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So be it !

RRoy’siPadSo be it !
Ronald Roy — Mar. 17, 2016

It was a historic foundlings victory in the entire world when our Supreme Court, voting 9-6, recently allowed Sen. Grace Poe to run for president in this year’s general elections. The Court categorically stated that “as a matter of law, foundlings are, as a class, natural-born citizens”, and that “the burden of proof was on private respondents to show petitioner is not a Filipino citizen”.

The Tribunal likewise quoted statistics to show that “a child born between 1965 and 1975, the decade in which Poe was born, is 99.83 percent likely to be Filipino, because 10.55 million Filipinos were born at that time as opposed to only 15,986 foreigners”. So be it! This should end all disputes as the Court of last resort has spoken. But then, this isn’t so in an electoral environment given to interminable wrangling.

Muckraking (sometimes called mudslinging), makes for a bruising tit-for-tat among competing candidates and their supporters that seems more entertaining than enlightening for voters. But sometimes it ends up with violence or a court suit after mud hits the complainant with a lie that causes his defeat. To beware then is the advice for those candidates who think they can slander or libel their way to the offices they seek.

I’m disappointed with vice presidential bet Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, a supposedly level-headed lawyer, who should have known better than to demand that fellow vice presidential bet Sen. Bong Bong Marcos return all the hidden wealth his family had allegedly stolen from the people. Cayetano should have instead gone to court to ventilate his claim, and the fact that he didn’t means he didn’t have any evidence at all.

Cheap stunt
His attempt to discredit Marcos was nothing short of a cheap stunt that slid him further down the survey ladder. Mudslinging often backfires, as it exposes the mudslinger’s lack of that sort of breeding that public offices require of their occupants. But a more appalling cheap stunt is the threat of impeachment being hurled at the 9 SC magistrates who allowed Sen. Grace Poe to run for president to the chagrin of her foes and the Commission on Elections.

Atty. Amado Valdez, a university law dean, no less, and one of those who had vigorously argued for the disqualification of Poe, should have likewise known better than to publicly say that: those SC members who voted for Poe’s go-ahead signal to run for president could be impeached for “betrayal of public trust” and/or “culpable violation of the constitution”. Clearly, his ploy was to first intimidate the Court before seeking a reconsideration of its 9-6 vote.

Valdez’s tactlessness (insolence?) is exceedingly unthinkable, considering his standing in the legal community, let alone the fact that, like all other lawyers, he is “an officer of the Court” and as such must remain loyal and supportive of the Court at all times.In my judgement, he could yet face disbarment proceedings or, at the very least, get a reprimand from the high Court, if not a jail term for Direct or Indirect Contempt of the said Court.

Fight Poe, not the Court
Fight Poe, Atty. Valdez, not the Court; this is the ethical norm of litigation. Besides, are you not aware that your behavior is a dangerous precedent? Look at it this way. Often, a case brought up to the high Court poses one or more constitutional issues which, whether the Court likes it or not, will beg for its resolution.

Can you imagine the ridiculousness of it all if the Court has to deal with an impeachment threat every time it comes to grips with a constitutional issue, or with any matter where public trust may, by some stretch of the imagination, be argued to have been betrayed?

Calm as tempers rise
It’s a sad case of right conduct dissipating as the election milieu heats up — a usual occurrence in any democracy, I suppose. Vote-buying schemes and other irregularities have now become the order of the day, with tempers rising, and family ties and friendships souring — all in the name of opportunity, position and power!

But amidst all this mayhem and muckraking , we find comfort in seeing that the prim-and-proper and cool-as-a-cucumber lady-aspirant for the land’s highest office, Sen. Grace Poe, promises to energize the presidency with her twin power of “grace under fire” and “sincerity from the heart”. Is there any doubt that the Court’s 9-6 vote has just triggered her inexorable pull-away toward the finish line?

09186449517 ronald8roy@yahoo.com
musingsbyroy.wordpress.com @ronald8roy

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