Before the bar of history

There are points of no return. These points can either be foreseen or suddenly take place; but if foreseen, then they require people who see what’s looming, to make a decision as to which side they will take.

President Marcos proclaimed Martial Law on September 23, 1972, antedating it to September 21, and actually signing his proclamation on September 22. The Constitutional Convention elected in 1971 had to endure some of its delegates being arrested while others, caught by martial law overseas, in exile. A background on the controversies that hounded that convention can be found in my entry, Why revolts fail, from May 1, 2006, including an extract from Delegate Augusto Caesar Espiritu on the pressure on the delegates to sign a charter practically hand-written by Marcos himself.

Anyway, as the the main decision in Javellana v. Executive Secretary itself chronicles, on November 29, 1972, the Constitutional Convention finished its work, complete with a grinning Diosdado Macapagal handing over the document to Ferdinand Marcos at the Executive Building. The next day, November 30, 1972, Marcos issued a Presidential Decree submitting the proposed constitution to the people for ratification in a plebiscite scheduled on January 15, 1973.

Cases were then filed in court questioning the Marcos decree, on the grounds that the 1935 Constitution could only be replaced by following the constitution’s provisions concerning the ratification of a new charter; among these provisions was that only Congress could call for a plebiscite and appropriate the funds required to hold one.

As the Supreme Court itself noted, meanwhile, on December 17, 1972, Marcos issued an order “temporarily suspending the effects of Proclamation No. 1081”, to allow free and open debate on the proposed charter -the absence of these freedoms having provided the basis for the plebiscite’s being challenged before the courts- but on December 23, 1972, Marcos suddenly announced he was postponing the plebiscite. He then formalized his announcement by issuing General Order No. 20 on January 7, 1973, postponing the plebiscite “until further notice.” He then suspended his suspension of Martial Law!

The Court then noted that up to that point, it had refrained from deciding challenges to Marcos’s call for a plebiscite, since the main grounds for the cases was that only Congress could make that call; and Congress, it noted, was due to meet in regular session on January 22, 1973.

Then Marcos announced (January 1, 1973) that instead of a plebiscite, “Citizen’s Assemblies” would be convened from February 19 to March 5, 1973; over the next few days the questions to be asked changed; and finally, the date for the assemblies would be January 10-15, 1973. Eventually it emerged that the Citizen’s Assemblies would be asked to ratify the new constitution.

The Court tried to deliberate with dispatch, but as the Chief Justice noted in the decision,

On the same date January 15, 1973 the Court passed a resolution requiring the respondents in said case G. R. No. L-35948 to file “file an answer to the said motion not later than 4 P.M., Tuesday, January 16, 1973,” and setting the motion for hearing “on January 17, 1973, at 9:30 a.m.” While the case was being heard, on the date last mentioned, at noontime, the Secretary of Justice called on the writer of this opinion and said that, upon instructions of the President, he (the Secretary of Justice) was delivering to him [the writer] a copy of Proclamation No. 1102, which had just been signed by the President. Thereupon, the writer returned to the Session Hall and announced to the Court, the parties in G. R. No. L-35948 inasmuch as the hearing in connection therewith was still going on and the public there present that the President had, according to information conveyed by the Secretary of Justice, signed said Proclamation No. 1102, earlier that morning.

Recently Mon Casiple recounted to me how, in those anxious days, opponents of Marcos had gotten hold of copies of the proposed constitution with notations and amendments in Marcos’s distinctive handwriting; this information as well as efforts undertaken by some of the delegates, suggested to Marcos that if an honest plebiscite were to be held, the proposed constitution would be rejected and presidential elections would have to be held in November, 1973.

Marcos had no intention of going, not after his great autogolpe, but he was also nervous over the possibility that the initiative he’d seized by proclaiming martial law might be lost, as his opponents caught their breath and public opinion was given a chance to rally around institutions such as Congress or the courts. Congress, as I wrote 12 years ago in The Road to Edsa, was easily attended to by Marcos:

…the traditional opposition, meeting in different houses after Ninoy Aquino’s arrest to console themselves rather than to conspire. So reminiscent of the meeting of Filipino politicians in Speaker Yulo’s House, as the Japanese were about to occupy Manila in 1942. During these meetings, the idea of convening a special session of Congress to declare Proclamation 1081 null and void was brought up-one of which was said to have taken place in Ninoy’s cell (an unlikely story). The following day the legislative building was occupied by troops who “dismantled the offices, carting away equipment, tables and chairs.” Someone had squealed or the rooms were bugged.

