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EDITORIALS & OPINIONS OF THE WEEK:
(Mini Reads followed by Full news commentary)

FROM GMA NEWS NETWORK

ON DAP: PRESIDENTIAL IMMUNITY IS SUPERSTITION


By Rene Saguisag The Ombudsman is having the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) probed. The prober will go where the evidence leads. If it shows PNoy's involvement in personal skullduggery, it will be have to be mentioned as part of the report. His supposed immunity is superstition. But, it is doubtful if a Prez can be sued for official acts, given the plenitude of his powers and responsibilities. Perfection or infallibility is not required of any Prez, entitled and obligated to make judgment calls. We are also influenced by US jurisprudence. JFK (sued by the donkey-riding State Senator Hugh Lee Bailey), Nixon (Ernest Fitzgerald) and Clinton (Paula Jones) tried to use the immunity defense but the courts said immune for official acts, but not personal ones. All three Prezs had to settle—JFK paid $17,500; Nixon, $142,000 and Clinton, $850,000. If PNoy is charged with sexual harassment, such would not be part of a Prez's job description, leaving him with timely consent as one defense. What is being probed is DAP. The report will have to include a finding of whether there was any violation of law and who is responsible. READ MORE...

ALSO THE POE CONUNDRUM: Reviewing the basics


By Fr. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO Soon after the hearing before the Senate Electoral Tribunal several heavyweights weighed in. Lightweights also chimed in. What we now have is a cacophony of allusions to customary international law, constitutional law -- and an ample serving of ad hominems and ad misericordiams to boot. I thought it useful to lay down some basic propositions to which we might all return in taking up this intriguing but important subject. Proposition 1: It is true that what is presently litigated before the Senate Electoral Tribunal is her eligibility for the position she now holds -- Senator of the Republic. BUT, since the grounds advanced by the petitioner for her disqualification are "nationality" and "residence," then whatever the SET may rule -- and eventually the Supreme Court, should the matter be elevated by the appropriate avenue -- bear upon her announced candidacy for the office of President. Proposition 2: Grace Poe is a "foundling," which simply means, in law, one found in a jurisdiction, of unknown parents and parentage. Her age puts her birth within the effectivity of the Constitution of 1935. Under that Constitution, one had to be born of a Filipino father (whether legitimately or illegitimately is irrelevant) to be considered a natural-born Filipino. If one was born of a Filipino mother and a foreigner father, one had to elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. Those who elect Filipino citizenship are deemed natural-born. (Co v. HRET, 1991) Proposition 3: There is no express provision of Philippine law that allows us to attribute to a foundling Philippine citizenship, if the finding takes place in the Philippines. Neither is there a provision in any treaty to which the Philippines is a party that binds the Philippines to attribute its nationality to all foundlings found within its jurisdiction. CONTINUE READING...

ALSO HENERAL LUNA: No villains, only heroes


By Fr. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO 
I have not yet watched Heneral Luna. I intend to do so soon. It comes highly commended and has thus far received rave reviews. There are rumors about the Oscars. And there is revived interest in General Antonio Luna -- of whom not very much was known by most, except that he and his brother, Juan Luna, a painter, were brothers and both, acclaimed as heroes. Quite unfortunately, the enthusiasm for Heneral Luna has translated into disdain for General Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic. It was the same thing when attention was on Andres Bonifacio. Both are considered "victims" of Emilio Aguinaldo's despotism. And so it is that one hero enjoys an apotheosis, another suffers a serious diminution in esteem and regard. I am not using terms loosely. "Hero" correctly refers to Aguinaldo as it does to Bonifacio, Rizal, Mabini, Paterno, Sakay, etc. We were taught that in our elementary grades, and it remains sound civics and good history till this day. The period following the end of the Spanish regime, the declaration of Philippine Independence and the Filipino-American War was a very confusing period. Sadly, our heroes were locked in power struggles, many times, with deadly consequences for some. In that period of confusion, there were different views about what was best for the country, and these were held with ardor and zeal. Amid volatile circumstances, it was not too difficult to magnify differences and then to cringe in fright at them as threats. READ MORE...

