After the prosecution showed the wide disparity between impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona’s undeclared assets and the assets he declared under oath in his SALNs (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and net worth), Corona’s apostles counterattacked with a story lifted from the gospel of John.
They said John wrote that Jesus told a crowd who had gathered to stone a woman caught committing adultery, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. From there they turned to the prosecution panel and the senator judges and asked, “Who among you has never lied in his SALN?”
Apparently, Lent has inspired them to preach and pontificate on the gospel. They would have us believe that the moral of John’s story is Christ wanted the stoners to leave the judging and punishing to Him because He is the only one among them who is without sin or, as they say in the native tongue, “I-pa sa Diyos niyo na lang ang mga makasalanan.”
Ano kayo sinuswerte? But okay, I’ll play along.
“Now I ask you,” as Sen. Joker Arroyo is wont to say in his tortuous soliloquies, but this is me asking myself a question, “why do we even bother to have cops, prosecutors, judges, and jailers if everyone is a sinner anyway and we already have someone who is without sin to cast the first stone?”
The answer to that question is so obvious that I don’t have to be defense counsel Serafin Cuevas to raise a crooked finger and say, “Liding kweschon, Yerenner plis, not only that but it is also rhetorical so it does not require an answer, Yerenner.”
Okay, I will reframe my question, “Are you nuts?”
And the answer to my own question is, “No, because we need order in society and someone has to enforce it. We agreed among ourselves that, although we are all sinners, we have no choice but to employ fellow sinners to act as law enforcers—to be cops, prosecutors, judges, and jailers—so that we don’t have to live like animals, so that our lives do not become nasty, brutish, and short.”
The answer does not end there.
“Because we are all sinners and we appointed fellow sinners to uphold and enforce our rules, the cardinal rule then becomes ‘don’t get caught’ and not ‘he who is without sin cast the first stone’. That’s why when you break the law and you get caught you can’t go around wailing and getting indignant over the fact that you are not the only lawbreaker because, in fact, you are the only one stupid enough to get caught and you are now being stoned so that your fellow sinners can feel good about themselves.”
That brings us to the subject of sacrificial lambs. My good friend Oichi Peeja explained, “A sacrificial lamb is a metaphorical reference to a person or animal sacrificed (killed or discounted in some way) for the common good. The term is derived from the traditions of Abrahamic religion where a lamb is a highly valued possession, but is offered to God as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of Sin.”
Jesus Christ is the quintessential sacrificial lamb. “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He came to earth and had Himself crucified to atone for and wash away all of our sins.
Similarly, shouldn’t Corona welcome his impeachment as a blessed opportunity to emulate Jesus Christ? Not everybody is chosen to become a sacrificial lamb, the one who will atone for and wash away all the sins of our utterly corrupt society, the one who will make all of us feel good and clean afterwards. It’s a great and distinct honor to be chosen as the sacrificial lamb. It is sacred and saintly. That’s why I don’t understand why Corona has been going around crying and wailing like a spoiled child asking the whole world, “Bakit ako,bakit hindi na lang si Noynoy ang i-sacrifice ninyo?”
It’s all about character
by Peter Wallace
The impeachment case is not about law, it is about human decency. It is about correct behavior. It is about the fundamental decency of a person, his adherence to Christian beliefs and the mores of society.
Mr. Corona failed these fundamentals the day he accepted a clearly unacceptable “midnight appointment“. It doesn’t matter if it was constitutional or not, it matters only that it was a wrong thing to do. You obviously don’t accept an appointment by someone leaving office. You must have the decency to wait for the incoming leader to make appointments. You particularly do so if you are to assume the highest position of honesty, morality, and probity in the nation.
The eight articles of impeachment are purely supplemental to this. And already Corona has failed this test. It’s not about how much money he maybe has, and certainly not about how that information was acquired. It’s about honesty. The bank documents may be found to have been illegally obtained and hence not acceptable in a court of law, but this is not a court of law, it’s a court of public opinion. That opinion based on these documents is that he’s guilty of, at the very least, perjury. He did not declare those accounts in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, and those bank accounts undeniably do exist, it’s that simple. There is also no question that he has more assets than were declared in his SALN. It doesn’t matter if it was 45 or 25 or even five apartments. They weren’t listed in his SALN. He also has dollar accounts, that’s confirmed. How much is in them is irrelevant. The existence of these was not mentioned in his SALN. An honest mistake is not acceptable as shown by previous decisions on public servants dismissed for far less than is being accused now. I hope the defense lawyers can recognize that. Whether Corona is legally guilty of something can be brought up separately in a court of law. And more rigorous standards can be imposed there.
