Fast Forward to 2012: Clinton at the DNC

It was Bill Clinton’s rousing speech at the US Democratic National Convention today that made me recall that I have this blog. I was in court, tracking his speech via twitter, while waiting for my case to be called. I had watched the Republican convention a week ago and I was curious as to how the other party would respond to the challenger’s allegations.

Afterwards, I rushed home to replay his delivery, and I couldn’t help but admire how Clinton manages to inform, enthrall, and persuade. He is a master at his craft and I can only dream of possessing a tenth of his eloquence. He was campaigning for Obama, but in the process, he was also validating the wisdom of  his countrymen’s choice to have him serve as their President for two terms in the past.

When the time comes for us Filipinos, to vote for our own leaders in 2013, we must demand that our politicians move away from pure mudslinging and level up to the type of debate that the Republicans and Democrats have– a discourse that is filled with studied, detailed, and definite platforms of action that we can compare and choose from. Let us not settle for less. Smiles, handshakes, videos of candidates eating kinamot or without the use of a spoon and fork, or wearing tsinelas or flipflops (though popular nowadays, because of  the late Sec. Robredo), cannot substitute for clarity of vision, capability, and transparency in governance.  Chanelling Clinton’s description of Obama, we need “somebody who burns for [our country] on the inside.”

And after the battles of the elections, when the victors have been proclaimed and the smoke has cleared, I hope that we take counsel from Bill Clinton’s words: “When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good, but what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation.”


Red-Hot Non-Valentines

“for whatever we lose (like a you or a me) / it’s always ourselves we find in the sea”–e.e. cummings

A friend’s Facebook status revealed her thinking of ways to celebrate Valentines Day without having to go to crowded restaurants and challenging parking conditions. True enough, Valentines Day has become synonymous with heavy traffic, overpriced floral arrangements and harried waiters.

As I type this article a few days before Valentines, I am in bed with my red long-jane pajamas watching the American Idol judges send contestants crying off to oblivion while the hubby has gone off in search of my artery-blocking Doubledown. Love is truest and purest when hunger pangs are sated with this cavewoman’s delight.

I am tuning out my kids’ conversations and the news on TV. Instead, I am daydreaming of a pedicure and a foot spa, followed by a deep massage and a body scrub, capped by the debut of that honeysuckle dress hanging in my closet. Then I realize that to do all that, I would have to bounce away from the bed where I am in a weekend state of lethargic contentment, drive, park and wait for my turn. Sloth competing with vanity does not to romance lead.

Litigation-lawyering is inherently stressful. Being a mother to precocious toddlers poses additional challenges in time management. Board meetings and field trips have to somehow co-exist without one dominating the other. This year, we agreed that we did not need the added pressure of dating on February 14. We have decided to reschedule the requisite candlelight and roses in favor of a remake of The Mechanic. Love and romance, after all, can be celebrated even on a non-Valentines Day.

Nonetheless, I do have plans in store for February 14. Come Monday, I plan to have that red-hot date with my self.

The Way Back Home

“Mom, look! It’s the Millionaire’s Hotel!”, exclaimed my kid, pointing excitedly to a dingy, blackened two-storey affair in the seedy part of Pasay.

“The outer part is ugly, but I bet the inside is beeeeautiful!”, was the sibling’s reply.

I didn’t have the heart to tell my kids that the target clientele of the Millionaire’s Hotel were probably only dreaming of becoming rich.

Every time I arrive in Metro Manila, I get a little depressed. It is a smoggy center of urban chaos, where haphazardly-planned highways and overpasses intersect, and where many buildings are covered with soot. Interspersed between these blighted structures are walled enclaves that cocoon the elite, and bright spots of affluence, where one could see the wealthy few shopping and dining behind plate-glass windows.

Metro Manila was my home for thirteen years. I think the only reason that I survived was because Quezon City and Makati were still relatively clean and green  at the time, and because later, I had already adjusted to the rat-race lifestyle, including driving in the labyrinth that is EDSA.

