Sabado, Agosto 12, 2017

Not All Members of Congress Are Intelligent

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

For the past days I was glued at You Tube catching up with the Houses of Senate and Representatives on how the P6.5 billion shabu (Methamphetamine Hydrochloride) was sneaked before the eyes of the personnel of the Bureau of Customs through the Green Lane (where shipments are not required to undergo inspection) and found its way to a warehouse in Valenzuela.
“A tip of the iceberg, sannamagan,” I told myself when I arrived from work while I sipped my coffee and watched our congressmen questioned, chided, rebuked, and whatchamacallit their guests.
Image result for congressmen phippines hearing
Let’s cut the chase. In these hearing in aid-of-legislation and in aid-of-grandstanding as people around the world watch some of these Senators and Congressmen strutted their stuffs, I just learned that not all solons were intelligent and not all the lawyers had the savvies of the law.
Anong klaseng tanong iyan ?!” I cried on a certain Congressman Sarmiento's poser to a regular Customs honcho who was not appointee of Faeldon if the latter policy was effective when he took the helm of the Bureau.
Salamabit, what kind of poser was that?
Of course the threatened Custom official would affirm in a positive way Faeldon’s style of running the BoC otherwise he would be undermined.
I’m not talking here about Congressman Sarmiento because I did not meet him yet.
But it should be a lesson for us lesser mortals that not most of those elected in Congress are intelligent. These sonnafabitch became congressmen or senators because they have monies (where most if not some were stolen from the coffer) that catapulted them into power.

Thus in a democracy we should have a watch dog and a free and intelligent press who would check, expose, criticize the shorthcomings and excesses of our national lawmakers.
Aside from Sarmiento there was this congressman whose emphatic questioning even made our Pangasinan Congresswoman Baby Arenas relished it.
That drama could be best seen or heard on my radio program where I and my tandem Harold discussed it.
ME: Palakpakan mga congressmen doon sa Congressman na kamukha ni Matet de Leon iyong anak ni Nora Aunor, ay oo si Harry Roque ( a lawyer), pinagsabihan niya ang mga taga Custom na hindi na puwedeng gamitin iyong mga balot balot ng P6.5 billion ng shabu na nabuksan nila sa Warehouse sa Valenzuela kasi walang Search Warrant (from Court) ang mga taga Custom? Tama ba si Harry Roque?
ME: Mali !

I explained to Harold that not all raids need search warrant. The Philippines Constitution and jurisprudence cited some of these exceptions. They are Customs Search or Goods Concealed to Avoid Duties, Warrant-less Search Incidental to a Lawful Arrest, Seizure of Evidence in “Plain View”, Search of Moving Vehicle, Consented Warrantless Search, Stop and Frisk, and Exigent and Emergency Circumstances. 

This would happen when an editorial writer goes beyond a topic he did not know and becomes a laughing stock to his learned readers.
This my initial reaction when I read the editorial of Northern Mirror, a community newspaper in Pangasinan, after it was mass disseminated for free in public because of the editorial that lambasted the transfer of the city hall of Dagupan City.
The lengthy opinion of the week written in English and titled “Missing the Point: The Dagupan City Hall Transfer” was bereft of logic even it phrased and rephrased the prose of the Great William Shakespeare’s opus Hamlet.
Some of the excerpts:
 “The problem with the issue of “whether or not the transfer the city hall” misses the most crucial fact, which is where the city hall is being transferred to – the property of Kerwin Fernandez, brother of the mayor. The transfer of the city hall as an issue of necessity, modernity, or for any other reason is only secondary to the primary issue – corruption, or the abuse of power to benefit oneself. Therefore the question that should be debated by Dagupenos is this: “Whether or not the city hall should be transferred to the property of the mayor’s family”. To paraphrase from William Shakespeare’s immortal (“literary” – insertion from the columnist) classic “Hamlet”, the discussion should be this: To transfer or not to transfer, the city hall to the property of the mayor’s brother that is the (“nagging” – insertion from the columnist) question (“that begs an answer” – insertion from the columnist)”.

Since that scathing editorial was an opus before the eyes of the detractors of the mayor, here’s my “Opus ng Sigarilyo” to rebut it:
How can, HesusMariaHusep, a donated land can still be owned by the family of the donor? Donation Law, as seen on Civil Code of the Philippines, says: “Donation is an act of liberality whereby a person disposes gratuitously of a thing or right in favour of another, who accepts it (Article 725)”.

It means donation is consummated if the local government of Dagupan City, the donee, the recipient, or the receiver represented by the mayor accepts the generousity of the donor Kerwin Fernandez.
So how come, son of a gun, the transfer of the city main edifice goes to the lot of the family of the mayor when donation law says that ownership goes to the donee (city government) who accepts it?
The lesson we can learn in this literary blunder is editorial writers should not venture on legal topic that they don’t know.
Mag straight reporting na lang kayo, or leave topic like this to experts, or you seek the advice of the authorities like a lawyer before you start hitting the key pads of your computer!
You’re not blazing your guns on your target; you’re blasting your guns on yourselves!

(You can read my selected columns at and articles at Pangasinan News Aro. You can send comments too

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