Becoming political PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 19 February 2016 13:49

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — I don’t pretend to know much about being a lawyer. At my age, going to law school is something unthinkable. But what’s happening now makes me wonder what’s brewing within the court of last resort. It’s becoming more political than in the Marcos era of “tutas”. The partisan battle over who’s legally right about the disqualification case against Ms. Grace Poe (she’s not even using her marital name) fuels public opinion that the high court is becoming more of a political body than a neutral corner for deciding cases based on law and not sentiments.

The SC has long tried to maintain an image of being distinct and neutral from the two other political branches of the government. It has long been held and viewed that the justices of the high tribunal distance themselves from political views and base their decisions on evidence.

But political skirmishes since Citizen One took over the realm of government almost six years ago between the judiciary and the executive and legislative combined inimical to targeted personalities and the positions they hold have eroded that sense of honor and distinctiveness of the high court.

An election-year power struggle between an independent candidate whose citizenship is under question, not to mention her eligibility to occupy an elective position, and Malacanang and its lackeys is deepening the people’s distrust on the impartiality of the Chief Justice herself. Critics from the media and among lawyers have long warned about the “politization” of the Supreme Court. Its noble stature would be eroded or damaged if the people see the justices as political figures lawyering for certain quarters.

This all started when the last three SC appointees fell along partisan lines. It is not unusual, however, for justices to have different ideological views, for not all of them come from the same law school. Deciding on the case of Ms. Poe will determine the face of the high tribunal and the tight presidential contest as gleaned from the surveys that turn up doubtful figures every two weeks.

It is also true that justices, like senators and congressmen, have valid legal arguments for judging cases differently. But they have to draw the line between judicial ideology and partisanship. As the presidential campaign deepens, the justices of the high court are called upon to swiftly resolve Ms. Poe’s case.

Incidentally, does anybody know exactly when Ms. Poe was born, considering that she was left on the steps of a Catholic Church in Iloilo and picked up by “Eleanor Rigby”? For sure, her birth date is only an assigned date when she was christened. What a confusing tale.

By the way, the chief of police of Zamboanga has raised the alarm on the drug problem in the city. This is nothing new, sir. Recodo, Ayala, Sinunuc, Baliwasan seaside, Rio Hondo, Sta. Catalina, Talon-Talon, Mampang, Arena Blanco and the four city zones have long been open bazaars of prohibited drugs since I was in college. Yes, many have been killed because of the the drug menace — most of them drug users, never drug dealers. May I ask what the barangay leaders are doing to help the police fight against the proliferation of illegal drugs? The police can’t do it alone, that’s for sure. The captains know who their constituents are and what they’re engaged in.

Twelve years ago, Congressman Celso L. Lobregat, acting then as mayor, gave the police their first marching orders. On top of his grocery list was to fight illegal drugs. And if the chief of police is worried about the rise of illegal drugs in Zamboanga, then Mr. Lobregat’s order of 12 years has been flatly ignored.

Last Tuesday, Pope Francis (proud to be a Jesuit) called Narcos in Mexico as insidious threat. He said that it leads some clergy (OMG!) to corruption and others to their death. “I urge you not to underestimate the moral and anti-social challenge which the drug trade represents for Mexican society as a whole, as well as the church,” the pope said in Michoacan, a violent Mexican state.

The way I see it, narco-donations will play a turning-point role in the May elections.That’s a huge minus factor for Rodrigo Duterte.