The taxi drivers, who mostly understand or speak Visayan, are good sources of the common man’s perspective of the metropolis. In contrast to the frustrating quality of the taxi drivers that I sometimes occasion upon when hailing a cab from malls, I find the airport taxi service to be quite reliable and stress-free. To while away the traffic, I always interview the drivers immediately upon arrival in order to get a feel of what has changed since my last visit. Speaking in Visayan loosens the drivers up. They unfailingly complain of the “boundary” that they have to earn before they made their profit. They speak of the difficulties in making ends meet and how expensive it was to live in the city where everything came at a price. The conversation eventually leads to my encouraging them to return to their hometowns where life was less hectic and them explaining to me that there were no jobs and no future for them back home.

Meanwhile, trips outside the country are always enlightening and are wonderful learning experiences. Observing the day to day routines of a foreign land’s working class gives me a voyeuristic thrill. In Singapore, cabs are outfitted with GPS, receipts are issued before you pay the fare, and the last cent is returned with a smile. I like being completely anonymous and I love the predictable efficiency of their subways. Comparing the beaches of Phuket and the Bahamas with our local beaches, the varying climates and cultures of the East and West, the level of technology, architecture and city planning of the developed and developing cities—all these are already worth several units of graduate studies in the continuing education that is life. While there are scheduling and financial limits, these mini-breathers allow me to think outside the tiny city where I live in and view things differently from a tourist’s perspective. In many countries, everything seems to work seamlessly from the airport to the hotel to the places that tourists visit and elsewhere.

Beyond these, however, lies the most important lesson of all. The defining moments of life are not to be gained in a week’s worth of gallivanting. The best photographs are not those posed for the wide-lens camera. We are shaped by the events that happen daily. We are made more complete by how we interact with people who are with us throughout the rest of the year. We are most blessed when we appreciate that, for us, there is still a way– and a future– back home.

Secret Virtues

According to philosopher, mathematician and social critic, Bertrand Russell, “No one gossips about other people’s secret virtues.” Considering how people readily believe the worst news about even their close friends, Russell was right on the equation on this one. In the local scene, I can think of the bedimpled political turncoats who traded their long-storied friendships for media mileage in the guise of commentary on “socially-relevant issues”.

Even Shakespeare acknowledged that “The good is oft interred with their bones, So let it be with Caesar”, when he wrote of the downfall of the emperor that had his former closest allies whispering of his vices, rather than extolling his virtues as they once did.

Not every newsmaker tells the truth and many mediamen receive fat envelopes for every spiel that they run. But most of all, even legitimate journalists are bound to single out stories that promise to titillate and stir their audience’s interest. And what is more titillating and stirring than bad news about a high-ranking government official?

Never mind that the source of all the “news” is tainted with the blood of the person whom source has confessed to have killed. Never mind that the lawyers who are accompanying the source are the very same lawyers who entered their appearance for the defeated political arch-rival of the accused during the last elections. Never mind contacting the accused for his side– the allotted space or time is too short to include both sides. Never mind delving into the personal background of the people involved— that takes too much effort and the deadlines are coming up.

I recall former US Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking of entering politics because the arena presented opportunities for insiders to reach out to more people in many ways that would never be available to outsiders. On the other hand, I also recall her speaking of politics where destroying people is considered a mere sport.

While I have not thrown myself to the political den of lions, preferring instead to stay away from these gladiatorial battles, I have spoken with thousands of people whose lives have been positively touched by my relatives in government. They have told me of the improvement in their lives brought about by the government facilities, jobs and livelihood opportunities, medical and educational aid, and how they appreciated that my relatives took the time to visit their homes in the remotest of barangays. Most of these people have never been interviewed by anyone from the media.

Virtue is a boring topic. It doesn’t sell. It is unfortunate that, for some people, virtues are best kept secrets.

