Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Buhay ka pa?

I am writing this article after listening to the interview of Jun Lozada by Ms. Korina Sanchez and Ted Failon over DZMM. Lozada was the voice of desperate bewilderment at the recently promulgated Court of Appeals decision, which denied him his petition for protection under the writ of amparo, a constitutional shield re-burnished by Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

Lozada recounted how the solicitor general declared before the CA that they would not present any witnesses during the hearings. Another case of executive privilege, I suppose?

The CA division led by one Justice Leagago allowed that to pass, and asked the abductors or those party to what looked clearly like an abduction, merely to present a position paper. And then the decision, which in fine says (Tatagalugin ko na, even if Justice Regalado Maambong speaks it not, but Justice Sixto Marella Jr. of Taal and Balayan and other parts of Batangas understands perfectly):

"Buhay ka pa naman, e! Ang tagal-tagal mo nang palakad-lakad, buhay ka pa. Kaya, walang banta sa iyo. Hindi ka kinidnap. Sinundo ka lamang sa airport at ipinasyal. Kaya, hindi mo kailangan ang proteksyon. Bahala ka sa buhay mo. Tutal, buhay ka pa naman."

This is justice in the Philippines, under the reign of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. It was dispensed by the totally discredited Court of Appeals, where one justice was recently dismissed, while others were slapped on the wrist by a Supreme Court whose numbers will not allow the tentacles of MalacaƱang in the Meralco TRO to be exposed any further.

The dismissed justice faced a choice, it would seem, between phoned-in promises of future promotion from no less than some of the most powerful in the Arroyo mis-government, as against cold cash. He chose wrongly. He probably did not believe promises from known liars and cheats.

The other justice admitted being persuaded (that is not pressure, he avers) by a high official in the Arroyo mis-government who happened to be his brother. He claimed to have been offered 10 million by a fixer who claims to have "fixed" the justice when he was yet in the RTC of Cagayan de Oro. Yet he assiduously insisted the case was purloined from him by the other justice.

These are the characters that make up the Court of Appeals. I do not know anything about the lady justice who ruled against protecting Lozada, but I know Maambong and I know many who know Marella. If I could just believe what I have heard…

The truth is that justice in this country is hopelessly compromised. From fix-cals to judges to justices. And one or a few upright men like Chief Justice Reynato Puno cannot clean up the stables of accumulated dirt and dung under a system of political patronage wielded by the most politically-motivated and governance-disinclined president this country has ever had the misfortune to have.

Come 2010, the same rotten system will be there. This system is hopeless.


Speaking of these would be fix-cals, kotong judges and garapalan justices who troop to De La Salle University each September to hopefully pass the bar examinations, will someone please relocate their annual agony elsewhere in these benighted islands?

Why not the UP or the Ateneo, with its sprawling compound that can accommodate hundreds of cars and thousands of fraternity brods, law school alumni and other such characters who make our neighbourhood life miserable each Sunday of each September?

They double-park, even triple-park in wider thoroughfares, clutter the narrowest of streets, and picnic in makeshift tents, an annual vexation upon those of us who have stubbornly resided in decrepit Manila rather than move to well-heeled suburbia.

And for what? To pass would be future fix-cals, would-be kotong judges, and garapalan justices?


I am in an angry mood as I write this Monday noon. For the past two days, I have had to endure briefings from career bureaucrats about the rotten budgetary system of this country, and how smart operators in both the executive and legislative, in cahoots with each other, rape and plunder the treasury each and every goddamned year.

Part of that information overload about the rotten system, Senator Lacson must have exposed by the time you read today’s column.

It really is time to revolt.