Ma ma ma my Corona!!!

[ “Ma ma ma my Corona!!!” — sing to the tune of the 1970s “My Sharona” ]

I am still waiting for my hotshot [ “de campanilla” ] lawyer friends to help me put together an intelligible blog post on this current political maelstrom…

The usual story is that it is all about the Supreme Court decision on the 6,435 –  hectare Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac of the Jose “Pepe” Cojuangco Sr. and Demetria “Metring” Sumulong family — Pedro “Pete,” Josephine “Jo,” Teresita “Terry,” Corazon “Cory,” Jose Jr. “Peping,” and Maria Paz “Passy” [ NOT the Eduardo “Endeng” Cojuangco Sr. and Josephine “Nene” Murphy family { Eduardo Jr. “Danding,” Mercedes “Ditas,” Aurora “Rory,” Enrique “Henry,” Isabel, and Manuel “Manoling” } NOR the Antonio Cojuangco and Victoria “Toyang” Uychuico family { Meldy O. and her children Antonio “Tonyboy,” et. al. } NOR the childless Juan “Itoy” Cojuangco and Lualhati “Hati” Aldaba ] …

Cojuangco clan members, relatives, and associates will tell you that Hacienda Luisita, acquired by the Jose Cojuangcos postwar from the Spanish “Tabacalera” company, was a headache from Day 01.

The city’s elegant lunch and dinner tables have it that at a Jose Cojuangco Sr. family meeting following the Supreme Court decision, a senior family member [ who’s left? ]  was supposed to have lashed out at the nephew Benigno III “Noynoy,” currently the President of the Philippines, “Kung noong panahon ni Marcos, Macapagal, o Garcia, o sino pa man, hindi nagalaw ‘yan, ngayon pang Presidente ka???!!!  XXXX!!!”

Poor President Noynoy.  I don’t envy his difficult position within his Cojuangco-Sumulong clan.

And that is supposed to be why Chief Justice Renato Corona has to go…

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“There were serious legal and ethical issues regarding the appointment of then Associate Justice Renato Corona as Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court during the appointment ban [ “lame duck” ] period of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.”

“However, the legal issue was raised to the Supreme Court and was decided in favor of allowing her to appoint whomever she wanted to fill the vacancy.  This matter by virtue of that decision has turned into law, rightly or wrongly.”

“We all know that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of what the law is.  If we decided to negate the decisions of the said court, we are going to be facing anarchy simply because everybody will have his own interpretation of the law.”

“This is exactly what is happening right now in the impeachment proceedings.  You have the prosecutors and the senator judges who have their own ideas of what the law is.  We are, in a way, living in a state of anarchy.”

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“They’re all these blackened and sooty pots calling Corona the kettle black.  They’re all the same anyway.  They act as if they don’t have the very same skeletons in their closets .”

*************************************

“So President Aquino wants to replace Renato Corona as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  Who will replace him?  Antonio Carpio?  Maria Lourdes Sereno?  Is this a game of ‘Go Back to Square One’???!!!”

*************************************

“No one is above the law.  And the ultimate arbiter of the law is the Supreme Court.”

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“It is good that the fine legal minds of Johnny Ponce-Enrile and Miriam Defensor-Santiago restrain them from making fools of themselves, unlike the rest…  The two know that the Impeachment Body is already ‘overstepping the bounds’.”

*************************************

“Since no one there seems to be listening to the Supreme Court, those lawyers should return their licenses and just pull out their guns and shoot at one another.”

*************************************

“We are already in a constitutional crisis.”

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“We are very disappointed with the President and his legal team.  The sheer clumsiness with which all this is being handled is frankly embarrassing and demoralizing to the entire Filipino legal community.”

*************************************

IM-PEACH MELBA:

In the meantime, I am enjoying Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s antics immensely.  She’s so “bongga”!!!  She gives me something to do, and enjoy, while waiting for the traffic to move…

I guffawed like Snoopy the Beagle [ or Muttley of Dick Dastardly? ] at the mock-heated exchange between Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and maritime lawyer Atty. Arthur Lim because it was like Lucy scolding Charlie Brown in the “Peanuts” comics series.  The two were classmates at the UP Law School [ Batch 1969 ] along with Senator Franklin Drilon and billionaire entrepreneur and horseracing magnate Atty. Alfonso “Boy” Reyno.  Law school contemporaries remember the straightlaced Miriam reporting to her professors in that signature Ilonggo-English-slang twang of hers:  “Professor!  The boys at the back are cheeeaaating!!!”  It’s interesting to note that the UP Law School Batch of 1969 has produced several powerful political players.

“The Constitution allows the Senate to promulgate its own rules of procedure. That has been repeated in this instance. This is the end of this colloquy. How dare you raise questions [of] my authority? Be careful because I might request my colleagues to inhibit you and disqualify you from appearing here!”

“You cannot heckle me. You cannot engage in what the law calls a colloquy with me. You cannot engage in a discussion or in an argumentation with me. I’m the judge, I preside here!”

Enjoy the show…  just what this whole increasingly ridiculous, imbecilic, hypocritical shebang is supposed to achieve totally escapes me.

42 Comments

  1. Myles Garcia said,

    June 4, 2012 at 7:35 am

    Has anyone seen the Meryl Streep film THE IRON LADY? Which is about Margaret Thatcher, and not Imierda Marcos. Anyway, I just saw the film last Friday and I just noticed that certain intonations of Mrs. Thatcher as interpreted by Streep sound very much like the tone Defensor used in her rhetorical remarks. THE IRON LADY film was quite riveting.

  2. Myles Garcia said,

    May 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    Was watching some of the latest Miriam clips. Consequently, I have come to the conclusion that the feisty and esteemed Senator should NOT seek office in the International Court of Justice but instead she should immediately be drafted to preside over the military trials of the 9/11 terrorists in Guantanamo. We’ll see how those retarded murderers would conduct themselves; and Ms. Santiago would have the proceedings and sentence wrapped up in 2 days. No B/S; no shenanigans from those extremist fools!!