Face to Face with a Health Risk

The ancient generations of Gen X and Gen Y would probably remember the chat days of ICQ, YM and MSN. These was the age of dial-up, when internet connections were snail-paced and intermittent. The Millenials would at least know Friendster, the social network of choice before Facebook and Twitter decimated its followers. These days, it’s all about networking sites. A late-night news program is even based on FB and Twitter feeds. I bet their staffing budget has been slashed as they seem to have done away with field reporters. All it takes is a wifi spot or an unlimited DSL or broadband connection and voila! All you need are online “friends” or “followers”. Away from the internet? Use a smartphone.
FB and Twitter feeds are a source of instantaneous accounts of news and entertainment. I recall one Twitter feed saying that today’s news is yesterday’s twitter feed. I followed Cory Aquino’s funeral procession on Twitter and I felt then I was part of the crowd.
I blame my weight gain on FB and Twitter. Ever since I shut down my Friendster account in favor of FB, I have ceased my former routine of an hour’s tennis a day. Where I used to get my after-work adrenaline rush from the hardcourt, I now choose to rush home so I can supervise my kids’ homework with one eye, while checking my Friendly for Ipad and Twitter apps with the other. Where I used to swing my racket and tried to perfect my two-handed backhand, I now merely move my forefinger to scroll down the feeds—no swinging involved. My sweat glands are now obsolete and I hardly stand.
For my kids, I try to impose a two-hour limit on screen time. Screen time covers TV, internet and computer game exposure. Constantly logging on to social networking sites, however, is a poor example to set for their young, impressionable minds. I suspect that my kids circumvent the two-hour screen time limit by only counting the hours when I’m actually checking up on them.
A Time article recently mentioned a study wherein it was found that the human body is not built for sitting. Not even an exercise regimen can counteract the effects of prolonged sitting. My profession already requires a lot of sitting down, whether in court or in the office. A big chunk of my time is devoted to typing pleadings and correspondence, as well as checking my email and texts. That’s already a lot of hours of screen time! It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that social networking and internet surfing are not on the recommended list of hobbies for a middling-age lawyer to take up.

Part of my New Year’s Resolutions is to cut down on internet time. This means starting a new exercise regimen to replace the sedentary lifestyle that goes with internet time. This means I can finally finish those books that do not require batteries to browse. Most importantly, this means more personal time with the family, where I can respond to my kids’ inquisitiveness using more than 140 characters.

The Forgotten Crimes

While our legislators spend much floor and media time fighting over and discussing politics, they forget that their main function is to review and update our laws to ensure that they continue to be relevant to our society. There are many laws that need to be amended or modified, if only our lawmakers start doing their job-essential research and stop plotting their next campaign strategy. Below is a sampling of simple criminal laws that deserve their attention:

1.         REPUBLIC ACT NO. 3553  (An Act to Prohibit the Possession of Deadly Arrow)

This law requires a Mayor’s Permit for any individual who wishes to possess a deadly arrow or “pana” in order to earn his livelihood. Anybody who possesses a deadly arrow or “pana” without permit shall face imprisonment for 30 days to 6 months.

One cannot help but wonder how much the Mayor’s Office has collected in fees for the Permit to Possess Deadly Arrow. I’m guessing zero.

2.         ARTICLE 260 and 261, REVISED PENAL CODE  (Duel and Challenging to a Duel)

A duel is defined as a formal or regular combat previously concerted between two parties in the presence of two or more seconds of lawful age on each side, who make the selection of arms and fix all the other conditions of fight.

Whether or not physical injuries or death occurs in a duel is immaterial for purposes of this law. It is sufficient that a duel occurs. The combatants are punished as principals while the seconds are punished as accomplices. Challenging another to a duel, inciting another to give or accept a challenge to a duel, or scoffing or decrying another publicly for having refused to accept a challenge to fight a duel, are also penalized by imprisonment.

In cases where no physical injuries are inflicted during the duel, the combatants are only penalized by one month to six months and one day imprisonment. However, even where no duel ultimately occurs, challenging to a duel is penalized by 6 months and one to two years and four months imprisonment.

Dueling presupposes honor in combat. Unfortunately, dueling, like honor in combat, is a medieval concept best remembered in the annals of history books rather than in recent memory.

