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Jun 23

Not honorable

Jose Romero was not only the father of National Artist for Film Eddie Romero, as I pointed out in a past column but also the author of a marvelous political autobiography titled Not So Long Ago. An entry by Sassy Lawyer reminds me of something Remero complained about as a veteran legislator (he was one of those who began using English in the deliberations of the Philippine Legislature in the 1920’s):

I also deplored the use of expressions that were literal translations from the Spanish. The expression ‘Your Honor,’ a literal translation of Su Señoria used in Spanish, as well as the expression ‘I reserve a turn,’ from the Spanish phrase Reservo un turno en contra or a favor , grates on the ears of those used to hearing English-speaking legislators because, of course, the proper expressions are: ‘The gentleman from such-and-such province,’ and ‘I reserve the right to speak, etc.’ The title ‘Your Honor’ in English-speaking countries is reserved for judges, mayors, and some other officials, but not for the members of the legislature.

The other events of the day were Panfilo Lacson’s assumption as Head of the Opposition, during his press conference in which he gave evidence of administration electoral fraud. What was significant in his press conference was the presence of people such as Makati Mayor Jejomar Binay. This may portend a reshuffling of mainstream opposition politicians, who are finally fed up with the bumbling of the Estrada crowd.

The hearings in the House were a little less disorderly than yesterday, and resulted in some significant developments. The first was the decision to call in respected constitutionalists to help the House figure out the legal issues raised by the tape(s). The second was the befuddlement of NBI Director Wycoco when subjected to questioning. The third was pointed out by ANC Anchor Ricky Carandang, who said that it was clear that the majority members of the House had arrived at a strategy of nit-picking whenever the discussion swerved in the direction of the tapes, and a slow, methodical, chipping away at official’s testimonies on the part of the minority. Wyoco did not do well on the line of questioning of several oppositionists, including Butz Aquino: if, Butz asked, the NBI had yet to determine if the tape(s) were/are wiretapped, then how can the Department of Justice justify trying to frighten people? Also, Rep. Etta Rosales zeroed in on the NBI raid on a printing press and made it clear the NBI’s resorting to an obscure provision of the Revised Penal Code was something not usually done by the government. The hearings have adjourned for this week and will resume around Wednesday next week.

4 comments

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  1. jimmy

    thank you for pointing this out. during the
    impeachment hearings, all of the ‘your honors’ really was grating to the ears. I suspected
    as such that in the States, they would have
    avoided this form of address.

    Just think how incongruous a sentence as such would sound. ‘your honor, you are a total ignoramous.’
    it is not at all condusive to spirited debate.

    As well in the States, I don’t believe they use Your excellency. I don’t know if it was
    Macoy who first appropriated this title for himself. i.e., His excellency President Ferdinand
    Marcos.

  2. mlq3

    Jimmy,

    “Your Excellency” was actually insisted upon by my grandfather. It was the title of the Governors-General of the Philippines, and he felt that anything a foreign ruler of the Philippines had (including titles) a Filipino president should possess. Roxas wanted to drop it but by his time the title had already stuck.

  3. felipoy

    “Gentleman” as a proper address to scoundrels is an oxymoron too.

  4. mlq3

    f-

    eh even the toilet is known as the “Gents.”

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