  3. Enrique Bustos said,

    April 28, 2012 at 4:13 am

    The grandfather of Joseph McMicking was from Ayshire, Scotland. His father Jose McMicking came to the Orient to start a fabulous career in trade in the 19th century.

    The name of the mother of Joseph Mcmicking was Angelina Rico-McMicking.

  4. April 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

    Renato Corona fears retaliation from the Malacanang palace. Do the other seven justices feel likewise?

    Well, it’s not just the Malacanang palace, it’s more the Cojuangco-Sumulong clan, the Cojuangco cohorts, and like-minded people.

    Any Filipino knows that.

    This is going to be an interesting game of “Hangman.”

    Toto Gonzalez

  5. Myles Garcia said,

    April 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks for posting J. Ponce-Enrile’s U.P. commencement speech, Enrique. Very interesting and enlightening, specially the bit about the past history between the Ayalas and the Ortigases. So kinda like why one is Hertz or Coca-Cola; and the other is Avis or merely Pepsi-Cola.

    Funny, how he totally ignored–which is how it should be–the mention that the late tin dictator was also a UP Law grad; altho they belonged to rival fraternities. Macaw belonged to the more sociale Upsilon.

    (I actually met Paeng Salas when I was new in New York; and a few years ago, his widow, Menchu, who now lives in retirement in the San Clemente area of southern California.)

    But doesn’t Enrile err in naming Joseph McMicking “English.” If anything, wasn’t McMicking actually Filipino-American? Wasn’t his mother an Ynchausti (so right there, another link to the Ortigases and the Elizaldes)?, and wasn’t his father an American old-timer in the Commonwealth Philippines–or was his father an ex-pat Englishman?

  6. Enrique Bustos said,

    April 26, 2012 at 5:36 am

    This is the speech delivered by Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile at the commencement ceremony of the University of the Philippines College of Law on 23 April 2012 at the UP Film Institute in Diliman, Quezon City.

    Last February, I got a call from your Dean, my godson Dean Danilo Concepcion, to greet me on my 88th birthday. He also extended the invitation for me to be your guest speaker for today on the momentous occasion of your graduation.

    Lately, I have turned down many speaking engagements on account of my heavy work load and schedule, and partly because of some difficulty I have with my eyesight. My doctor calls my affliction “age-related macular degeneration.” Whatever that is, I don’t know, but it is there. Well, at 88, I understand why it is “age-related.” I am probably one of the oldest graduates of the college.

    To be honest, as I am now presiding over the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice, I silently hoped that I would not be made to speak on the matter which is now before us in the Senate.

    Yet, I could not possibly say no to a rare opportunity to address this young batch of upcoming members of the Bar from my Alma Mater, the University of the Philippines College of Law.

    This College has produced some of the best and the brightest stars in the legal profession. It has also produced some of the most colorful and, if I may add, controversial figures in our nation’s history. I would think that I belong to this last category. To say that my life and career as a public servant has been “controversial” is, perhaps, an understatement to most.

    To be candid and honest, it does not come to me as a surprise that UP Law or the UP community has not always considered Juan Ponce Enrile as a source of pride. It is but natural and expected that my role in the Marcos era and the martial law years, and my stand on many critical and passionate political and social issues, have invariably caused what may have been perceived as some sort of “estrangement” between this University and me.

    Far from feeling estranged, however, I have always looked at and understood the UP community as both a marketplace and an advocate of varied ideas and causes at different times in our nation’s life.

    Lawyers are, in essence, advocates. Debates, no matter how passionate and heated, and at times personally bruising, are always healthy for democracy as long as the debates are over ideas, beliefs, and issues that matter to and affect the nation and the lives of the people.

    In fact, I think it would be sad if the University of the Philippines were to ever cease to be the bastion and fountainhead of academic freedom and of social and political activism that it has always been known to be.

    I have always maintained that we who are in public service must be open to criticism, or even reproach, and public judgment for our acts and decisions. We must be open to criticism and divergent views, even as we are prepared to defend our own positions.

    In truth, all through the many differences of opinions, heated political debates, and severe criticisms, I have always regarded and held the UP College of Law dear to my heart for the fond memories of the years I spent in this campus, and for the deep debt of gratitude I owe this College and my professors for setting me off prepared to tackle the rough road of law practice and public service which lay ahead for me. Thus, this occasion is also, in a greater and deeper sense, a homecoming for me.

    I consider my admission to the UP College of Law as something designed by Providence. Actually, after my pre-law studies, I was all set to take my law course at the Ateneo de Manila.

    But when I was in my last year as student at the Ateneo de Manila during my pre-law years, Father Thomas Cannon, SJ, who was the dean for student discipline, summoned me to his office. In a stern tone, he asked me why I failed to attend dutifully the Saturday morning holy masses in school. I explained to him that it was physically impossible for me to do that because on Saturdays, I had to drive for my half-brothers and sisters.

    He opened his eyes wider and said curtly, “I do not think this school is for you. If you cannot follow our school rules, you do not belong here!”

    His words hurt me truly. But, I decided to just take his words calmly and said nothing.

    Earlier, Gonzalo Gonzales or “GG,” as we fondly called him, my father’s brilliant associate with whom I shared a room in the law firm of DeWitt, Perkins & Ponce Enrile, had insisted that I should take my law course instead at the University of the Philippines. His father, Bienvenido Gonzales, was then the President of the University of the Philippines. GG offered to talk to his father for my admission to the UP College of Law.

    I told my father about GG’s suggestion, and he was elated. He agreed that the UP College of Law would be a better law school for me to learn the law. I briefed GG about my father’s reaction, and he asked me to fill up an application form for admission to the UP College of Law.

