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Capital Punishment

Capital Punishment
Ronald Roy  May 28, 2008

The Lopezes won the battle, retaining five Directors on the Board, conceding four to the Winston Garcia-led Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) of which he is the President, and welcoming two neutral proxies. But the war goes on because the truculent Garcia has vowed to remove the Lopezes through the courts. So, the clangorous tumult goes on. Amid all this noise, one asks if GMA’s forces were there with a game plan. Oh yes, they had a game plan which however went pfft; so, they lost to the hosts at Meralco’s Stockholders’ Meeting, fair and square. A certain Daisy Arce was elected Director along with the GSIS team. She is a lawyer from the Firm, run by PanchoVillaraza. I am told she proxied or fronted for the administration’s ravenous vultures.

Mr. Winston Garcia, his abrasiveness notwithstanding, is the hands-down consumers’ favorite in his one-on-one against Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Chairman Rodolfo Albano. Why so? Because Garcia has promised power consumers rebates, refunds, a reorganization of Meralco’s management and criminal cases against Meralco’s alleged cheats. People love him, like they loved Jessie James.

On the other hand, Rudy Albano, his congeniality notwithstanding, is being blamed for his perceived excessive liberality in extending approvals to requests from friends and political quarters. When I was a Board Member of Land Bank, he sometimes passed by my office just to say hello whenever he needed to transact official business on his Land Bank bonds. He was a well loved Congressman from Isabela who rarely refused favor-seekers. He was a very accommodating politician, which made him a round peg in a square hole at the ERC. A good man, I’d say, for the wrong job. Incidentally, this brings to mind GMA’s characteristic incompetence for choosing the wrong people for her government. Well, what can you expect from someone who is herself the worst choice ever for the position she stole?

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Speaking through spokesperson Lorelie Fajardo, GMA has warned that former Speaker Jose De Venecia’s senate testimony on the ZTE-NBN project scandal could be tragic for him in that it might expose his many questionable deals. So, there, Joe, whichever way we look at the situation, i.e. whether you’ve been clean or not in your public service career, you’re dead meat because Gloria and her cohorts will simply coordinate their denials of your narrations and bring out a dossier on yourself, even a manufactured one. If you don’t talk, you’ll be admitting keeping cans of worms in your personal storage. But if you do, well, we will remember you as a corrupt man who, in a final act of atonement, risked or gave his life for God and country. You would prefer this, wouldn’t you, Joe?

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I am afraid Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s penchant for histrionics disqualifies her from assuming a seat in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).  By its very nature, a Judge’s bench requires the highest level of sobriety and impartiality, qualities which the good senator appears bereft of. Our country cannot afford to be represented by someone whose mood swings have made her a legend in comic entertainment. For heaven’s sake, Madam Santiago, give it up! Spare us and yourself a certain fate of an ignominious international embarrassment!

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You’re absolutely correct Lito (Paredes). I had a phone chat with former President Joseph Estrada some 3 weeks ago, and it’s a pity a lot of people still don’t believe him. He is interested only in seeing all opposition forces united behind just one presidential candidate. He stressed in the vernacular, “A civilian-military takeover is not my way. Why do you advocate that?” I replied, “Because it is the only way to crush this tyrannical regime. The opposition has neither the wherewithal nor the counter cheating apparatus in a presidential election. We lose even if we unite behind one candidate.

“Then, of course, having just one opposition candidate would be like having a starry night at high noon. I must also admit, Erap, that a civilian-military takeover cannot be launched without foreign assistance, which is next to impossible. And you can forget the Americans. But if you, and only you, will run for President in 2010, you may have a good chance!” There was a chuckle and pause before he replied, “You can forget that, too, Ronnie. It’s time to stop coups.”

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When I was in grade six at Ateneo de Manila, I remember lamenting the “cruelty” of an uncle whose sons aged 8, 9, 10 and 11 studying in another school he often whacked on the buttocks with a leather belt for all sorts of disobedience. Two of them were consistent honor students, and all eventually became professionals after landing in the top 10 of various government board examinations in accountancy, medicine, and engineering.

Now in their mid and late sixties, they live happy middle-class family lives in Phoenix, Chicago, and California. At a family reunion two years ago, my cousins told me how terrified they were of their father’s corporeal ways, but stressed his carrots and hugs put reason in his disciplinary system. At the same time, we learned to emulate him mainly for his outstanding dental services to poor patients. He derived fulfillment from reaching out to others. He led us by example. “I’m sorry to note the Philippines is chaotic because President Gloria Arroyo refuses or does not know how to lead by example.” Touché cousins! You should know by now over the past year alone that Queen Gloria’s net worth alone has outraced by leaps and bounds her subjects, around fifty percent of whom are in the quicksand of poverty.

There is, indeed, much to learn about corporeal punishment. Ateneo’s POST and JUG were dreaded punishments then, but I’m not sure if they’re still around. Post was calisthenics under the 9-11 morning sun, while jug was writing I PROMISE NOT TO (the infraction) ANYMORE 200 to 1,000 times until the fingers sometimes blistered. Post and jug were disciplinary components of the Jesuits’ system of education which have drawn approval from theologians and social scientists the world over. As no system is 100 percent foolproof, there would of course be recidivists. These incorrigible offenders were expelled outright.

Pocholo Arzuegi now asks if I am for the return of capital punishment. Well, Poch, it should have never been ordered removed by GMA in the first place. In fact, some people joke she had it scuttled by her own Congress so that she would not have to worry about being sentenced to it if the time came. Kidding aside, I would say if she had any ulterior motive to toe the Papal line against capital punishment, it was to ingratiate herself to the Vatican in a hypocritical strategy to deodorize her despotic regime. Do you remember that, when Rome did not approve of Echegaray’s execution, Gloria immediately worked for the deletion of capital punishment from the Revised Penal Code in a move to please Pope John Paul II?

I am neither a penologist nor other social scientist, but I believe in two things, namely, in the instinct of self- preservation and the right to kill others under certain circumstances. When soldiers go to war they do so to defend the homeland, in fine: to win peace for their country. We go to war to stop war as the saying goes. If A shoots and kills B in order to save a defenseless third party, this may be regarded as a lawful “defense of third parties”, which is recognized in our legal system. Consider, Poch, that Popes of old and St. Joan of Arc herself went to war to defend the Faith and their countrymen.

Vivian de Santos once argued, “Mr. Roy, 14 capital offenses were committed over a few months after Echegaray’s execution, proving that his execution was not a deterrent.” I replied, “That 14 could have been overshadowed by 28 or more would-be death-penalty criminals who were restrained by the fear of lethal injection. Vivian, please conclude with reason not speculation. Anyway, if capital punishment is to remain outlawed contrary to my proposal, we should for consistency’s sake likewise outlaw self-defense and defense of third parties.”

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