STANDARD: MY FRUSTRATION OVER THE WEEKEND

MANILA, JULY 27, 2012 (STANDARD) By Emil Jurado - I do not agree with analysts who say that no one stood out among the first batch of nominees aspiring to become the next chief justice of the Supreme Court.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima definitely stood out.

She was asked why she defied the Supreme Court temporary restraining order on her watch list order preventing former President Gloria Arroyo from leaving the country for medical treatment.

De Lima told the Judicial and Bar Council that she could not obey a wrong and illegal order.

But who told her that the order was illegal when it is the Supreme Court itself that rules on constitutional matters? Herself?

I think it was the height of hypocrisy when she told the JBC that she would not be beholden to the President Aquino if she gets appointed as chief justice. How can she not be beholden to him when she has acted as his Doberman all these months?

As a lawyer, De Lima should realize that what the Supreme Court says is the law, whether she likes it or not. Those who disagree may file a motion for reconsideration.

I don’t think that the disbarment case earlier filed against De Lima would be resolved before the JBC decides on its short list to submit to the President.

If she makes it to that list, and, God forbid, if she becomes the next chief justice, that would be the supreme insult to the high court.

I call de Lima a walking violation of the rule of law.

* * *

Last weekend was a big frustration for me. With my son Eric and his wife Sarina, I was all packed and ready to see the island paradise they call Balesin Island Club. No less than my former Ateneo High School student―business tycoon Bobby Ongpin―was my host.

Balesin Island Club is a joint venture of the London-based Ashmore fund management and the RVO Capital Ventures Group, under Alphaland, a high-end property developer with Ongpin as its chairman and Mario Oreta as its president.

I was frustrated because I had been wishing to travel to the most famous and exclusive international resorts like Mykonos, St. Tropez, Costa Esmeralda, even as I have already been to Bali and Phuket.

Now Balesin counts itself as one of these luxurious and exclusive getaways.

Blame it all on tropical storm Ferdie that brought rain to many places in the country. I was feeling under the weather myself so I sent my regrets to Bobby and asked that my trip be rescheduled.

I have heard so much about Balesin. It was owned initially by my good friend, the late Baby Ysmael. Later on, it was acquired by Ongpin’s late Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Ed Tordillas, when Ongpin was Trade Minister of the Marcos regime. Balesin has been Bobby Ongpin’s obsession since he put up his own getaway villa when the island was still owned by the Tordesillas family. Soon, Ongpin bought it, and has been its main unlicensed architect and engineer.

I got hold of a brochure and became frustrated even more. It is truly a dream vacation spot.

* * *

I’m not all surprised that San Miguel Corp. president and chief operating officer Ramon S. Ang has again made it to The Wall Street Journal Asia’s list of influential and prestigious businessmen.

The 57-year old businessman, who rose from the ranks, and engineered the diversification of Southeast Asia’s largest food, beverage, packaging, oil refining and distribution, telecommunications, mining and airlines, is the only Filipino on the recent “Power List Asia.” The list is composed of top Asian business leaders making headlines on select global and regional media.

In fact, it is the third time that Ang has made it to the elite list of newsmakers in regional business.

I think Ang’s most significant achievement is San Miguel’s takeover of the first airline in Southeast Asia―the Philippine Airlines of Lucio Tan. I know and everybody else knows that with Ang on top of PAL, the credibility and integrity of our national flag carrier will again be a pride of Filipinos especially so with its plans now to fly directly to New York and Europe, routes which have been denied to PAL for years.

* * *

Finally, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel in the controversy between the Bases Conversion Development Authority and the Camp John Hay’s 247-hectare lessee-developer, Camp John Hay Development Corp. The matter is about unpaid rentals and alleged breaches of its thrice-restructured Memorandum of Agreement under the Ramos administration.

With the Baguio City Regional Trial Court directing BCDA and CJH Devco to go into arbitration which is provided for under the agreement, the issues of unpaid P3.1 billion lease rentals and alleged breaches of the MOA would be resolved once and for all.

For a long time now, tourism in Camp John Hay has suffered tremendously. Even locators at the Ecozone have been concerned over the prolonged dispute. More importantly, Baguio City has been deprived of its 25 percent share of the Camp John Hay income.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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