3.         ARTICLE 351, REVISED PENAL CODE (Premature Marriages)

Any widow who marries within 301 days from the date of the death of her husband, or before having delivered if she shall have been pregnant at the time of his death, shall be punished by one month to six months and one day imprisonment AND a fine not exceeding P500.00. The same penalties shall be imposed upon any woman whose marriage shall have been annulled or dissolved, if she shall marry before her delivery or before the expiration of 301 days after the annulment or dissolution of the marriage.

The purpose of this law was purportedly to prevent doubtful paternity of the child. As to whether this law accomplishes its goal, such is a highly doubtful proposition. Besides, why anyone would even think of remarrying is befuddling to me as the six unsolved ciphers.

4.         ARTICLE 202, REVISED PENAL CODE (Vagrants and Prostitutes)


Vagrancy and prostitution is punished by one to thirty days imprisonment or a fine not exceeding P200.00. Recidivists, or repeat offenders, are punished with 2 months and one day to 2 years and 4 months imprisonment or a fine ranging from P200.00 to P2,000.00, or both.

Among others, vagrants are defined by this law as:

1.         Any person having no apparent means of subsistence, who has the physical ability to work and who neglects to apply himself or herself to some lawful calling;

2.         Any person found loitering about public or semipublic buildings or places, or tramping or wandering about the country or streets without visible means of support;

3.         Those who habitually associate with prostitutes.

Prostitutes are defined as women who, for money or profit, habitually engage in sexual intercourse or lascivious conduct.

Any observant eye would see that vagrants and prostitutes abound our country today. As defined by the above law, vagrancy and prostitution is no longer a monopoly of the underprivileged, but is a thriving way of life for the upper and middle classes as well. These terms may even be used to describe some of our politicians.

5.         PRESIDENTIAL ACT NO. 1563  (Anti-Mendicancy Law)

If the vagrant, as defined above, uses begging as a means of living, he is considered a mendicant. If convicted, he may be imprisoned for a period of up to two years , or meted out a fine of P200.00, or both, at the discretion of the court. Repeat offenders may be imprisoned for up to four years, or meted out a fine of P1,000.00, or both.

Those who give alms directly to mendicants, exploited infants and minors on public roads, sidewalks, parks and bridges, are considered to be abetting mendicancy, and may be fined up to P20.00.

Direct charity is frowned upon, you see. If you wish to give alms, write out your donation to your nearest politician, corporate tax shelter, or your religious leader.


“Mommy, it’s Kim!”

I’m placing the blame for this blog on Erica Rhodes.

Chelsea and I were watching American Idol when Barney and Friend unexpectedly made an appearance on the show.  Thankfully, the kids have reverted to watching Barney DVDs before bedtime, instead of the more violent Power Rangers and Tom and Jerry shown on the Cartoon Network. Which is probably why my daughter immediately recognized the Idol hopeful during the Dallas auditions.

Lately, I’ve been viewing Keith Urban Sessions @ AOL. Curious about Erica Rhodes, I looked her up on Youtube to check which Barney friend she was. I had readily recognized Selena Gomez when I saw her on Disney’s Wizards of Waverly Place, but Demi Lovato on Camp Rock was a proverbial swan.

Finding nothing on Youtube about Erica Rhodes, I got distracted and looked for live or acoustic performances by former Idol contestants instead. Here are my Top Five picks:

5. David Cook, Lie

4. Carrie Underwood, Wasted

3.  Chris Daughtry, Home

2. Jennifer Hudson, And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going

1.  Kelly Clarkson, Since U Been Gone (Far from her vocal best, but this was the most fun!)

Dare I say Simon would be one proud bloke? Oh, and I’m crossing my fingers that Erica will whip her way to the Top 12.