So the prosecution is weak and the defense strong. So what, this is not about the ability of lawyers, it’s about inherent honesty of a man, of the nation’s Chief Justice.
It doesn’t matter if the information is admissible or not. This is not a court of law determining legal guilt, it is a questioning of a man’s fitness to hold a high office that demands the highest levels of honesty and integrity. Proof beyond reasonable doubt is not necessary, the preponderance of evidence is more than enough. We are talking about the character of a man who, more than anyone else, must meet the highest standards of decency. There’s more than enough evidence to say he’s failed to meet the high standards required of a Chief Justice. This is a court to determine the truth of the character of a man. The senators have a responsibility to the Filipino people, to the Philippine nation. This transcends adherence to strict legal niceties.
Incidentally, I completely fail to understand why if you find unexplained wealth you can’t look into it because it wasn’t in the articles of impeachment, that it was a “fishing expedition”. How else do you catch big fish except by going fishing. If it’s uncovered during the proceedings of the trial, as this was, of course you look into it.
This is only the second impeachment trial ever, it is unique in itself and cannot be treated as court cases normally would be. The banks have acknowledged he has more money than he reported. That’s a fact. That’s sufficient reason to declare him guilty. His SALN was false. The defense counsels are first and foremost Filipinos, only secondarily lawyers. They should be concerned about what’s the best for the welfare of their country. A man of now questioned ethics should not be Chief Justice, the doubts alone are sufficient. And 70 percent of a group I surveyed agree.
A chief justice is next to a bishop in the depth of character he must have ― far greater than us mere mortals. Corona does not meet the high standards demanded of the position.
He should do the decent thing and resign.
But if the trial continues to its end whatever the outcome, I can’t imagine how he can remain as chief justice. It would certainly put the Supreme Court in a continually questionable position.
Remembering Jose ‘Ka Pepe’ Diokno: One who stayed
by Theodore Te for Interaksyon
As someone who suffered as much as he did for his country, no one would perhaps have begrudged him a flight out of the country. It speaks so much of the character of the man that he stayed. And that in staying, he persevered. And that in persevering, he fought. And, that in fighting, he led. And that in leading, he inspired.
In those dark days when law was strangled by a dictator’s mailed fist, no matter that it would often be cast in a velvet glove, he stayed, fought, led, and inspired.
When the idea of rights was aspirational and the idea of fighting for one’s rights, let alone those of others, was unpopular because they proved literally hazardous to one’s health, if not continued existence, he stood firm and held fast. When the idea of law was simply what the dictator willed and the rule of law was his signature on a piece of paper, he, and a handful of others, dared say to the face of the dictator that such a perversion of law was not acceptable and that when the law becomes meaningless and itself oppressive, then the people are justified to looking beyond the law to claim their rights.
When many of the nameless, faceless among us suffered the same lot he did, and worse – to be accused wrongly, to be charged falsely, to be detained indefinitely, or simply to be rendered literally gone, without anyone to raise a hue and a cry – he grieved in solidarity, for he (and his family) knew of that pain, that suffering; but his grief did not allow him the luxury of inaction, instead it spurred him to action.
Together with his old friend and comrade Tanny, one who also stayed, he would fight for those who, unlike him, had no pedigree; he would give voice to those whose voices were suppressed momentarily or stilled forever. He and Tanny (and another named Joker) would bring together other like-minded spirits and brave-hearted souls to say loudly to the dictator “NO!” when all around the dictator, his sycophants were whispering sibilant yesses.
He would fight with what he had, what he knew, and what he held dear: the law that he learned at his father’s library and by his father’s side, the intellect that was given to him by his Creator, the love of country that was innate in him, the sense of justice that he himself was deprived of by the dictator and the support of family, friends, comrades and kindred souls who never left him. Against the devices of the dictator, they were not much but they were enough.
He would speak, over and over again, of law, of development, of sovereignty, of peace, justice, of change and of hope – everywhere he felt he could make a difference. In that deep gravelly voice with a distinct diction, he would also teach. He would teach lawyers, law students and members of the basic sectors; he would talk about paralegalism, about a new kind of lawyering which he would call “Developmental Legal Aid”, he would teach people to be aware of their rights, to be aware of their situation; he would teach people that their right to self-determination would bring with it the right to hope because change would come only when those who desperately need change desire it equally desperately. For many people, lawyers, law students and ordinary people oppressed by the dictator’s “rule of law”, he would change the way that people saw the law, their rights and their country.
