Lawyers like Chel Diokno forget their law when it suits them

At the outset, let me state that I am not a lawyer. I blush with embafrassment when people address me as “Attorney”. I have not earned the right to carry that title. But it certainly doesn’t make me ignorant of the law. And it is unfortunate, nay tragic, to see a number of lawyers sympathetic to ABS-CBN conveniently forgetting their sworn duty to uphold the Constitution and the law.

In particular, I am making this reaction to statements made by Atty. Chel Diokno, son of the highly-esteemed Jose W. Diokno, with respect to the Petition for Quo Warranto filed by Solicitor General Jose Calida alleging violations committed by ABS-CBN in relation to its legislative franchise.

Diokno is making it appear that the Duterte administration has “weaponized” the seldom-used Quo Warranto proceedings to persecute its critics. Quo Warranto as a remedy wasn’t enshrined in our statute books for nothing. It was placed there for a very important reason: to check and repudiate pretenders to certain titles or positions or privileges under a franchise.

Why can’t Diokno ask ABS-CBN to explain why the alleged offenses came about in the first place. Is he saying that ABS-CBN is innocent of the charges raised against it? If he believes Calida is wrong in pursuing this angle of legal attack against a wrong-doer, then he should enlighten the public why he thinks so.

Diokno is talking like a fish-monger. He has swept aside his knowledge of the law (or is he even knowledgeable in the first place?) just to demonstrate his hatred for President Duterte. That is not being a lawyer. He is no different from those stooges who carry placards and shout slogans.

No more “Mr. Nice Guy”: mukhang sinusunod ni Pres. Trump style ni Digong

We live in interesting times.

Dati, lahat na mga politiko lalo na sa America, ay palaging conscious sa kanilang mga galaw at pananalita. Dapit “good” ang image nila sa publiko. Bawal mag mura. Bawal mambastos. Maraming bawal. Takot kasi ang mga politiko na baka magalit ang taong bayan sa kanila, at magiging sanhi ito ng kanilang pagkatalo sa halalan.

Everything changed when Rodrigo Roa Duterte, who had ruled Davao City with an iron fist for about two decades, was catapulted to the Presidency of the Republic of the Philippines. Tough guy si Duterte. Mabangis at walang patawad sa mga masasamang tao, lalo na sa mga drug lords at pushers. Parating nagmumura.. Walang pigil sa pananalita.

Sa umpisa marami ang nabigla. Many Filipinos were shocked. But then the people saw that this guy was sincere. He doesn’t care about civilities. All he does care about is doing what is right for the country. The phrase “p_tang _na” became a regular fare in his speeches. And yet the people didn’t mind. Not even the women. Well, the clergy, yes.  The Filipino people have learned to embrace his brand of leadership.

In Hiligaynon, we would call him “barumbado”. Inchoate. No finesse. Rough. Hardly the image of the politician as we have known in the past.

Pero binabale-wala na lang yan ng taong bayan. For Filipinos, what is important is that he gets things done. Lalo na sa anti-criminality at illegal drugs. People have perceived a substantial drop in the illegal drugs trade. They feel safer now. Nakakalabas na sila kung gabi na hindi natatakot baka masaksak o ma-snatch ng adik.

Duterte was elected in 2016. Two years later, Americans voted for Donald Trump.

If we look at their leadership styles, halos magka pareho. May pagkabastos din si Trump. Hindi napipigilan ang sarili pag nagsalita. He likes to communicate directly to tens of millions of Americans directly through Twitter. He is accused of being abusive of his powers. His style is a deviation from the democratic norms that the American political landscape has seen in the past.

But with just 10 months to go before the next U.S. elections, Trump appears headed for an easy victory. And he will carry the Republican Party to recover lost seats in the House of Representatives. He’s on the same boat with Duterte, who enjoys an unprecedented “Excellent” satisfaction rating among Filipinos in the last quarter of 2019.

Filipinos are in good hands with Duterte. Let’s just pray that he remains in good health until he finishes his six-year term. Personally, I hope that he would declare a revolutionary government and weed out the corrupt and reform the system.

