Centrist Democracy Political Institute - Items filtered by date: January 2018
Monday, 15 January 2018 18:14

Con-ass: 2018’s biggest legal showdown

Our fate hinges on a typo.

In 2017, once obscure doctrines such as martial law and writ of

amparo took centerstage. The year 2018 welcomes the never before invoked provision to change the Constitution.

Under Article XVII, Section 1, revision of the Constitution “may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A constitutional convention.”

Proposed revisions must be ratified in a plebiscite. This may be simultaneous with elections, such as the May 2018 barangay elections.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are about to pass resolutions to convert Congress into a constituent assembly or Con-ass under Option 1. They argue that using Congress is cheaper and quicker than electing a constitutional convention.

But Article XVII, Section 1(1) has an obvious typo: What does “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” mean?

Senators strenuously insist that Con-ass revisions must be approved by both a three-fourths Senate vote and a separate three-fourths House vote.

They argue the Constitution provides for two separate houses. The bicameral structure would become meaningless if 23 senators’ votes are dwarfed in a joint vote with 297 congressmen.
This is surely not the intention for such an important vote, argues the constitutional law textbook of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, an eminent 1986 constitutional commissioner. So do many legal scholars.

One further argues that if the Constitution intended the senators’ votes to be diluted, it would specifically say so.

It does so in Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. Here, a martial law proclamation is revoked by: “The Congress, voting jointly.”

This specific wording was intentional. In a crisis, there might be no time to resolve a split Senate and House vote on martial law. But otherwise, a separate vote is presumed.

Finally, many scholars posit a glaring typo. Congress was initially intended to be unicameral, per the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations. When it was made bicameral, they simply forgot to revise Article XVII, Section 1(1).

But congressmen could interpret “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” as a joint vote of all congressmen and senators combined. Article XVII, Section 1(1) does not specify a separate vote and simply refers to “all its Members.”

They would cite Article X, Section 1 of the 1935 Constitution, which instead required “a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately.” If the 1987 Constitution used a different language, it must have a different meaning.

Finally, they would cite the legal doctrine that the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations are not binding interpretations. Citizens ratified the text of the Constitution as they read it, not as deliberated by the Commission.

Thus, the wording of a single legal phrase is crucial. The course of our nation hinges on a typo.
A similar debate emerged on Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. A group opposing martial law in May 2017 claimed this could not continue unless Congress first met in joint session.
This was problematic because Article VII, Section 18’s text only required a joint session vote to revoke — not to approve — martial law, and both the House and the Senate expressed they would not revoke it.

It would strain separation of powers for the Supreme Court to order Congress to perform an act not explicitly stated in the Constitution, and which would likely result in a joint vote approving martial law, anyway.

Nevertheless, those against martial law fanatically endorsed the theory, even lawyers.
Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court dismissed this 13-2. Even Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio voted to dismiss, despite voting against martial law in all of Mindanao in the main martial law case.

Proponents on both sides of the Con-ass debate must remember this defeated case on the joint session. For 2018’s biggest legal showdown, they had best prepare real law instead of citing politics, emotional appeals and propaganda yet again.

Published in News
Monday, 15 January 2018 18:14

Con-ass: 2018’s biggest legal showdown

Our fate hinges on a typo.

In 2017, once obscure doctrines such as martial law and writ of

amparo took centerstage. The year 2018 welcomes the never before invoked provision to change the Constitution.

Under Article XVII, Section 1, revision of the Constitution “may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A constitutional convention.”

Proposed revisions must be ratified in a plebiscite. This may be simultaneous with elections, such as the May 2018 barangay elections.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are about to pass resolutions to convert Congress into a constituent assembly or Con-ass under Option 1. They argue that using Congress is cheaper and quicker than electing a constitutional convention.

But Article XVII, Section 1(1) has an obvious typo: What does “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” mean?

Senators strenuously insist that Con-ass revisions must be approved by both a three-fourths Senate vote and a separate three-fourths House vote.

