Tuesday, September 22, 2015

63. Justice Carpio spoils the party.

NVM Gonzalez used to say, "Every reading is an opportunity for misreading." And I am revolted by the news of the misreading of the Constitution by a senior justice of the Supreme Court. Yesterday, Justice Antonio Carpio disclosed his position before the hearing on the Senate Electoral Tribunal that Sen. Grace Poe is a naturalized Filipino, and not natural-born, unless she can prove she had blood relations with Filipino parents. I reviewed my paragraph 58 which outlines my own thinking, and it seems that Justice Carpio's position is the middle ground of the two opposing schools of thought on this issue. This interpretation arises out of the literal reading of the meaning of natural-born and ignores the textual definition found in the Constitution that one is natural-born if one does not have to perform anything to perfect one's citizenship. The weight of the opinion of the senior justice is indicated by the sudden decision of George Garcia, Sen. Grace Poe's counsel, to reveal that Sen. Grace Poe's DNA are now being matched with possible blood relatives. This indicates that Sen. Grace Poe is about to do a Cinderella-like search in  a blood pool of Ilongos that hopefully has not been inundated with false leads that would not only make the search long, but also expensive. There are three justices of the Supreme Court and six senators appointed by party affiliations in the Senate Electoral Tribunal. David, the petitioner who sought the disqualification, would need two more votes from the senators to unseat Sen. Grace Poe and jeopardize her presidential run -- the justices appear to share the same opinion as Justice Carpio. Justice Carpio's resume is nothing to sneer at. He was at the top of his class, and his law firm rose from obscurity to become the darling of the Ramos era. They helped convict Estrada for plunder. And when Gloria Macapagal Arroyo became President, they got their partners appointed to key positions in the government, such as the Ombudsman and Secretary of Defense. Justice Antonio Carpio was Pres. Arroyo's first appointee to the Supreme Court. When Chief Justice Renato Corona got impeached, thanks to the impeachment complaint which that law firm drafted, I thought Justice Carpio was a shoo-in for the position. But it was not meant to be, at least not yet. This is an interesting development, albeit a heart-breaking one. NVM was right about misreading, which in the case of a legal decision eliminates all possible readings, including the right one, unless appealed. I am shaking my head as I imagine Michel Foucault in the room saying, "Truth is what the powerful says it is." 

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