The first priority of Martial Law had been to silence the media and arrest critics; then, with the armed forces as the battering ram, to subdue Congress and intimidate the Supreme Court. Subsequently, to keep holding referenda to validate the dictator’s acts.

The last obstacle to Marcos’s ambitions, though, was the Supreme Court. And when it failed, essentially by throwing up its hands and pleading that it had been overtaken by events, Marcos could heave a big sigh of relief knowing that what a legal system ordains, even if not just, enjoys the presumption of regularity.

If Marcos sensed that a free and fair plebiscite would have rejected the proposed 1973 Constitution, and that furthermore, if he knew the Supreme Court was inclined to agree with those who argued only Congress could call for a plebiscite, and appropriate funds for that purpose; and if Marcos knew, further, that if Congress convened, it might start holding inconvenient debates on Martial Law: then he couldn’t allow Congress to convene and he couldn’t allow a free and fair plebiscite. But if he padlocked Congress and held a sham referendum, there would still be the problem of the Supreme Court declaring him, the man who’d proclaimed the Constitution his “passionate obsession,” essentially an outlaw, a usurper. But put another way, if the Supreme Court raised no obstacle to his actions, however constitutionally unsound, then ex post facto, the court would legalize what was done extraconstitutionally.

And this is what the Supreme Court precisely did; and by doing so, it guaranteed that the burden of proof would shift from Marcos to his critics, as far as whether his regime was justified or not.

This defining moment, and how, for courts, it comes to defining decisions,is what I tried to point out in my Arab News column for this week, Why a Chief Justice Would Think of Resigning.

In my column I quoted Justice Antonio Carpio’s recollection (in A Reminder to Justices) of how law students at the time, reacted to Javellana v. Executive Secretary, and how that decision has come to haunt all subsequent high courts:

I was a second year student at the U.P. College of Law when the Supreme Court handed down Javellana. In my eyes as a law student, the gods of Padre Faura, supposedly the last bulwark of democracy in our country, fell from their high pedestals the day they decided Javellana…

Now, whenever a major constitutional issue comes up before the Court, I always ask myself and even some of my colleagues, could this be our Javellana…?

Marcos, in his diary, said in his own version of events, that the Justices were spineless, were more concerned with keeping their jobs, and susceptible to his great gifts of argumentation. While he never caused publication of his diary during his lifetime, independent of him, the public arrived at the same conclusion.

It is in the context of Chief Justice Concepcion’s travails that the recent behavior of Chief Justice Puno needs to be understood; and why the public statements of the Chief Justice have been echoed by many lawyers. In the Concepcion court, by some accounts the crucial votes were provided (in favor of Marcos) by Justices Querube Macalintal and Fred Ruiz Castro, both of whom were appointed Chief Justice by Marcos; while Marcos doesn’t really mention Macalintal, we know that after he retired from the high court, he became Marcos’s decorative Speaker of the Batasang Pambansa, while Castro is quoted by Marcos in his diary as being a cooperative kind of fellow.

In his column for today, A sense of propriety, Manuel Buencamino clearly spells out why Justices need to zealously avoid even the hint of impropriety during their deliberations:

Teresita Leonardo-de Castro wrote the ponencia despite allegations she was appointed to the Supreme Court as a reward for convicting former President Joseph Estrada of plunder. The allegation may or may not be true, but it is there, so out of delicadeza, she should have inhibited herself from the Neri case.

Arturo Brion arrived at the Court after all the proceedings, except the voting, had been completed – but that did not stop him from voting in favor of Neri.

Lawyer Teddy Te said of the two justices: “There is an unsurprising lack of shame in Brion voting on a petition where he did not participate and where popular sentiment held that his appointment was precisely to forestall the effects of a Velasco inhibition. There is also an uncharacteristic lack of delicadeza in De Castro writing for the majority, where her appointment was clearly seen as a reward for convicting Estrada” Amen.

There was a clamor for Presbitero Velasco to recuse himself because he was reportedly a close friend and golfing buddy of Neri. He denied they were close, he said they only played golf once, and then he closed his eyes and covered his ears.

Leonardo Quisumbing, although not an Arroyo appointee, has two members of his family who are. His wife is chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, courtesy of Gloria Arroyo. His daughter is executive director with the rank of undersecretary in the Presidential Human Rights Committee, the Palace in-house body tasked with defending the obscene human-rights record of the Arroyo administration.