They argue the Constitution provides for two separate houses. The bicameral structure would become meaningless if 23 senators’ votes are dwarfed in a joint vote with 297 congressmen.
This is surely not the intention for such an important vote, argues the constitutional law textbook of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, an eminent 1986 constitutional commissioner. So do many legal scholars.

One further argues that if the Constitution intended the senators’ votes to be diluted, it would specifically say so.

It does so in Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. Here, a martial law proclamation is revoked by: “The Congress, voting jointly.”

This specific wording was intentional. In a crisis, there might be no time to resolve a split Senate and House vote on martial law. But otherwise, a separate vote is presumed.

Finally, many scholars posit a glaring typo. Congress was initially intended to be unicameral, per the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations. When it was made bicameral, they simply forgot to revise Article XVII, Section 1(1).

But congressmen could interpret “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” as a joint vote of all congressmen and senators combined. Article XVII, Section 1(1) does not specify a separate vote and simply refers to “all its Members.”

They would cite Article X, Section 1 of the 1935 Constitution, which instead required “a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately.” If the 1987 Constitution used a different language, it must have a different meaning.

Finally, they would cite the legal doctrine that the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations are not binding interpretations. Citizens ratified the text of the Constitution as they read it, not as deliberated by the Commission.

Thus, the wording of a single legal phrase is crucial. The course of our nation hinges on a typo.
A similar debate emerged on Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. A group opposing martial law in May 2017 claimed this could not continue unless Congress first met in joint session.
This was problematic because Article VII, Section 18’s text only required a joint session vote to revoke — not to approve — martial law, and both the House and the Senate expressed they would not revoke it.

It would strain separation of powers for the Supreme Court to order Congress to perform an act not explicitly stated in the Constitution, and which would likely result in a joint vote approving martial law, anyway.

Nevertheless, those against martial law fanatically endorsed the theory, even lawyers.
Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court dismissed this 13-2. Even Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio voted to dismiss, despite voting against martial law in all of Mindanao in the main martial law case.

Proponents on both sides of the Con-ass debate must remember this defeated case on the joint session. For 2018’s biggest legal showdown, they had best prepare real law instead of citing politics, emotional appeals and propaganda yet again.

Published in News
Monday, 15 January 2018 18:14

Con-ass: 2018’s biggest legal showdown

Our fate hinges on a typo.

In 2017, once obscure doctrines such as martial law and writ of

amparo took centerstage. The year 2018 welcomes the never before invoked provision to change the Constitution.

Under Article XVII, Section 1, revision of the Constitution “may be proposed by: (1) The Congress, upon a vote of three-fourths of all its Members; or (2) A constitutional convention.”

Proposed revisions must be ratified in a plebiscite. This may be simultaneous with elections, such as the May 2018 barangay elections.

The House of Representatives and the Senate are about to pass resolutions to convert Congress into a constituent assembly or Con-ass under Option 1. They argue that using Congress is cheaper and quicker than electing a constitutional convention.

But Article XVII, Section 1(1) has an obvious typo: What does “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” mean?

Senators strenuously insist that Con-ass revisions must be approved by both a three-fourths Senate vote and a separate three-fourths House vote.

They argue the Constitution provides for two separate houses. The bicameral structure would become meaningless if 23 senators’ votes are dwarfed in a joint vote with 297 congressmen.
This is surely not the intention for such an important vote, argues the constitutional law textbook of Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, an eminent 1986 constitutional commissioner. So do many legal scholars.

One further argues that if the Constitution intended the senators’ votes to be diluted, it would specifically say so.

It does so in Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. Here, a martial law proclamation is revoked by: “The Congress, voting jointly.”

This specific wording was intentional. In a crisis, there might be no time to resolve a split Senate and House vote on martial law. But otherwise, a separate vote is presumed.

Finally, many scholars posit a glaring typo. Congress was initially intended to be unicameral, per the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations. When it was made bicameral, they simply forgot to revise Article XVII, Section 1(1).

But congressmen could interpret “a vote of three-fourths of all its Members” as a joint vote of all congressmen and senators combined. Article XVII, Section 1(1) does not specify a separate vote and simply refers to “all its Members.”

