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Mar 06

Sent back to the Supremes

280807_02ma_640.jpgLet’s start with Neri and executive privilege: A timeline courtesy of the PCIJ.

My column today is A color of constitutionality The Inquirer editorial today is In aid of transparency, My column was less enthusiastic than today’s editorial about the compromise offered by the Chief Justice: Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J. who, by all accounts, was coaching the legal team arguing the Senate case, wasn’t pleased, either, but tried to make the best of it in A case of delicate balancing -but all have been overtaken by events.

The problem is of course, something that came as a surprise yesterday evening: Senate rejects SC compromise on Neri.

(see also, Senate rejects compromise: Conditions set by SC seen as crippling legislature) I’ve been mulling over the reasons why the Senate decided to harden its position and rebuff the Supreme Court. I think the Senators decided they are operating from a position of strength, legally and politically speaking.

By all accounts, going into yesterday’s oral arguments, the Supreme Court was split, 7-7, on Neri’s petition. The effect of such a vote, if it had taken place, would have been to deny Neri his petition. However, revealing, in essence, a party-line vote would have discredited the Supreme Court, because it would have shown that even clearly significant cases are now reduced to which justice is loyal to the President, or not.

For that reason, it would have made sense for the Chief Justice to throw the ball back in the Senate’s court, hoping it would clarify the extent to which Neri intended to be obstructionist. The Palace, for its part, faced with a sure loss if the Supreme Court had voted, could also look forward to a reprieve, while Neri in the meantime could invoke executive privilege, get into trouble with the senators, and have the whole thing end up back in court.

By which time, a new Justice would have been appointed, thus further firming up the administration’s numbers in the high court.

The Senate, though, in rejecting the compromise offered by the Chief Justice, and which has therefore puts pressure back on the court. The Supreme Court can now proceed to drag its feet: SC needs time for final ruling on executive privilege.

Lawyer Teddy Te, for one, is happy over the Senate’s decision (see his blog, Vincula):

After nine hours of orals, the Supreme Court Chief Justice offers a compromise–perceived by Malacanang to be “solomonic”, which should already put you on guard–to the Senate: 1. Neri will testify at the Senate, 2. he will not be arrested anymore, 3. but the three questions he had invoked “executive privilege” against will not be asked anymore and will be considered asked, and 4. each and every time he invokes executive privilege, the issue will be tossed back to the Court.

My first reaction was that it was a “cop out” by the Court, after strong decisions on press freedom and showing strong resolve against EJK and ED with amparo and habeas data. Later on, after speaking with very reliable sources, it made sense–though I still didn’t agree with the compromise; my sources told me that the CJ and Justice Carpio felt outvoted by the Gloria people in the Court and feared a loss had they insisted on a decision–so to avoid a loss, the CJ offered the compromise. One step backward, two steps forward–was it Lenin who said this, or Tommy Manotoc? Yes, it made sense but it still left me with a bad taste in the mouth.

If the Senate approved the deal, Gloria wins, hands down and the Senate loses, big time. The power of the Senate to summon witnesses would be severely impaired and the dictator gets away with silence on the three questions that directly place the ZTE deal at her doorstep.

I am glad that the Senate FINALLY acquired a collective spine (did that include you, Joker?) and some collective sense of identity and history and said, “thanks, but no thanks.” I hope the SC addresses this issue and, despite the lifting of E0 464, rules that its invocation under those circumstances was not proper and that Neri SHOULD answer those 3 questions.

This explains, to my mind, why the Palace slams Senate’s ‘arrogance’ for rejecting SC proposal. The compromise could have hidden the party-line vote it had in the Supreme Court; and it bought that most precious of political commodities, time. But, since anything is possible, it could also happen that an irritated Supreme Court, piqued by the Senate’s rejection, could then simply decide in Neri’s favor.

In the meantime, returning to Fr. Bernas’ piece, some problems now arise:

If no compromise is reached, will the court require Neri to appear at the Senate? Neri has claimed that he has the right not to heed the Senate’s call.

Should the court require Neri to appear, it would mean that for the court, the current Senate inquiry is not one where President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may prevent a department secretary from appearing, as provided for in Article VI, Section 22 of the Constitution.

Rather, the court would be saying that the current Senate inquiry is one in aid of legislation under Article VI, Section 21.