Renato Corona cannot claim Neri is just an acquaintance. He and Neri were high-school classmates at the Ateneo. In addition, they were together in Malacañang; Corona as Palace chief of staff before Gloria appointed him to the Supreme Court, and Neri as Neda chief before he was transferred to the Commission on Higher Education for trying to moderate greed.

Corona’s association with Neri, without even mentioning the indiscretion of Mrs. Corona signing a manifesto supporting Gloria Arroyo, should have been ample reason for inhibition.

To be fair, Supreme Court justices are human; their decisions are neither infallible nor completely free of human frailties.

“Our judges,” as Thomas Jefferson said of his country’s magistrates, “are as honest as other men and not more. They have the same passions for party, for power and the privilege of their corps.”

That’s why it’s vital that those who sit on the bench take great pains to act with propriety. They must always appear to be above and beyond reproach.

The issue is not whether such questions or even impressions are fair or unfounded; but once made, they can only harm the Court just as they tarnish individual Justices, because eliminating all doubt would have been so easy: inhibition.

But they didn’t inhibit themselves; they did so, despite the questions raised; this guarantees the questions will continue to be raised and their decision not to inhibit themselves placed in the context of the decision itself, and the circumstances surrounding that decision.

Following up on its report, SC ruling on Neri shows a Palace-controlled court: sources, which described how the Palace lobbied for a favorable decision, ABS-CBN and Newsbreak yesterday published Inside story: SC justices had pre-determined votes on Neri case, written by Marites Vitug. These articles explain why inhibiting themselves was not an option for the Justices being questioned, because their inhibiting themselves, based on their voting records, would have necessarily led to a defeat for the administration.

Here’s Vitug’s account:

The justices voted even before reading the final draft of the decision.

The vote of 9 to 6 in favor of Neri was done at about noon of March 25 – but the decision was signed in the afternoon. The justices were given time to make changes in their opinions, including de Castro, who came up with a third and final draft at about 3 PM.

One justice, we learned, did not get to read the ponencia until Tuesday morning – and voted with the majority.

We gathered that in the morning of March 25, during the en banc meeting, de Castro came up with a second draft because it was pointed out that her ponencia “went overboard”, according to sources privy to the deliberations. The revisions “toned down” the ponencia.

…The Supreme Court (SC) was under public pressure to arrive at a decision as the Senate was still in the midst of investigating the alleged bribery in the NBN deal. Senate inquiries were carried live on national TV and widely covered by the media.

It was also unusual that the SC announced the date they were going to hand down their decision. A lawyer with access to the SC said that “the nation awaited the (SC) decision.”

Thus, even before de Castro submitted her ponencia, several justices had already circulated their separate opinions. Chief Justice Reynato Puno decided in favor of the Senate in his extraordinarily long (120 pages) and history-laden opinion. Justices Antonio Carpio, Alicia Carpio-Morales and Consuelo Ynares-Santiago were on the same side as Puno.

Ynares-Santiago was not in the en banc meeting but she left a 10-page opinion before she took off for her overseas trip.

On the other side, favoring Neri and the executive, five justices filed their separate opinions: Arturto Brion, who was barely a week on the job, Renato Corona, Dante Tinga, Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Presbitero Velasco, Jr.

After the majority voted with de Castro, the minority justices renamed their separate opinions to dissenting opinions. Those in the majority renamed theirs concurring opinions.

…Lawyers with access to the Supreme Court tell us that the voting outcome, 9 to 6, and the justices who would be on each side, were almost predictable.

Among those who voted in favor of Neri, six have been seen to consistently vote in favor of the administration: Renato Corona, Antonio Eduardo Nachura, Dante Tinga, Minita Chico-Nazario, Presbitero Velasco, and de Castro.

Two justices who joined this group were described as “straddlers” – Leonardo Quisumbing and Ruben Reyes – because they positioned themselves in the middle and did not make their votes known until the last minute.

Quisumbing and Reyes did not write their separate opinions. In the final decision, both signed “In the result”, meaning, they agreed with the conclusion but not with the stated reasons.

…Former Senator Jovito Salonga, in a separate interview with ABS-CBN, said that this kind of voting is “unconstitutional.” He cited the Constitutional provision which states that judges and justices should always come up, in their decisions, with the facts of the case, the law, and their conclusion. This way, the judges and justices are prevented from voting without reasons.

“That’s a nothing vote,” a former Supreme Court justice said, referring to “In the result” kind of voting. “That’s part commentary on the justices who were either unprepared or were pressured.”

