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The Old and the Exuberant

The Old and the Exuberant
Ronald Roy — 21 March 2012

 I’ve known “Manong Johnny” (JPE) for the past half century or so. Our friendship took root when he was a member of President Ferdinand Marcos’ cabinet, and I was the chief of staff of my father, Senator Jose J. Roy, the grandfather of Law Dean Jose M. Roy III, a.k.a. “Judd for the Defense”.

During those days, Manong Johnny often sought me out for talks for a possible joint venture to operate a corporation of which I was the president, a company that had just been awarded a logging concession covering close to a thousand hectares of “apitong” timber located inPalawan.

But the joint venture never came to pass, as my company had instead chosen to deal with the group of Antonio Cabangon Chua, not that of JPE. However, that did not dampen our friendship.

Fast rewind to 1967. Perhaps many will still recall the blessings Marcos gave JPE to run as a Nacionalista Party senatorial candidate. For Manong Johnny, a place on the NP senatorial ticket was a dream and a well-deserved reward for outstanding services rendered by him as a member of the cabinet where he wore many hats.

Unfortunately, he lost his electoral bid, and that posed a problem for Marcos on whether to return him to his official family, his theory being that JPE’s loss had made him a “lame duck” which, in political terms, meant the people didn’t need his services any more.

Strongly disagreeing JPE had ceased to be an asset for the party, Judd’s grandfather convinced Marcos to appoint Enrile back into the cabinet where he had served with distinction, arguing that a lame duck in Johnny’s particular case was one who lost in a reelection bid, and that therefore the situation did not apply to him since he had only lost on his first try.

Thus, it was on my father’s recommendation that JPE got back his old post, and this strengthened further my personal ties with Manong Johnny. Twelve years later, he would return to me the favor he owed my father.

JPE would eventually become one of Judd’s principal wedding sponsors, and I’d like to think that the quality of our amicable ties would endure through the coming years, irrespective of the final verdict as to the guilt or innocence of impeachment respondent Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

The foregoing narration is made by way of a reply to a texter #5759 who wishes to confirm a rumor that “the Enriles and the Roys are socially related families”, ridiculously implying that either defense panelist Judd Roy inhibits himself from the proceedings “for obvious reasons”, or that JPE, being late in his years, desists from continuing his role as the trial’s Presiding Officer.

The narration is likewise made to establish a reason why Impeachment Presiding Officer (IPO) Enrile announced “the impeachment court had decided to grant, in a comical yet understandable senior moment, Senator-Judge Trillanes’ motion to cite for indirect contempt Atty. Ronald Roy… ummm…. Defense Counsel Jose Roy III”

In fairness to IPO Enrile, I stress that he will not allow our friendship to color in any way any of his rulings during the trial.

An obvious Corona-basher, #5759 proceeds to pejoratively describe Justice Serafin Cuevas as “another old fogey who disgraces the trial with his weird hair style and pedestrian mispronunciation of ‘Your Honor’ whenever he says ‘Yerener’ ” .

In any event, I’m glad #5759 raises the matter of Senator Antonio Trillanes being a “young and exuberant” Impeachment Judge worthy of respect for his resolute stand against the respondent.

Yes, a few years back the young and exuberant former Navy Lieutenant Senior Grade Trillanes became a popular hero when he vigorously opposed GMA, his tyrannical commander-in-chief. The core group of the Concerned Citizens Movement (CCM) gave him unstinted support for his daring crusade against the then de facto Pres. Arroyo who had betrayed her own soldiers.

I got to meet Trillanes personally when the CCM tendered a luncheon in his honor and his former fellow Magdalo patriots, an event to celebrate his release from detention so he could commence discharging his duties as a duly elected Senator of the Republic.

It was my good fortune on that occasion to give him a copy of my article entitled “Vox Dei: Free Trillanes”, for which he thanked me. Sadly, however, it is now my misfortune to realize that the young and exuberant senator has not matured from his valorous military days into the stature of an impeachment judge.

When anti-Corona Representatives Umali, Banal, Lower House Majority Floor Leader Gonzales and private prosecutor Aguirre stirred discussions regarding possible contempt citations against themselves, not a single peep was heard from Senator-Judge Trillanes. But with respect to Defense Counsel Judd Roy’s contemptuous infraction, he quickly jumped to his feet and moved to cite him for contempt.

Not only that. Reportedly, Trillanes campaigned hard during a caucus for Judd Roy’s being made to pay the maximum penalty of a ₱30,000 fine and indefinite imprisonment until he revealed the source of his information, regarding alleged attempts by the Palace to buy from the senators a verdict of CJ Corona’s conviction.

It is obvious that the young and exuberant senator cannot be relied upon to comport himself with the jurisprudential “cold neutrality of an impartial judge.” He will not bother to heed IPO Enrile’s advice for the court “to look at the evidence” because he has long judged CJ Corona to be guilty.

As far as he’s concerned, his lingering blind rage for GMA is a cogent basis for convicting the Chief Justice. As far as he’s concerned, the search for truth is not the purpose for his daily presence in the impeachment trial court. Could it be that his purpose is to spread a virus of partiality among his colleagues?

Edward (Muller), given the fact that 76 out of 100 Filipinos are in full accord with P-Noy’s anti-corruption drive, I would view as good news for the Corona camp the recent Pulse Asia survey showing that only 47% of the 1,200 respondents think the Chief Justice is guilty.

Remember also that the survey was taken before the defense commenced the presentation of its evidence. Finally, it’s the senator-judges, not the yellow mob led by President Aquino, who will decide the fate of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

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