They would cite Article X, Section 1 of the 1935 Constitution, which instead required “a vote of three-fourths of all the Members of the Senate and of the House of Representatives voting separately.” If the 1987 Constitution used a different language, it must have a different meaning.

Finally, they would cite the legal doctrine that the Constitutional Commission’s deliberations are not binding interpretations. Citizens ratified the text of the Constitution as they read it, not as deliberated by the Commission.

Thus, the wording of a single legal phrase is crucial. The course of our nation hinges on a typo.
A similar debate emerged on Article VII, Section 18 on martial law. A group opposing martial law in May 2017 claimed this could not continue unless Congress first met in joint session.
This was problematic because Article VII, Section 18’s text only required a joint session vote to revoke — not to approve — martial law, and both the House and the Senate expressed they would not revoke it.

It would strain separation of powers for the Supreme Court to order Congress to perform an act not explicitly stated in the Constitution, and which would likely result in a joint vote approving martial law, anyway.

Nevertheless, those against martial law fanatically endorsed the theory, even lawyers.
Unsurprisingly, the Supreme Court dismissed this 13-2. Even Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio voted to dismiss, despite voting against martial law in all of Mindanao in the main martial law case.

Proponents on both sides of the Con-ass debate must remember this defeated case on the joint session. For 2018’s biggest legal showdown, they had best prepare real law instead of citing politics, emotional appeals and propaganda yet again.

Published in News
Thursday, 11 January 2018 17:51

The Don is dead; federalism, atbp

“DON Mayo is dead! Long Live Don Mayo!

We are just into the beginning of the new year and two events occurred: one is personal; and the other, institutional. But both related.

Mario Antonio “Mayo” G. Lopez passed away at dawn last Saturday, January 7, 2018. Very fitting indeed as this was the feast day of the “Three Kings,” the official end of the Catholic celebration of the Christmas season. I would like to believe that the three Magi from the past ushered out Mayo, escorting him to the Lord as they did visiting baby Jesus 2,000 years ago. But knowing Mayo, the reality in fact is more sanguine, if not dramatic. He exited this world “…on his own terms and at his own choosing.” What could be more histrionic than that! The bugger didn’t even wait for me to say goodbye. I texted Kuku, his wife, “ang haligi ng kanyang buhay,” for permission to visit him after the holidays as I had to spend Christmas with my grandkids in Davao. She said to visit anytime. I was in the 6:30 a.m. plane to Manila yesterday and reviewed FB postings and bedside photos with Mayo by Raffy Alunan and Babes Flores, our Harvard colleagues. And then this sudden news.
“Kuku, I’m inside the plane to Manila now when I got the news in FB. I was hoping to visit and see Mayo before he leaves us. Now I regret not flying from Davao earlier. I love the guy. I hope he forgives me.”

Her reply:

“Don Lito, he loves you too. And there is nothing to forgive. He knew you were with the family.”
I have this nagging feeling that Don Mayo left centerstage just before I flew in to see him to stress me out and to prove a point that he is in control. What impeccable timing for an exit scene.

“Don Mayo” and “Don Lito” were names we addressed each other. These titles underscore a special but quirky bondharking back to the early 1990s when we organized, along with Willy Villarama, Art Aguilar, Babes Flores and Angelo Reyes, the KSG-Harvard Alumni where they made me president for several years. Don Mayo was purportedly my “consigliere” although he was more a godfather than I. We were “conspirators” in one sense and spent time in idle chatter (whenever I flew in from Davao) concocting humorous scenarios and stories about our Harvard colleagues, with Kuku oftentimes berating us for being “unkind.” But mostly we analyze and critique most everything, especially official acts of government, from the administrations of Fidel, Erap, Gloria to PNoy, where our solution to the problems of the country was simple and elegant—“kill the miscreants.” Don Mayo may be snickering somewhere in the beyond to observe that the Deegong is now actually implementing our original solution.