    After I was admitted to the UP College of Law, I went back to Father Cannon and said to him, “Father, I need a little understanding from you. You are correct. Ateneo is not for me. I will be leaving Ateneo next school term. I am transferring to the UP College of Law.”

    He stared at me without saying anything. But I could see that he was not happy about what I said.

    Father Cannon was correct. I did not belong to the Ateneo de Manila Law School. I belong to the UP Law Class of 1953, and I am very proud about it.

    As a student then, I was very fortunate to have some of the most brilliant, competent, tough, and demanding professors. Professor Norberta Lapus Lauria taught me Persons and Family Relations and, later on, Obligations and Contracts. Professor Gaudencio Garcia was my drill-master in Political Law. Professor Emiliano Navarro was my mentor in Criminal Law. Professor Enrique M. Fernando who, later on, became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was my teacher in Constitutional Law.

    The then Dean of the UP College of Law, Jose Espiritu, was my professor in Corporation Law. Professor Juan T. Santos made me memorize and recite the Rules of Court verbatim from cover to cover, and to understand them. Professor Bienvenido Ambion, with his thick eye glasses and somber mien, taught me Torts and Damages well.

    Professor Ramon Aquino who, also later on, became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, made me understand thoroughly the subject of Wills and Succession. Professor Francisco Ventura was my able mentor in Land Registration Law. Professor Jose Campos gave me all that I knew about Banking and Negotiable Instruments. And Professor Juan Luces Luna was my able teacher in the Law on Property.

    All of my professors had the gift of clarity of mind in explaining the law — its structure and its dynamics found in jurisprudence. Our professors required us to memorize and understand the laws and codes and to recite them verbatim orally. They also demanded that we went back to the originals of court decisions assigned to us daily for study, read them thoroughly, and summarize each one of them for recitation in the classroom.

    The daily grilling by our professors, the mandatory memorization of legal provisions, and the extensive readings and summarization of court decisions greatly sharpened our minds and expanded our knowledge of the law and factual situations.

    Our batch was the first batch of first year law students to be in the Diliman campus. The College of Law before that had its campus in Padre Faura. Back in those days, we were not as lucky as you are today to have a Malcolm Hall and a UP Law Center. Our classes at that time here in Diliman were held in uncomfortably warm quonset huts. The College of Law then was located at the site of where, I understand, Vinzons Hall now stands.

    I was a working student at that time. I was working as an assistant librarian at the DeWitt, Perkins and Ponce Enrile Law Offices, where my father was one of the senior partners.

    My fellow students in my batch came from all walks of life. I was at ease with them because many of them were products of the public elementary school system like me. There was no sign of boastfulness or elitism from my classmates. In the University of the Philippines of my time, and I think even now, there was no compulsion or obligation to attend any religious rites. Everybody was free to follow his individual conscience and to pursue his own intellectual inclination.

    Up to the first semester of my fourth year, I was a candidate for a “magna cum laude.” When I reached the last semester of my senior year, I committed a serious blunder. I argued passionately with my professor in civil law review, who was no less than the brilliant but acerbic Vicente Abad Santos, on a doubtful question of law.

    Obviously, Professor Abad Santos did not relish my temerity to challenge his mastery of the subject. As a result, he gave me a grade of 3 in Civil law review, which was a five-unit subject. The grade of 3 that he gave me lowered my general average and brought me down to the level of a “cum laude.”

    After my graduation from the University of the Philippines, Prof. Abad Santos became the dean of the UP College of Law. Much later, he was appointed as head of the Board of Pardons and Parole in the Department of Justice during the presidency of Diosdado Macapagal.

    Of course, as a law student, I used to address Vicente Abad Santos as “Sir.” But that situation changed when President Marcos pulled me from the Department of Finance and appointed me as Secretary of Justice in December of 1968. I became the boss of my erstwhile professor in civil law review. And so, by force of circumstance, it was his turn to address me as “Sir.”

    Fate, indeed, holds some funny twists in life. We both took things in stride and eventually became very good and close friends. Vic, as I later fondly called him, was actually by nature a good and kind-hearted man. He had a dry but affective humor that endeared him to his friends.

    In the UP College of Law, I gained the friendship of several men who later made big names in the field of law and politics. For example, Benigno A. Aquino, Jr. became a senator, a martyr, and a hero. Salvador Laurel, whose father was President of the country during the Japanese occupation — became a senator and Vice President of the Philippines. Marcelo B. Fernan became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and President of the Senate. Joker Arroyo was Executive Secretary of President Corazon C. Aquino, and, after that, he was elected member of the Philippine House of Representatives and, years later, of the Philippine Senate. Rafael M. Salas was the first Executive Secretary of President Ferdinand E. Marcos. Later, he became the United Nations Deputy Secretary General for population until he died of a severe heart attack at a young age alone in a hotel room in Washington DC.

    Rafael M. Salas was an Ilonggo from Bago City in Negros Occidental. He was a compleat politician, a skillful political strategist and tactician, and a brilliant and well-read classical scholar. He was my classmate in the UP College of Law. He graduated number three in our class and a cum laude, like me.

    In my senior year Rafael M. Salas asked me to join his Sigma Rho fraternity. He was also instrumental in getting me involved in politics. He became not just my friend and fraternity brother. He was like a brother to me. “Paeng,” as I affectionately called him, could very well have been the best president of the country had he lived long enough.

    When I was in my senior year, I was selected to be the chairman of the Philippine Law Journal, an organ of the UP law school. Florentino Feliciano preceded me in that position. He was a year ahead of me in the UP law school. He graduated magna cum laude.

    The faculty adviser of the Philippine Law journal then was Professor Enrique M. Fernando, my brilliant professor in Constitutional Law.

    1953 was a historic and momentous year for me. It was the year when Ramon Magsaysay was elected President of the Philippines. It was also the year when I ascended, as you are ascending today, the stage to receive my diploma for the degree of Bachelor of Laws, cum laude, and salutatorian of my class. And it was also the year that I took the Bar Examination.