ALSO: Joker Arroyo, a paradigmatic icon gone


By ATTY. RENE SAGUISAG -Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV greet former Senators Rene Saguisag (in blue jacket) and Joker Arroyo (with cane) before the start of the Senate hearing on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Saguisag and Arroyo were the counsels for detained Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, who is being implicated in the alleged anomaly together with his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, himself a former Makati mayor. Amita Legaspi Joker was a towering figure we idolized from afar when martial law came. He was up there. We were uhugin-may-gatas-pa-sa-labi gofers of the veteran de campanas and Joker made us see that UP did not stand for Useless People (like Marcos, and that's putting it mildly). I was not to meet Joker until 1978, in connection with the 1978 Laban campaign. Uncle Jovy Salonga headed a group of like-minded dissidents in the Resistance Movement meeting regularly. Our friendship was casual at that time. Acquaintanceship, more like. And then in the 1981 Light-a-Fire trial in Camp Aguinaldo, he was mesmerized on hearing me, a San Beda English major, use "transmogrify." He treated us to late lunch and became a fan, probably not having heard the term in Ateneo and UP, ha, ha. He and Bobbit Sanchez, MABINI chair, with the latter's expense account from the Garcias of Chemphil, were the only members who could afford to feed us, struggling pro bono (puro abono) lawyers (abonado, not abogado). Last we met was in January this year when we defended Mayor Junjun Binay from a Senate arrest order. We got JunJun out in hours. Dating tagapangulo si Joker ng Lupon ng Lasong Bugaw and knew that a resource person is entitled to an advance list of questions, per the Supreme Court. (I told Senators Koko Pimentel and Sonny Trillanes that a resource person has a right not to speak. READ MORE...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

ON DAP: Presidential immunity is superstition


By ATTY. RENE SAGUISAG

MANILA, OCTOBER 12, 2015 (GMA NEWS NETWORK) October 6, 2015 10:58am - By ATTY. RENE SAGUISAG - The Ombudsman is having the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) probed. The prober will go where the evidence leads. If it shows PNoy's involvement in personal skullduggery, it will be have to be mentioned as part of the report. His supposed immunity is superstition.

But, it is doubtful if a Prez can be sued for official acts, given the plenitude of his powers and responsibilities. Perfection or infallibility is not required of any Prez, entitled and obligated to make judgment calls.

We are also influenced by US jurisprudence. JFK (sued by the donkey-riding State Senator Hugh Lee Bailey), Nixon (Ernest Fitzgerald) and Clinton (Paula Jones) tried to use the immunity defense but the courts said immune for official acts, but not personal ones.

All three Prezs had to settle—JFK paid $17,500; Nixon, $142,000 and Clinton, $850,000.

If PNoy is charged with sexual harassment, such would not be part of a Prez's job description, leaving him with timely consent as one defense.

What is being probed is DAP. The report will have to include a finding of whether there was any violation of law and who is responsible.

READ MORE...

Rep. Kuchinich also sued Bush and Obama and it would seem the issue of immunity did not figure in the results.

Presidential immunity is a myth as to personal misdeeds but protects one for official acts, even mistakes, for which he answers only to his conscience and to history.

Stealing is never official.

Pork, not toxic per se, continues in the US. We had pork in 1987-92. Not a single cent passed through our office. We could only identify projects.

Rene Saguisag is a former senator who authored the Code of Ethics for Government Officials and Employees.


THE POE CONUNDRUM: Reviewing the basics September 30, 2015 10:38pm Tags: gracepoe, citizenship, set By Fr. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO


By Fr. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO

Soon after the hearing before the Senate Electoral Tribunal several heavyweights weighed in. Lightweights also chimed in. What we now have is a cacophony of allusions to customary international law, constitutional law -- and an ample serving of ad hominems and ad misericordiams to boot. I thought it useful to lay down some basic propositions to which we might all return in taking up this intriguing but important subject.

