Sun Tzu says,
Those who are skilled in warfare will always bring the enemy where they want to fight and are not brought there by the enemy.
There is a joke among Filipino lawyers that to win a case, you don't need to know the law, you only need to know the judge. So if you apply Sun Tzu in trial practice, the first principle is to bring the case to a judge who will make you win. And if the other side brings it to its judge, find a way to convert the judge or try to get the judge to resign.
Today, the Establishment carries the story of the resignation of Sandiganyan Justice Edilberto Sandoval, who is part of the special division trying former President Erap Estrada. It appears that Justice Sandoval is the only justice who dissented from the controverial rulings of the Court, which rulings granted Estrada special concessions while in jail, including the grant for a trip to Hongkong for a knee operation. Officially, Justice Sandoval cited health reasons for his resignation, but unofficially, the Establishment says it's because of the "flip-flopping of (his) colleagues".
I'm trying to read between the lines. Is he saying that he could not trust his colleagues anymore, and that he wouldn't want to continue lending his name to this process? Is he saying that the three-man special body is already Estrada's battleground? Is he saying that this three-man special body is disposed on letting Erap free?
Or is he saying that the division is doing its job well and that they should carry on with what they're doing -- he he he like one plus one equals three.
Well, the law is the law but Sun Tzu rules.
The Establishment reports that the Supreme Court has rejected the resignation of Justice Sandoval, citing the fact that Sandoval did not adequately show that his medical condition will prevent him from pursuing his role as member of the special division. The story is found here.
Erap is coming home on Saturday to, ehem, lead the opposition. The story is found here. He is unfazed by threats to sanction him for violating his "hospital arrest" while in Hongkong. Ha ha ha what can they do, jail him?
Justice Sandoval said he will comply with the Supreme Court resolution rejecting his resignation from the Sandiganbayan Special Division. He also said he will submit proof that he is suffering from vertigo and asthma. Full story here. Just imagine how these justices will act when they huddle back in the chambers. I wonder what Justice Sandoval is thinking. Does he have regrets for starting this whole thing? And the fellow justices (frankly, I don't remember their names) what are they thinking?
Justice Sandoval could pretend that nothing happened, and go about his business as usual, or he could call the whole thing off and give up his robes for good. This is what I call the Sun Tzu moment, akin to that precise moment when the archer has stretched the bow to its maximum potential. The aim is good. He should release the arrow now to hit its target. If Justice Sandoval wants a lasting place in history, he should know what to do now. If he bungles it or tarries too long, he will become another Erap joke.