Which brings me to the other facet of our relationship. I invited him to be a member of the Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) board of advisors. He was a valued member of the small group of political technocrats that help CDPI process centrist positions on issues of the day. Among those in the board are Pepe Abueva, CJ Puno, Rufus Rodriguez, Francis Manglapus, Ed Tayao, Philip Camara, Mon Casiple, Linda Jimeno, Malou Tiquia, Peter Koeppinger and Benedikt Seemann.

Don Mayo was my go-to guy when we formulate economic provisions some of which are incorporated in the “Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution”. We often clash and disagree on certain ideas on political economy but improving in the process overall quality of discussions. These documents are also partly a legacy of Don Mayo.

Towards the end, Kuku would accompany him to our CDPI board of advisors’ dinner-meetings, making this steadfast exemplar companion part of the proceedings. He was becoming weaker but still had his superb sense of humor. And upon meeting we still bow to each other on one bended knee and putting our right hand to each other’s forehead. He first, and I reciprocate; a ritual we last did in June of 2017. We will do this again when we next meet – but not sooner, I hope.

 
The Centrist proposal
The printed version of the centrist proposal in booklet form has just been released, courtesy of the Vibal Group (available upon request). It’s a pity that Don Mayo didn’t get his special copy. This week, Rufus Rodriguez, president of the Centrist Democratic Political Party (CDP) provided copies to each of the members of the House, the 23 members of the Cenate, justices of the Supreme Court and all members of the cabinet and PRRD and VP Robredo. The salient points will be discussed in my column next Thursday. But those serious adherents of federalism should refer to my Manila Times column article (“CDP roadmap to federalism,” May 11, 2017), or access www.cdpi.asia).

This version was presented to the Malacañang Press last September upon the behest of the then presidential spokesman, Secretary Ernie Abella. This was also printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) for a comparative analysis along with the PDP-Laban and the congressional committee versions. Hopefully, this will be taken up in the 25-man consultative commission of President Duterte, if ever.

Towards the end, Don Mayo and I were still texting about political and economic issues, but they became of lesser and lesser importance. His FB postings were becoming more personal, familiar and warmer with photos of his wife, Kuku, and family. Funny, but in some ways, we never did get to meet each other’s children, only our wives. Several months back, we decided to have dinner at La Cabrera with Kuku and his four sons. We postponed the date twice. His last txt to me was last October: “Don Lito, we’ll find time for our steak and wine dinner when my health improves.”
It never did.

So, Don Mayo, I will have that dinner with Kuku and your four sons after “babang luksa”– period of formal bereavement. Then Kuku, your sons and I will raise our glasses of Malbec, to our health and to your memory.

Salud! Please don’t expect to see me sooner.
Published in LML Polettiques
Thursday, 11 January 2018 17:51

The Don is dead; federalism, atbp

“DON Mayo is dead! Long Live Don Mayo!

We are just into the beginning of the new year and two events occurred: one is personal; and the other, institutional. But both related.

Mario Antonio “Mayo” G. Lopez passed away at dawn last Saturday, January 7, 2018. Very fitting indeed as this was the feast day of the “Three Kings,” the official end of the Catholic celebration of the Christmas season. I would like to believe that the three Magi from the past ushered out Mayo, escorting him to the Lord as they did visiting baby Jesus 2,000 years ago. But knowing Mayo, the reality in fact is more sanguine, if not dramatic. He exited this world “…on his own terms and at his own choosing.” What could be more histrionic than that! The bugger didn’t even wait for me to say goodbye. I texted Kuku, his wife, “ang haligi ng kanyang buhay,” for permission to visit him after the holidays as I had to spend Christmas with my grandkids in Davao. She said to visit anytime. I was in the 6:30 a.m. plane to Manila yesterday and reviewed FB postings and bedside photos with Mayo by Raffy Alunan and Babes Flores, our Harvard colleagues. And then this sudden news.
“Kuku, I’m inside the plane to Manila now when I got the news in FB. I was hoping to visit and see Mayo before he leaves us. Now I regret not flying from Davao earlier. I love the guy. I hope he forgives me.”