Democrats imploding in US politics: bad news for De Lima

I’ve been watching developments in U.S. politics these last three weeks with the impeachment trial (which ended up in acquittal) of President Donald Trump on charges brought about by the Democratic Party-dominated House of Representatives.

The Democrats are the allies of the dilawans in the Philippines. They are the ones pushing, nay demanding, for the release of Senator Leila de Lima from detention. And in the wake of the acquittal of President Trump, the Democratic Party is now in shambles.

From all indications, President Trump is headed for an easy victory at the polls in November this year. The Dems can’t even seem to put up a decent fight against Trump with its topsy-turvy primaries. And there is fear that Senator Bernie Sanders might emerge the Democratic nominee for President, something many Democrats shudder in thinking about.

Worse, with the Democratic Party losing credibility before American voters, their domination of the U.S. House of Representatives might be upended in the November polls.

This is big, bad news for De Lima and the Liberal Party. President Trump might just reach out again to President Digong and repair the damage to our relations caused by the Democrats.

ABS-CBN represents rich and powerful who have flaunted at the law

There has been so much injustice in this country.

And sadly, it’s the country’s poor who have always been on the receiving end of it.

The rich have always skirted the laws and exploited weaknesses in the system, and paid off corrupt politicians, to be able to enrich themselves even more at the expense of majority of the people.

The case confronting ABS-CBN now brings to the fore this brand of unbalanced justice in the past. The time to right the wrongs has come.

Poor editing at the Inquirer

As a veteran journalist and editor, I am always angry when I see sloppy writing and editing in our major newspapers. Here’s one example:

inquirer error

The Inquirer’s credibility is eroded with this kind of recklessness in editing. Well, that’s on the assumption that Inquirer has much credibility left.

Grace Poe wants to probe ABS-CBN ‘violations’ of franchise

Not to be outdone, Senator Grace Poe has filed a resolution seeking a legislative inquiry into the alleged violations of RA 7966 by ABS-CBN which are now pending Quo Warranto Proceedings before the Supreme Court.

In a resolution filed on Thursday, February 13, 2020, Poe wants to find out if ABS-CBN adhered to the terms and conditions of RA 7966, the law that granted its franchise on March 30, 1995.

On Monday, Solicitor General Jose Calida filed before the Supreme Court a Petition for Quo Warranto against ABS-CBN for alleged violations of its franchise and the Constitutional provision that television and other media organizations shall be solely Filipino-owned.

Mabigat itong kaso ng ABS-CBN

Solicitor General Jose Calida gave ABS-CBN a tip that he was going to file a quo warranto case against the media giant three weeks ago. But ABS-CBN merely shrugged it off. Hindi siguro alam ng TV network na marami ng nahukay na ebidensya si SolGen Calida. Its owners had underestimated the ability of Calida to pull the rug from under their feet.

Based on the defenses being put up on social media, ABS-CBN had anticipated the case would be about its tax liabilities. That’s the reason there’s a lot of stuff about ABS-CBN having settled its tax liabilities going around. Calida didn’t even mention taxes; there wasn’t a line about it in his Quo Warranto Petition.

A legislative franchise to operate a TV network carries with it responsibilities for the company, as well as restrictions. ABS-CBN must have thought it could go around the franchise in circles with what Calida described as “corporate layering.” It’s a scheme to disguise the monopolistic practices of the company. Its greed got the better of it.

It was Rappler that first got a taste of the government’s deep probing of media organizations raising foreign capital through PDRs, or Philippine Deposit Receipts. Kapag nahubaran ang hayop na ito, ito ang patunay ng pag-aari ng equity sa isang corporation sa Pilipinas. Media organizations in the country are supposed to be 100% Filipino owned. Ang pag-gamit ng PDR ay pamaraan nila upang maka-ipon ng pera galing sa labas ng bansa.

The case involves culpable violation of the Constitution and our laws. Mabigat itong kaso ng ABS-CBN. It’s not helping itself by embarking on a full-scale propaganda offensive and making it appear this is an assault on press freedom. Corporate misfeasance has nothing to do with press freedom.

ABS-CBN was caught flat-footed on this one. I doff my hat off to Solgen Calida for his mastery of our laws and using it to hold ABS-CBN accountable before the Supreme Court.petition for quo warranto