In Senate v Ermita, the court said that only the President and justices of the Supreme Court are exempt from summonses to an investigation in aid of legislation. Neri is neither the President nor a justice of the Supreme Court.

Should Neri still refuse to appear, in effect he would be claiming a right analogous to the right of an accused against self-incrimination. An accused can completely refuse to take the witness stand.

But if Neri is required to appear, the court would be saying that his situation is more analogous to the right against self-incrimination of a witness who is not an accused.

A witness who is not an accused may raise the defense of right against self-incrimination only when an incriminating question is asked. He has no right to refuse to take the witness stand altogether.

By analogy, the court would be saying that Neri may raise the issue of executive privilege only when a question he deems to be against executive privilege is asked.

It should be remembered that executive privilege belongs to the President and to no one else. At most, it can be claimed by the executive secretary by express authority of the President.

Hence, Neri must be able to show that after prior consultation with the President, he was instructed to claim executive privilege.

Whereupon, following the teaching of Senate v Ermita and in accordance with the tenor of the questions posed by the justices on Tuesday, Neri will be asked what exactly he is seeking to hide behind executive privilege.

At this stage, and as already mentioned during the Tuesday hearing, it may become necessary for the court to examine in chambers the secret sought to be guarded by the executive for the purpose of determining whether indeed the matter can or should be legitimately kept from the eyes of the public.

After all, the Senate has to be properly informed if it is to legislate intelligently, and the public generally has a constitutional right to be informed of matters of public concern.

Moreover, as already admitted in the Tuesday hearing, criminal matters are not covered by executive privilege.

Meanwhile, the story behind this news item –Arroyo revokes EO 464 after meeting with religious leaders– I found out last night. No one was supposed to know the President was going to meet her allied bishops, particularly the ones from Mindanao, at the Discovery Suites. However, the media was tipped off and reporters camped out. This meant that attendees were observed coming and going. And that the President ended up making her announcement sooner than planned. Speaking of bishops, Patricio P. Diaz dissects recent statements by the Catholic hierarchy.

In the meantime, Senators also want Memorandum Circular 108 scrapped. Check out smoke’s comparison of E.O. 464 and M.C. 108.

When he does publish a book, it will a doozy. Read Lito Banayo’s growing feeling of Déjà  vu. Meanwhile, the plot thickens: Arroyo not just witness at NBN-ZTE deal signing: and Another China contract missing.

And Gail Ilagan has some interesting observations concerning Lozada’s abduction.

Economic news: Poverty worsens between 2003 and 2006, according to the National Statistics Coordination Board. (see Poverty worsens despite growth and Poor Filipino families now number 4.7 million and More Filipinos below poverty line ) In his blog, [email protected] comments on the figures. In his column, Peter Wallace says that while government claimed 7.3 percent GDP growth last year, the real figure is about 4.8 percent growth. See also Inflation surges to 5.4% in February and NEDA expects to record growth slowdown in Q1.

How do foreign analysts go about determining risk in the Philippines? Read Forecast that Arroyo will survive has ‘large margin of error’ – analyst.

In the blogosphere, Phoenix Eyrie, Reloaded, is at the very least, ambivalent about opposition to the President. Spring Roll is confused by recent events. Mandaluyong High School says, let’s think positive. Splice and Dice thinks that the issues gives people a chance to seize the day. blackshama believes the old People Power is dead, long live whatever replaces it.

Observations from a Lowly Traveller is looking forward to migrating. Bayan ni Kabayan looks at the Neri chart.

470 comments

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  1. The Ca t

    Ca T, the author may be a lawyer but the chart that he used (showing the correlation between barrels of oil and GDP) came from the U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis. I refer to that chart not for the purpose of comparing an ‘industrialized country’ vs. the Philippines but to show that such a comparison can, and has, been made by economists.

    where is the caption of correlation in the chart? Just like you, the lawyer is just using the chart as visual. He did not come up with it by himself.

    Para hindi ka na mahirapan, ito clue, compare the percentage changes between two variables.

    Maybe you will learn from this. Look what are compared and look how the chart is being analyzed. There are always statistics to back up any observation and yet the finding was not yet conclusive.

