country's president must
be a statesman. Someone who is genuinely concerned about the welfare of his
people—especially those who have the least in life. A president must also be
fair. Fairness after all underpins what justice is all about. Everyone, be
they exceedingly wealthy or totally destitute deserves equal treatment
under the law.
When an individual who
enjoys a privileged position in society is accorded special treatment at the
expense of those less privileged or less well connected, then
fairness--and justice fly out the door. The sign or a true statesman then is when
an individual who realizes he or she is unfairly benefiting from a
situation acknowledges that fact and refuses to benefit from
it. This is difficult for most people to do, especially for Filipinos who
they deserve every advantage that comes their way—right or wrong.
But a principled
individual, a statesman, and someone an informed electorate would consider
"presidential" must nonetheless step up to the plate and announce that he or
she refuses to
benefit from any unfair advantage they receive.
Case in point: the Bacoor
Regional Trial Court (RTC-Branch19) of Judge Matias M. Garcia II last week
dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by Benhur Luy, Marina Sula,
Mary Arlene Baltazar and other PDAF whistle-blowers in the civil case filed
against them by Senator "Bong" Revilla Jr. The reason Judge Garcia
dismissed the motion was because the documents submitted
to the court by the petitioners used the wrong format and font.
According to Lourdes P.
Benipayo, legal counsel for Sula and Baltazar, the ruling in her view
constitutes a form of ‘harassment,’ adding that the court did not provide
them a copy of their guidelines despite their efforts to secure one.
RTC-Branch19 has its own specific formatting rules that go beyond what the
Philippine Supreme Court mandates.
What Judge Garcia did was
give Revilla, his townmate with presidential aspirations, an unfair
advantage by dismissing his opponent's pleading on a technicality. An act
seen by many as the judge's way or ingratiating himself with someone who
might one day be in Malacañang.
If Revilla was indeed a
true statesman and deserving of the title "mister president," he should have
immediately decried the ruling and refused the undeserved advantage it gave him. After
all, a true statesman would want to win his case on merit and not because of
an obscure technicality. But alas, Revilla and his minions continue to tout
the fact that judge Garcia's ruling was correct.
One good thing that has
come out of this issue is the fact that the voting public now has a clearer
idea of who Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. really is and what he might be
like as president. He appears to be a man who has no qualms about taking
unfair advantage of his opponents. And winning because of a technicality is
still a win as far as he's concerned.
The Philippines once had a
president who subverted the constitution and give himself an unfair
advantage over everyone else. He used technical
machinations to destroy or neutralize his opponents and even coined the term
"constitutional authoritarianism" to justify his "extended" stay in
office long after his legal term expired. And from somewhere down below
Ferdinand Marcos must be smiling up at Revilla, his new understudy and potential
successor, and giving him the thumbs up.
Filipinos should have learned
their lesson by now. And if indeed they have, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. will never become
president of the Philippines.
An Australian living in the Philippines published a book titled: “The Unlucky Country. The Republic of the Philippines in the 21st Century.” The author Duncan McKenzie came up with the title as the counterpoint to “The Lucky Country” a book written in the mid-sixties that refers to Australia. In his book McKenzie explains that the Philippines is unlucky because, for starters, it is an archipelago and therefore naturally fragmented.
We’ve all heard the saying “justice delayed is justice denied.” That maxim has been around since time immemorial. In fact the Pirkei Avot (Hebrew for “Ethics of the Fathers”) which dates back to the 1st century B.C. mentions an old rabbi saying that goes: “the sword comes into the world, because of justice delayed and justice denied." In 1215 A.D. a clause from the Magna Carta similarly declares that “to no one will we refuse or delay, right or justice."
Amal Alamuddin Clooney Wants to Defend Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ...Why?
Okay so she's George Clooney's wife, she's got great looks, a law degree and ambitious enough to make a name for herself apart from that of her superstar husband. Fair enough. So Amal Alamuddin Clooney decides to take on high profile cases of injustice around the world. Even better. But filing a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council on behalf of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo? What's up with that? Better do your homework Mrs. Clooney. It won't take long for you to realize that Arroyo is getting exactly what she deserves.
Manny Pacquiao Should Not Be Given a Tax Exemption
Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III has proposed a bill to grant Manny Pacquiao a special tax exemption for the income he will earn from his May 2nd boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Pimentel justifies his bill as a "fitting tribute" to the Filipino eight-division world champion adding that "Manny is now part of our history and of world sports history. Let’s give him this tax incentive in recognition to his invaluable efforts to promote boxing and the country around the world."
With Negotiators Like These on Our Team, Who Needs an Opposing Side?
What on earth happened to these two women—supposedly handpicked by the president himself to argue on behalf of the Philippine government in peace negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front—who now seem to be mouthpieces for the Moros? Have Secretary Teresita Deles, Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process and Professor Miriam Coronel-Ferrer, chair of the negotiating panel become mesmerized by the tough "macho" image the rebels project?
Why is the NBI Going After Those Who Uploaded the Sagonoy Video?
According to NBI Director Virgilio Mendez, they have identified the individuals who uploaded the video showing the coldblooded killing of PO2 Joseph Sagonoy. The cellphone video was purportedly taken by Muslim rebels during the Jan. 25, 2014 encounter between the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front rebel group. The video shows a wounded Sagonoy who is shot twice in the head at close range.
Twice the Heroes—the SAF 44 Who Lost Lives in Mamasapano
The 44 members of the Philippine National Police-Special Action Force (SAF) who were brutally killed in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25, 2015 are heroes twice over: first, they paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country; second, they exposed for all to see, the dangers the country will face if the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is passed.
No More Bangsamoro, Period!
With each passing day, it is becoming increasingly clear that the idea of a Bangsamoro is a bad idea. Just as the Memorandum of Agreement on Ancestral Domain (MOA-AD) spearheaded by former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was a bad idea (and declared unconstitutional in 2008 by the Supreme Court). Just as the failed Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) during the 1990s was a bad idea.
After the Mamasapano Massacre, Plans for a Bangsamoro Must Be Scrapped
What happened in Mamasapano, Maguindanao on January 25 is a "game changer"—make no mistake about it. Reality as we saw it before this event is not the reality we see now...everything is different; everything has "changed. When the Philippine National Police's (PNP) elite team known as the Special Action Force or SAF set out to arrest Zulkifli bin Hir alias Marwan, it had actionable intelligence that the Malaysian fugitive was hiding in the town of Mamasapano. Marwan, an expert bomb maker, is a core member of the terrorist group Jemaah Islamiyah.