    I designed a plan for my Bar review. I gave myself two weeks to enjoy some rest for the first time in my life in 29 years. I refrained from studying or reading any book. By the way, I was 29 years old when I finished my law course in this college.

    For the four months prior to August, which in those days was the Bar examination month, I avoided all forms of leisure so that I would not be distracted. I devoted all my time and focused my full attention to my Bar review. I slept not more than five to six hours each day.

    I did not attend any Bar review classes. I reviewed alone according to my own pace and time. My review was rigorous and thorough. I related all the subjects together, and meshed and organized them into a whole matrix.

    When the month of August arrived, all prospective Bar examinees converged in Manila from all parts of the country to take the Bar examinations. Morning and afternoon of every Saturday in August 1953, all the would-be lawyers took the Bar examinations at the campus of the Far Eastern University. I found most of the questions easy. Few were tough, and some were vague and even silly.

    When I read the results of the Bar examinations in the local newspapers in January 1954, I felt a terrible disappointment. I passed. But, I did not make it to the list of the top ten successful Bar candidates. I was number 11, in spite of my general average of 91.72%.

    What made it worse for me was my nagging thought that I did not work hard enough to be at the top. I had the foolish notion that my four months of grueling review was not sufficient.

    My disappointment, however, was somewhat softened by the perfect score I got in Commercial Law. My examiner in that subject gave me a perfect score of 100%. Commercial Law then was one of the three toughest subjects in Bar examinations. Many candidates failed to become members of the Bar because of it.

    When I retrieved the notebook where I wrote my answers to the questions in my commercial law examination, I was amused by what was written on the face of my notebook. My examiner wrote the words: “See me if you need a job.”

    I had no idea then who my examiner in Commercial Law was. He never gave me a hint where I could see him or find him. However, I learned when I was already in law practice that he was Francisco “Paquito” Ortigas Jr., a noted lawyer and known expert in corporation law and senior partner in the law firm of Ortigas & Ramirez, one of the oldest and leading law firms in the country.

    When finally I met my Commercial Law examiner face to face for the first time years later, our meeting was rather a dramatic one. I met him not because I was looking for a job from him, but rather because we were on the opposite sides of a case that involved a big and well-established insurance company.

    Ortigas & Ramirez were lawyers and, at the same time, partners of the Zobel de Ayalas in Filipinas Compania de Seguros, a non-life insurance corporation, whose corporate life was about to expire. The Ayalas owned 65% of the voting shares in the corporation, while the Ortigases owned the remaining 35%.

    The Ayalas wanted to extend the corporate life and business of Filipinas Compania de Seguros. But the Ortigases, through Paquito Ortigas, their lawyer and my erstwhile examiner in Commercial Law, demanded the dissolution and liquidation of the corporation. The Ayalas were short by 1 and 2/3% for the required 66 and 2/3% to amend the corporation’s articles of incorporation to extend its corporate life.

    Thus, an impasse between the Ayalas and the Ortigases developed. The Ayalas insisted on the extension and continuation of the corporate life and business of Filipinas Compania de Seguros, but the Ortigases adamantly refused to cooperate and go along. The Ortigases wanted to be paid for their 35% holdings in the corporation on their terms. The Ayalas refused to buy out the Ortigases. The Ayalas dropped the Ortigas & Ramirez law firm as their lawyers.

    Col. Joe McMicking, an Englishman who married into the Ayala family and the actual brain and builder of the Ayala Group of companies, engaged the law firm of DeWitt, Perkins & Ponce Enrile to represent the Ayalas against the Ortigases. I was assigned to handle the case. I studied the case thoroughly for a few days, and I devised a simple solution for the Ayalas.

    When I met the executives of the Ayala Group, I advised them to agree with the Ortigases to dissolve Filipinas Compania de Seguros and convert its board of directors into a board of liquidators to liquidate the business affairs and assets of the corporation over the three-year period, as provided in the corporation law. I also proposed that, in the meantime, a new non-life insurance corporation for the Ayalas be organized and all maturing non-life insurance policies of Filipinas Compania de Seguros be transferred for renewal to the new non-life insurance corporation. The Ayalas accepted my proposals in toto right away and without any question.

    When I presented the plan of liquidation in a special meeting of the directors of Filipinas Compania de Seguros, of which Paquito Ortigas was one of them, he was taken aback and dismayed by the simple solution I proposed. He realized that he miscalculated his position and legal strength. He thought that he had an unbeatable legal position and ace to exact a high price for the 35% holdings of his family. He was mistaken. When the board meeting was over, Paquito Ortigas left in a huff. I was glad that I proved to him that he did not err in giving me a perfect score in Commercial Law.

    I finally took my oath in the Supreme Court as a member of the Philippine Bar in January 1954. I felt good and proud. I was now a full-fledged lawyer, raring to try my knowledge of the law before the courts of the land.

    The first case I handled in court, after I passed my bar examinations, was an unfair labor practice against Acoje Mining Company. Acoje was then operating a chromite mine in Santa Cruz, Zambales, where the trial of the case took place.

    I took a small and light single-engine plane from Manila to the town of Santa Cruz to attend the hearing. The plane landed on a very short and narrow airstrip, atop a high mountain ridge surrounded by a lush jungle. From the air, the airstrip was like an aircraft carrier floating in a sea of green timberland.

    The four complainants were all Ilocanos. Their lawyer, Eulalio Braganza Garcia of Pangasinan, was an Ilocano. Commissioner Mariano Tuason of the Court of Industrial Relations, the hearing officer, was also an Ilocano. I represented Acoje Mining Company.

    A problem arose during the trial. The complainants could not speak nor understand English. The questions to them in English had to be translated into Ilocano, and their answers in Ilocano had to be translated into English for the record. There was no available court interpreter then in the town of Santa Cruz.

    Commissioner Tuason asked me if I would agree to allow the lawyer of the workers to do the translations. They were not aware that I was also an Ilocano.