This way of voting is tolerated, however, in the Supreme Court and has even become a common practice, lawyers we talked to said…

Two things have thus emerged out of the Neri case. One, the Supreme Court justices had pre-determined votes and they voted along partisan lines. Two, the chief justice’s leadership style – he is not one to build consensus – failed to encourage a full debate.

While it is a fact that the Supreme Court is an institution that is not insulated from the politics of the times, what is worrisome, some say, is that it has become partisan…

…What the process shows, in this case, is that most of the justices had fixed positions. “Discussions could go on but no one would change his or her position,” one of the lawyers with intimate knowledge of the High Court said.

In this setting then, what role does a chief justice play?

“It is not necessary for the chief justice to build consensus,” one lawyer who has studied the Supreme Court said. “But he or she should encourage full debate especially in such an important case.”

So the issue at hand is larger than whatever the present decision being debated contains; it is about the process surrounding the Court’s handing down that decision, a process which reveals what was at stake for the Palace and which required those sympathetic to the Palace to ignore questions that would have made previous Justices blush and inhibit themselves.

Last Sunday’s Inquirer editorial, The bar of history, called for the entire legal profession to recognize the crisis of confidence facing the Supreme Court. The editorial contains two quotes from Cynthia Ozick‘s essay, “Of Christian Heroism”:

Three ‘participant’ categories of the Holocaust are commonly named: murderers, victims, bystanders. Imagination demands a choosing. Which, of this entangled trio, are we? Which are we most likely to become?

and this (which appeared here back in 2006 as a Quote of the day):

When a whole population takes on the status of bystander, the victims are without allies; the criminals, unchecked, are strengthened; and only then do we need to speak of heroes. When a field is filled from end to end with sheep, a stag stands out. When a continent is filled end to end with the compliant, we learn what heroism is. And alas for the society that requires heroes.

Alas, indeed, whether in the context of something unprecedented like the Holocaust or a political crisis, because what was formerly, for all, simple citizenship, and what was once expected of everyone, that people, as individuals and members of a community, act according to the bare minimum of what’s expected of humanity, suddenly, doing simply decent things takes on the aspect of the heroic: which is galling to those who excuse their own inaction, not least because those fulfilling their duties are no different from those justifying their refusal to act.

The Marocharim Experiment, in another but related context (Jun Lozada, and in answer to an anonymous critic who therefore stands in for many others in the “anti-anti-Arroyo” camp) offers an eloquent rebuttal to those who feel galled:

[Y]ou refuse to lay a single finger on that other suspected corrupt government official, the President herself. Why? “Because there is no alternative to GMA.”

Since when? So you’re telling me that when she committed that infamous “lapse in judgment” years ago, she did it because “there was no alternative?” I’ll give you alternatives to the President that I’m sure you will dispute. I’m sure you will disagree with me that the Vice President, the Senate President, the president of your local women’s club, the president of the jeepney association, are alternatives to Mrs. Arroyo. There is no such thing as “no alternative.”

You say your parents fought at EDSA. Mine did, too. They pushed for alternatives to Marcos at a time when “there was no alternative to Marcos.” Why can’t we do the same? Since when did GMA become the permanent President of the Philippines?

As Rousseau writes: “The strongest is never strong enough to be always the master, unless he transforms strength into right, and obedience into duty.” This is the backbone of the social contract. Mrs. Arroyo has transformed strength into might, and obedience into passivity. She has violated the social contract: EO 464, emergency powers, political killings, media violence, holiday economics, and the “mere” fact that she “protected her votes” in 2004.

* * *

“Anonymous” claims that we can’t oust GMA, much less can GMA remove herself from office, because “the law does not say otherwise.” He/she asks: “What did you do about it, save for shouting in the streets?”

Pardon the childish retort: what did YOU do about it?

I shouted in the streets demanding for justice and fairness because my vote was compromised. My future was jeopardized. Why? It was the only thing I can do: to exercise my Constitutionally protected right to voice out my discontent.

You, on the other hand, tolerated it. You allowed it to happen. In your blind, passive, non-critical support of the President who can do no wrong, you allowed this to happen. You exercised your right to remain silent. Here’s the strange part: you were never arrested. You cannot invoke the right to remain silent when you are free. When your freedoms are violated, you should be anything but silent, much less anonymous.

So I guess I cannot blame the President for everything after all. Let’s face it: as a “savage anti-GMA fanatic,” I only have YOU to blame for this. Now doesn’t that suck? You, in your search for truth and in all your bravado of patriotism, allowed the President to call a COMELEC official, allowed her to “protect her votes,” and in effect, you are allowing her to hush up over the NBN-ZTE deal.