Salud and Cosme (Generations, Part Three)

We never got to see our Lolo Cosme, for he passed away when my father was in high school. But of Salud and Cosme’s grandchildren, I and my two sisters were fortunate enough to have spent more time with Lola Salud than our cousins. We lived in her large house until I was eight. My parents’ house is built on an adjacent lot and a connecting gate allowed Lola Salud to check on us every day. We went to church every Good Friday with Lola Salud. It was the only day she went to church and she would wear her best clothes and jewelry to listen to the Seven Last Words of Christ. Since Lola Salud was too frugal to hire a driver, we would take turns driving her around during school breaks, listening to her favorite CDs– Are You Lonesome Tonight, Only You and Love Letters In The Sand were on heavy rotation.

It’s difficult to write a short piece about a loved one of whom you have so many fond memories and whose numerous admirable traits you can give so many examples of. I am not at all certain how to begin and where to end.

As a young child, I used to sleep in Lola Salud’s bed rather than with my siblings. Lola Salud had a sweet tooth and she always kept a jar of candy by her bedside table. We would listen to the drama program on the AM radio for a while. After that, she would turn off the lights and gently stroke my hair while she, in her soft voice, taught me Visayan songs like Kamingaw Sa Payag and Usahay, and regalled me with war stories that never ceased to stoke the fires of my imagination. But these war stories, as plentiful and as exciting they may be, shall have to be recounted in another blog. Instead, I shall write of the story of how my Lola Salud and Lolo Cosme met and fell in love.

They met in Silliman University in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental. Salud Almendras Ralota was a Pre-Med student, while Cosme Leopoldo Cagas was a member of the faculty (although he was not her teacher). While Salud was doing her experiments in the Chemistry lab, Cosme suddenly sneaked up to her and kissed her without prelude. This was in the early 1930s, and Salud, who was forbidden by her mother to have a boyfriend, broke into tears. Evidently, the weeping was not due to any lack of kissing skill on Cosme’s part, however, for soon, Salud and Cosme became an item. When Salud’s mother, Matea, got wind of her eldest child’s budding love affair, she ordered Salud to cut off any ties with Cosme and go to live with her in Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur post-haste.

Despite the distance, Salud and Cosme continued their courtship by mail. Cosme was eloquent in his flowery prose and Salud’s unexperienced and vulnerable heart did not withstand the steady assault upon it by Cosme’s romantic correspondence. Salud was pining for a male protector who could replace the void left by her deceased father that her stepfather failed to fill. She also did not feel at home in Santa Cruz, Davao del Sur at the time, having grown up in Danao, Cebu where her mother left her with their relatives. Salud often complained that her mother had found a new family to take care of and that her stepbrothers and stepsisters used to intercept some of Cosme’s love letters and deliver them to Matea instead of her. After a while, Cosme arrived in Santa Cruz to formally ask for Salud’s hand in marriage. He vowed to cherish no other love than Salud’s until the end of his life.

Cosme brought Salud to Dagatan (now San Vicente Alto), Oroquieta City in Misamis Occidental, his hometown, where he introduced her to his  brother, Jacinto, who was a law student at the time. The brothers were flamboyant of character and attracted females with innate ease. Unfortunately for Salud, Cosme had no compunction about returning the favor to the fawning women. To keep her occupied, Cosme encouraged Salud to pursue her college studies  at the Misamis Junior College where she obtained her teacher’s degree.

Nonetheless, Salud and Cosme’s union had its moments of bliss as they were blessed with five boys: Cosmelito, Ruben, Gary, Douglas and Riorito. The couple was also fortunate in their business and farming endeavors. However,  Salud’s wish to have a baby girl was thwarted when her daughter Guadalupe was born too prematurely after a storm rocked the barge Salud was taking on her way home from Cebu to procure dry goods for her store. Hence, my father, who is the youngest in the brood, is named after a female actress and his nickname is Inday.

After the war, the couple busied themselves in the rebuilding effort. Aside from managing their farmlands in the Misamis and Zamboanga areas, Salud and Cosme engaged in separate business endeavors. Salud had her dry goods store in the nearby town of  Jimenez,  while Cosme had his lumberyard in the neighboring town of Tudela. At the same time, Cosme acted as Headmaster of Northwestern Mindanao Academy in Tudela, a secondary school that they also owned. Since the children went to school in Northwestern, only Salud was left in Oroquieta during the weekdays, as the condition of the roads at the time made it impractical for Cosme and the boys to go home daily. Apart from Cosme’s wandering eye, the time apart probably contributed to the deterioration of Salud and Cosme’s marriage. It became clear to Salud that Cosme had forgotten the vows that he made in courtship.