    I agreed. I had faith in the fairness and integrity of Commissioner Tuason. I was confident that he would see to it that the translations were accurate and faithful.

    As the trial proceeded, the lawyer of the complainants was altering the answers of his witnesses to favor his side. I did not mind it at first, especially when the answers were not that damaging to my client’s case.

    However, at one instance, the answer of a witness, as translated by the counsel for the complainants, was so radically different from what his witness really said in Ilocano. I raised an objection. The lawyer said in a brusque manner, “Why are you objecting?”

    I said calmly to him, “You changed totally the answer of your witness.”

    His face was flushed. He asked me in a very arrogant and angry tone, “How do you know?”

    I said to him, “I know because I am also an Ilocano like you!” I spoke to him in fluent Ilocano, and he was startled.

    Commissioner Tuason was terribly embarrassed. He apologized to me. The lawyer stood still, flushed in the face, and speechless.

    I repeated the same question to the witness in Ilocano and translated his answer in English. The lawyer dropped his gaze. Commissioner Tuason suspended the trial. The trial of the case was never called again. Eventually, it was dismissed. I made a home run. I won my first case.

    A month or so after the results of the Bar examinations were released, I received the replies of Harvard University, Columbia University, and Yale University to my applications for admission and scholarship. All accepted me for admission for the school term 1954-1955. All also granted me financial assistance. I chose the Harvard Law School.

    After my post-graduate studies in taxation and corporate reorganization at the Harvard Law School, I came home and hit the ground running, so to speak, in active law practice and litigation. Those years, and my eventual entry into government service and into politics is another long, colorful and still unfolding story.

    I thought of sharing with you this small slice of my life story, which I hoped would be of interest to you as graduates of the same school that has trained and taught me well. For indeed, the UP College of Law taught me well to be a lawyer. I am sure that you also have a lot of memories of your UP Law days to cherish forever — your own share of the joys, the triumphs, the trials, and the travails as law students.

    I can say that in my time, even under the roof of a mere quonset hut, and true to the vision of its founder and first permanent Dean, the eminent Justice George A. Malcolm, the U.P. College of Law did teach us law in a grand manner. And I humbly believe that it did its part in making good lawyers out of us. And that is why people should not be surprised that today, I am the Presiding Officer of Impeachment trial in the Senate. It is because of my training in the University of the Philippines.

    I trust that this is the same tradition, the same training and the same preparation that you, today’s graduates, are fortunate to have undergone and endured, as you set out to take on the many challenges ahead beyond just passing the Bar examinations.

    Certainly, the lessons that a lawyer must learn cannot be confined to the classroom. In fact, it is in the courtrooms — in the hard, rough and tumble life of law practice, exposure to varied and difficult legal and factual issues, and in the careful and arduous preparation for actual litigation that a lawyer’s skills and worth are developed, honed, tested ever so often, and sharpened.

    But the enduring values of critical thinking, intellectual freedom, academic excellence, social consciousness, persistence, doggedness, and perseverance, and, most of all, honor and integrity, can only take root under an academic environment that nurtures them. Such is the environment that the University of the Philippines and the College of Law of this university provides.

    May you all carry these values with you as you leave this great institution and make your parents, your professors and the U.P. College of Law truly proud of you, and may you all summon the boldness to make a difference in your chosen profession.

    Thank you and congratulations!

  7. April 25, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Quo vadis?

    Toto Gonzalez

  8. Ipê Nazareno said,

    April 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Today, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the Jose Cojuangco family must distribute the Hacienda Luisita land to the farmers. But the bigger story is that the Supreme Court, in voting 8-6 with Chief Justice Corona voting with the majority, held to peg the just compensation for the vast sugar estate on the 1989 valuation of only 40,000 Pesos per hectare (and not the 10 Billion Peso value they are claiming which is based on today’s valuation).

    ‎40,000 Pesos x 4,915.75 Hectares — that’s not even 200 Million Pesos! Not even enough for a property in Forbes Park!

    The family must be collectively gnashing their teeth tonight!

  9. Myles Garcia said,

    March 29, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    Well, Alicia, what’s even scarier is that the Filipinos keep sending back to power the people (or the progeny of same) who fleeced and pillaged them in the first place.

    It always seems one step forward and two steps back. Never learn.

  10. Alicia Perez said,

    March 27, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Creepy.

    Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Romualdez Marcos Jr. sounds just like his late father “FM,” the former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos: Brilliant.

    Very creepy. Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is brilliant but he brings back scary memories…

    Alicia Perez

  11. george shaw said,

    March 18, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    it was a little strange txt circulating…from where does Sen. Drillon come from? answer BABUYAN ISLAND. (WE DID NOT SEE THE CONNECTION UNTIL HE HAD A CLOSE UP SHOT ON T.V.)

  12. Paz Atienza said,

    March 16, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    The best circus in town… the impeachment trial! By the way, doesn’t Serafin Cuevas remind you of that character, Asiong Aksaya?

  13. March 11, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Outtakes
    Miriam sends Hell into a crisis
    By Rene Ciria-Cruz
    6:37 pm | Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
    INQUIRER.net

    VATICAN CITY (L’Osservatore Romano)—A Catholic priest accidentally sent a residential area of Afterlife reeling in fear and confusion when he consigned a Philippine senator to Hell for publicly insulting prosecutors in the impeachment of the country’s top jurist.

    Father Catalino Arevalo declared in a homily that Sen. Miriam Santiago deserved “the fires of Hell” for calling prosecutors fools for their mishandling of their accusations. The priest’s pronouncement immediately sent shivers to residents of the Hellfire and Brimstone neighborhoods of Hell.

    “We’re okay with the eternal scorching and scalding, but adding nonstop, high-decibel diatribes to that would be intolerable,” complained Lucrezia Borgia, who hurriedly packed her exotic poisons to evacuate to a truly violent but quieter neighborhood, Circle Seven.