Memorably, he would sum up what filipinos were fighting for in his inimitable turn of phrase, “to sing our own songs.”
He would also speak of what it took to be good citizens, to be good people and of the country’s need for these. In one of his many letters to his children, he would say:
“…the truth remains true that never have our people had greater need than today for great lawyers, and for young men and women determined to be great lawyers.
Great lawyers–not brilliant lawyers. A scoundrel may be, and often is, brilliant; and the greater the scoundrel, the more brilliant the lawyer. But only a good man can become a great lawyer: for only a man who understands the weaknesses of men because he has conquered them in himself; who has the courage to pursue his ideals though he knows them to be unattainable; who tempers his conviction with respect for those of others because he realizes he may be mistaken; who deals honorably and fairly with all, because to do otherwise would diminish him as well as them–only such a man would so command respect that he could persuade and need never resort to force. Only such a man could become a great lawyer. Otherwise, ‘what you are speaks so loudly, cannot hear what you say.’
For men and women of this kind, our country will always have need–and now more than ever. True, there is little that men of goodwill can do now to end the madness that holds our nation in its grip. But we can,even now, scrutinize our past; try to pinpoint where we went wrong; determine what led to this madness and what nurtured it; and how, when it ends, we can make sure that it need never happen again.
For this madness must end–if not in my lifetime, at least in yours. We Filipinos are proverbially patient, but we are also infinitely tough and ingeniously resourceful. Our entire history as a people has been a quest for freedom and dignity; and we will not be denied our dreams.
So this madness will end; the rule of force will yield to the rule of law. Then the country will need its great lawyers, its great engineers,its great economists and managers, the best of its men and women to clear the shambles and restore the foundations of that noble and truly Filipino society for which our forefathers fought, bled and died.”
And when the madness did end and change did come on that day that the dictator fled, he was, deservedly, among those feted and hailed for bringing freedom back. And, perhaps, because of all that he had done, many would not have begrudged him the luxury of no longer fighting, no longer leading, no longer persevering, no longer inspiring.
But no sooner had things changed than it would be revealed that many things remained the same. And in the face of what he saw, as the change he had fought for for so long started to go the way of things that were before, he knew that he could not stay; he knew that he could not keep silent; he knew that he could not not fight on.
And so he did. Tasked with heading the first Human Rights Commission in the country and with leading the peace talks, he could not keep silent in the face of all that was wrong; when barely a year into the new government, the democratic space that he and others had fought for constricted into a death grip with the massacre of farmers marching towards the palace of the president he helped put into power, he knew he could not keep his peace. And so he “walked his talk” and left a government that could not walk its talk.
Less than a month after, cancer would claim him, a day after his 65th birthday and two days after the first anniversary of the revolution he helped inspire. His voice would be stilled but his visions of law, of justice, of development, of sovereignty, of helping, of hoping would live on – in many iterations and incarnations of the small band of lawyers and paralegals he first trained, formed and inspired.
I met him only once but my memory of that meeting remains. I had been asked by someone (I do not remember anymore who) to bring a document to him at his residence (the famous 55); I was in my first year of law school and largely indifferent to staying on; but of course, I had heard of him and read of him (I had read his letter to his son) but I had never met him. I dutifully went to his residence and when admitted, saw him and his wife (Ka Nena, of whom I have fond memories as well, who often greeted me, as she did that day, with “kumain ka na ba?” ["have you eaten?"]); I do not think I even introduced myself, so uncertain was I of how I was supposed to comport myself; I remember handing him the document and being greeted with a smile and a “thank you.” And I remember being asked what I did and when I said I was in law school, being greeted once again with that smile and a conspiratorial, “good.”
Revolutions are waged and won not only because numbers are superior or voices are louder but because there are people who stay on, who persevere, fight, lead and inspire.
To one who inspired, fought, led, persevered and, most importantly, stayed -Faithful, Fearless and Filipino – to the very end. Jose W. Diokno, “Ka Pepe”, on his 90th birthyear, on the 25th year since his passing.
