Home Tags Being Right
Tag: Being Right
The Visiting Forces Agreement is one issue apparently that won’t go away quietly. News is that the Senate may file a Supreme Court case questioning President Duterte’s unilateral termination of it. In any event, certain interesting issues have cropped up, which readers may want clarification.
Of the troubles besetting legal education today, the growing self-centeredness of many law students is most wearisome. The puffed self-conception of being superior to other students, with problems and studies so hard they’re entitled to special status, is not only annoying but problematic. It poses a profound obstacle not only to legal education but also to the legal profession’s development itself.
It’s a bit baffling when you think about it. By this is meant the 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), which the present Administration is stridently threatening to terminate. But how would walking away from that Agreement (actually two Agreements, the so-called VFA 1 and VFA 2 -- the counterpart agreement) benefit the Philippines, even as a bargaining chip, is quite unclear.
Impeachment and removal are the words of the day. Blame it on the Democrat’s insane inability to accept Donald Trump’s win in the 2016 elections. Yet despite being a popular social media topic, impeachment is a concept least understood by many.
The bicycle theory of trade dictates that international trade keep moving lest it topple and fall. This unfortunately resulted in some sectors increasing the drama at every economic development, from each new WTO Ministerial meeting or media’s gleefully grim reporting of the US-China trade war.
Perhaps Congress doesn’t realize it, but although it’s constitutionally vested with legislative power, it doesn’t mean it must make laws if none are needed. The Constitution requires no quota as to the number of laws made. And sometimes legislative power is actually best exercised by not making a law at all.
Because someone has to. And, no, not that anyone is afraid of student activists. Afraid for them, more likely. And therein lies a huge difference, which many parents now are rightly starting to assert.
Lost within the frenzy of emotional arguments surrounding the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) bills (HBs 134/136 and SBs 159/412/689) is the fact that a valuable sector of our society has been kept silent. Not much heard regarding its obviously important opinions, views, experiences, and insights as to the propriety (or absence of it) of the proposed legislation.
A fair amount of complicated issues exist regarding the nature of judicial power and rights. This is illustrative of the dangers brought about by the injudicious, imprudent, and impulsive liberal progressive habit of tinkering with the tried and true. Judicial power is essentially the ability to rule over cases and determine compliance with procedural due process. Unfortunately, this has evolved into -- unchecked for decades -- the power to decide upon matters better left to the judgment of the elected branches of government.
It was John Adams who said that “I must study politics and war, that our sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. Our sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry and porcelain.”
Probably the invitation got lost in the mail. Or likely the dog ate it. Anyway, not having received an invitation to the Legal Education Summit held last Wednesday and Thursday, I’ve sadly no concrete idea regarding its outcome. Nevertheless, were I there, the following would have been -- just some -- of my suggestions.
Perhaps the worst thing an aspiring lawyer learns in law school is the idea that the law is “what the judge says it to be.” It’s cynical, yes, but arguably (in the present day) likely even true. Such is justified under “The Living Constitution” theory, beloved of many a “progressive” law faculty. But such is wrong. It violates the Constitution and -- worse -- is inherently undemocratic.
Congress, whose job is to make laws, should familiarize itself with the law of unintended consequences: an act causing outcomes unforeseeable or unpredicted. This is natural, particularly in a world populated by human beings. But unfortunately, President Rodrigo Duterte may have inadvertently signed a law of profound negative consequence for the country. That law is Republic Act No. 11313, An Act Defining Gender-Based Sexual Harassment in Streets, Public Spaces, Online, Workplaces, and Educational or Training Institutions, Providing Protective Measures and Prescribing Penalties Therefor, or the “Safe Spaces Act.”
Vividly and fondly remembered is former Supreme Court Justice Florentino Feliciano who, years ago, long after he stepped down from the World Trade Organization’s Appellate Body, met with some government trade officials regarding alleged Philippine discriminatory treatment of some imported goods. A lady official pontificated about the “unfortunate” Philippine “discrimination.”
The problem here is not the failure to communicate but the refusal to communicate. There are many good reasons to uphold that there is a male-female distinction, that gender is synced with sex, and that marriage is between one man and one woman. Yet those reasons are not being heard.
In essence, to be simple about it: we know that human nature has worked this way for millennia, we know that human experience showed us the limitations of human intellect and comprehension, that our beings come with certain flaws and restrictions.
In the area of governance, none perhaps seems more important than the State’s survival. And the matter of survival becomes more imperative when the country is dragged into war. The question is, how does our government -- regardless of the administration in power -- respond institutionally in the case of armed conflict?
It’s really difficult to provide a brief coherent set of reflections on the essence of what happened in the recent elections. There’s an intuition that what just took place constitutes a watershed in Philippine history.
With news of possible escalation of trade hostilities between the US and China, it would be good to look at possible trade processes and remedies that can be resorted to by the Philippines in case the conflict creeps into our economy.
The Fallacy of relative privation (sometimes known as “appeal to worse problems”) is the tact of dismissing an argument or position by declaring there are graver or more important problems elsewhere. This statement is made regardless of whether those problems bear relevance to the actual argument or position first made.
A topic substantially discussed in law school is international law’s application within our municipal jurisdiction. In other words, may international law give rise to a demandable cause of action or defense before our local courts? The answer is in the Constitution.
There’s this interesting scene in the movie Too Big To Fail, which is about the 2008 financial crisis that almost brought down the entire global economy. The setting was after US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson (played by William Hurt) asked the CEOs of the world’s biggest financial institutions to work through the weekend and try coming up with solutions to avert the crisis.
“Unintended consequences” is a phrase policy makers, legislators, and those in the academe should get to know intimately. That certain measures may cause effects not fully comprehended. Hence why it’s said that the road to Hell is not only paved with good intentions; it’s lighted, gilded, and fully furnished with it.
Perhaps because a bunch of local musicians decided to give the National Anthem the “We are the World” treatment. Perhaps because some Filipinos began to think we’re actually Americans and feel nothing of jazzing up the “Lupang Hinirang.”
PROBABLY it’s intersectionality. Or identity politics. Or the glorification of victimhood. Whatever the cause, everyone nowadays seems to demand preferential treatment. Of course, it’s never stated that way. Usually, it’s called as a plea for “rights.”