Why They Signed

Ever wondered why the 76 congressmen signed the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Davide?

There are several reasons:

Of course the pecuniary reason has already made the rounds.

The party decision to adhere to the rule of law has been dropped matter-of-factly.

Out of sympathy to the Chairman Emeritus who has been consistently at the losing end in practically all of the rulings churned out by the Davide Court.

Doesn’t this Man of Law recognize the genius of the Boss in his management skill that steered San Miguel Corporation to unimaginable corporate success not only in the domestic market but internationally as well? For six years the Chairman laboured noon and midnight in transforming the corporate giant into what it is today, the latest of which was the much bruited about Kerin joint venture that skyrocketed SMC’s shares of stocks. The Japanese market is conscious of the beer making skill of the Filipinos. SMC under the helm of the corporate genius that Danding wants to be known hereabouts has spiked financially and goodwill-wise.

The Boss is seething from within, the same man that he was when his much-lamented benefactor saw him in Tarlac as a budding congressman.

The Boss was a second fiddle Cojuangco from the Cory-Peping genealogy. Add to that the rising star of Tarlac, then Governor Ninoy Aquino, a mercurial politician au naturelle with a gift of eloquence and potential logistics at par with the man in Malacanang. Marcos saw the threat from Ninoy, and his fear was all the more fortified when the young governor at 34 was elected senator in 1967. Nothwithstanding the onslaught of party wherewithal including the much-vaunted a-courting of Sen. Roding Ganzon of Ilo-ilo in his plan to derail the unstoppable journey of Ninoy to the Presidency, Marcos failed in disqualifying Ninoy as an under aged senatorial bet and saw the spectre of Ninoy haunting him for the rest of his life as an accused in whatever graft case imaginable brought against him by the crusading Ninoy Aquino. Ninoy was for good government.

The Marcos years were marked with untold thievery of the public coffers. Fixed biddings were perfected. Behind the impact infrastructures, Commissions were openly asked. Administrative bodies were created simply to corner government contracts.

Ninoy was alarmed by the personal agenda of Marcos, and anticipating the nation’s ruin, embarked on exposes after exposes. Ninoy caught the thoughts of the people. Marcos was a goner and only martial law and Danding could save him. Ninoy was the people’s guardian angel, and Danding was the other guy.

Incidentally, this personality conflict was depicted in the label of Danding’s Ginebra San Miguel.

Danding is capable of doing what the rest of Marcos men could not. Scruples held Cesar Virata and the rest of Marcos cabinet. Not the man from Tarlac. While Marcos then had the clumsy Gen. Ver and other hind-licking military men, the man from Tarlac had a way only Marcos knew how to take advantage of. Danding checked Ninoy every step of the way. Marcos was pleasantly amused. Danding’s visage and intense eyes tell nothing of the workings of his mind. After surviving an ambush, Maning Pelaez looked the other way, and even until death never mentioned it again.

One thing is certain; repentance is unknown to the man from Tarlac. From 1992 up to 1998, nothing was heard from him, though the seed of SMC takeover was already on the drawing board what with the ascension of Erap to the Vice Presidency. It was just a matter of time. With serendipity, Danding was proved right and for this sheer talent, what’s the best prize but the immediate climb as SMC’s Chairman of the Board. He reclaimed his erstwhile position like a conquering hero. He was sacho-san interrupted. He went on to run, with much gusto and little fanfare, SMC like he never ran anything like it before. He left to Ramon Ang, Erap’s babysitting, as it was too big for him since Erap was only his running mate in 1992, by gifting the latter and the loves of his life stately homes in well-appointed villages.

The company achieved much success under the stewardship of Danding, no doubt about it. What he could not fathom until now is why the Supreme Court couldn’t mellow after all these years.

Someone in that chamber was surely a remnant of Ninoy’s years. Someone who was angry as hell when Ninoy was murdered in 1983. Someone who followed the footsteps of Ninoy by running for public office, first as a Constitutional Convention delegate in 1970 and, instead of cursing the shadows braved the dictatorship in 1978 by running as Assemblyman in the Marcos parliament under the banner of a ragtag political party, the Pusyon Bisaya, the counterpart of the 1978 Lakas ng Bayan, the forerunner of every imaginable political party sporting that ever-ubiquitous Lakas or its variant Puersa, and in 1984 sought re-election and was successful.

Cory Aquino tapped him as commissioner of the 1986 Constitutional Commission. Upon ratification of the Charter, he was chosen again by Cory Aquino as Chairman of the Davide Commission to look into the root causes of the recurring coups against the government, and upon completion of the report, he was picked by the same President Aquino as Chairman of the Comelec. His term having expired, he was elevated as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by the President whose faith in him as a man of integrity never wavered. In 1999, by quirk of fate, the man whose impeachment he was to preside in 2000 named him Chief Justice of the highest court. The fires in Chief Justice Davide’s conscience are constant.

Danding who has moved millions of dollars by the flick of a finger does not believe any single story on Davide’s solid integrity. Surely this man’s feet are made of clay. He told his gofers, “Where could we get this demigod?” Their answer: “the Judicial Development Fund, Boss!” It was bingo when they were shown the name of Brian Davide, the Chief Justice’s son and his Chief-of-Staff, all over the bidding processes. With the way thieves think, the son is always the front guy. “Get to work you sloths, your campaign funds are assured.”