Here’s the statement of the Communist Party of the Philippines:
- The EDSA people’s power uprising is a historic victory of the people’s democratic resistance against the Marcos dictatorship. It is the product of two decades of struggle. In the end, a broad front of the toiling masses, of urban petty-bourgeois sectors and of anti-Marcos reactionaries emerged united to decisively put an end to the 20 year dictatorship.”
Fuck you guys. You weren’t there!
Here’s the statement of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan),
“We commemorate Edsa I not because it represents a heroism that is singularly ascribed to any one person or political color. We commemorate Edsa I because it represents the Filipino people’s dreams and aspirations that have yet to be fulfilled.”
The reason why the color yellow is associated with People Power is because there were no Reds in Edsa during those historic four days!
The only Edsa that you fuckers joined is Edsa 2 and look at how great that turned out for everybody.
All the best,
Here’s a couple of tips so you don’t get left out the next time something exciting happens in this country:
1. You always have to have your ears on the ground because some revolutions happen fast, really fast. Some revolutionaries will not wait for the workers in the countryside to encircle the cities, they just go ahead and do it.
2. Review your decision-making process. The Leninist-Maoist model of “collective” decision-making is not ideal for these fast paced times. Besides everyone knows that yours is an order-taking organization and that “consultative” process you go through is just a shadow play.
Here’s a few tips so you don’t end up going to the wrong street party again:
1. Don’t just look at the party favors. It’s more important to first find out who invited you.
2. Don’t hesitate to leave the party if you don’t like the other party guests.
3. Give your own party. Make it fun so people will want to come. That means changing your motif and the party decorations that have been hung out there for 40 years waiting for guests who will never arrive.
I was surprised when columnists of a pro-Arroyo paper, The Standard, feasted on the story about perks for Pagcor officials. How could they be so sure that their patrons would not become collateral damage when former Pagcor Chairman Genuino was also a beneficiary of those perks?
I thought the Pagcor issue would die a natural death because neither the Arroyo nor the Aquino camp would benefit from it. There are, after all, some areas where opposing sides can still share common ground.
So why are jukebox columnists, not only in the Standard but in other rags as well, making hay with the Pagcor story?
Well, who is the deputy of current Pagcor chairman Naguiat and what does he have to do with all this?
Sorry wrong question. I will reframe, Yerenner.
Who stands to gain most if the current Pagcor chairman is pressured to leave and his deputy takes over?
And the answer is…
Who is the senator with big ambitions and a small campaign kitty?
Naguiat’s deputy is that senator’s man. If he replaces Naguiat, then the senator-patron will “own” Pagcor. Campaign funding won’t be a problem anymore.
He can finance his own campaign. He won’t have to ass-lick his way to the number two spot of any candidate who is naive enough to take him. And who knows he might even raise enough Pagcor funds to take another stab at becoming number one.
Now you answer the question.
Okay, two more clues.
What rhymes with cheese?
What’s another word for smegma?
Lead defense counsel of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, Serafin Cuevas, a former associate justice in the Marcos Supreme Court who has been impressing the public with his vast knowledge of legal technicalities and legal maneuvers proved himself ham-handed at cross-examination. He blew his cross-examination of BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue) Commissioner Kim Henares and BPI (Bank of the Philippine Islands) branch manger Leonora Dizon.
He overreached with Henares. Instead of simply asking her questions that would show her to be unqualified to testify on matters relating to SALNs (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth), he tried to get her to state that mis-declared SALNs can be remedied and then he took a stab at portraying the inquiry on Corona’s income tax return as persecution.
Anyway here is Cuevas, in his own words. Enjoy.
Cuevas: “My understanding is that the SALN may be corrected if there are entries in there made not accurate and so on…In this particular case which you said you have examined SALN of Chief Justice Corona, did you come to the conclusion that this is one which can be corrected pursuant to law? Or it may not be corrected at all?”
Henares: “My personal opinion is it cannot be corrected at all.”
Henares: “Because first—in the first place, it is sworn to under oath. And then second place, like I said, I am a government official and I have sworn to—and I would think that the SALN requires me to completely list all my asset[s] because it is a way for the public to determine whether at the end of the day I have enriched myself because of my position. So if it can be amended at anytime, then it is a useless exercise to even require government official[s] to submit a
Cuevas: “We will move to strike out the answer of the witness, Your Honor.”
Sen. Enrile: “Your witness answered already. Why should you ask for the striking out of her answer? It is under cross-examination?”
