justice Art Panganiban. (‘Padre, last Tuesday, I was in Solaire’s Eclipse, dancexercising, with Sonia M. Roco, 1964 Most Outstanding Student, Lirio Covey, her Theresian co-awardee for 1964, and Kulasa Ditas Rivera, my co-awardee in 1963. In another table was PWU’s Celia Arreza, our contempo I last met in an anti-Macoy rally in Ugarte in Makati following Ninoy’s salvaging in 1983.)

    Last Monday, I had a cameo appearance in UP in a CARMMA (Coalition Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacanang) event. In my brief speech, I mentioned To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, who wrote that conscience trumps majorities. Carol Araullo later texted me it is one of her faves. A sister of hers, Pat, was a 1963 Outstanding Student co-awardee. We all have Pasig roots. Harper Lee passed away last week. Her Atticus Finch said “before I can live with others I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” (1982 paperback ed. pp. 139-40) Indeed, one man or a few men in the right is a majority. Or so we thought when a few of us resisted martial law from the start, while others hailed it, or gave it the benefit of the doubt. I never did. Macoy and Imelda opened Swiss bank accounts in 1968; I heard about same the following year. Hence, my lifelong bias against the kleptocrats. Sen. Bongbong? Fruit never falls far from the tree. Greed, for lucre and power and his Prez would be nervous.

    The perpetuation in power eliminated Pepe Diokno (he would have been 94 today and this morning, the Commission on Human Rights will inaugurate Bulwagang Ka Pepe), Gerry Roxas, Jovy Salonga, Ninoy Aquino, et al., from the equation, while Edgar Jopson, Eman Lacaba, Lorena Barros, et al., were rubbed out, in the flower of their youth, totally destroying the natural evolution of leaders. Today, my fellow Rizal Hi alums, Pat and Wilma Tiamzon, languish in jail. I gather he was valedictorian and she, an Honorable Mention, in the late 60’s. Gerry, et al. are gone (save Uncle Jovy, a devout Methodist, who has been very, very sick, for years).

    Also gone is US Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. A devout Catholic, he was a very conservative Justice. He grew up with a devout mother, attended the Jesuit high school Xavier in New York City, was valedictorian at the Jesuit Georgetown University. He displayed a portrait of St. Thomas More, the martyr and patron saint of lawyers, in his SC office. One of his nine kids, Paul, is a Catholic priest.

    Scalia’s appointment in 1986 was a turning point in America’s history of Catholic justices. Rare in American history: two Catholics serving on the bench at the same time, since Prez Andrew Jackson appointed the first Catholic justice, Roger Taney, in 1836. (Taney penned the dreadful Dred Scott decision ruling that Negroes were chattels). He was appointed when Catholic justices were rare. During Scalia’s three-decade tenure, Catholics became the bench’s majority. Justices John Roberts (Chief), Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Sonia Sotomayor and Clarence Thomas, unthinkable before.

    Critics argue that Scalia’s Catholicism at times dictated his jurisprudence. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” says Pinoy Vincent Phillip Munoz, professor of political science and law at Notre Dame. “His most significant church-state decision, Oregon v. Smith (1990), limited the reach of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause. When criticized by religious conservatives for overturning precedent and narrowing protections for religious freedom, Justice Scalia responded by writing another opinion [in City of Boerne (1997)]supporting his original decision with even more evidence from the founders to support his decision.” Vincent Phillip is a son of a client of ours, Vicente Munoz, Jr., a Letran alum who migrated to the US. To the Munozes we owe much of this piece on Scalia.

    Fr. James Martin, SJ, America Magazine editor “seldom agreed with [Scalia’s] decisions and opinions, but respected his intellect and industry, and prays that he rest in peace. “From his stalwart support of religious belief and practice to his fiery dissent from LGBT equality cases, Justice Scalia did more to define the contours of religious freedom in the United States than perhaps any other leader in recent memory,” Rabbi Jack Moline said.

    Manny Pacquiao may find solace in Justice Scalia’s LGBT position. But, I associate myself with Walden Bello in seeing his timing his next bout in the midst of campaigning as improper and unethical, at the very least. Cheating even. However, his absence may spare us from hearing cockamamie ideas in the campaign trail such as labelling LGBTs as “worse than animals.” Susmaryosep! Future constituents being degraded, based on religion.

    On the religion of our current guest, Madonna, her parents’ strict observation of the Catholic faith played a large role in her growth. “My mother was a religious zealot,” she explains. “There were always priests and nuns in my house growing up.” Madonna was only five at the time of her mother’s death. The loss significantly affected Madonna’s adolescence. “[M]others teach you manners. And I absolutely did not learn any of those rules and regulations.” She rebelled against her traditional upbringing by turning her conservative clothing into revealing outfits, frequenting underground gay nightclubs and rejecting her religious background. But, she was a straight-A student, cheerleader and dancer who graduated from high school a semester earlier than her peers.

