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Of all the senior and even junior Supreme Court justices, the general consensus is that Senior Justice Antonio Carpio, now acting Chief Justice, is the most qualified not only by seniority, but also when it comes to his long experience as justice, his knowledge of what is best when it comes to the problems of the entire judiciary, and the need to keep its stability the people’s faith in the judicial system.

Thus, it is but logical and the best way to go for President Rodrigo Duterte to name Carpio as the next Chief Justice after Teresita de Castro retired.

The appointment of Carpio is the best proof that the President respects the long-cherished tradition of upholding seniority as he did in the case of De Castro, a tradition broken by former President BS Aquino by appointing Maria Lourdes Sereno, the youngest justice then of the High Court.

With the appointment of Carpio as Chief Justice, the President will show the people that he respects constructive criticism which Carpio has been doing on issues in connection with territorial disputes on the West Philippine Sea. It’s President Duterte’s best argument that he respects dissent, the absence of which can only lead to tyranny.

* * *

There’s no way, not even by law, can we stop premature campaigning by national and local candidates for elections.

Santa Banana, I still have to see anybody sent to jail for premature campaigning.

The moment a candidate gets elected into office, especially congressmen and senators, anything he or she does is aimed at getting reelected.

Haven’t you noticed that when a congressman or a senator is no longer up for reelection, he or she is silent or doesn’t give a damn about his office. All he or she does is just waiting for the day when he retires.

Or, my gulay, if a senator or a representative wants to run again for another office, he or she again starts getting active.

That’s how it is in our kind of elections. The best example, for instance, is former presidential special assistant Christian Lawrence “Bong” Go when, before he was accompanied by the President to file his COC or Certificate of Candidacy for the Senate, was seen all over in the newspapers already campaigning—something that he consistently denied. After he filed his COC, Bong Go is again seen soliciting the support of governors in the name of President Duterte and making noises about helping this or that sector once he gets into the Senate.

Enact a law criminalizing premature campaigning? Not only will this proposed law not get to first base, but its implementation would be very difficult.

Soon enough, if not already, spots over radio will be heard and film clips over television will be seen about this or that candidate trying to help the needy and other sectors of society needing help.

The point I am driving at is that let’s forget criminalizing premature campaigning. It’s as useless as trying to stop political dynasties.

* * *

What Congress should look at seriously are the many survey firms getting very active this coming elections. Surveys, which are made regularly about who the people prefer to be senators, members of the House, governors, mayors or what-have-you, tend to create not only a sense of bandwagon mentality among the people but give undue preference to the rich, who in some way or another get the attention of poll surveyors.

I know, for instance, despite the claims of poll surveys like the Social Weather Stations or the Pulse Asia that they conduct their surveys by scientific methods, poll surveys can be influenced by the way questions are asked.

My gulay, during the days of Martial Law when I was public affairs manager of KBS, operating and managing Channels 2, GTV-4, 9 and 13, we conducted surveys showing how this or that radio and television program fared before their listeners and audiences. And I knew for a fact that we manipulated the kind of questions asked to favor a program we liked or preferred. 

Poll surveys become very critical as Election Day approaches. They kill chances of new comers when affluent and rich candidates come out with commissioned poll surveys which poor candidates can ill-afford.

Santa Banana, poll surveys can even kill the chances of those in the last four slots of the Senate.

Poll surveys as I know them cannot always be perfect. In the 1992 presidential polls, the surveys predicted the victory of the late Miriam Defensor Santiago, but the election was finally won by Fidel V. Ramos. That’s the reason why Miriam always claimed she was cheated. Even in the United States, poll surveys are not a sure thing.

Defenders of poll surveys claim they indicate at the given period the preferences of people. But, in the final analysis, it’s the people who ultimately decide on their preference and choices. So, just let it be. And just stop all poll surveys for election.

* * *

I have been asked why old politicians want to run again in the coming election. My answer to this is, that power and its attendant parks are some kind of addiction or an explixir that keeps them going.