    Panicked residents like Borgia learned of the looming crisis triggered by Santiago’s possible arrival when the piped-in music system abruptly stopped playing “Unchained Melody” and began airing ominous choral passages from “Carmina Burana,” which were made famous by horror movies.

    Legions of fallen angels, including incubi and succubi, were seen scampering to emergency posts to await further orders. Three-headed hellhounds closed the famous Tunnel of White Light, which will remain shut until further notice. Extra units of disembodied Nephilim guards were posted to make sure Santiago does not arrive before the neighborhood’s evacuation is completed.

    Satan shocked

    In a hastily called press conference, Hell’s president, Satan, expressed shock and dismay and criticized Fr. Arevalo’s “unilateral and egregious judgment.” Satan told reporters who were standing knee-deep in excrement that short-listing Sen. Santiago for Hell was cruel and unusual punishment.

    “Jesus Christ! Can’t this priest see people here are suffering enough already? It’s just not fair to them. She’s the last thing we need,” hissed the old devil, who fidgeted and nervously chewed his barbed tail.

    The outspoken Philippine senator added to the confusion when in response to Fr. Arevalo she confidently declared, “There is no Hell as a geographical place,” which made demons pinch themselves frantically to confirm their existence.

    Satan explained that he was simply not prepared for the sharp-tongued senator to take up residence in his realm. “I pray to God that we be spared the logistical requirements of her arrival here. Where will I get a megazillion earplugs to protect my citizens’ eardrums?”

    Satan also defended his lack of preparation, arguing that Sloth was clearly in his job description. “And the prospect of being scolded again and again by Senator Santiago would be too damaging to my self-esteem, and you know I must maintain a certain amount of Pride to be worthy of my name.”

    Asked if he was just scared there was not room enough in Hell for the both of them, Satan became extremely irritated and sidestepped the question. He excoriated the reporters instead.

    “The mainstream media’s effort to quote unquote demonize Senator Santiago is grossly unfair to demons. The MSM is gratuitously tainting our already bad name.”

    Before Satan retreated into the Inner Mouth of Hell, which reporters thought was just a big pothole on EDSA courtesy of the Department of Public Works, he clarified that he did not have the power to determine any government official’s ultimate fate, contrary to popular belief.

    “I can’t stop Ms. Santiago or any Filipino public official. Let’s make one thing clear, people. I’m just the Prince of Darkness, not Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.”

    Some prominent hell-raisers, however, disagreed with Satan’s “overreaction” to Santiago’s pending sentence and saw economic potential to her coming.

    “I foresee a spike in the number of masochists looking for entertainment, ditto for sadists—Miriam is going to be in great demand,” predicted Dante Alighieri, CEO of Infernal Tours and Cruises, Inc.

    Alighieri added, “Satan shouldn’t worry too much about the logistics of Santiago’s permanent residency.”

    “Three words,” he explained. “Infrastructure, infrastructure, infrastructure.” Alighieri believed Santiago would cause little trouble if the accommodations made her feel welcome.

    “Give her a nice new suite, say, in the Eighth Circle, Malebolge, for narcissists, with state-of-the-art voice monitors so she could hear herself talk all the time.”

    St. Peter cautious

    Aftershocks of the crisis in Hellfire corner Brimstone were felt in the Upper Reaches of firmament.

    According to unconfirmed reports, Saint Peter has ordered new deadbolts and sophisticated combination locks for the Pearly Gate. A top cherubim guarding Eden disclosed that he heard Saint Peter issue a warning.

    “With these Filipino senators you can never be too careful,” said the old saint, gently stroking his… rooster.

    “Most of them are lawyers and some are even fond of being the Devil’s Advocate. If you’re not careful, their tangled interpretations of Biblical tenets can spin your head around —and boom, one is slipping through our Gate before you know it.”

    Saint Peter cautioned his celestial jurors that Sen. Santiago has a master’s degree in theology. “If anyone can sneak through the eye of a needle, it’s a lawyer with a real graduate degree to boot, not one of those made-up ones from the University of Santo Tomas.”

    Jiggling his keys, the top saint asked Angel Gabriel if egress to the Kingdom was securely shut and that all cherubs, seraphs, ophanim and archangels have been properly briefed so they would not mistake Senator Santiago for someone who should be let in.

    “Don’t worry, my dear master,” Gabriel replied, “it will be a cold day in Hell before that happens.”

  14. Larry Leviste said,

    March 9, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Ma Ma Mama Corona to take the witness stand next week.

  15. Bing Abad said,

    March 7, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Rep. Niel Tupas needs a nose job, Justice Serafin Cuevas needs hairstyle reform, and most important of all, Atty. Tranquil Salvador’s bangs should be banned!!!

  16. Marina Sanchez said,

    March 4, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    If Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre Jr. is cited for contempt, the best penalty for him would be to appear before the Impeachment Court on nationwide television — WITHOUT HIS TOUPEE.

    Marina Sanchez

  17. Myles Garcia said,

    March 3, 2012 at 7:54 am

    Poor Philippines. Can never pick a competent leader. I guess the cycle cannot be broken??

  18. Alicia Perez said,

    March 3, 2012 at 3:16 am

    I agree, Antonio.

    Alicia Perez

  19. Antonio Jose Llamas said,

    March 3, 2012 at 2:46 am

    President Aquino:

    To drag this whole nation into the depths of legal chaos merely to protect your Cojuangco-Sumulong family’s measly 6,435 hectares of land at Hacienda Luisita is beyond unconscionable. The Filipino people are going hungry, cannot afford medical care, cannot afford education, have very limited opportunities for advancement, and you waste our precious government time and resources on these relatively useless pursuits. Chief Justice Renato Corona, if indeed guilty, is just one among thousands of corrupt Philippine government employees — which might even include you.