How patriotic of you. What a hero you are. Shame on you. No, to reiterate, damn you.

* * *

Which brings me to those two words. I did not “invent” that “moral code.” You know why you feel so insulted with a “Damn you?” Because it burns in deep, dude. It hits you right on the spot. I’m not asking you to back up your version of the truth: I’am demanding that you stand by your version of the truth. That you man up to it. At this point, you don’t.

And this continues to be relevant in the case of the Supreme Court. The decision has consequences -and they are being felt even now.

Today’s Inquirer editorial, Three monkeys, points to the immediate consequences of the Supreme Court’s decision -consequences, incidentally, independent of what the decision itself may have said, or even intended, or even how, rationally, the decision should be interpreted, much less implemented, since, as lawyers are eager to point out, it isn’t a doctrinal decision.

But whether it’s a doctrinal decision, or not, is beside the point -the point is, it’s effects are there, for all the world to see. And if there are those who would tolerate or even applaud those effects, there are others who won’t stand by as it happens.

Manuel L. Quezon III.

86 thoughts on “Before the bar of history

  1. UP n s: When Esperon met his objective already the president can add the rights to include Mindoro, also Palawan. When officially Palawan became the nth Wonder of the World for its coral reefs, why, it could be a surefire boost to our GDP, whatever that means.

  2. UPn, it’s the responsibility of the ‘elite’ to clean up their own ranks of those who hold back our nation.

  3. @ tonio

    There are plusses and minuses.

    Its happy and fun in these islands. Fiesta atmosphere always. If you’re not into too much wealth, ‘be the best that you could be’, or the achievement chase, RP will be quite ok.

    But yes, a culture of excellence is lacking, and where as you said, the deck is stacked up heavily in favor of the already moneyed and powerful.

    You may want to revisit the site on what makes the Dames the happiest people.

    Go where your heart is. Life is too short for regrets.

  4. “There are points of no return. These points can either be foreseen or suddenly take place; but if foreseen, then they require people who see what’s looming, to make a decision as to which side they will take.”

    In this land, some people take the right side to avert that point of no return, some have a mindset therefore too stubborn to take the right side. Some have loyalties!

  5. “There are points of no return. These points can either be foreseen or suddenly take place; but if foreseen, then they require people who see what’s looming, to make a decision as to which side they will take.”

    Common, it will not be the end of the world.

    As I stated in earlier threads, the Philippines will not be a failed State. However, the Philippine ship will be be adrift in the sea of global prosperity and uncertainty. No land for mooring in sight.

    We will just be “rolling with the punches” and “playing the cards dealt us.”

    Reality check and survival.

  6. i guess it’s time to check the job ads… for work abroad. – tonio

    Ah…the “Benign0 solution.” – Mike

    Not all overseas Filipinos are like BenignO and BenignO has nothing to do with Filipinos going abroad. Name it something else like *&^* solution.

  7. I remember excusing myself from an invitation of Manolo to participate in the discussion on “separation of powers” in his talk show. However, I did draw his attention to a constitutional issue I had had a chance to delve into in an older commentary regarding the implication of the so-called expanded certiorari jurisdiction of the Philippine Supreme Court under Section 1, Article VIII of the Constitution as construed today by the justices. I was referring to the Court’s “judicial power” as defined in the said constitutional provision as including “the duty of the courts of justice to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally demandable and enforceable, and to determine whether or not there has been a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part of any branch or instrumentality of the Government.” (Italics mine). The suggestion was meant to express my apprehension about the potential for “judicial despotism” in the Philippines in the long term rather than the resort to Marcosian authoritarianism by President Arroyo in the short term.

    I have pointed out in my commentary that Section 1, Article VIII is the realization of a singular mission of Mr. Chief Justice Roberto (“Mr. Rule of Law” himself). The former Chief Justice’s hope, grown out of his unfortunate experience as chief justice, was to obviate another Javellana scenario wherein his brethren in robes conveniently have chosen to evade, on “political question” pretense, their judicial “duty” to rule on transcendental constitutional matters such as the adoption of a constitution.

    Today, instead of a prescription for judicial duty, Section1, Article VIII is emerging as an alarming source of seemingly unlimited judicial powers, with the Supreme Court effectively transforming itself as a branch of government more equal among co-equals.

    The Court had brandished a couple of times before this self-branded expanded certiorari authority, but in the most recent Neri v. Senate Committee decision, it brought out the monster out of the cave to cripple a coordinate branch of the government, even encroaching upon textually committed constitutional functions of the Senate or three of its committees.

