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Bacolod City, Philippines Wednesday, March 14, 2018
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Let it not be through mob rule

Ninfa Leonardia

I take my hat off to the members of the judiciary in our province. By loudly and firmly declaring their stand, and not simply joining the herd that has been stampeding for the resignation of the Supreme Court Chief Justice, like so many of their colleagues are doing, they have indeed proven that they are truly neutral in this controversy. They may have their individual opinions, but as a whole, the membership of the Negros Occidental Regional Trial Court Judges Association, has shown that they are sticking to the oath they have taken to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law.

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Alas, it seems as if the mob mentality has taken hold among our people, and it is a relief to know that there are still among us some who are not joining the cry heard at Golgotha of “Crucify Him!” Let true justice take its course, through legal means and not mob rule. The repercussions of this issue are too fearsome to be decided by that.

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No wonder former Chief Justice Hilario Davide has been quoted as saying that what is happening now is a politization of the judiciary. Indeed, wasn’t it drummed in our ears during our school days, especially in political science classes, that there should always be independence among the executive, the legislative and the judiciary? Now we are seeing all those lessons and theories being cast aside, and we no longer know if we a free people or not. Everything happening seems to add to the confusion.

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For one, there is the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan election that is very, very long overdue. After several announcements that it is finally going to take place in October, here comes another announcement that Congress wants to move it again. The poor incumbent leaders of the two units no longer know if they are coming or going. Meanwhile, the ones leading the Sangguniang Kabataan are getting older and older and some can no longer qualify as “kabataan”. And then there is the question of drugs of which some leaders of the two groups are suspected. The President claims to have a list of those involved. When he is going to release it, so voters will be warned?

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How do we determine whom to believe – the President or his spokesman? A report yesterday from Iloilo had spokesman Harry Roque saying that former Iloilo mayor Jed Mabilog who is on some kind of self-exile somewhere should come back and seek protection from the court if he believes his life is in danger. Now, whom will Mabilog believe, and which would you if you were in his place? There’s the spokesman offering a source of protection, but there is his boss, the President himself, who has publicly declared that he will kill Mabilog if he comes back. Will he believe what Roque also said that the President has no “personal grudge” against him?

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It is bad enough when reporters or columnists hide beyond anonymous “sources” when they write about something controversial, but it seems more questionable when a senator uses the word in relation to such an important thing as election fraud. But Senator Tito Sotto, in a recent privilege speech had reportedly said that there was fraud in the 2016 election and that his information came from an “impeccably reliable source”. If the “source” is indeed impeccable, why can he or she not face up to it? By hiding behind Sotto’s back, this source may have resurrected doubts or claims of some losers in that election who might resort to such measures as insisting on a recount of the votes in that election. This after almost two year?

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I know some people, readers especially who say they always doubt it when writers hide behind so-called sources. If what one is writing is true and he or she can prove so, why would there be a need to hide behind an anonymous “source”. How can the reader be sure that a story by the one claiming or writing something supposedly given by a “source” was not a creation of the one using it? For sure a credible source will be ready to stand up for what he or she has disclosed. Unless it is a matter of life and death, of course.

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The proposal about the inclusion of a provision on dynasties in the amended Constitution is bringing out some very sensitive as well as laughable conjectures. What, ask some wags will it say about mistresses, “partners” and illegitimate children? If the prohibition starts after a second degree of relationship, in what degree will they be included? I can’t wait to find out how our brilliant lawmakers will tackle this.*

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