Proposition 1: It is true that what is presently litigated before the Senate Electoral Tribunal is her eligibility for the position she now holds -- Senator of the Republic. BUT, since the grounds advanced by the petitioner for her disqualification are "nationality" and "residence," then whatever the SET may rule -- and eventually the Supreme Court, should the matter be elevated by the appropriate avenue -- bear upon her announced candidacy for the office of President.

Proposition 2: Grace Poe is a "foundling," which simply means, in law, one found in a jurisdiction, of unknown parents and parentage. Her age puts her birth within the effectivity of the Constitution of 1935. Under that Constitution, one had to be born of a Filipino father (whether legitimately or illegitimately is irrelevant) to be considered a natural-born Filipino. If one was born of a Filipino mother and a foreigner father, one had to elect Philippine citizenship upon reaching the age of majority. Those who elect Filipino citizenship are deemed natural-born. (Co v. HRET, 1991)

Proposition 3: There is no express provision of Philippine law that allows us to attribute to a foundling Philippine citizenship, if the finding takes place in the Philippines. Neither is there a provision in any treaty to which the Philippines is a party that binds the Philippines to attribute its nationality to all foundlings found within its jurisdiction.

CONTINUE READING...

Proposition 4: Grace Poe enjoys the presumption that she is a natural-born Filipino citizen as a logical and juridical corollary of the presumption that she holds office regularly, an office that requires the status of a natural-born Filipino citizen. The burden of proving alienage is therefore on whoever assails her status. It is not for her to prove that she is natural-born.

Proposition 5: A natural-born Filipino who subsequently acquires alien nationality by naturalization, and then re-acquires Philippine citizenship is deemed a natural-born Filipino. Although required to formally renounce alien status and swear allegiance to the Philippines, it is doctrinally held that such a person merely returns to the natural-born status he had before he lost it.

Proposition 6: While it is a principle of municipal law that the State may not be held in estoppel, it is likewise a principle of international law that a State can be held to its representation and to its acts. The Philippines issued her a Philippine passport therein certifying her nationality as "Filipino." This is a juridically relevant fact, from the vantage point of international law.

Proposition 7: In contemporary international law, in cases where nationality is disputed, the doctrine of "effective nationality" or "effective links" is widely accepted. This was the doctrine upheld in the Nottebohm case. Where nationality is contested, a person is to be considered a national of that state with which he or she has the most effective, real and actual links.

Proposition 8: The use of a foreign passport by one who regains Philippine nationality IS NOT irrelevant. "It repudiates the very oath of renunciation required for a former Filipino citizen who is also a citizen of another country to be qualified to run for a local elective position." (Maquiling v. COMELEC, 2013).

Proposition 9: All Filipinos who acquire foreign nationality and later subsequently re-acquire Philippine citizenship and required to renounce all foreign citizenships and to execute a personal and sworn renunciation to qualify for ANY public office. This is an express requirement of Republic Act No. 9225. It applies to all who have re-acquired Philippine citizenship, whether as dual citizens or not, and is a necessary condition for election to public office. (Sobejana-Condon v. COMELEC, 2012)

From what I take to be currently indubitable propositions -- either as a matter of legal hermeneutics or as a result of the present state of international or domestic law, it will be interesting to see what binding conclusions are drawn from these.

Fr. Ranhilio Callangan Aquino is the dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law.


HENERAL LUNA: No villains, only heroes September 22, 2015 10:35pm Tags: heneralluna By Fr. RANHILIO CALLANGAN AQUINO



I have not yet watched Heneral Luna. I intend to do so soon. It comes highly commended and has thus far received rave reviews. There are rumors about the Oscars. And there is revived interest in General Antonio Luna -- of whom not very much was known by most, except that he and his brother, Juan Luna, a painter, were brothers and both, acclaimed as heroes.

Quite unfortunately, the enthusiasm for Heneral Luna has translated into disdain for General Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the First Philippine Republic. It was the same thing when attention was on Andres Bonifacio. Both are considered "victims" of Emilio Aguinaldo's despotism. And so it is that one hero enjoys an apotheosis, another suffers a serious diminution in esteem and regard.

I am not using terms loosely. "Hero" correctly refers to Aguinaldo as it does to Bonifacio, Rizal, Mabini, Paterno, Sakay, etc. We were taught that in our elementary grades, and it remains sound civics and good history till this day.