Her reply:

“Don Lito, he loves you too. And there is nothing to forgive. He knew you were with the family.”
I have this nagging feeling that Don Mayo left centerstage just before I flew in to see him to stress me out and to prove a point that he is in control. What impeccable timing for an exit scene.

“Don Mayo” and “Don Lito” were names we addressed each other. These titles underscore a special but quirky bondharking back to the early 1990s when we organized, along with Willy Villarama, Art Aguilar, Babes Flores and Angelo Reyes, the KSG-Harvard Alumni where they made me president for several years. Don Mayo was purportedly my “consigliere” although he was more a godfather than I. We were “conspirators” in one sense and spent time in idle chatter (whenever I flew in from Davao) concocting humorous scenarios and stories about our Harvard colleagues, with Kuku oftentimes berating us for being “unkind.” But mostly we analyze and critique most everything, especially official acts of government, from the administrations of Fidel, Erap, Gloria to PNoy, where our solution to the problems of the country was simple and elegant—“kill the miscreants.” Don Mayo may be snickering somewhere in the beyond to observe that the Deegong is now actually implementing our original solution.

Which brings me to the other facet of our relationship. I invited him to be a member of the Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) board of advisors. He was a valued member of the small group of political technocrats that help CDPI process centrist positions on issues of the day. Among those in the board are Pepe Abueva, CJ Puno, Rufus Rodriguez, Francis Manglapus, Ed Tayao, Philip Camara, Mon Casiple, Linda Jimeno, Malou Tiquia, Peter Koeppinger and Benedikt Seemann.

Don Mayo was my go-to guy when we formulate economic provisions some of which are incorporated in the “Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution”. We often clash and disagree on certain ideas on political economy but improving in the process overall quality of discussions. These documents are also partly a legacy of Don Mayo.

Towards the end, Kuku would accompany him to our CDPI board of advisors’ dinner-meetings, making this steadfast exemplar companion part of the proceedings. He was becoming weaker but still had his superb sense of humor. And upon meeting we still bow to each other on one bended knee and putting our right hand to each other’s forehead. He first, and I reciprocate; a ritual we last did in June of 2017. We will do this again when we next meet – but not sooner, I hope.

 
The Centrist proposal
The printed version of the centrist proposal in booklet form has just been released, courtesy of the Vibal Group (available upon request). It’s a pity that Don Mayo didn’t get his special copy. This week, Rufus Rodriguez, president of the Centrist Democratic Political Party (CDP) provided copies to each of the members of the House, the 23 members of the Cenate, justices of the Supreme Court and all members of the cabinet and PRRD and VP Robredo. The salient points will be discussed in my column next Thursday. But those serious adherents of federalism should refer to my Manila Times column article (“CDP roadmap to federalism,” May 11, 2017), or access www.cdpi.asia).

This version was presented to the Malacañang Press last September upon the behest of the then presidential spokesman, Secretary Ernie Abella. This was also printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) for a comparative analysis along with the PDP-Laban and the congressional committee versions. Hopefully, this will be taken up in the 25-man consultative commission of President Duterte, if ever.

Towards the end, Don Mayo and I were still texting about political and economic issues, but they became of lesser and lesser importance. His FB postings were becoming more personal, familiar and warmer with photos of his wife, Kuku, and family. Funny, but in some ways, we never did get to meet each other’s children, only our wives. Several months back, we decided to have dinner at La Cabrera with Kuku and his four sons. We postponed the date twice. His last txt to me was last October: “Don Lito, we’ll find time for our steak and wine dinner when my health improves.”
It never did.

So, Don Mayo, I will have that dinner with Kuku and your four sons after “babang luksa”– period of formal bereavement. Then Kuku, your sons and I will raise our glasses of Malbec, to our health and to your memory.

Salud! Please don’t expect to see me sooner.
Published in LML Polettiques
Thursday, 11 January 2018 15:51

The Don is dead; federalism, atbp

“DON Mayo is dead! Long Live Don Mayo!

We are just into the beginning of the new year and two events occurred: one is personal; and the other, institutional. But both related.