    In Economics, multiple coefficient correlation is needed to consider other factors that may affect the trends of two variables.

    http://research.stlouisfed.org/publications/mt/20071201/cover.pdf

    i admire your enthusiasm to make me agree with you but hey cvj. Sorry to disappoint you. i did not get the degree by just reading articles. I have to sweat it out proving theories by means of statistics.

    it is unfair, you are learning from me for free while I paid for my tuition fees to study economics.

  2. grd

    But if you can find the phrase “the end justifies the means” in the SC ruling then good for you… justice league

    neither can you find in the SC ruling the bible passage in Isaiah, Chapter 62, about “Restoring Zion” and how the SC acted to save “the constitutional system from collapse”. i’m begging mlq3 and everyone’s indulgence here for posting this old article below from Asia Times.

    RESTORING ZION: THE EX-PRESIDENT WHO NEVER QUIT
    By Ted Lerner

    MANILA – Just before noon on January 20, 2001, then Philippine senator Raul Roco stood amid a huge crowd gathered on a staging area at a Manila religious shrine, looking out over a gathering of several hundred thousand people. He had come, as had everyone else in attendance, to witness, in the next few moments, the swearing in of then vice president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to the office of President of the Republic of the Philippines. It would be the culmination of several days of political turmoil in the country. The impeachment trial of president Joseph Estrada on charges of plunder, graft and corruption, had collapsed when the prosecutors walked out. The military had withdrawn their support from the president. And now, abandoned and alone, Estrada had resigned from the office he won handily only 18 months prior. Or had he?

    Roco received a call on his mobile phone. It was the British Broadcasting Corp on the other end. Roco was patched into a live broadcast being beamed around the world.

    “Mr Roco, has president Estrada resigned?” asked the BBC anchor.

    “Yes,” Roco said above the din, “yes, he has resigned.”

    “How do you know that he has resigned?” asked the anchor. “Have you seen a resignation letter?”

    “No, no I haven’t seen a resignation letter. But I’ve been told that he resigned and that he has submitted his resignation letter.”

    In the tumult of the moment, it seemed a trivial matter. Surely something as important as the resignation of a country’s leader would be properly and thoroughly documented and handled with utmost care and attention. After all, the world was watching and things would have to be done right. Sure enough, several moments later Arroyo was sworn in as the 14th president of the Republic of the Philippines.

    But that seemingly insignificant detail of an actual resignation letter is proving, up to this day, to be quite a serious matter. For Roco, nor any other of Arroyo’s supporters, has yet to see or been able to produce a resignation letter from Joseph Estrada. That’s because one doesn’t exist.

    So that can lead the rational mind to ponder the inevitable question: How is it that Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was sworn into the office of president, when a vacancy didn’t exist? True, Estrada said he was taking a leave of absence from the office, as his two letters to Congress at the time indicated. Under law Arroyo would be only serving as “acting” president, with Estrada able to return to the office upon the date and time of his choosing.

    But that’s not the way it played out. Two days after swearing in Arroyo, the Supreme Court produced a letter that was dated January 20, 2001, and purportedly written by then vice president Arroyo stating, in her words, that president Estrada was incapacitated and that he was no longer able to carry out the duties of his office. Thus, she wrote, she should be sworn in as the next president.

    Incapacitation is one of the four legal ways a president can be replaced, but under Philippine law, it is the Congress that decides whether the president is incapacitated. This was never done. Obviously, a vice president cannot simply declare a sitting president to be incapacitated, as there is a serious conflict of interest.

    Then, several months later, the Supreme Court forgot all about the incapacitation argument and ruled that Estrada had “constructively resigned”. The court completely ignored the two letters of Estrada and never even bothered to call him in to ask him whether or not he had resigned. Instead it based its decision on an unauthenticated diary written by Estrada’s former executive secretary and printed in a local newspaper – it actually used news clippings – and claimed that it provided a window into the mind of Estrada, proving that he had “constructively resigned”. That was that. According to the Supreme Court, Arroyo was now the de facto president of the republic. Estrada was finished.

