Archive for the ‘executive privilege’ Category

The forgotten Reynaldo Galman & his disappeared mother Lina

March 6, 2009

Reynaldo Galman condemns the granting of executive clemency to the 10 imprisoned convicted killers who blame Rolando Galman, his father, as Ninoy’s murderer. Joining the the family of Ninoy Aquino, he decries the fact that the brains behind the Aquino-Galman murders on August 21, 1983 remain undisclosed. He believes his father tagged by the Marcoses as a communist killer is just a fall guy in the blatant plot to kill Ninoy Aquino.

Barely an adolescent when the gruesome murders took place in the airport, son Reynaldo Galman could only recall his ordeal after his father was killed. He was only 10 years old when mother Lina Galman was abducted by unidentified men, never to be seen again after the airport murders investigation began. With only a sketchy memory of his parents to keep, Reynaldo lived the life of an orphan.

After more than two decades, many of the principal players who could have shed light on the heinous incident have died. They refused to tell the truth until the memory of the Filipinos has faded. President Gloria M. Arroyo thinks it’s now the ripe time to set free the incarcerated killers in spite of the unresolved questions surrounding the case.

The 10 soldiers of the Aviation Security Command (AVSECOM) part of the team tasked to provide security to Ninoy have stuck to the official Marcos story which portrayed Rolando Galman of Nueva Ecija as the killer. They insist the “hitman” broke the cordon of their very tight security. But the Aquinos, the Galmans, and the majority of the Filipinos who followed the investigation don’t believe this.

The ugly tail of injustice wags mockingly on Reynaldo Galman who lost a father. Like the Aquinos and the rest of the aggrieved Filipinos, he is one among the victims who waged the People Power in revulsion to the tarmac murders and government corruption. Yet this isn’t enough to make Arroyo desist from favoring the convicted military men in her discretionary clemency. She probably doesn’t know Reynaldo Galman and the rest of the Filipinos have been affected by the murders. Her political nemesis, Pres. Cory Aquino, the widow of Ninoy, aged and ailing, is mum over the pardon.

As one can see, life isn’t fair even on Ninoy Aquino whose towering life could have changed the course of the country’s governance. For giving his life, the martyred Marcos rival has been admired, but it didn’t take long before people forget his sacrifice. A number of his friends have abandoned his cause. Politics have a way of leading leaders like Gloria Arroyo to choose the low road against certain individuals—like Aquino who till his death insisted that “Filipinos are worth dying for.”

There are people who lie without conscience, condone moral aberrancy, and inflict incalculable cruelty on others. In the guise of handing down social justice, they welcome public apathy and forgetfulness, so that no one bothers to question. Expediency and rationalization have been part of how politics work in the country. (Photo Credits: Hoy_Sushi; Britt01)=0=

RELATED BLOG: “Pardon and (In)justice: Ninoy’s killers freed” Posted by mesiamd at 3/05/2009


Barry (Not The Manilow)

November 29, 2008

Just before the May 2004 elections, I paid a visit to a friend who was connected with an agency under the Department of Agriculture (DA). Asked him, “What’s up?”. “The DA is giving away fertilizers. The foliar kind at that. In summertime. Wala namang nagtatanim (Nobody is planting)”.

I shot back, “So?” “Parang pambili ng boto. Madaling ipamigay“. (It seems it would be used for vote-buying. Easy to distribute.)

Antaas ng porsiyento sa opisyales (A big percentage of the amount will go to the officials). 30 to 40%”. “Yung mas mataas ki Cito (Lorenzo) ang nagpapatakbo (The one more powerful than Cito is running the show). Si Bolante”.

Cito Lorenzo was then the Secretary of Agriculture. He comes from the prominent (in agribusiness and politics) Lorenzo clan. It struck that an Undersecretary is more powerful than the Secretary na kung saan yung Secretary di naman simple ang pinagmulan (the Secretary was well-born). And that was my introduction to the man who has a funny given name.

A year later, I again paid a visit to my friend. “What’s up?”. “I will have a visitor. Si Barry. Bagman ni JB”. That’s the first time I heard the name of the man named after a Rizal character. This time there are already talks about a fertilizer scam and then Sen. Ramon Magsaysay Jr. was starting his investigation.

Later I read Barry was covered by Gloria’s “executive privilege”. That was before the Supreme Court half-struck it down. Later I read the guy was already a vice-president in the Government Insurance Service System (GSIS). I said to myself, “What a rise!”.

Now it turned out that all he had was a Physical Education (PE) degree. When division managers in the attached agency are already required to have PhDs.

The Supreme Court Decision on Executive Privilege: A License For Impunity

September 8, 2008

When the Supreme Court said that the conversations between Romulo Neri and her President is covered by “executive privilege,” I said to myself, “garbage in, garbage out.” With a Court of such composition maybe one cannot expect a decision better than that. If the current Court is deciding on that historical claim of executive privilege (the White House tapes), Nixon might have finished his term and subsequently shenanigans of the presidents of the US would forever be hidden from public view.

With such a decision of the Court, illegal activities of the president and his/her men/women will forever be secrets. There will be no more witnesses and paper trails will just be wisps of the imagination.

Before the advent of Martial Law, the Philippine Supreme Court was generally composed of the best and brighest of the legal profession, the so-called legal luminaries. Bar topnotchers and legal pillars dominated that institution.

But, alas, even with such bright minds, it was not able to acquit itself well during Martial Law. It also rendered hodge-podge decisions when questions  about Marcos’ rule  and ‘prerogatives’ were brought upon it. It was not them that made the legal profession shine during those darkest hours (with the possible exception of the late Justice Claudio Teehankee) but the likes of the late Senator Jose Diokno and the present Senator Joker Arroyo, who with the last ounce of legal reasoning possible tried to challenge the impunity of the dictatorship.

Intelligence can be inherited, education can be bought, expertise can be trained but courage is one thing that cannot be taught. And it is courage that utterly lacking in our Supreme Court for a long time now. It a virtue Senators Diokno and Arroyo had in abundance.

I rue that Senators Diokno, Arroyo, Saguisag and Roco never became Supreme Court Chief Justices. If only people like them were in our highest Court decisions would probably have been different and Malacanang will probably heed the admonishions of the Court.

Today, lawyers of none-so-sterling qualifications dominate the highest Court. In terms of academic and legal achievements they are none-so-different from the occupants of the lesser courts. Pedestrian decisions? You have it!

In our country, majesty of the law is only in the minds of the lawyers.