FIRST, people are talking about...
* NOT JUSTICE CARPIO. Did anyone think President Duterte would appoint Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio? Not if they based their expectation on Carpio's voting record -- from martial law to the burial of Marcos and the Sereno quo warranto removal -- and his public pronouncements on Duterte's foreign policy, particularly on the disputed South China Sea islands.
There was some hope, however, the president might make good his word about appointing the senior nominee, unless he was hairsplitting and didn't mean "the most senior of them." Bersamin is only the fourth senior among the senior aspirants, trailing Carpio by eight years. In government service though, Bersamin has clocked in 32 years.
* 'DDS' DIGONG'S ANSWER, to the NPAs' Special Partisan Unit, Sparu or Sparrow as the assassins were commonly known in the 70s and eighties. But they have been extinct for some time. But why not resurrect the Sparrows to provide an excuse for President Duterte to form what he calls the Duterte Death Squad (DDS) that would hunt down NPA personalities and, who knows, maybe the other "enemies of the state" as well. Not a license to kill, as NPA and CPP guru Jose Ma. Sison alleges, maybe just an excuse to kill.
Look ma, his voting record
The next Supreme Court chief justice, Associate Justice Lucas Bersamin, 69, is not a school or batch mate of President Duterte. He was a University of the East graduate of law who placed ninth in the 1973 bar exams with a grade of 86.3 percent. He rose from Quezon City regional trial court judge in 1986 to Court of Appeals associate justice in 2003, then to SC associate justice in 2009. His middle name is Purugganan and hails from Abr.
He wrote as "ponente" the decisions:
-- granting then senator Juan Ponce Enrile bail due to humanitarian grounds;
-- declaring there was no illegal retrenchment of 5,000 employees of, including more than 1,400 cabin crew personnel because of the 1997 Asian financial crisis.
-- junking the plunder case of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (who appointed him to the Supreme Court) over the P366 million PCSO intelligence funds, saying the ombudsman did not have enough evidence;
-- ordering the "immediate release" of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo after the court granted her demurrer to evidence (a motion to dismiss assailing the prosecution's "weak" evidence).
Bersamin also voted:
-- to grant the state's quo warranto petition against former SC Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno;
-- uphold the constitutionality of martial law in Mindanao and its one-year extension;
-- affirm the jurisdiction of the trial court on the jurisdiction of a trial court on the case against Senator Leila de Lima; and
-- allow the burial of Ferdinand Marcos Sr. at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Bersamin, who bears the middle name Purugganan, will retire on October 18, 2019, when he turns 70.
Pork barrel is alive
House members will have P60 million each. The difference is that each congressman or congresswoman will itemize the pet projects and will have no control over it, especially the funds, once the president signs it into law.
At least, that's how administration leaders are explaining the pork barrel. Let's see if anybody goes to court to contest the legality.
Tell us about it.