    From his air-conditioned suite in Veteran’s Memorial Hospital in Manila, where he has been detained for more than two years while his trial on plunder charges continues, Joseph Estrada vehemently maintains that he never resigned the presidency. The man who was elected by the largest mandate in Philippine electoral history, in the cleanest election the country has ever seen, insists that the chief justice of the Supreme Court, Hilario Davide, along with several other justices from the high court, violated the constitution and broke the law by swearing in Arroyo to fill a position that was not vacant, and by later reaffirming her rise to power by claiming – erroneously, Estrada says – that he had indeed resigned.

    Estrada has always insisted that he never resigned, but now, backed by some stunning new evidence, he has gone on the offensive. He has hired a new lawyer and directly challenged the jurisdiction of the anti-graft court, claiming that as the legitimate president, he is immune from suit. More important, his former lawyer and former senator Rene Saguisag has filed an impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives against the chief justice of the Supreme Court and at least six other justices “for culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal of public trust for swearing in an illegitimate successor, for denying Estrada his basic rights and for prejudging his case”.

    Even though Arroyo is not mentioned in the complaint, the grounds cited have a clear and direct bearing on her legitimacy. For if the justices erred, that means Arroyo’s ascension to the presidency is null and void and that Estrada remains the true president of the Philippines.

    Predictably, the presidential Malacanang Palace and its supporters laughed off the new challenge to their authority. They have claimed it’s a political ploy, a destabilization plot from the Estrada camp, or just a diversionary tactic because Estrada’s afraid of being convicted in his plunder case. They’ve also said that the issue of Arroyo’s legitimacy has been settled long ago by the Supreme Court.

    But that begs the question. If there was no vacancy in the presidency, just what were the justices doing at the swearing-in of Arroyo? Wasn’t that a highly partisan political event? And how can they later rule on her legitimacy when they themselves were a party to her ascension to a post that wasn’t even vacant?

    Estrada’s new-found confidence stems from a tell-all book written by one of the key players in his ouster more than two years ago, Supreme Court Justice Artemio Panganiban. In his book Reforming the Judiciary, Panganiban takes the reader back to those days of political turmoil. Estrada’s impeachment trial had collapsed when the prosecution walked out in frustration; the military had publicly withdrawn its support from Estrada, the duly elected commander-in-chief; hundreds of thousands of anti-Estrada partisans had gathered at the shrine. Panganiban says it was at that time that the justices acted to save “the constitutional system from collapse”. He actually states that he and the chief justice decided to swear in Arroyo even though they knew Estrada had not resigned.

    “Let me articulate my faith that Edsa II [the name of the event that led to Estrada’s ouster] was indeed a confluence of events planned in heaven,” he writes. “I am still wondering up to now how I had summoned the courage to propose the oath-taking of Mrs Arroyo even when President Estrada was still in Malacanang; and why Chief Justice Davide immediately agreed to it, even prior to consultation with other justices.”

    Perhaps the most amazing passage out of the book comes when Panganiban talks about “restoring Zion”. He writes that both he and the chief justice have a daily habit of consulting the Bible. Panganiban has a certain passage that he reads on particular days. Davide, though, prefers to cut the Bible at random, taking inspiration from whatever passage happens to appear.

    Before dawn on the morning of January 20, 2001, Panganiban tells how he called up Davide, who related that he chanced upon a passage in Isaiah, Chapter 62, about “restoring Zion”. It was then, Panganiban states, that Davide had his higher calling. Yes, that was the answer to the turmoil that was currently besetting the Philippines. The chief justice would have to “restore Zion”.

    But for the chief justice of the Supreme Court, who had been presiding over the now failed impeachment proceedings, “restoring Zion” did not, as one might think, entail going on radio and television and telling the crowds massing at the religious shrine that the constitution must be protected at all costs, that they should insist that the impeachment trial should continue to its conclusion, that no matter what the military generals had said, president Estrada was the legitimate and duly elected leader of the Philippines, that he was elected by the sovereign will of the electorate in the cleanest election in Philippine history and that to try and unseat him in ways other than legal ones would do more harm than good and merely succeed in turning the country into a banana republic. Yes, that would have been the logical meaning of “restoring Zion”. But Justice Davide had a different interpretation.

    To him “restoring Zion” meant swearing in then vice president Arroyo to the office of president, this despite the fact that he knew no vacancy existed in the position. Restoring Zion meant that they would legitimize a military withdrawal of support of the legal commander-in-chief, something that the constitution clearly prohibits. Instead of upholding the constitution and insisting that the impeachment trial continue, their actions have, some observers claim, legitimized mob rule.