Mario Antonio “Mayo” G. Lopez passed away at dawn last Saturday, January 7, 2018. Very fitting indeed as this was the feast day of the “Three Kings,” the official end of the Catholic celebration of the Christmas season. I would like to believe that the three Magi from the past ushered out Mayo, escorting him to the Lord as they did visiting baby Jesus 2,000 years ago. But knowing Mayo, the reality in fact is more sanguine, if not dramatic. He exited this world “…on his own terms and at his own choosing.” What could be more histrionic than that! The bugger didn’t even wait for me to say goodbye. I texted Kuku, his wife, “ang haligi ng kanyang buhay,” for permission to visit him after the holidays as I had to spend Christmas with my grandkids in Davao. She said to visit anytime. I was in the 6:30 a.m. plane to Manila yesterday and reviewed FB postings and bedside photos with Mayo by Raffy Alunan and Babes Flores, our Harvard colleagues. And then this sudden news.

“Kuku, I’m inside the plane to Manila now when I got the news in FB. I was hoping to visit and see Mayo before he leaves us. Now I regret not flying from Davao earlier. I love the guy. I hope he forgives me.”

Her reply:

“Don Lito, he loves you too. And there is nothing to forgive. He knew you were with the family.”

I have this nagging feeling that Don Mayo left centerstage just before I flew in to see him to stress me out and to prove a point that he is in control. What impeccable timing for an exit scene.

“Don Mayo” and “Don Lito” were names we addressed each other. These titles underscore a special but quirky bondharking back to the early 1990s when we organized, along with Willy Villarama, Art Aguilar, Babes Flores and Angelo Reyes, the KSG-Harvard Alumni where they made me president for several years. Don Mayo was purportedly my “consigliere” although he was more a godfather than I. We were “conspirators” in one sense and spent time in idle chatter (whenever I flew in from Davao) concocting humorous scenarios and stories about our Harvard colleagues, with Kuku oftentimes berating us for being “unkind.” But mostly we analyze and critique most everything, especially official acts of government, from the administrations of Fidel, Erap, Gloria to PNoy, where our solution to the problems of the country was simple and elegant—“kill the miscreants.” Don Mayo may be snickering somewhere in the beyond to observe that the Deegong is now actually implementing our original solution.

Which brings me to the other facet of our relationship. I invited him to be a member of the Centrist Democracy Political Institute (CDPI) board of advisors. He was a valued member of the small group of political technocrats that help CDPI process centrist positions on issues of the day. Among those in the board are Pepe Abueva, CJ Puno, Rufus Rodriguez, Francis Manglapus, Ed Tayao, Philip Camara, Mon Casiple, Linda Jimeno, Malou Tiquia, Peter Koeppinger and Benedikt Seemann.

Don Mayo was my go-to guy when we formulate economic provisions some of which are incorporated in the “Centrist Proposal for the Revision of the 1987 Constitution”. We often clash and disagree on certain ideas on political economy but improving in the process overall quality of discussions. These documents are also partly a legacy of Don Mayo.

Towards the end, Kuku would accompany him to our CDPI board of advisors’ dinner-meetings, making this steadfast exemplar companion part of the proceedings. He was becoming weaker but still had his superb sense of humor. And upon meeting we still bow to each other on one bended knee and putting our right hand to each other’s forehead. He first, and I reciprocate; a ritual we last did in June of 2017. We will do this again when we next meet – but not sooner, I hope.

The Centrist proposal

The printed version of the centrist proposal in booklet form has just been released, courtesy of the Vibal Group (available upon request). It’s a pity that Don Mayo didn’t get his special copy. This week, Rufus Rodriguez, president of the Centrist Democratic Political Party (CDP) provided copies to each of the members of the House, the 23 members of the Cenate, justices of the Supreme Court and all members of the cabinet and PRRD and VP Robredo. The salient points will be discussed in my column next Thursday. But those serious adherents of federalism should refer to my Manila Times column article (“CDP roadmap to federalism,” May 11, 2017), or access www.cdpi.asia).

