Fair warning-A A +A
Thursday, January 24, 2013
THIS is not amusing anymore. Isn’t there anyone brave enough in the Senate to tell colleagues Juan Ponce Enrile and Alan Peter Cayetano to take their personal quarrel off the Senate floor and spare a poor nation the burden of watching a cheap telenovela?
I do not care how much the late senator Renato Cayetano still owes Enrile. But I do find it totally unworthy of the Senate President to publicly shame a former colleague who cannot rise from his grave to defend himself from the slander that he borrowed P37 million from his law partner in order to feed his family and refused to pay it.
Alan Peter himself did not do his late father proud by resorting to insinuations about certain “truths” regarding Enrile and his lady chief of staff in response to the Senate chief’s accusation. He could have taken the high moral ground by sticking to the issue which was how Enrile managed the Senate’s funds. Alas, he stooped to the level of the attack. It takes two to tango, they say. It takes the same number to bring an argument to the gutter.
It is sad-–and that is an understatement-–to watch two otherwise intelligent and well-schooled gentlemen quarrel like fishwives in an institution made famous by impassioned yet always reasoned and sober speeches by the likes of Claro M. Recto, Lorenzo Tañada and Jovito Salonga, to name only a few.
Enrile has already apologized to his colleagues for what he described as the “fracas” between him and Cayetano. He, and this goes for Cayetano too, should also apologize to the nation and promise never to commit the same childish mistake again.
After John Pope shot and critically wounded one of their colleagues, prosecutors were seen trooping to the Commission on Elections to request for permission to carry guns. Since the Canadian killed one of their colleagues, shouldn’t lawyers and doctors apply for the same exemption from the election gun ban, too?
But what about the litigants and their witnesses? Aren’t they exposed to the same danger from the likes of Pope as the prosecutors, the judges and the practicing lawyers? Shouldn’t they be permitted to bear arms, too?
The rush to secure permits to carry guns is a knee-jerk reaction that does not really address the problem of safety and security. If at all, knowing that you are armed only teaches a would-be attacker to be more careful, but not necessarily less determined.
For the same reason, I am not impressed by the stricter security measures now being implemented in the Palace of Justice and other buildings that house courtrooms. Aside from being after-the-fact, these measures are meaningless because they do not eliminate determined killers like John Pope, who would probably be relocating somewhere else, lying in ambush.
Incidentally, after the mass that the two local chapters of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines offered last Wednesday for their fallen colleague Jubian Achas, there was something that Court of Appeals Justice Gabriel Ingles said that should be food for thought for all concerned.
Ingles said that a justice delivery system that is perceived to be corruption-free is a deterrent against attacks on lawyers, prosecutors and judges.
He urged the 50 or so lawyers present to document, expose and oppose corruption.
He warned that until such time that people believe that they can get a fair shake from the institutions involved in the justice delivery system, all of us-–lawyers, prosecutors, judges and even parties-–whether guilty of corruption or not, will be vulnerable to violence from frustrated litigants.
Fair warning, it was.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 25, 2013.