    “We need a ruling on whether the courts may rely on the Bible instead of the constitution,” Saguisag said after filing his impeachment complaint. “We need a ruling on whether it is all right for justices to take part in partisan political exercises and then uphold themselves when obviously they could not be impartial as judges of their own cause.”

    “In my experience,” said Estrada’s new lawyer, Alan Paguia, “these [the justices] are just 15 lawyers. Can they change the will of 10 million voters?” Paguia said the justices, in voluntarily administering the oath to Arroyo, violated the “judicial ban against political partisanship”.

    As of this moment only a handful of congressmen have openly supported the impeachment complaints and, with Congress on a six-week recess, the matter won’t be fully discussed until the beginning of August. Panganiban’s book and Estrada’s subsequent offensive, however, have seemed to generate renewed interest in the confusing and highly controversial events that took place back in January 2001. Supporters of Arroyo, once again on the defensive in the face of apparently strong legal grounds, have resorted to extolling the God-given virtues of that murky phenomenon known as “People Power”.

    “I could not see any partisan politics coming from the Supreme Court,” responded Arroyo’s justice secretary. “What took place [on January 20, 2001] was an event arising from the sovereign power of the people. All authority emanates from the people.” Even Panganiban, whose book has suddenly disappeared from the market, claimed they did right because “the welfare and the will of the people is the supreme law”.

    How the “will of the people” in a democracy is measured in anything other than an election is anyone’s guess. What is certain, though, is that the filing of an impeachment case against the Supreme Court justices promises more political fireworks to come and exposes the deep and gaping wounds that still afflict the Philippines more than two years on.

    If only they could have produced that resignation letter.

    Ted Lerner is the author of the newly released book of Asian travel tales, The Traveler and the Gate Checkers, as well as Hey, Joe – A Slice of the City, an American in Manila. E-mail [email protected] or visit http://www.hey-joe.net.

    (Copyright 2003 Asia Times Online Co, Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact [email protected] for information on our sales and syndication policies.)

    http colon //www dot atimes dot com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/EF13Ae01 dot html

  3. justice league

    Bert,

    Even if Esperon should be a more determined guardian angel for PGMA, a lot will still depend on how many are going to stick with Esperon (staying with PGMA like Ver staying with Marcos) should something like EDSA occur. And that essentially was what I was implying in the rest of the paragraph that quote came from.

  4. Bencard

    bert, i think you misconstrued my comment that you were responding to at 12:56 pm. i wasn’t really “endorsing your objective”. i just made a rhetorical argument that, since the gloria-haters have failed again and again to unseat her, wouldn’t you have a better chance if you waited till 2010 and protested if she did not step down? maybe, just maybe, they would succeed to muster “sufficient” number of people to rally to their cause.

    btw, i have no reason to believe that “gloria” is not “clean” and, for the record, i haven’t and i am not “distancing” from her. however, frankly, i don’t care whether YOU “admire” me for it or not!

  5. grd

    bencard, based on the article i posted above re Restoring Zion, what’s your opinion regarding the SC’S ruling on estrada’s “constructive” resignation? is it Normal practice for the judiciary to seek divine intervention when rendering a decision? really, it’s water under the bridge now but i’m just interested in what you have to say regarding this matter.

    <<<<<<<<<

    DAY 11

  6. Bencard

    very simply, grd, i think it the sc decision was based not on a written resignation but on the words and deed of estrada while leaving malacanang, which were all recorded on t.v. and the newspapers, in addition to angara’s diary and testimony. “evidence” is not limited to documentary. contemporaneous recorded acts and statements may also be admissible to prove the truth of a proposition.

  7. justice league

    Grd,

    Saw your post last night but I had to get some sleep already.

    I’m taking your word that the bible passage in Isaiah, Chapter 62, about “Restoring Zion” and how the SC acted to save “the constitutional system from collapse” isn’t found in the SC ruling.

    But then since Lerner’s article tends to “implicate” CJ Davide and future CJ Panganiban; last time I checked, neither of 2 deliberated for that SC decision.