    To follow at this point Manolo’s painful nostalgic drift to legal history, it should be noted that judicial review or the scope of judicial powers for that matter is actually vastly unsaid in the US Constitution. But Alexander Hamilton defended it in The Federalist papers during the campaign for ratification of the US Constitution, by arguing that “the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them” unlike the executive who has the “sword” and the legislature the “purse.”

    “The interpretation of the laws,” according to Hamilton, “is the proper and peculiar province of the courts” although he was also among the first to call such function an “arduous a duty.” The plea was characteristically Hamiltonian. He was countermajoritarian (i.e., anti-people power) and during the constitutional convention, delegate Hamilton was quite straightforward about his preference for a constitutional aristocracy, if not monarchy. Luckily for the Americans, none followed his lead, well, not until Chief Justice Marshall’s exercise in applied politics in Marbury v. Madison (1803), essentially a plagiarized version of Hamilton’s arguments.

    Constitutional democracy in America was then in its infancy and yet taking place on a trial and error basis. One of such costly errors was the Court’s decision 50 years after Marbury in Dred Scott v. Stanford (1857). Dred Scott has ruled that black people were not US citizens (because they were in fact not humans but property), heightening the political tensions that attended the American Civil War. The horrible cost was more American lives lost in the fratricidal than in World War II.

    Abraham Lincoln was among those vocally wary early on of “judicial activism.” During his inaugural address in 1861, Lincoln, assailed Dred Scott: “ . . . if the policy of the government upon vital questions, affecting the whole people is to be irrevocably fixed by the decisions of the Supreme Court, the instant they are made . . . the people will have ceased to be their own rulers . . ..”

    Quite afflicted by the Lincolnian angst as a result of some recent disturbing pronouncements by the Philippine Supreme Court (Estrada v. Desierto, Francisco v. House of Representatives, Santiago v. Comelec, Lambino v. Comelec and Senate v. Ermita) as a student of Constitutional Law I have welcomed the following corrective measures: Make easier the constitutional requirement for people’s initiative, referendum and recall and make judges, lawmakers, political parties, professional politicians and the laws and the Constitution responsive to changing necessities of our own time instead of being bounden to “jurisprudential colonial mentality” (to borrow the fighting words of Senator Santiago).

    Neri v. Senate Committee is just another exercise of such “jurisprudential colonial mentality,” in a manner so degrading our Court is even willing to substitute a decision of a US court of appeal for what’s expressly mandated by our own Constitution.

  8. It is uncanny how little this country has progressed since 1971. The Benign0s are still around except they can do their kibitzing safely by email from Manhattan and brag about their cog in the wheel of a great nation they had little to do with building when it was the foundations being laid and not the oh so difficult task of moving into some tenement that Liberty generously opened to them. – DJB

    Very little to do with building a nation? 😀

    Thank God I am not part of that generation who were in their peak productive years of their life back in the 1950’s when the Philippines still held so much promise.

    That these old farts — under whose watch the Philippines went from posterboy to pathetic laughistock — are still around pontificating about their quaint traditions and no-results mindsets is the real tragedy here.

    What is quite amusing is how some Rustic Venerables here make themselves out to be some kind of authority on who had much — or little — to do with building the nation. Very classy indeed. Much deserving they are of those prefix/suffix titles they parade around with and emblazon in their kalabaw desk nameplates.

    It reminds me of an email received from someone who obviously has only one-tenth of the credentials being flashed in this blog but exhibiting insight that blinds with the elegance of its simplicity:

    we filipinos are so hypocrete. we live on lies and half truth.

    when I was a kid (am now 40 [years old]) our elders never give us straight answer. one day while playing to my female friend, we were both taking a bath (nude and I was 5 [years old]) I shout “ay pepe” [and] my aunt scolded me for saying bad words.

    another was, when I ask my aunt again how did I come out in this world. and without hesitation she said “galing ka sa puwet”.

    there’s alot more lies and half truth i learn from my elders, when we went to US at my age of 10 [years old], I was so surprised how ordinary folks explain everything as if am talking to them as the same age as mine. up to now am still wandering why we filipinos doesnt treat kids as intellectual and the future of our country, in the philippines, youth are deprive of ideas what is better for them. look who’s the one talking and explaining everything on tv,radios or in press con. FVR 78 [years old], DOJ Gonzales 78 [years old], Ex Gen Abat 80 [years old], Sec Ermita and other’s who as if t[h]ey will still live by hundred years and cannot accept that their ideas are already “kalawang”. please you oldies, give the youth what is best for the country and for them.

