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Punishment by Humiliation

Punishment by Humiliation

Ronald Roy

Appalling is why the Magdalo and other rebel soldiers applying for amnesty are being required to admit guilt for having committed allegedly mutinous acts against the previous regime headed by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, unqualifiedly the worst Filipino “president” ever. I don’t believe the Danilo Lims, Ariel Querubins, Antonio Trillaneses and their kindred spirits deserve this humiliation.

​The Oakwood Apartelle siege staged by the Magdalo soldiers led by then Navy Lieutenant Trillanes, now a senator of the republic, was essentially an impassioned search for answers, specifically in respect of why they had to continue waging war with enemies of the state who were armed with hardware belonging to the military, and why they had to do so in ignominious shoddy uniforms and worn out shoes.

​Supposedly, “one of the objectives of the amnesty, aside from pursuing enduring peace in the country, is to once and for all stop military adventurism,” according to National Defense spokesman Eduardo Batac. Excuse me, Mr. Batac, but didn’t they engage in that “adventurism” precisely to secure enduring peace not attainable under a commander-in-chief of doubtful competence?

​At the same time, sir, may I suggest you stop calling them adventurists? Those soldiers were for real, primed to march into the valley of death in defense of the motherland, not capering little boys playing cops and robbers with water pistols! I say: grant them unconditional amnesty and invite Representative Gloria Arroyo to pin a medal of honor on each of them—with her deepest apologies!

​Such medals would thus represent the vindication they have long merited, humble entreaties for their forgiveness, in fact. An amnesty, of course, does not demand forgiveness in return. Instead, it grants pure liberality if not forbearance, even of the unreserved sort if need be. No, I do not see this deserved leniency in the proposed amnesty. What I see is an inexplicable resoluteness to compel the soldiers to apologize for acts manifesting their love of country.

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​Everybody remembers the irrepressibly principled law professor, Alan Paguia, who was one of Gloria Arroyo’s largest thorns at the height of the Hello Garci scandal. But just to recall a salient feature of his story, Prof. Paguia had publicly accused the Davide court with violation of Rule 5.10—which prohibits judges from engaging in partisan political activities—when they swore in GMA during Edsa II without Pres. Joseph Estrada being first convicted in the impeachment case.

​The court denied Paguia’s allegations and forthwith placed him under indefinite suspension. That was in 2003, eight long years ago, and he remains to this day suspended. Prof. Alan Paguia, educated to teach and practice law and whose largest fault in life perhaps is an unswerving fealty to ideals and principles–remains unable to teach and practice law to the deprivation of his family.

​Actually, Paguia petitioned for a lifting of the suspension order some two years ago. It would have been a praiseworthy act of magnanimity if the Davide court had temperately granted the petition. Instead, however, it ordered him to scrounge around for favorable endorsements from law organizations.

​It did seem grossly unfair, as it does to this day, that Prof. Paguia, as if he had not suffered enough, would be subjected to the humiliation of groveling on his belly as a condition to the granting of his petition, when what he did was precisely the proper professional thing: to fight for the constitutional rights of his embattled client.

​One asks why the high court was touchy at that time. Was it because a duly elected president was being booted out under circumstances perceived as unlawful? Isn’t Prof. Paguia’s continued suspension an overreaction to what will surely forever be remembered as an infamous grab of presidential power by Gloria Arroyo, whose hold thereof incidentally was not legitimated in an ensuing presidential election? To this day, again, Prof. Paguia cannot teach and practice law to the great discomfort of a wife and their children. Rightly so, the man will never grovel on his belly.

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​Peace talks will resume between government and Maoist leaders this coming Feb. 15-21 in Oslo, Norway. Here we go again, this unending saga of war, ceasefire, peace talks, then back to war. Things may change though if one: government stops giving these commies importance by holding the talks here at home instead of in foreign countries, and two: if the rebels stop training kids to kill or be killed under circumstances they do not fully comprehend. Trouble is they know that if they do this their manpower will most likely shrink to a mere battalion.

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​The exonerated Hubert Webb may not have anything to hide, but his overconfidence may needlessly put him in a second jeopardy if he submits himself to a retrial. It’s never happened before, but we could yet see a ruling that the right against double jeopardy is waiveable.

(Email: arnydolor@yahoo.com, cell # 09186449517)

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