    You are unworthy of your parents’ noble legacies. Ninoy Aquino and Cory Aquino would have urged you to attend to truly pressing national matters like poverty and education. Shame on you.

    Antonio Jose Llamas

  20. Alicia Perez said,

    March 3, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago: “Ano ito? Trial by publicity? Are you hoping that you can frighten or threaten or intimidate the Impeachment Court into a decision in conformity with your own particular view of the law… which I must say is sometimes bizarre… it is not only peculiar… but itself bizarre!!! So Byzantine that I cannot figure out what it is you are trying to do!!!”

    “You are an insult to the intelligence of educated Filipinos!!!”

    She might as well have been speaking directly to President Aquino.

    Alicia Perez

  21. Ipê Nazareno said,

    March 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Vitaliano Aguirre acted the way the entire Prosecution Team has been acting during this entire Impeachment Process — with extreme arrogance! I thank the Senate for finally imposing a long overdue disciplinary act against a member of the Prosecution.

  22. Marina Sanchez said,

    March 1, 2012 at 7:43 am

    It’s Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre Jr.’s toupee which I find distracting.

    Marina Sanchez

  23. Alicia Perez said,

    March 1, 2012 at 7:28 am

    I think Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. has a bad nose job. Who is his cosmetic surgeon? He should get it fixed, it’s distracting.

    Alicia Perez

  24. Alicia Perez said,

    March 1, 2012 at 7:22 am

    I like Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago very much.

    But I think she should wear a longer length, bigger size, and better quality, of pearls. The choker length she is wearing is not flattering to her neck.

    Alicia Perez

  25. Alicia Perez said,

    February 29, 2012 at 3:19 am

    I like Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. She’s like: “I’m going to the ICC International Criminal Court anyway. So here, eat my sh*t!”

    Alicia Perez

  26. Alexandra Laguda Sotto said,

    February 28, 2012 at 3:23 am

    Inday Miriam is THE BEST!!!

  27. Enrique Bustos said,

    February 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    COCKTALES
    Victor C. Agustin

    Cocktales belatedly learned of one possible reason why Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago made scathing comments on prosecution counsel Arthur Lim, even mocking his maritime practice on live national TV.

    Supposedly, the two were not only classmates at the UP Law School, but also went out on dates several times during their Diliman days.

    What is unclear is who dropped whom after the brief romantic flirtation.

  28. Larry Leviste said,

    February 22, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    BRAVA ALICIA

  29. Ipê Nazareno said,

    February 21, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Amen, Alicia!

  30. Alicia Perez said,

    February 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    Seriously, what is happening???

    To be frank, I’m very disappointed with President Aquino. He’s out to lynch all these “offenders” like Corona and del Castillo and that is well and good but the truth is that, in principle, he must start with himself and his Cojuangco-Sumulong clan. It matters little that the Aquino-Cojuangco have divested themselves of their shares of Hacienda Luisita. Hacienda Luisita is still owned by the Cojuangco-Sumulong family and, by law, it is still subject to CARP the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program. He must make a man of himself before anything else.

    “Daang Matuwid”??? How about “Daang Baku-Bako,” Mr. President???

    I didn’t want to have to say this, but President Aquino has no credibility as far as all this is concerned. It is already comically obvious that this whole circus is about the future of his clan’s Hacienda Luisita. “Hacienda my foot!” to paraphrase Miriam Defensor-Santiago. They should have followed the terms which were stipulated during the 1958 purchase of the hacienda — that it be distributed to the tenant farmers after a year. Besides, having a “hacienda” is already such an outmoded, antediluvian way of living. And I don’t care about what Sonny Tinio nor Ado Escudero, nor Inigo Zobel nor the Boy Tuasons nor the Tony Floirendos have to say. There are far more efficient and far quicker ways to make money in 2012 !!!

    It was also “very unpresidential” of President Aquino to take personal potshots at Renato Corona in a speech he made a few days ago. It was below the dignity of the President of the Republic. Remember who you are, Mr. President.

    And please, have background checks done on the ladies you date. You might be unpleasantly surprised in the future. Your lady might just leave when you’re no longer President.

    Alicia Perez

  31. Alicia Perez said,

    February 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Text message going around:

    “There will be a new witness in the Corona trial. A relative. From Japan. His name: TOYOTA CORONA!!!”

    Hahahah!!!

    To think I got it from a dear friend, a prominent lawyer.

    Alicia Perez

  32. paz atienza said,

    February 15, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Why was I laughing so loud at your comparison of Charlie Brown and Lucy while Snoopy (you) watched at the sidelines? That was an awesome caricature of these characters in the impeachment trial. I am trying my best to check out who is Linus, Woodstock, Peppermint Patty and Pig-Pen!

  33. Marina Sanchez said,

    February 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm

    The Filipino “Watergate” looms…

    If it turns out that the bank records of Chief Justice Renato Corona were acquired through illegal means, and worse, through the machinations of the Office of the President at the Malacanang palace, then big, big trouble lies ahead…

    President Aquino will face the “guillotine” of impeachment himself.

    We are beginning to look like the French Revolution from 1789 onwards here…

    Marina Sanchez

  34. Enrique Bustos said,

    February 13, 2012 at 3:55 pm

    Fast forward to the Present Hacienda Luisita Inc is heavily indebted to San Miguel Corp chaired by Danding Cojuangco according to news report

    http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideBusop.htm?f=2011/december/1/rayenano.isx&d=2011/december/1

    San Miguel is a stakeholder in Hacienda Luisita after the company lent money to the cash-strapped sugar estate. The largest food and drinks company, which diversified into the power, mining, telecommunications, utility and banking businesses, advanced over P1 billion to Hacienda Luisita Inc. as payment for future sugar purchases.

    San Miguel advanced P300 million each to Hacienda Luisita in at least two transactions as payment for the sugar purchases, presumably to meet the requirements of the former’s food, fruit juice and liquor businesses. San Miguel did not take delivery of the sugar purchases, preferring to bide its time and collect the produce at a later period.

