Tomas de Torquemada was a medieval period Dominican priest whom King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I of Spain appointed to head the Spanish court of the Inquisition.
The Catholic monarchs could not have chosen a more loyal implementor of their zealotry, which was ordained by the Vatican itself through a 1478 papal bull by Sixtus IV who wanted to enforce religious uniformity, meaning Roman Catholicism throughout Europe.
For Ferdinand and Isabella, the papal imprimatur was also a way to strengthen their hold on the throne as well as enlarge the empire.
It was under these monarchs who reigned after Catholic Aragon and Castilla re-conquered Andalucia, the stronghold of the Moors, that Spain embarked on overseas expansion, through navigators like Columbus and Magellan.
Sixtus and succeeding popes, including the infamous Alexander VI, a Borgia born in Aragon, legalized the Inquisition, which aside from expelling the Jews, persecuted through kangaroo courts so-called heretics and “false” Catholics, while dispossessing them of their treasures and lands which further enriched the monarchy.
Torquemada presided over these “ecclesiastical” courts where mere suspects as non-believers of the faith were tortured, imprisoned, and publicly executed by hanging or burning.
I am reminded of Torquemada after reading about the social media fulminations of Madame Lorraine Badoy, a former press undersecretary, against the decision of Manila RTC Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malgar who ruled against the DOJ and refuted therein the classification of the CPP-NPA as a “terrorist” organization, making a fine distinction between the latter and rebellion.
I leave it to the lawyers who are so numerous in this country to debate the merits or demerits of Judge Magdoza-Malgar’s decision. The DOJ Secretary, Jesus Crispin Remulla, has soberly stated that they will appeal the decision to the appellate court. So there.
But what Ms. Badoy has so virulently made public, which she claimed in tongue-and-cheek fashion as not a threat, describing her statements as “merely a hypothetical syllogism that are workhorses of deductive logic” after the high tribunal sternly rebuked her, are far too alarming to let pass.
The Supreme Court said that “to threaten our judges…no less than an assault on the judiciary is to shake the very bedrock on which the rule of law stands.”
But the rule of law is farthest from the mind of this modern-day reincarnation of Torquemada.
Accusing the judge of “lawyering” for the Communists through a “judgment straight from the bowels of communist hell” may be considered par for the course for any public official operating under the democratic space of free speech.
But Torquemada’s heiress could not contain herself, maybe from a sense of false entitlement even when her time in government has expired. Or has it?
She warned: “If I kill this judge and I do so out of my political belief that all allies of the CPP-NPA-NDF must be killed because there is no difference in my mind between a member of the CPP-NPA-NDF and their friends, then please be lenient with me.”
Now that is straight out of Tomas de Torquemada’s template. Ms. Badoy has judged; she wants to prosecute; and she will sentence the “friend” of the communists to death.
Yet she pleads for leniency, as if she does not want to join Torquemada in hell.
I fully agree with the statement released by the Free Legal Aid Group, for indeed what Torquemada’s heiress in these benighted isles, a colony of Isabela La Catolica’s heirs, is not “protected speech.”
Her Red-tagging has gone beyond the limits, never mind of decency, never mind of fairness, never mind even of Philippine or international law which she and her ilk do not recognize anyway when her hateful beliefs are challenged.
The Supreme Court should not leave this felony unchallenged. She should be held accountable lest the culture of impunity, so prevalent in our dismal society, persist.
As the common “tao” would compare the yokel who falsely jokes about carrying a bomb in the airport, or that Zambales teacher who in his Facebook post threatened to “kill the president,” versus the statements of Ms. Badoy, there ought to be a penalty beyond stern rebuke.
Just a trivial footnote, by the way: The Philippines has honored, not Isabel la Catolica, even if it was under her auspices that we were colonized in the name of “Christianity,” but Isabella II, the short-reigned queen who pushed for the beginnings of Constitutional monarchy in the 19th century, through naming a province (Isabela), and erecting a monument and an Intramuros portal after her.
But enough of Torquemada’s heiress.
The recent typhoon once again demonstrated the very fragile state of our food security.
I praised President Marcos Jr. when he took over the agriculture portfolio. That singular and unexpected act has focused everybody’s attention on the woeful state of our agriculture, and putting his money where his mouth was, the budget for the DA, so paltry in the past, has been amply increased.
But now may be the time to appoint a full-time secretary to helm the troubled department.
Several presidents have previously chosen a DA Secretary from the ranks of academicians or technocrats, or lawyers with little knowledge of farming, or worse, politicians pretending to have hearts bleeding for farmers.
Yet managing a multi-faceted department charged with the all-too-important responsibility of ensuring food security might best be given to a local government official who has demonstrable achievements in harnessing limited resources, through skill and imagination, towards improving the lives of his farmer constituents.
For after all, DA policies are operationalized best when the LGUs are part of the planning and the implementation.
And if the LGU official has been recognized through continued re-election by his people, and has shown management skills which DILG regional officials and NGOs can attest to through their metrics of competency, then Pres. Marcos Jr. will have a short list from which to choose his agriculture secretary.
There is a mayor from the president’s home province who I met when I was chair of the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, and with whose municipality both the Taipei representative office and we were planning to have complementary projects had the coronavirus pandemic not interrupted.
We were impressed with the projects he had already implemented in his town of Piddig, from water-impounding projects to soil enhancement and other technologies which were a novelty in the country.
I have always maintained that the road to greater agricultural productivity is more a function of LGUs doing coordinated actions rather than policies and programs evolved from the Elliptical Circle.
Food security must be tackled from both the macro and the micro, but if asked to choose between the two, I submit that it is easier for someone who understands the hands-on tasks of micro-management to elevate praxis into the national, rather than swivel-chair technocrats thinking big but fail to comprehend the nuts and bolts of down-to-earth management.