This version was presented to the Malacañang Press last September upon the behest of the then presidential spokesman, Secretary Ernie Abella. This was also printed in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) for a comparative analysis along with the PDP-Laban and the congressional committee versions. Hopefully, this will be taken up in the 25-man consultative commission of President Duterte, if ever.

Towards the end, Don Mayo and I were still texting about political and economic issues, but they became of lesser and lesser importance. His FB postings were becoming more personal, familiar and warmer with photos of his wife, Kuku, and family. Funny, but in some ways, we never did get to meet each other’s children, only our wives. Several months back, we decided to have dinner at La Cabrera with Kuku and his four sons. We postponed the date twice. His last txt to me was last October: “Don Lito, we’ll find time for our steak and wine dinner when my health improves.”

It never did.

So, Don Mayo, I will have that dinner with Kuku and your four sons after “babang luksa”– period of formal bereavement. Then Kuku, your sons and I will raise our glasses of Malbec, to our health and to your memory.

Salud! Please don’t expect to see me sooner.

Published in LML Polettiques
Thursday, 04 January 2018 13:08

My New Year’s resolutions, atbp

IN my last article for 2017, I wrote about a “Politically correct Christmas story?”. I didn’t share this with my grandkids. But I retained a clipping of that article for them to muse upon when they are older and have shed their innocence and sense of wonder and have become “grown-ups,” starting their lives of cynicism and distrust. By then I may have been gone from their lives.

 

On my first column this year, 2018, I will write on the concept of a “new year” that is different for each culture and perhaps extract what single important factor compels people to resolve to change some aspect of their lives for the rest of the year; aside from the coming year being a “fresh start” of a series of 12 months or so.

 

First, there is nothing new about New Year. We have had an eternal cycle of new years since man started keeping track of time and the seasons. This was simply a convention formalized by Pope Gregory XIII to synchronize the earth’s seasons with those of the Christian religious celebrations, particularly Easter no, which is normally celebrated on the first day of spring, or the vernal equinox. This confusion was largely caused by the 364 and 1/4th days of the Julian calendar, named after Julius Caesar and used by the Western world for 1,600 yrs.

 

The Gregorian Calendar is now universally accepted although some Muslim countries still use, for religious purposes, an Islamic calendar based on the Hijrah (July 622 AD), when Muhammad migrated from Makkah to Madinah. These instructions are basically based on the Qur’an and his pronouncements that, “With Allah the months are twelve; four of them are holy; three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumaada and Sha’ban.” In some sense, the Gregorian and Islamic calendars don’t synchronize and therefore Islamic New Year is not celebrated on January 1.

 

Chinese New Year likewise is not celebrated in the first day of January. Known as the Spring Festival based on the traditional lunisolar Chinese calendar, it is a movable date. Compared to the Gregorian Calendar, Chinese New Year roughly falls between January 21 and February 20, as it begins with the new moon.

 

In the Rabbinical Jewish tradition, New Year is celebrated as Rosh Hashanah, commemorating the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the creation’s first man and woman. This is roughly equivalent to the Gregorian calendar date of September 9, 2018. In other denominations of the Jewish faith, celebration of New Year falls on different dates.

 

But for most of us following the Gregorian calendar, every January 1, people from all walks of life put thoughts and promises into paper. I do this intermittently myself and used to list down five New Year’s resolutions. There is something magical about the number 5; thus, I never put on paper less than or more than 5. It’s always “My 5 New Year’s Resolutions.” Maybe 5 resolutions are doable; beyond 5 are impossible to hold on to.
 
In my experience, twenty percent of these resolutions, I normally hold on to for two weeks, then I’m left with 4 for the next 52 weeks. But somewhere between January and May 4, my birthdate, I drop them all. Some resolutions I have been doing repeatedly for several years now but was successful only 50 percent of the time. I have kept some of the resolutions on a leather-covered notebook (a gift from my GF).

 

In 1974, I resolved to reduce my alcohol intake and stop smoking. This was easy as this was the first year after I decided to make my GF an ex, and we were expecting our first child. My pocket then could no longer afford tuba, kotil & sioktong– the alcohol of choice of people from Calinan. But I did stop smoking Snowman for a few weeks. I was a healthy 174 lbs. (77kgs).