When Cosme suddenly died of a hypertensive stroke in 1959, Salud was not alone in grieving for her man. Salud felt bleakly lonely, but she had five boys to raise. Summoning up her silent courage and indomitable spirit, Salud relocated to Davao del Sur in 1961 to tend to her inheritance from Matea and start a new life.

Lola Salud went on to live for 48 more years after the death of Lolo Cosme. She was a beloved mother who, singlehandedly for the most part, raised five boys into men of substance.

Tucked inside Lola Salud’s passport found in her dresser upon her death, was a love letter from Lolo Cosme. The letter was written in the neat cursive of Lolo Cosme:

Alone 10:00 P.M.

January 9, 1934

Dearest Salud,

Alone, amidst the tranquility of the night when everyone is in sweet dream; alone to disturb the peacefulness of the hour only to breathe the cold breezes; and alone to solemnly meditate how true your words to me—but oh! how in a sudden, I am filled with dismay and disappointment that curtail the candle light of my happiness and dig hole to my lonely grave… at last in the course of time your promise to marry me after three years warms my earnest-dying heart. What a joy to have the key to enter the alluring gateway–! Yes, it is through this fervor that animates my very being so that in this momentous hour I stroll on these pages inscribing in full my sincerest and ever-living testimony and promises upon which I shall, will and should stand, maintain, walk on and live with now and forever. In case, I ever fail to follow all of these, then give no mercy on me, curse me and forsake me for then I will never be worthy of your love and to marry you. And then I will never regret to suffer the cruelties and misfortunes of life. I should not blame you then but I alone to bear.

With deepest sincerity and sacredness, I solemnly promise to you in testimony of my love: that I love you and will always love even to the end of my life. Since, now and then I will not and never will cherish other love than yours—Your heart is the very precious jewel to me more than all other riches in the world.

I promise that I will aspire, as has always been my constant prayer, for a better place wherein I can assure you of comfort and happiness. I should never fail to strive further for your sake and contentment.

I promise that from now and no more than three years after I will take you from the hands of your parents to be my loving wife, pinanga ug pinorong porongan sa akong gugma, linumsan sa akong pagbale ug parayeg. Isaad ko nga ikaw akong lipayon aron nga ikao dili magbasol nga nahimo ikao’ng asawa. Ayaw huna-huna-a nga ikao dili unya kanako malipay. Tongod sa dako kong gugma kanimo, it is my guide to a better place. Better place, yes, it is this that I will prepare for you.

I promise that I will be faithful to my words. I should mean what I say. I should never bold to attempt to take you from other hands if I ever mean to play poker with you. I have a heart who always cherishes your name and is always proud of you. Yes, there are those who are playing on love, but please, in due respect of my sincerity, mention me as not among them. I adorn and worship you with love greatly different from others. The purity of affection seeketh for your only happiness and comfort. If I could realize this then and only then the world will be mine.

Now that you have hinted me to a better course, I am always glad to take it, of course, with you as my only inspiration. I will take it for your sake, for after this, I shall be worthy to marry you and please you. Believe me, that I will take engineering with an ultimate aim that is for your happiness and contentment…

The Sorry State of Our Judiciary

My husband, a veritable news buff, was scanning the dailies on the internet this morning, when he let out a loud whoop and yelled at me to come pronto. I was running late and wasn’t inclined to stop just to read some web article, but he insisted that it could not wait. It turned out that he had come across the full text of an Order issued by Manila RTC Judge Jorge Emmanuel Lorredo in the controversial perjury case filed by Mike Defensor against Jun Lozada.

The first sentence is innocuous enough. But as the lengthy Order went on, I became more and more dubious about the judge’s state of mind.