    BTW, ex- Pres. Marcos was contested by Alejo Santos in an election once. I don’t see Marcos needing to cheat Santos. In that election, Marcos had more votes there than Estrada had in his.

  8. grd

    bencard & justice league,

    very simple bencard? which came first, the chicken or the egg? did estrada really voluntarily resign? you have to take note that while Gloria is being sworn in by Divide (Jan 20, 2001), Estrada is still in malacanang denying that he’s resigning (was the act of Davide legal?). it means there was no vacancy yet. I’ll quote part of the article again.

    Two days after swearing in Arroyo, the Supreme Court produced a letter that was dated January 20, 2001, and purportedly written by then vice president Arroyo stating, in her words, that president Estrada was incapacitated and that he was no longer able to carry out the duties of his office. Thus, she wrote, she should be sworn in as the next president.

    Incapacitation is one of the four legal ways a president can be replaced, but under Philippine law, it is the Congress that decides whether the president is incapacitated. This was never done. Obviously, a vice president cannot simply declare a sitting president to be incapacitated, as there is a serious conflict of interest.

    Then, several months later, the Supreme Court forgot all about the incapacitation argument and ruled that Estrada had “constructively resigned”. The court completely ignored the two letters of Estrada and never even bothered to call him in to ask him whether or not he had resigned. Instead it based its decision on an unauthenticated diary written by Estrada’s former executive secretary and printed in a local newspaper – it actually used news clippings – and claimed that it provided a window into the mind of Estrada, proving that he had “constructively resigned”. That was that. According to the Supreme Court, Arroyo was now the de facto president of the republic. Estrada was finished.

    so bencard, are you saying that the SC can actually use the unauthenticated diary of Angara and some news clippings in its ruling re Estrada’s constructive resignation? why then are you overlooking what Panganiban wrote in his book re Restore Zion?

    “I am still wondering up to now how I had summoned the courage to propose the oath-taking of Mrs Arroyo even when President Estrada was still in Malacanang; and why Chief Justice Davide immediately agreed to it, even prior to consultation with other justices.”

    Perhaps the most amazing passage out of the book comes when Panganiban talks about “restoring Zion”. He writes that both he and the chief justice have a daily habit of consulting the Bible. Panganiban has a certain passage that he reads on particular days. Davide, though, prefers to cut the Bible at random, taking inspiration from whatever passage happens to appear.

    Before dawn on the morning of January 20, 2001, Panganiban tells how he called up Davide, who related that he chanced upon a passage in Isaiah, Chapter 62, about “restoring Zion”. It was then, Panganiban states, that Davide had his higher calling. Yes, that was the answer to the turmoil that was currently besetting the Philippines. The chief justice would have to “restore Zion”.

    justice league, you really believe that the other SC justices have any other choice but legitimize the event of Jan 20, 2001? considering what’s at stake for the nation even if Davide and Panganiban did not participate in the deliberation, they knew that the solution to the turmoil that was besetting the country was in their hands. and based on Panganiban’s book, there was consultations with other justices.

    the truth is, Estrada was ousted through people power and never resigned from office. that’s the simple fact. otherwise, we will not have edsa 3 (people power of the masses as what mlq3 described it).

    Estrada having lost the support of the military, chickened out that’s why he fled malacanang. that was not an act of valor or statesmanship.

    but the event was called by most foreign leaders and political analysts as mob rule and unconstitutional. former Supreme Court justice Cecilia Muñoz Palma opined that EDSA 2 violated the 1987 Constitution.

    >>>>>>>>

    DAY 12

  9. justice league

    Grd,

    I hope you don’t mind answering but are you in the Philippines? Your post are rather coming very late by our time. It has no bearing whether I will answer you or not though.

    Hopefully I can get back to your other concerns at a later time.

    However regarding your question on believing that the other SC justices have any other choice but legitimize the event of Jan 20, 2001; Estrada and his lawyers thought so. Former Sen. Saguisag went as far as even proclaiming that the then future decision would enrichen Philippine Jurisprudence and will be taught in school, or words to that effect. I see no reason at this time why I should hold differently.

    Regarding valor or the lack of it; you’re not exactly claiming that Estrada lacked discretion that day, are you?

  10. Bert

    Whether justice league or grd is correct, it’s clear, by their arguments, that the take-over by gloria was illegal. The discretion by erap at the time was good for him and the psg, but bad for us. Chavit’s marines under a certain de los santos were on the move already, creeping toward the enemy for the kill, and that sonofagun angelo reyes had abandoned his president. Erap and the psg, assuming that the psg would die for him as mentioned by justice, has no chance, would have been annihilated in a jiffy. In contrast with edsa 1, marcos’ order to his men not to shoot saved the day for the nation. It nipped a civil war in the bud. Today could be different. Now we have a president that clings to the throne for her life. Let go of that throne and she’s a goner. The irony is that, according to one of her minnions she’s a lucky bitch. I believe that. For one she has esperon who’s so in love with her he cried when a prospect of separation loomed. He proved his affection to his lady in the election, and been rewarded accordingly. Oh, there’s no telling what a person would do in the name of love. So, could be different this time. In an event where there will be massive people power today, gloria’s discretion is quite predictable. So are the events that would follow. Even assuming that most generals would not go with esperon, still, I believe it’s going to be tough days for all of us. Unless a quick fix is bound to happen.

  11. justice league

    Bert,

    With regards to your view that Gloria’s take-over was illegal; the SC just doesn’t share it.

    The discretion of Erap may have been indeed good for him and the PSG, but how the heck was it bad for “us”? The PSG were deployed with high powered firearms and tanks to boot. I surmise that one the first of many things that a soldier does when fired upon is to return it (and bullets have a habit of being sent “to whom it may concern”). The only direct relation to Erap’s discretion that I can think of at this moment being bad for anyone are the funeral parlor owners, coffin makers, etc.

    But if we are to go by your belief that it’s going to be tough days for all of us; it seems those (may GOD have mercy) funeral parlor owners, coffin makers, etc. are going to rake in that previously unrealized profit.

  12. justice league

    Grd,

    Oooppsss. Maybe I should have said your post are coming rather “early”.

    Regarding your other concerns; I haven’t read CJ Panganiban’s book so I don’t know what kind of consultations with other Justices you are referring to. Lerner’s article tends to imply that the decision for the oath taking was reached prior to any so called consultation. However The SC did release an administrative letter stating that Arroyo’s request for administration of the oath was treated as an administrative matter and not as a case as even exemplified by the statement of “This resolution is without prejudice to the disposition of any justiciable case that may be filed by a proper party.”

    Of course the words of Justice Cecilia Munoz Palma had clout, but the entire SC that deliberated just saw it differently. Maybe foreign leaders considered the event as mob rule or unconstitutional or then maybe not, nevertheless, such did not prevent members of the international community from extending their recognition of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the Philippines.

  13. grd

    Justice,

    To answer your question, I’m an ofw. An absentee voter who gets the chance to go home 2x each year only. I”ve been religiously following the events that have been happening in our country though.

    Again, about that “landmark” SC decision pertaining to Edsa Dos, I think DJB (I’m quoting his comment below) and I came into the same realization of that event. For me Edsa 1 should have been enough. I do respect your opinion and belief though.

    My views on Edsa Dos were shaped by my discovery of Artemio Panganiban’s book and the TRUE STORY of what happened and how, at Edsa Dos. DJB March 10th, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Re consultation with other justices, Panganiban mentioned it on his book (the book was later recalled or withdrawn from the bookstores) which was partly quoted on Lerner’s article. But just like you, I have not really read the book except learn parts of its contents from news clippings and from various blog discussions.

    As for Estrada’s discretion that time, I do agree with what Bert here said, I maintain my belief that Estrada did it for the safety of his family and himself. He fled out of fear from the mob that’s about to storm malacanang. It was not an act for love of country or saving people’s lives. That’s how I read the event that happened that time. We have to remember that Estrada was escorted by Angie Reyes in leaving malacanang. I think he was given a fair enough warning on what to expect if he chose to stay that day.

    With regards to your rebuff of Bert’s comment re Estrada’s discretion is bad for the people, I agree with you. How could we say so unless that time? Unless of course we know what the future brings. We are just saying it now because Gloria messed up the country pretty badly.

    Maybe foreign leaders considered the event as mob rule or unconstitutional or then maybe not, nevertheless, such did not prevent members of the international community from extending their recognition of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as President of the Republic of the Philippines.

    You are right, I agree. But then again, this act of members of the international community is not really something extra-ordinary. To cite some, just take the case of Musharaf of Pakistan, or say the military junta of Thailand or even Myanmar. The world simply doesn’t care.

  14. justice league

    Grd,

    In addition to an earlier post under moderation, I’m viewing more of Bert’s statement that Estrada’s discretion was bad for us more on the line that Chavit’s supposed marines were already set for the kill and were unable to carry it out rather than on what future actions Estrada’s successor might have done.

  15. justice league

    Grd,

    I wonder why my earlier post did not materialize.

    But anyway, thanks for indulging my personal question and I hold the same for your opinion and beliefs too.

    But regarding the consultation, I understand that what was implied is that CJ Davide and Panganiban have already made their decision on the oath taking before any of such occurred.

    And I am not questioning Bert’s idea that Estrada could have done it for self serving reasons. It may indeed have been that.

    But then your description of the act of members of the international community may also be apt for foreign leaders’ words.

    Good luck on your job and be safe always.

  16. grd

    Justice,

    On Estarada’s discretion, as I was saying, while I agree with Bert’s statement that the act of Estrada was self serving, I don’t second guess that decision to be bad for the people.

    It’s like comparing Edsa Dos to the US invasion of Iraq. Americans and its allies feel so good that time thinking to have done the right thing about liberating an oppressed populace only to have regretted the move years later when things got worst.

    Just like you, I don’t subscrive to the idea of a bloody confrontation that could have resulted if Estrada had insisted on staying.

    But regarding the consultation, I understand that what was implied is that CJ Davide and Panganiban have already made their decision on the oath taking before any of such occurred.

    From Lerner’s article, he mentioned “Panganiban says it was at that time that the justices acted to save “the constitutional system from collapse”.

    I really don’t know if those words were written by Panganiban on his book or just the interpretation of Lerner. But going with that reasoning re savior of our constitutional system and with the oath taking already done, there’s no question in my mind that the other justices would have supported their two colleagues action all the way. But that’s my own opinion, I really don’t know how the legal mind works (although I understand they consult the bible also).

    By the way, if you happened to read the SC ruling, how did it go? Was there any dissenting opinion among the SC justices? I thought it was unanimous.

    But then your description of the act of members of the international community may also be apt for foreign leaders’ words.

    I think most countries have hands-off policies when it comes to other countries’ internal affairs. This holds true specially on changing govts prematurely. Foreign leaders would always talk about upholding the rule of law and constitutional processes but either way, once a new govt is restored, they will have to eventually recognize it. In a way, you’re right about these foreign leaders. I think they are only after their country’s own interest. The international community can impose sanctions but I think this option has been found to be counter productive and would just hurt only the people but not their leaders. At least, that’s the reason given by ASEAN leaders on not sanctioning Myanmar.

    Good luck on your job and be safe always.

    Thank you very much. Appreciate it. I wish you all the best also. Thanks again for the pleasant exchange although my response comes sooo late (or early?). 🙂

  17. justice league

    Grd,

    Regarding Lerner’s statement on what then Justice Panganiban said; just in case it was indeed stated by Justice Panganiban, it may been referring to the authority given by the Justices to the Chief Justice on January 20, 2001 to administer the oath of office to Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo which makes it an administrative matter on the part of the court without necessarily prejudging any case that may be filed questioning the oath taking.

    Well like I stated before; Estrada and his lawyers just believed differently. Well, at least till they lost.

    Thirteen Justices deliberated on the matter, though some wrote separate but concurring opinions; they all agreed on the decision dismissing ex-Pres. Estrada’s petition challenging PGMA as the de jure Prsident of the Philippines. That makes it unanimous.

    I do understand your point regarding the acts and word of foreign governments.

    And it was a pleasant exchange with you too.

  18. anthony scalia

    grd and justice league,

    you just demonstrated the model way to engage in a discussion. hats off to both of you

  19. justice league

    Anthony Scalia,

    It was a nice experience.

  20. Gaia

    EXCUSME.. I’M ITALIAN AND I DON’T UNDERSTAND THAT YOU HAVE WRITE BUT … WHAT IS THE NAME OF “tararan tararan tararan tan tan …” SONG??? PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

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