    She earned an appearance on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand in 1984. During her interview on the show, she told Clark that her main ambition was “to rule the world.” She mixed her drive for success with her penchant for scandal. As a result of one video, Pope John Paul II urged fans not to attend her concerts in Italy (as Archbishop Ramon Arguelles, here), and Pepsi pulled their endorsement of the star. (Like Nike and Manny Pacq).

    Tickets for her MOA show are pricey. So no way I can watch her and not cuz my Church tells me not to. The Church helped Manong Johnny in 1986. He now says People Power only aided the Aquinos. Maybe it also saved him from being barbecued by Fabian Ver. The jittery February 22, 1986 plotter blames us for not putting on line the Bataan nuke plant. As Cabinet and Senate Chair on the Bataan nuke plant Committees, I take it personal: I was as responsible as anyone for its mothballing cuz of unresolved safety concerns. But, my “error” could have been corrected after Cory stepped down, beginning with engineer FVR. JPE and I were in the Cabinet and the Senate in 1987-92. I don’t recall him saying I had erred on my handling of the said Committees.

    In the 80’s we were labelled as “a nation of 40M cowards and one SOB” (I’d add “and one B”). Today, we have 105M rabbits. How many would we have by the time Manny Pacquiao is sworn in as boxing Prez in 2022, as fantasized by his interloping pakialamero Kano coach-trainer?

    Anyway, we were at Edsa beginning on September 23, 1972, while Manong was on the wrong side of it, until February 22, 1986 when, jittery, he confessed to faking it in his supposed September 22, 1972 ambuscade and that he cheated by 300,000 votes in Cagayan. As for his seeming support for far from contrite Bongbong, bayabas bunga rin bayabas. Bongbong faked his British and American scholastic credentials. Talagang anak ng tatay niya.

    Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!

    In 2010, the people chose Noynoy over Erap and Manny V. With all due respect, I doubt that we would have done better under either loser given perceptual concerns (Gibo Teodoro, maybe, no scuttlebutt against him, the son of an SSS chief who could say no to “the First Lady wants this”). In May we will again have to play with the cards we are dealt. Ingat po.

    Oh, yes, JPE once questioned whether Cory was in Edsa during those Four Days in ‘86.

    Yesterday, Joanne Ramirez again mentioned Cory’s going to the POEA Bldg. where she spoke, morning of February 23, having just flown in from Cebu.

    Joanne also wrote:
    All in Cebu with Cory “stood squarely behind her. But one, a Mindanao politician who was part of their party, abandoned the group and took off for Bohol wearing a disguise when he heard about what was happening in Crame.” Who?


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    1. @darwin..WHAT SPECIAL ACCOMODATION YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT?!There is no such thing as that in Oxford, you don’t know what are you talking about, you must earn higher grade in GSCE plus you need to pass the panel of interviewer before you are accepted!!

    2. Benito Tiamzon and Wilma Austria Tiamzon graduated from Rizal High School Pasig City Batch 1969. Benny is the salutatorian and from Marikina City and Wilma first honorable mention and from San Joaquin, Pasig City.

    3. The late columnist and publisher Manong Max Soliven also wrote that Cory was not in EDSA during the People Power event.

    4. If that judge in Seattle was a Cory fan as you said, that means that is biased judgment, and I don’t think Bongbong will be accepted to Oxford if he has no brain, Oxford is on the top 5 best university in the World!!I believed Mr. Saguisag, if you will bleed, the color will be yellow!!Our country’s politics should not revolved only with these two families, times has changed, so much has been done in 30 years, our asian neighbors suffered much than us but look at them now and where are we, we should face the problem today, let the people choose according to track record, not personal attacks but policies envisioned!!We should grow up as a nation not demonising personalities and create emotions!!That is progressive politics not tradition!!

      • Bong bong was accepted under a special accommodation. It was not even a bachelor’s degree but a diploma, the admission of which is not based on the same entrance exam as BA.

    5. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      25 Feb. 2016

      As usual, former Senator and “abogado de campanilla” Rene Saguisag is at his best entertaining his avid readers.

      I limit myself here to commenting on the recently departed US Supreme Court Justice ANTONIN SCALIA, who was “notorious” for having proudly boasted in all of the 30 years that he was on the Bench, that he was an “originalist” and “strict constructionist” justice.

      It were as if those who wrote the Constitution of 1776, the “Founding Fathers,” had set that document in granite, just like Jehovah’s so-called “Ten Commandments” which were known to the Israelites to have been set on tablets of stone–and was so inflexible as to be invulnerable to being harmonized with all the economic, social, demographic, political, scientific and technological changes and “breakthroughs” in the next 200 years or so!

      I am not that sorry that Justice Antonin Scalia has just departed our world–and, having been a loyal and devout Roman Catholic all his life, is probably now in “heaven.”

      Now, it is just possible that we may have a more sensible and reasonable SCOTUS.