 

In the coming years, as I inched up the socio-economic ladder, I acquired tastes commensurate to my status. I started on beer and indulged in whisky – preferably scotch; and smoked Philip Morris and Salem Menthol 100.

 

In 1985, reluctant to give up the finer things in life, I resolved (in fact pressured by my better-half), to go into a physical fitness regimen for 12 months; considering too that Lara and Carlo were now 11 and 8 years old, respectively. I gave up cigarettes and switched to Habanos and Tabacalera Coronas. I bloated to 190 lbs (86 kgs).

 

My regimen lasted two months, more or less, as the parliament of the streets that started in the last quarter of 1983 became a substitute. This turmoil built-up to a climax in February 1986, when I was recruited into government. Perhaps the pressure and stress under Cory’s government ballooned me up to an unhealthy 210 lbs (93 kgs). None of my new year’s resolutions were kept. And I had acquired chronic obstructive pulmonary Disease (COPD).

 

The morning of January 1, 2018, Oliver, my two-year-old woke me up with him sitting on my tummy irreverently calling out “fat tummy Lolo”. I already gave up cigars and cigarettes and moderated my alcohol intake shifting to Lagarde Malbec and Argentinian Chardonnay and Torrontes, but my bathroom scale insolently registered my weight at an unhealthy 240 lbs. (109kgs). At breakfast with my family, I asked their opinion about New Year’s resolutions.

 

Max, my five year 9 nine months oldest grandkid volunteered. And here on record is another list of 5 New Year’s resolution; in his raw language.

 

“Lolo, I want you not to be cranky. You are always cranky…I heard this from Momsie,” (his Lola Sylvia, my tormentor and my wife).

 

“Don’t go to MCD (McDonald’s) and only eat good sandwiches”.

 

“Take less sugar, and eat less cake even on your birthday”.

 

“Exercise more on your gym, Lolo”

 

“I want you to be healthy and don’t get a heart attack”.

 

This last item is the unspoken core of my grandson’s anxieties as he still can’t accept the possibility of his Lolo leaving him and going to heaven. I think I have found at last my motivations for carrying out my New Year’s resolutions. And if I fail again, I will just restart my 5 New Year’s resolution not on another new year but perhaps on my birthday May 4.

 

Happy New Year, a prosperous one and a safe 2018 to all!
Published in LML Polettiques
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 10:27

SC to fully enforce eSubpoena this year

The Supreme Court (SC) is set to fully implement this year the electronic subpoena (eSubpoena) for police officers and men to assure their attendance in court hearings and other proceedings.

 

Court records show that the non-attendance of police investigators in court has led to the dismissal of criminal cases, particularly drug-related cases, or extended the detention of suspects.

 

Court Administrator Jose Midas P. Marquez said the SC has conducted trainings for all first and second level courts in the country on the eSubpoena system as part of the judiciary’s modernization program in partnership with the Philippine National Police (PNP).

 

Under the eSubpoena system, court personnel enter the details of the subpoena in the PNP’s database. Once sent, the court process officers of the PNP will acknowledge receipt and will inform the police officer being summoned.

 

Within three days from receipt of the eSubpoena, the PNP is required to inform the court of the summoned officers and men’s availability for the hearing.

 

Police officers and men summoned through the eSubpoena could face both administrative and criminal cases if they fail to appear during trial court hearings and other proceedings without a valid reason.

 

The full implementation of eSubpoena system is contained in Circular No. 244-2017 issued last December 21.

 

“Pending full connectivity of all the courts nationwide, those courts which have no signal or are experiencing intermittent Internet signals in their stations are directed to use available Internet facilities in their respective areas and utilize the monthly Extraordinary and Miscellaneous Expense Allowance provided the judges in sending the eSubpoena,” the circular stated.

 

Marquez said the SC’s Management Information System Office has been tapped to handle trial courts that still do not have accounts or need to restart their password.
Published in News