    San Miguel, in the first place, could not call on the sugar purchases because the estate has stopped production. Hacienda Luisita farmers staged a strike to press their demand to redistribute the farm to them as part of the government’s land reform program.

    With the non-delivery of the sugar at an agreed price, Hacienda Luisita owes San Miguel at least P1.5 billion, including interests. How Hacienda Luisita will repay the advances to San Miguel remains unclear, especially in the light of the Supreme Court ruling.

    Hacienda Luisita itself is in a financial quandary. It could lose entirely the sugar produce from the estate if, say, farmers decided to plant rice or other crops. Hacienda Luisita and sugar refinery Central Azucarera de Tarlac will have the costly (and unlikely) option to secure sugar canes from other fields.

    The Supreme Court ruling has also put San Miguel’s ambition plan to make part of the sugar estate into a modern logistics hub. A stock distribution plan would have smoothened the conglomerate’s formal entry into Hacienda Luisita.

    Hacienda Luisita had committed about 1,000 hectares of land to San Miguel to support the company’s plan to build an agro-industrial enclave right at the heart of Luzon. The site would have served as the center of the company’s Luzon operations and address San Miguel’s need to integrate its agricultural and industrial operations.

    The grapevine said it had been San Miguel’s long-term corporate plan to integrate the bulk of its operations into one hub to boost its status as a regional and global company. Hacienda Luisita, with its sugar plantation nearby to supply the requirements of San Miguel, was the ideal host to San Miguel’s integrated operations. The completion of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway that cuts through the sugar estate has partially provided the infrastructure requirements of the future industrial center.

  35. Myles Garcia said,

    February 13, 2012 at 4:32 am

    I am curious. Why is Sen. Santiago still there? Has her nomination for…is it the ICJ or the World Court…stalled? I doubt that her ‘butangera’ style will put her in good stead amongst her international colleagues. Hers is a very difficult accent to listen to — even more so than say, the most English-unfriendly African dialects. She is so hung-up on procedure and technicality that it almost looks like an ego trip for her. I mean she ain’t no Judge Judy. She’ll be the laughing stock of the International Court and. hopefully, most of it behind her back. Hasn’t she heard of “You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar”? She’s almost like a clown.

  36. February 12, 2012 at 5:38 am

    Enrique:

    Yes, according to the Cojuangco-Murphy daughters, their uncle Jose “Pepe” Cojuangco Sr. invited their family [ his late brother Eduardo Sr.’s “Endeng’s” ] to invest in a 10 % stake at the Hacienda Luisita during its 1958 purchase. However, Eduardo Jr. “Danding” declined, as he preferred an independent direction for their family.

    Toto Gonzalez

  37. Enrique Bustos said,

    February 12, 2012 at 5:04 am

    When Don Pepe Cojuangco bought Hacienda Luisita from Tabacalera he invited his nephews Monching and Danding Cojuangco to invest in his new company only Monching Cojuangco invested in Tarlac Development Corp he acquired 10% in equal footing with the children of Don Pepe Cojuangco but after the 1963 split of the Cojuangco family there was an agreement that Don Pepe Cojuangco’s stake in Philippine Bank of Commerce will be exchanged with Monching Cojuangco’s stake in Tarlac Development Corp. S.G.V made the valuation of the Philippine Bank of Commerce share of Don Pepe Cojuangco and Share of Monching Cojuangco in Tarlac Development Corp it was divided equally by Monching and Danding Cojuangco

  38. cecil lima said,

    February 10, 2012 at 5:44 am

    please open The Daily Tribune today. very interesting.

  39. Larry Leviste said,

    February 1, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    Yesterday I was at work at the Philippine Daily Inquirer, naturally there are flat screens all over with the impeachment trial buzzing by. Suddenly the whole floor erupted with laughter. When I asked what happened, they said Lito Lapid made some remarks.

    For this senator who didn’t finish high school and whose wife has a police alert bracelet strapped to her ankle, he shouldn’t have opened his mouth.
    Miriam is an old barn yard dog who for now is still a Gloria loyalist and therefore pro-Corona.

    Impeachment, it’s more PUN in the Philippines.

  40. Presy Guevara said,

    January 27, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    The proceedings clearly convey that no one is above the law – not even the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. I fervently hope that fairness prevails, for in the end, the people of the Philippines stand to gain or suffer from this impeachment, the final outcome of which shall dwell among us for a long long time.

  41. January 27, 2012 at 2:45 am

    Alicia:

    All I can say is: HINDI KO IBINOTO SI “PNOY” BENIGNO AQUINO III BILANG PANGULO NG PILIPINAS.

    SI “G1BO” GILBERT TEODORO JR. ANG IBINOTO KO BILANG PANGULO NG PILIPINAS.

    Unfortunately, the Filipino electorate still lacks “maturity.” Of course, I am sorely tempted to use a more succinct word but I will desist for now.

    The Eugenio Lopezes of the ABS-CBN media empire envisioned, engineered, and crafted PNoy’s ascent to power. They undertook the adventure because they were buoyed by their experience with President Corazon Aquino who in 1986 returned whatever still existed of their Marcos-confiscated empire. They regained control of ABS-CBN, MERALCO, etc.. It is said that Geny Lopez on his deathbed made sure that Kris Aquino would always have a show on ABS-CBN, as a sign of the Eugenio Lopezes’ gratitude to the Cory Aquino family.

    Apparently, the Eugenio Lopezes still didn’t learn from their disastrous experience with Ferdinand Marcos. As the old maxim says: “Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.”

    Enough said.

    Toto Gonzalez

  42. Alicia Perez said,

    January 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm

    Toto,

    I told you… The “Luneta Massacre” of 23 August 2010 was a harbinger of things to come as far as this current administration is concerned.

    A bunch of idiots, if you ask me. And that is the opinion of a great many educated Filipinos.

    Alicia Perez


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