    Read the full article here:

    You are right about one thing, Dean.

    This country indeed has little progressed since 1971.

    Mano po.

    – 😀

  9. Writing your congressman is a good idea, if he has principles, but who among them have? Kakapal din ang
    mga mukha nila. Unlike in other countries where instead of being shamed, they just resign. Sa PInas kasi, pag mapera ka, honorable ka, tawag sayo ‘your honor’.

  10. Writing your congressman is a good idea, if he has principles, but who among them have? Kakapal din ang mga mukha nila. – santaclos

    Oo nga naman. Kapal nga naman talaga ng mukha.

    But hold on… sino nga ba nag-elek sa mga mokong na yan?

    – 😀

  11. Benigno,

    So you are still parading this “never given straight answers to kids” comparison.

    I thought I replied to this back then which you never bothered to intellectually rebut.

  12. So you are still parading this “never given straight answers to kids” comparison. – jl

    Yes I am.

    I thought I replied to this back then – jl

    Yes you did.

    which you never bothered to intellectually rebut. – jl

    That’s right.

    I didn’t.

  13. when I was a kid (am now 40 [years old]) our elders never give us straight answer. one day while playing to my female friend, we were both taking a bath (nude and I was 5 [years old]) I shout “ay pepe” [and] my aunt scolded me for saying bad words.

    got this from an american friend:

    child: mommy, where do babies come from?
    mother: why, dear, from the stork.
    child: and who fucked the stork?

    generalization. generalization. what’s so “typically hypocritical” of this email. nada, kaput. unpinoy. very human though.

  14. mahilig ka din naman sa paulit ulit
    eto pa isa pang classic mo.

    Compulsory sterilization and elimination of voting rights of parents of street children. While this example hardly qualifies as an incentive and may indeed be branded an outright violation of human rights, consider the following statistics on street children in the Philippines:

    There are 50,000 to 70,000 street children in Manila. Action International Ministries
    There are an estimated 1,200,000 street children in the Philippines. Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), 1991 Jubilee Action, 1992
    It is estimated that there are 1.5 million street children working as pickpockets, beggars, drug traffickers and prostitutes. End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT)
    In fact, the “economic integration” of street children in the Philippines is so pervasive that certain families relish the idea of having more children to “augment” the family income. Indeed, there are families who welcome the birth of baby girls in the hope that such girls would, sooner than later, prostitute themselves to alleviate the poverty stricken state of the family. As such, it would seem pale in comparison to “violate” the human rights of the parents of street children by way of compulsory sterilization and elimination of voting rights than to have the same mindless parents propagate more street children, whose earthly lives are virtually doomed from the moment of conception.

  15. I disagree with the above, but compulsory sterilization of Benign0’s would-be parents does have a certain appeal.

  16. Does exposing a bribery attempt allegedly committed by a foreign company owned by the Chinese government wanting to do business with the Republic of the Philippines preclude the government from doing anything about the allegation to protect economic and diplomatic relations with China?

    China is a new player in the field for selling capital equipment to foreign governments. History of state procurements have been strewn with alleged bribery attempts and the ZTE is not a new occurrence.

    Lockheed, Bechtel, Westinghouse have all been involved in cases of bribery in japan, S. Korea and Philippines respectively. Westinghouse was able to circumvent the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by using dummy corporations in Switzerland to make the bribes.

    Justice De Castro should read up on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 that the U.S. Congress passed in 1977 when the Lockheed Bribery Attempt in Japan broke out.

    “The corrupt practices act was passed unanimously by Congress in December 1977, after congressional hearings disclosed that major U.S. corporations had made millions of dollars in payoffs to foreign government officials. Some of the revelations had major political impact, as in the case of Lockheed Corporation, which paid more than $25 million to foreign officials between 1968 and 1975, including then Japanese Prime Minister Tanaka Kakuei, who was forced to resign from office and was eventually convicted of accepting the money. Other disclosures of secret payments by Lockheed named Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and Italian defense officials. The pervasiveness of such practices became even clearer when over 450 companies admitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that they had made questionable payments.”

    “Congress, embarrassed to discover that no law actually banned foreign bribery and eager to avoid further damage to U.S. prestige abroad, passed the prohibition against bribery several months after many of these disclosures came to light. The law is strong, outlawing payments to “any person” where corporate officials knew or “had reason to know” that some portion of the money or gift would flow to foreign officials. To prevent off-the-book “slush” funds and laundering of funds through foreign bank accounts-once common channels of bribe money-the law requires companies to keep detailed and accurate financial records and to devise a system of controls over internal accounting. Penalties for breaking the law include fines of up to $1 million for corporations, $10,000 for individuals, and jail terms of up to five years.”

