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Chokers

Chokers
Ronald Roy — 2012 June 19

Stuffing into the mouth more than one can chew can be a choking experience. Potential victims of this manner of self-affliction are Pres. Noynoy Aquino, Sen. Serge Osmeña, some Chief Justice wannabes, and others who talk too much—sincerely or insincerely, “sensically” or “non-sensically”, or with or without malice.

As of this writing, the successor to former Chief Justice Renato C. Corona has not yet been chosen. While the guessing game remains wild and wooly, P-Noy appears calm and collected. He has announced assurances that the next CJ would be the best choice for the country in general and the Judiciary in particular. Well and good. Let’s hope he does not choke on his mouthful of reassurances.

Allow me to discuss BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares as a nominee for the coveted top Supreme Court position.

Never mind that she’s only 51, that tax collection is about all that she’s good at, that she’s a Palace and Congress ally who testified for them at the recent impeachment trial, that she’ a shooting gallery buddy of P-Noy, and that she’s a braggart who has declared she is the most qualified for the position.

Henares claims to “have been there to witness the rotten system” which the next CJ must be able to break. Well, BIR Commissioner Henares can only sit helplessly (or ignorantly?) as the system of fixers and “tong” collectors flourishes under her nose.

Additionally, according to texter #09065158535 (whom we shall call Hu Yu), Kim’s pure-Chinese father, whose assumed name was Jack Jacinto, had a “bookkeeping office” in Chinatown, Binondo, who serviced Chinese merchants by preparing and filing their false income tax returns every year when he, Hu Yu, was a BIR examiner and field man assigned in the North Manila Area from the ‘50s to the ‘70s.

Not being a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Jack Jacinto allegedly hired young CPAs to staff his bookkeeping office. Hu Yu remembers him and a certain Remedios Lim as “notorious fixers in the BIR who helped untouchable taxpayers cheat the government”. In fact, Kim was her father’s assistant who, with her CPA credentials, later joined Sycip, Gorres & Velayo and Co.

If Hu Yu’s damning data about Atty. Kim Jacinto-Henares is true, she never should have been appointed BIR Commissioner, much less considered as a contender for the position of Chief Justice. She dished out a mouthful on the witness stand at the impeachment court, and during interviews has bragged about being the best prospect for cleaning up the Judiciary. She could choke on her words yet when investigations get underway to focus on her allegedly sordid and grisly past as a BIR fixer.

I share the fears of Mang Carling (Musñgi) that P-Noy’s promise—that his mother’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program would be completely set in place by 2016—may turn out to be an empty one. He quipped: “Daldal, panay daldal, mabuti kung tutuparin ng Presidente ang pangako!” (Words, words, I doubt that P-Noy will keep his promise). I tried to allay his apprehensions though.

I told him that P-Noy is probably sincere because he thinks that CARPER (Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program with Extended Reforms) will be remembered as his mother’s legacy. I warned however that while “setting CARPER in place” in the next 4 years is feasible, only the amalgamated political will of all concerned government agencies and elements from the private sector, including the tilling families themselves, will make it succeed.

I then punctuated: Land ownership is NOT THE VISION of CARPER. It is how it can be harnessed to improve the economic lives of these families. Mang Carling smiled and nodded.

He then started to wax Malthusian in Tagalog: “The main culprit of our backwardness is burgeoning population—that stifling condition that perpetuates poverty, hunger, ignorance, classroom shortages, vehicular congestions, crime upsurges, etc.!”

I mused: Mang Carling Musñgi, 79, a voice from the hinterland, would that he could be heard among city pundits whose textbooks are proving little.

I’m afraid texter #1818 reads me wrong. I do want P-Noy to succeed through leadership by example, by commanding and following, and producing more by talking less.

He must realize he can learn more by becoming a master of his silence and a slave of other people’s counsel. But this is a big genetic problem. Like his late father and other Aquino kin, P-Noy is so irrepressibly voluble he sometimes steps on people’s toes, and worse: mindlessly misarticulates his administration’s policies.

Speed of speech is no measure of wisdom or logic. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Winston Churchill—not to mention Cesar E. A. Virata—were slow, deliberate speakers. Heaven forbid the day when, to the great disaster of our country, P-Noy shall choke on his mindless public comments that “the conviction of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona proves that democracy is alive!” He should learn from Plutarch’s dictum that “words can build no walls.”

Another potential choker on my list is Sen. Serge Osmeña. It has become obvious that, as Chair of the powerful Senate Committee on Banks and Corporations, he feels he must make waves in light of what he sees as quick-buck capers that have landed Roberto Ongpin on Forbes’ catalogue of billionaires. The good senator is probably a rabid disciple of Syrus who believed that “No good man ever became suddenly rich”.

Characteristically babbling before media, Osmeña has once again linked Atty. Mike Arroyo to those (imagined?) capers, drawing a challenge from GMA’s husband to pipe down and take his charges to court. Well, I don’t think he will do so, not while he’s on a fishing expedition. Osmeña has become so frustrated and intemperate he might just order a discreet investigation of a tongue-in-cheek claim, reportedly made by Ongpin himself, that the billionaire uses a crystal ball in his business operations.

My notion of an ideal Chief Justice, Christine (de Santos), is one who—apart from being competent, honest and independent—is wise in the ways of the world without being worldly, uncompromising without being uncompassionate, Christian without being intolerant of other faiths, and selfless without being committed to martyrdom—that standard set by Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos, as required by Chief Justice Renato C. Corona’s lead impeachment prosecutor, Rep. Neil Tupas.

But Christine, can the Judicial Bar Council find such a chief magistrate in this day and age?

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  1. June 22, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Ronnie,

    Joe/Toto Santos saying hello from Honolulu. My daughter is getting married this Sunday at JW Marriott.

    I can relate with you about the effectiveness of slow speakers. Just yesterday, at the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor, I watched an old clip of FDR talking about the “day of infamy”. He was truly a slow and deliberate speaker, but very effective!

    P-Noy rushes through his speech like the a poorly-prepared Grade School contestant in an elocution contest. We know he can read as he flicks his head from left to right and back – quite obvious that he is using 2 teleprompters.

    His delivery is so devoid of any indication that he believes what he is saying. Or that even understands.

    Yes, he is a choker by your definition. Whether reading from a prepared speech. Or worse yet when he speaks extemporaneously to look like he is speaking intellgently or decisively. Two traits which are not in P-Noy’s list of strenghts.

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