A few minutes later, Cuevas tore into the BIR tax investigation.
Cuevas: “…what I am questioning is the propriety of that investigation being conducted now while these impeachment proceedings are going on, covering the same matter.”
Henares: “Sir, the alternative is to be told that we are sleeping on the job…So I think the better alternative for the Bureau of Internal Revenue is to do its job.”
Cuevas: “All right. So much so that if there is a complaint involving any of the prosecutors here and the rest of the other members thereof, you will investigate the case?”
Henares: “Of course, Sir. Yes, Sir.”
Cuevas made an even bigger boo-boo when he cross-examined BPI branch manager Leonora Dizon over Corona’s undeclared P12-million account. The defense strategy had always been to block any and all evidence supporting the charges against Corona. They had succeeded in limiting the scope of subpoenas to cover only the year-end balances of Corona’s bank accounts but surprisingly, Cuevas asked that all of Corona’s BPI bank statements from 2005 all the way to 2010 be subpoenaed!
Cuevas: “All right. So, this is not one single transaction, P12,024,067.”
Dizon: “Since this is an ending balance, it could come from ending balance of the previous months, and then the transactions for deposits and withdrawals, this is the net amount.”
Cuevas: “Thank you. So that you will agree with me that this must have covered several transactions involved in that year.”
Dizon: “It could be, Sir.”
Cuevas: “All right. And your observation or your statement applies to all this account particularly for the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.”
Dizon: “It could be, Sir.”
Cuevas: “Now, if ordered by the Court to produce the statement of account, will you be able to do that? I am not asking you whether you are willing, but will you be able? Because I know you will be willing, except when you are already somewhere else.”
Dizon: “Yes, Sir. We will comply whatever is being required in the subpoena.”
Cuevas: “In view of the answer of the witness, Your Honor, may we respectfully request that the statement of account covering these periods 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 be produced by the witness at the most convenient time considering her condition now, Your Honor. Our purpose, Your Honor, is to show that this figure is not made in one single deposit and one single withdrawal, Your Honor.”
Impeached Chief Justice Corona must have fallen out of his chair when he heard the request of Cuevas because a few minutes later…
Cuevas: “While the Court is debating among its Members the matter of inspection or production of the statement of accounts, Your Honor, my co-counsel in the Defense received a call from the Chief Justice that he has these documents, some of these documents I am referring to the statement of accounts are with him. I would not know which will be material to us. If this is true, then, in effect, we will be withdrawing the motion because we have them already with us. That is my point, Your Honor. We will not unduly burden our colleagues.”
It’s more fun with Cuevas; he does not know if he’s coming or going.
If you can’t refute the evidence then you attack the procedure, isn’t that the cardinal rule among lawyers?
Reminds me of Galileo. If the Pope had Corona’s lawyers during Galileo’s time, he would have moved to ban telescopes.
This is one story I never imagined would happen in my lifetime.
PHL now a creditor nation, helps troubled Europe cope with debt – BSP
February 21, 2012 6:33pm
With its record-level foreign exchange reserves, the Philippines since 2010 was a lender to Greece, Portugal, Ireland and other troubled economies of Europe to the tune of $251.5 million, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Tuesday.
The country also committed to contribute $4.55 billion to the $120-billion Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralization (CMIM) fund put together by China, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
CMIM is a reserve designed to quickly address balance of payments difficulties.
At the end of last year, the Philippine gross international reserves (GIR) stood at $75 billion.
The Bangko Sentral expects Philippine reserves to reach $79 billion by December 2012, it was at $62.37 billion as of end-December 2010.
Creditor status is a reversal of fortunes for the Philippines.
Six years ago, the Bangko Sentral prepaid all outstanding Philippine debts to the IMF and the multilateral lender’s aid programs after 45 years as a borrower.
The BSP said the country became a creditor nation in 2010 when it joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Financial Transactions Plan (FTP) through which emerging market economies took part in international cooperation efforts to lessen the impact of the euro debt crisis on the rest of the global economy.
Among the gains the Philippines got from joining the FTP was access to the New Arrangements to Borrow (NAB) facility, which the IMF established to help its members cope with serious international financial crises.
“The participation in the NAB would be a significant step in strengthening international cooperation. This would also demonstrate the BSP’s strong commitment to global efforts to help address threats to the international monetary system,” the BSP said. — ELR/VS, GMA News