In his Order, the judge: a) cites “news reports” of Senators’ intentions; b) manifests partiality for the Catholic priests and nuns; c) encourages the amicable settlement of a criminal case (there is no mention that only the civil aspect will be settled); d) makes extraneous statements about Defensor’s political career and dire predictions about his and his family’s health; e) renders several opinions about many other external characters’ healths and lives as well, as if he was scriptwriting a telenovela; f) projects a bias towards Lozada solely by reason of his being protected by priests and nuns and other people; g) anticipates motions and makes predictive rulings on such conjured motions without qualification as to the grounds therefor;  h) resorts to name-calling, e.g., “Mr. Railroadman”;  i) invokes the blockbuster possibility of calling Mayor Fred Lim and Senator Ping Lacson and (gasp!) “Sen. Trillanes and his comrades” to battle against the PSG; and then,  j) ends his Order by praying that he “may be elevated from a Judge to a Justice” in order to please his parents.

Whatever this judge’s motives are — he may simply wish to be forced to inhibit or he may look to claim his fifteen minutes of infamy– I’m wanting to swoon. While some of the personalities that he mentioned may be highly unpopular, still, the Order is shameful, dimwitted and malicious. At the very least, this judge’s ultimate prayer should be DENIED WITH FINALITY.

Read it to believe. Here is the full text of the Order as reprinted in Ellen Tordesillas’ column in Malaya:

freaky judge

“Accused having been arrested, his arraignment is set to May 7, 2009 at 8:30 in the morning.

In view of the pendency of a motion filed by a priest and a nun involving the custody of accused, and in view of news reports that the Senators would also be filing a motion praying for the custody of accused in the Senate, the resolution of the request for commitment order filed by the police is held in abeyance. All these request/motions shall be heard by this Court on Friday, May 8, 2009, at 8:30 a.m.

Catholic priests and nuns as well as the members/leaders of other religious groups are welcome on said date to participate in the court’s morning prayer before the start of court session. The Supreme Court encourages judges to start court sessions with a prayer.

As I have said during the hearing of accused’s motion for release on recognizance which, by the way, I promptly denied, Mike Defensor should have been there so that I could help him and accused settle their differences. After all, the Supreme Court encourages trial judges to help parties arrive at an amicable settlement.

My words designed to penetrate Defensor’s mind and heart will be many. If I say it orally on May 7, 2009, it will consume too much time to the detriment of the other parties whose cases are also set for said date.

Hence, I have decided to include those words in this order for Defensor to ponder on. I hope that Defensor would be able to clearly so that on May 7, 2009 (accused’s arraignment), there could already be peace between him and Lozada.

Why is it safer for Defensor to settle the case?

Defensor has admitted on TV that this perjury case he is pursuing against Lozada is very bad for his political career. I fully agree with him.

Furthermore, I say that it may be very bad for his health and his family as well. If he gets sick like Mike Arroyo, would not that be bad for him and his family?

The presidents that I have known are only Presidents Marcos, Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo.

My observation is that of all the presidential spouses, Atty. Mike Arroyo is the one who is very sickly. He has a serious heart disease. He even tries to make us believe that he is in no condition to attend Senate probes.

Imelda was strong during Marcos’ incumbency. Aquino, of course, was a widow during her term. Ming was so healthy and strong during Fidel’s time; and even after Fidel’s term, she was even the president of the Philippine Badminton Association. Dra. Loi was also very strong during Erap’s rather abruptly ended service.

There are those who say that the serious heart disease is some kind of punishment for Atty. Mike Arroyo. I do not know if this is true, for I do not really know how our Lord works, for He does work in mysterious ways. But what I do know is that Lozada is being protected by the Church, by the priests and nuns. That must mean something. Defensor, take note: that must mean something.

I invite Defensor to look closely at the faces of the priests and nuns protecting Lozada; at the faces of the other people openly voicing their support for Lozada. They are guarding Lozada so closely for they feel that what he says is the truth and they fear that the Arroyo administration might harm him because of his expose. That is why his custody during this trial in my court is such a big issue for those who support him.