The period following the end of the Spanish regime, the declaration of Philippine Independence and the Filipino-American War was a very confusing period. Sadly, our heroes were locked in power struggles, many times, with deadly consequences for some. In that period of confusion, there were different views about what was best for the country, and these were held with ardor and zeal. Amid volatile circumstances, it was not too difficult to magnify differences and then to cringe in fright at them as threats.

READ MORE...

None is less a hero. What made them heroes is not necessarily that they died. Rather it was because they ardently held to their beliefs about what was good for the country at that time -- whether it was independence or strategic collaboration with the Americans. I have no doubt that all of them thought his position to be most promising for the country, and because perspectives and views did not always coincide, results were not always pleasant.

I will watch Heneral Luna when I get the chance to, but I know, from reading history and from an understanding of the life-world as well as of ideologies that we will sometimes differ about views to which we are passionately devoted and which we will zealously champion -- and will not be any less noble because of our differences!

Fr. Ranhilio Aquino is the dean of the San Beda Graduate School of Law.


Joker Arroyo, a paradigmatic icon gone October 7, 2015 1:29pm Tags: jokerarroyo, renesaguisag By ATTY. RENE SAGUISAG

Joker was a towering figure we idolized from afar when martial law came.

He was up there. We were uhugin-may-gatas-pa-sa-labi gofers of the veteran de campanas and Joker made us see that UP did not stand for Useless People (like Marcos, and that's putting it mildly).

I was not to meet Joker until 1978, in connection with the 1978 Laban campaign. Uncle Jovy Salonga headed a group of like-minded dissidents in the Resistance Movement meeting regularly.

Our friendship was casual at that time. Acquaintanceship, more like.

And then in the 1981 Light-a-Fire trial in Camp Aguinaldo, he was mesmerized on hearing me, a San Beda English major, use "transmogrify." He treated us to late lunch and became a fan, probably not having heard the term in Ateneo and UP, ha, ha.

He and Bobbit Sanchez, MABINI chair, with the latter's expense account from the Garcias of Chemphil, were the only members who could afford to feed us, struggling pro bono (puro abono) lawyers (abonado, not abogado).

Last we met was in January this year when we defended Mayor Junjun Binay from a Senate arrest order. We got JunJun out in hours.

Dating tagapangulo si Joker ng Lupon ng Lasong Bugaw and knew that a resource person is entitled to an advance list of questions, per the Supreme Court. (I told Senators Koko Pimentel and Sonny Trillanes that a resource person has a right not to speak.

READ MORE...

The praxis in the US was to work out immunity a priori. Non-inquisitorial otherwise.)


Senators Aquilino Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV greet former Senators Rene Saguisag (in blue jacket) and Joker Arroyo (with cane) before the start of the Senate hearing on the alleged overpriced Makati City Hall Building II on Thursday, January 29, 2015. Saguisag and Arroyo were the counsels for detained Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, who is being implicated in the alleged anomaly together with his father, Vice President Jejomar Binay, himself a former Makati mayor. Amita Legaspi

Joker handled the most number of human rights cases, more than anyone else. And the thriftiest Senator who refused to accept pork barrel.

But, no superlatives can reduce the pain of a great unsayable irreplaceable loss.

Fely, we share your pain. We loved Joker, and always will.

The Republic owes him. So do the Aquinos.

This millennium may have been problematic but judged by his best, we can see why candidate Cory picked him (and me) to accompany her in filing her certificate of candidacy in the Comelec on December 3, 1985 and why Prez Cory picked him as her first Executive Secretary, and he took bullets to shield her as Little Prez.

When Dulce had her breast cancer operation in 1997, Joker was generous with his financial support, and again in 2007, when I lost her. He stood as a sponsor when our eldest son, Atty. Rebo, married Jackie. We were more than brothers in a band of human rights brothers and sisters.

When we differed on the unconstitutional ouster of Erap, our respect for each other remained, at a time I was getting hammered, pummelled and pilloried from pillar to post.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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