November 08, 2006

Not in control and loving it

Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain.” (Phil 2:14-16, RSV)

When I am suffering, this exhortation never fails to uplift me.

Paul speaks of being in prison so many times that we tend to become desensitized to just how difficult it must have been for him to preach the Gospel in his day. Yet, he did so, unfailingly, consistently and proudly.

Many times, I grumble and question—okay, almost every time—especially when things are not to my liking even if I know it is part of what God has in store for me. Loss of control is never easy and this has always been my cross.

I am, by nature, a control freak and loss of control—the uncertainty, the “not knowing” and the inability to shape what comes next—has always been cause for me to grumble and question and, often, protest. Many times, it has involved only me and God but there have been times as well when my being a control freak has affected—and hurt—others.

Recently, I was given a wake-up call to this. It was not a subtle hint nor a gentle nudge, it was practically a bludgeon—I was confronted with the many times my insistence on control affected and hurt others I love. And I was, literally, brought to my knees—not knowing what to do, what to say—and not in control. But, ironically, that was when I felt the most free.

So though I suffer many times, I try now not to grumble or question—too much. Try is the most important word in that sentence. Often though, the words of complaint and protest slip through my lips but I am quick to repent and to pray that God be in control once again.

Lord, I pray for the grace to shine as a light in the world that is in darkness; to be a voice that speaks Your truth in a world that is filled with noise and confusion; to be your face in a world that knows You not or no longer. Grant me additionally the grace to be all these without grumbling or questioning but to be simply filled with the hope that I labor not in vain but in the victory that you have already won. Amen.

November 07, 2006

Very Afraid

Since the word came out that Miriam might be Chief Justice, people have been asking if that is at all possible.  In a word: Yes.

There is no rule or law that limits the choice of Chief Justice to those who are already on the Court.  The appointment of the Chief Justice from among the incumbents is tradition but not law.  So too is the appointment of the most Senior Associate Justice to succeed the Chief Justice; this was notably not followed by Marcos when he bypassed former Chief Justice Claudio Teehankee twice.  

In the United States, Chief Justice Earl Warren was appointed directly as Chief Justice without sitting on the Bench;  so too the current Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Roberts.

Perhaps the question about Miriam in relation to the prospect of being Chief Justice is not whether it is possible but how probable it is.  Again, in a word:  Quite.  Probable, that is.

The last question that should be asked about Miriam being Chief Justice is, “should we be afraid? “ In a word:  No.  We should be VERY AFRAID.

nano disturbance

I was asked a question I dreaded yesterday by a fellow lawyer: “do you agree that Sadam Hussein should be executed?” I found myself hesitating for perhaps one nano second before I answered, “No. I do not agree that he should be executed.”

For one who has been literally rendered a one-trick pony when it comes to the death penalty, I found that nano second of hesitation surprising and disturbing because I did not know why I hesitated and because there should have been no reason for me to hesitate.

I still don’t know why I hesitated and that disturbs me—still.

November 06, 2006

Calmed, Quieted and Comforted

O Lord, my heart is not lifted up,
     my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But  I have calmed and quieted my soul,
     like a child quieted at its mother’s
     like a child that is quieted is my soul.

O Israel, hope in the Lord
     From this time forth and forevermore.”

  • Psalm 131, RSV

A beautiful reminder to start a week that is foreseen to be stressful.

Lord, I beg for the grace to be calm, quiet and comforted.  Allow me to occupy myself with all that is truly important.  May I desire nothing more than to hope in you today.  Amen.

Big deal?

So, Nonong Cruz resigned irrevocably as Defense Secretary after Tony Carpio, his partner, wrote an excoriating majority (actually plurality) decision in the People’s Initiative case and after Raul Gonzales made public that the Firm (of which Carpio and Cruz were founding partners) was now on the other side of the Gloria fence.

Big deal!

Leaving is easy.  Public repentance is more difficult.  

Instead of a 2 sentence, 22-word letter of resignation, Cruz should have made a mea culpa mea maxima culpa letter to the Filipino people explaining just why Gloria should never have been installed in power and why she is unfit to stay a day longer in power.  Otherwise, Cruz’s resignation and Carpio’s seemingly disloyal ponencia will simply be a case of  “I scratched your back, you failed to scratch mine. . . so there.”

Stand on principle, gentlemen, and declare what you stand for.  It was wrong to have installed Gloria Arroyo (but profitable for you perhaps);  a resignation letter simply does not do the trick—a public apology perhaps would help but a public repudiation would do more.  

But that’s expecting too much.  What is it that they say about there being no permanent friends but only permanent interests?  Expect The Firm to be back soon.

Thinking of Sisyphus

Right now, I feel like Sisyphus, the King who had to keep rolling a boulder up a hill only to have it keep rolling back down on him.

The past three weeks I've been walking on eggshells--broken glass, might be more exact--around a person I've known for some time for reasons I don't really know--or at least that have not been made known to me. I don't really know what I said, did, did not say, did not do to bring about this treatment and it is difficult, to say the least. I have no equilibrium and every day I feel like I'm on free fall.

It would be so easy to just be angry; it would be so easy to just say, "forget it. nothing's worth this."

But, it is worth it. I have very few friends but I have very good friends. And the few friends I do have, I tend to keep for a long time.

So I won't be angry and I won't say, "forget it. nothing's worth this." Because this friendship is worth this and I do intend to keep it.

Now, if I could only figure out how to keep the boulder from rolling back down on me--over and over again.

November 05, 2006

Still paying off debts

Clearly, Gloria is still paying off her political debts.

The latest beneficiary--Miriam Santiago. Raul Gonzales, the oxymoronic Justice Secretary, all but confirms that she will be the next Chief Justice. The JBC, with the outgoing Chief Justice, himself the beneficiary of Gloria's graces last year all quiet on her ascension and with both Kiko Pangilinan (Raul Gonzales's partner in the infamous "noted" farce in the 2004 Congressional canvassing of votes) and Simeon Datumanong nodding approvingly from the sidelines, has practically outlived its usefulness and should simply be described for what it is--a political clearing house where all the horsetrading is done, outside the prying eyes of the taxpaying public.

Forget her media hype that she was a professor of Constitutional Law--she taught one subject in the evening section and it happened to be constitutional law; she was not a professor, that is an academic rank in the UP that should not be bandied about like cheap candy. Urban legend has it that one night, she goes to her class and reads a speech that she intended to give--that probably started all the rumors about her mental fitness.

What we should remember is this: Miriam is the worst form of political animal. And she is the worst poster girl for the administration of justice in this country.

Miriam is young enough to totally wreck an already irretrievably broken judicial system; by tht time she retires, we won't know which end is up.

God help us, truly.