Now, why are all these so important for Defensor to ponder on? “Simple: if it is true that Mike Arroyo is being punished, Defensor may also be punished with some serious disease. I am sure his loved ones do not want that to happen to him.

But has Defensor not already been punished in some ways? He lost in the last senatorial race because he was perceived to be protecting the first couple during the NBN ZTE deal hearings; because he was perceived to be trying his best to make Lozada stop talking. He used to be presidential chief of staff, now he just has old, dilapidated, rusty trains to play with. At least some of the trains still run. Is Defensor suffering from some kind of political suicidal tendency that he is seeing to it that he will forever be hated by the people and not win in any election at all?

Defensor, on May 7, 2009, when I arraign your enemy, Lozada, you shall have the unique opportunity for cleansing, for healing, for regaining public sympathy. The Court suggests that you do what is right for your sake, for your kids’ sake, for your wife’s sake. I have not talked to Mrs. Defensor, but as an experienced trial judge who deals with human emotions and passions everyday in my courtroom, I am sure that Mrs. Defensor wants peace and good health for you.

Why this case is not to the best interest of the First Couple

Since Defensor is not a trial lawyer, he apparently has not seen the very explosive potential of this case: the First Couple (Gloria and Mike Arroyo) may validly and legally be dragged into the proceedings by Lozada’s defense team. All that the defense team has to do is invoke certain provisions of the Rules of Court. As a fair and impartial judge, I shall have no reason not to grant such request.

It is true that evil, cruel and vindictive regimes can use the law to make their enemies suffer, but it is that very same set of laws that can enable the oppressed (to) fight back. Such is the beauty of the law: that is why many have fallen in love with the law and have become lawyers or judges. As a child, I have dreamed of one day becoming a judge, to apply the law not to destroy lives, but to make lives better. Now, I am in that position, with the help of God. I dispense justice everyday with the aid and guidance I always seek from our Lord.

When this case goes to trial, I will of course allow the prosecution every opportunity to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt.

When it is the turn of the defense to present evidence, I will also allow the defense every opportunity to raise reasonable doubt or to destroy each and every element of the felony of perjury.

And if there is a motion to present President Gloria or First Gentleman Mike Arroyo as hostile witnesses in order for accused Lozada to establish, I will not hesitate to issue the corresponding subpoena compelling the First Couple to testify as hostile witness for the defense.

If Gloria and Mike refuse to obey the subpoena, I will not hesitate to issue the warrants of arrest against them because it is the constitutional right of Lozada to have the best possible defense. And it is my duty as trial judge to see to it that there is due process in my court.

If the police officers refuse to serve the arrest warrants because Gloria is their boss, then I will be forced to deputize other public officers to serve and implement the arrest warrants.

I need not search hard nor should I wait long, for Manila Mayor Lim and the many senators who wish to take Lozada into their custody may move that they be deputized. Some of these people are lawyers, some of them have extensive police experience, like Mayor Fred Lim and Senator Ping Lacson. They can arrest, handcuff and put behind bars any fugitive.

They are no match against the PSG, the Presidential Security Group? What if Sen. Trillanes and his comrades join the mission to arrest? Get the picture, Mr. Railroadman Defensor?

Defensor, just imagine how powerful a message that would (be) for our people and for the whole world. And just imagine how that would affect the first couple.

I now suggest to Mike Defensor not to think only of himself in his perjury case. The welfare of the First Couple is also involved, as discussed above.

I invite everyone who may come across this order to pray for both Defensor and Lozada, so there may be peace between them.

Please pray also for me, so that I may always be a good, humble, God-fearing and very wise Judge to those who seek justice in my courtroom; and so that I may be elevated from a Judge to a Justice (even though I do not have any political backers) for that would surely make my late father, Jorge Lorredo Jr. (who is now with Jesus in heaven watching me with a smile on his face) and my mother, Mary Lorredo, very proud of their only child.

So ordered.”

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