Old politicians in their eighties and nineties have tasted power and everything that goes with it. But to some, it’s no longer the perks, the privileges or the money that goes with getting elected, but the fun of running again and getting into power.

To others, the motivation is something else. It’s the knowledge that they want to impart and the experience that they know would be good for the people. In other words, their motivation is beyond addiction to power, but to continue doing good for the people.

I asked former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile once when we had that Saturday session at the 365 Club at Holiday Inn Suites what made him run again when he was already 94 years old he’ll be 95 years old when Election Day comes.

He said that there are certain issues he’d still like to discuss, like Federalism, which he believes will become an issue in the Senate race.

And I believe JPE since Federalism as an issue should be further discussed and debated since it’s new concept for the people and the country.

I also believe that Federalism is not suited for an archipelago like the Philippines with its so many dialects and cultures. Federalism can only succeed in landlocked countries like the United States, India, Germany, Malaysia and other nations.

My gulay, how can you get united in a country where some federated states are rich and others poor, with dialects entirely different from each other. It will be a financial nightmare for the Central Government to support poor federated states.

Perhaps, the best description I have heard about Federalism was from former Finance Secretary Gary Teves, who said that Federalism is like a father supporting 18 federated states, each of them unlike the others.

While the Duterte administration would like the issue of Federalism to be discussed on debated during the election period, to me, it’s an issue already dead in the water which the people will never accept in the wake of so many other challenging problems and issues.

It all boils down to this―first things first.

* * *

There were two trips I made as a journalist during the 80s and the 90s which I cannot forget because they both very exciting and a learning experience.

There was at one time when I was then vice president of the Loyola Group of Companies when its affiliated company, Urban Developers, a property development company, was invited by the New Papua University to look into the possibility of building housing projects for its faculty and workers at Port Moresby, the capital.

Together with an executive of Urban Developers, we went to Fort Moresby. When we landed at the airport, I saw on its mural a painting of Australian explorers touching the breasts of half-naked New Papuan women, while new Papuan Warriors had shields only to protect their penis.

When I asked somebody at the airport, what did that painting indicate, I was told that it was the greeting of New Papuans to strangers. I thought he was kidding.

Anyway we then paid our respects to New Papuan public officials and told them why we were there. Santa Banana, I never saw Papuan officials fully dressed, except in their shorts, and slippers, with their shirts. That’s how they dressed, I was told.

After a series of meetings with New Papuan University officials on their plans, my partner and I both agreed it was not profitable since we would be subsidizing at least a dozen Filipino construction workers and spending for their accommodation and airfares.

After a week or so, I told my partner, it‘s about time to leave since the women serving us and fixing our beds were getting prettier. But, one last thing the day before we left, our guide told us to visit a tribe some 20 kilometers away from the city.

When we got the place, we were met by the chieftain and his half-naked women and tribesmen with their penis all in a shields.

After we shook hands with the chieftain, we were told to just touch the breast of the bare-breasted women, some of them wives of the chieftain. We did as instructed with the women giggling all the time, after which the guide told us that it was how to greet New Papuan tribes people. My gulay, I was so scared because we were told that at Iran Jaya, the other half of Papua New Guinea, there were cannibals.

The other trip I had was with the late lawyer Leonardo Siguion Reyna, when we were invited by Siemens to West Germany after the Wall of Germany separating the West from the East was demolished. Were we booked at Aldon Kimpinski, the most luxurious hotel in Germany where we were told the Kaiser and the Adolf Hitler once stayed.

We also saw the so-called “Bridge of Spies” shown in a Tom Hanks movie. It was October when we were taken to the place they celebrate Oktoberfest—where men, all the time sitting down, drank beer even as they urinated while wearing leather pants. Boy, that was a sight I could not forget, and also a learning experience.

www.emiljurado.weekly.com

Topics: Antonio Carpio , Rodrigo Duterte , Teresita de Castro , Election Day , Bridge of Spies
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