    Justice Carpio’s dissenting opinion laid it out clearly.
    This was about a bribery attempt. Why excuse it because it would affect relations with China and investors? We should expose it so the guys who did it would get their obligatory bullet in the back of the head.

    Here the guys who get exposed as stealing from the treasury run for office anyway and get elected.

  17. if only that i could change the inevitable. but it’s like wishing for 1+1 to be 3.

    well, Manolo has said that there are points of no return. well, every point that ever needs to be crossed has been crossed. so all that’s left is to do the math.

    is there really a rice shortage? maybe there wasn’t before, but the media hype has made sure there will be one. practically every filipino farmer is now hoarding in preparation for the supposed “shortage.” the cartel has smelled blood and leads the hoarding. malacanang says it’s prepared to counter short supply by flooding the market with rice. from where? by releasing 5B that will get lost in someone else’s pockets?
    so who hyped the rice shortage? malacanang to create a situation in justifying the release of a juicy 5B that it can steal? or those who want malacanang to fall? realizing that hyped news creates false shortage which leads to true shortage which leads to panic buying, hoarding, and chaos in the offing?
    chaos which malacanang can use to justify charter change or martial law or whatever variants GMA needs to stay in power beyond 2010. all of which leads to a much speedier GMA downfall.
    who stands to benefit the most from a false or even real rice shortage? all i know, before the media hype, supply was still normal. repackaging has been going on for a long time. we once bought a sack of what we thought was imported rice only to find out it has been mixed with NFA rice. this on a popular shopping mall in Naga. is it the mall’s responisbility to check their supplies or that of their suppliers? whoever of the two, someone should be liable.
    let them eat cake? now its: let them eat half-servings.

  18. benign0 labors under the misapprehension that “dean” in “dean jorge bocobo” is a title, when it is his real first name.

  19. <blockquote.benign0 labors under the misapprehension that “dean” in “dean jorge bocobo” is a title, when it is his real first name. – mlq3

    ha ha!

    My mistake then, with apologies to Dean. 😀

  20. UP n student: Obviously, no congressman will admit to mlq3 or any media-person that he/the congressman can be bought.

    To quote one of Pol Medina Jr.’s comic strips…

    “I am not for sale! For rent maybe, but not for sale.”

  21. Benigno,

    Your admission that you did not defend your idea against my reasoning contradicting yours is much appreciated.

    Which however now impugns your stance of continuing to trumpet ideas that you yourself don’t defend.

  22. “benign0 labors under the misapprehension that “dean” in “dean jorge bocobo” is a title, when it is his real first name.”

    in which case, from now on we could address the ‘good Dean’ simply as ‘george’.

  23. wala yang ‘Dean’ Jorge Bacobo sa kapitbahay namin!

    our kapitbahay’s first name is ‘General’ tapos yung anak nila ‘Princess’..

  24. talo yaya yan ng kapitbahay ko

    ang first name nya ay Santito

    ang last name nya ay Papa haha

  25. wala yan sa bayaw ng pinsan ng kapitbahay ng lolo namin

    dalawa ang given names nya – Donn Roberto

    (sarap pakinggan)

  26. Old joke:

    Restituto Fruto migrated to the U.S. When he became a citizen, changed his name to Tutti Frutti. (its a chewing gum brand)

  27. .. But now that it’s coming from Benign0, why am I suddenly entertaining second thoughts?

    i thought he was only quoting an email received from someone to reinforce his argument?

  28. “wala yan sa bayaw ng pinsan ng kapitbahay ng lolo namin

    dalawa ang given names nya – Donn Roberto

    (sarap pakinggan)”

    Ha? Ba’t naman pati ako na-extra diyan?

  29. ‘…”galing ka sa puwet…

    Of course, it’s a lie.’
    – tongue-twisted

    But it’s close enough to the truth.

  30. My Grandfather, the late Roberto R. Concepcion after the ratification of the 1987 Constitution remarked that after his experience in “Javellana vs. Executive Secretary”,he realized that a Constitution is only as good as it is enforced— that in and by itself, unlike the current membership of the CBCP,it is not a self-fulfilling document. After “Javellana”, he, quietly, resigned from office— 2 months before his retirement in June 1973.

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