Mention Davide, and the name Cory Aquino the president who trusted him, is not far behind. Cory is a genius when it comes to measuring the mettle of a man. And Erap’s choice of Davide as Chief Justice was a fluke. Erap was an Injun giver when he filed, err…initiated the first impeachment complaint. Mercifully, it was thrown out by the empties for lack of funding. It was different for ECJ, galante, ika. Licked, Erap capitulated to GMA.

When the name Marcos comes to mind, the phantoms of Ver and Danding emerge. FVR, Aniano Desierto. Erap, Mark Jimenez. GMA, Nani Perez.

Cory, Davide.

Once more, the incompatibility of the cousins surfaces. Cory and Danding inevitably are on collision course in the twilight of their years. It was unlikely for Cory to abandon Davide in favour of a modus vivendi with Danding. As in the nature of water, the sea is salty, while the river is not.

Why, then, did they sign? What prompted, in our case, the two Quezon congresswomen to affix their imprimatur on the case against the Chief Justice?

It’s all in the statistics. These two haymakers come from the most blighted districts of Quezon Province, and they make sure that these areas remain so as insurance for their perpetuity in office.

In the third district consisting of twelve municipalities with a combined population of 270,000 which Suarez represents, there is only one Municipal Trial Judge and he is only in the acting capacity for the last fifteen years. Prior to that there was only one judge who soon retired manning the entire circuit.

The fourth district of Yumul with ten towns and a population of 300,000 however has three Regional Trial Court judges and two Municipal Trial Court judges.

Justice hardly is known to the people in these parts. They would rather turn to Ka Roger for redress for all imaginable grievances, and the results are astounding. The people here are wary of lawyers. Much more, the mystifying atmosphere of a court room. They are simply aghast by the slow movement of court proceedings. Mabagal, ika dahil pangmayaman lang naman yan, ay! Englisan ng englisan, ay! Once a case by a poor litigant inevitably reaches the court and he lost in that stage, appeal to a higher court like the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court is unlikely. Langit na ang Korte Suprema, malayo ng masyado, ‘di na namin kaya! In that case, the ordinary folks from Bondoc Peninsula do not know who in heaven’s name is Davide. Or where exactly is the Supreme Court. Ah may Supreme Court pala. Di bale ng ma-ano-raw-yon? Wala namang pakinabang sa amin yang suprem-suprem kurt nayan. The impeachment concept is too alien for the poor coconut farmers of Quezon. What happened to the coco levy funds?

Having heard the bitter experience of a relative whose appeal ages ago in that court was thrown out in a pink minute resolution, “lack of merit for failure to comply with Rule Whatever” these constituents do not care about why their deputadas signed the impeachment case against Chief Justice Davide. Si Kongreswuman nakakatulong sa amin, si Davide ba may naitulong na? Esoteric concepts like separation of powers, independence of the judiciary are nothing but empty ideas incapable of filling their often equally empty guts.

The Supreme Court whether it likes it or not has some reputation of being anti-poor. Of course there are some landmark decisions defining an abstract concept like social justice but it remains just that, social. The government does not put premium on appeal services rendered by the Public Attorneys Office, except filing comments on winning cases in the lower courts which are few and far between. Even the Public Prosecutors seldom appeal the rulings of the lower courts. Nahihiya at matrabaho wala namang ibinibigay yong partido o akusado. Except cases involving government agencies, which are mandatory. In reality, it is too expensive to wage an appeal. While the poor litigants believe that they have meritorious cases but the lower courts saw it the other way, they simply could not afford to elevate their cases by way of certiorari or petition for review.They just sulk in the far corners of the barangay and to enable him to forget his sad fate, an ipit ng lambanog helps.

Add to that the new provisions in the Rules of Court fixing a timetable for filing a petition for certiorari (review of abusive or void decisions of lower courts or government agencies like the Department of Agrarian Reform, Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources, Labor Dept., etc) within sixty days (in some agencies the appeal period is ten days). Invariably, the poor litigant would have to look for food in the meantime before going to some PAO lawyer who is not in a good mood himself due to some personal financial problem. Kaya pagdating kay attorney magagalit pa at sasabihin, “Paso na ito, bakit ngayon lang kayo nagpunta dito?”

Monetary claims are limited because of prohibitive filing fees. If the purpose is to make whole the victim, only to be awarded with a measly sum in some interminable proceedings, or only end up being bulldozed into accepting puny restitution, there really is no point in going to court.

Malayo sa bituka ng taga Upper Calauag at Bondoc Peninsula ang Supreme Court. It’s not the people’s fault. It’s the fault of the President for stuffing this tribunal with pliant magistrates.

Remember Atty. Joe Pidal? In the Senate investigation he bragged that he was a practititioner when his wife was the Vice President. He handled a case involving the Toh family against Solid Bank for the recovery of P15M before the Supreme Court and won it handily by reversing the Court of Appeals. If you were a poor foreshoreland occupant in Sitio Seawall, Bgy. Camohaguin, Gumaca, Quezon, can you duplicate that feat? Not on your life. The poor fisherman’s case didn’t see the light of day as it was thrown out like some leper’s rag at the high court’s doorway. Kung mahirap ka kaya mo bang magpa-reverse? This is the reality of want for justice in far-flung areas that the Supreme Court is unbelievably clueless.

As politicians, these Quezon congresswomen only know too well. Watch for their reelection.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *