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Recah’s lovesong

I’ve always enjoyed Recah Trinidad ever since I heard him as a commentator when Onyok Velsaco fought in the Olympics. I was just a kid but those hysterics were forever burned in my memory. “Sumuntok si Onyok! MABUHAY ANG PILIPINAS!!!! … teka, teka, DINADAYA tayo mga kababayan, DHINAHDHAYAH TAHYOHHH!!!!” He just unabashedly abandons all pretense of professional detachment and that makes him a true representative of the public – the one who speaks in our hyper-ventilating language, and with our hysterical voices at ringside.

Of course, I’m still conflicted about dear old Recah. I love his total lack of restraint, but I also cringe at his hyperboles.

Well, today, he unleashed a doozy of a lovesong to the boxer du jour. It’s a long article, but I just had to put it up here.

COMMENTARY
Pacquiao dumps the script for his greatest moment

By Recah Trinidad
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:04:00 07/01/2008

MANILA, Philippines—He was a work in progress, trainer Freddie Roach kept saying of Manny Pacquiao. There was likewise no clear hint the former poor boy, a skinny southpaw who used to sleep on the cold floor, would be able to come up with the greatest, richest performance of his life.

But last Sunday in Las Vegas, Roach, a two-time trainer of the year, could only watch in quiet glee as Pacquiao transformed from a brawling bull into a full-fledged ring matador with his clinical demolition of defending world lightweight champion David Diaz.

The change was complete as it was classy.

It also erased whatever cheap doubts there were on Pacquiao’s earlier installation as world pound-for-pound boxing king.

Not bad so far. A little too gooey-eyed, but still tolerable. Now if only he would quit while he was ahead.

* * *

Roach may have exaggerated in bragging that Diaz would need something supernatural to conquer Pacquiao.

I think I may need something supernatural to get through this smarmy crap.

But the way Pacquiao did it, not even a miracle would’ve saved Diaz from the speed and sharpness of the former one-handed raw banger they now call a prizefight masterpiece.

Raw banger?

Fight promoters hit it right when they labeled the championship “Lethal Combination,” peddling the promise of a bloody, no-holds barred duel in the Nevada desert.

Pacquiao however threw away the script and, in the process, created one of the most awesome mismatches in prizefight lore.

What script? I’m confused.

* * *

Indeed, there were suggestions of two brick-fisted warriors out to outgun and out-slug each other in a terrible test of steel nerves and gangland guts.

You gotta love’em metaphors, but gangland guts? Awesome alliteration.

Pacquiao however left his boiling temper, his predictable impatience in the dugout.

Of course, there were instances when he would smirk and again bang his gloves—a trademark of his explosiveness—after getting hit.

But these could all be a put-on, a ploy to mask a surefire edge he had gained with his newfound overview fighting stance.

Instead of bend low, engage his foe in an eyeball-to-eyeball goring battle, Pacquiao coolly stood his ground, speared and danced his way out of harm’s way enroute to a slow but sure dominance, before unleashing a crisp, soundless left cross to the chin, a sword thrust through a bull’s heart vein.

Heart vein? Is that the same as the lung windpipe? Or the kidney ureter? Or the womb fallopian tube? And didn’t you love how he “danced his way out of harm’s way?” Sounds like a male flamenco dancer ducking the flying stilletos of his partner. But beyond that, if it were such a storied mismatch, how could Pacquiao have ever been in harm’s way?

* * *

To those who wondered where they had witnessed this scene before, it could be in the movies, out in the sun-baked bullfight arenas in Madrid or Hemingway’s Pamplona where, as the great American writer put it, “the bull, as it should be is dead; the man, as he should be, is alive with a tendency to smile.”

Fight fans can be such gore-loving fuckers, can’t they?

The truth is that, after completing a perfect execution, an unforgettable world boxing rarity, fear suddenly crossed Pacquiao’s mind as Diaz lay battered, bloodied, convulsing on the floor.

Oh dear god, no.

Here, Pacquiao decided to again dump the fight script.

Again with the script! Are we in Hollywood? Or Gangland? Or the bull rings of Spain? Make up your mind, Recah.

* * *

Instead of thumping his breast, instead of bursting into a triumphant yell, Pacquiao readily turned to his fallen foe. Pacquiao reached out for Diaz’s arms and tried to pull him back.

The celebration could wait.

He suddenly saw in the opponent a brother in utter distress and, like a passing Samaritan, Pacquiao offered to help Diaz off a deathly cliff.

That he did it before claiming triumph as cameras rolled and the whole world watched was indeed incredible.

Maybe this same thing had happened to other ring greats, Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Julio Cesar Chavez, or Oscar de la Hoya himself, but they had left the golden chance at heroism and nobility slip.

Anyway, Pacquiao may have not realized it but, after making his countryman very proud with his conquest of a fourth world crown, he next handed the Pinoy a rare gift. The native nobility Pacquiao displayed in that moment of moments helped immeasurably in telling the world that the Filipino, cheated, cursed, corrupted, is brave, strong, and, last but not the least, worthy of applause and respect.

*Sniff-sniff.*  Okay. I admit it. This part really rang true. I was never prouder of Pacquiao than I was at that moment when true concern came over his features and he grasped Diaz’s outstretched arm. That was a golden moment for sportsmanship. Quite a refreshing change from all the trash-talking one has come to expect – and dread – from professional sports.

Thank God for the greatest Filipino fighter ever.

Too cheesy, but can’t argue with that.

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Filed under: jurisprudence, language, pop-culture, sports, , , ,

Puno

Part of me cringes whenever I see Puno on TV. There is just something that rings so dissonantly when the Chief Justice says his Court did the wrong thing. Panganiban – in one of his fits of self-aggrandizement – did the same thing once before and got slammed by his peers. Will Puno merit the same response for implying that his wisdom is superior to the wisdom of 9 other Justices?

On the other hand, the decision is just so piss-poor that I can’t help cheering Puno on either, albeit quietly and mostly just to myself. Yay, Puno! But he is treading on dangerous ground. The last thing a Chief Justice wants to do is to undermine public confidence in the Court (of course, one might argue that the decision did that well enough without any help from Puno, still, if the decision were nails on the SC’s credibility’s coffin – Puno’s comments only actually delivered the coup de’ grace).

I had actually hoped that the SC’s decision would cool-off the overheated proceedings at the Senate, maybe restore some semblance of objectivity or even dignity. That would have been possible if the decision had adopted fair standards for determining whether the invocation of executive privilege is righteous or not and then trust the other branches to respect those standards and to police themselves accordingly.  At the very least, the Court should not have appointed itself arbiter on the validity of specific invocations. Executive privilege, to my mind, is a pure political question falling well outside the scope of judicial review.

And in any case, even assuming that a claim of privilege is righteous, what’s wrong with tackling such issues in executive session? Surely, the Court did not mean to say that Senators cannot be trusted to respect the confidentiality of information disclosed behind closed doors. I know I don’t trust Senators to keep mum on information that might conceivably be used for political mileage, but certainly a co-equal branch of government cannot cast such aspersions on another co-equal. To do so would be to invite anarchy.

But I’m arguing the case again, right? Oh well.

All things considered (and no matter how much I agree with Puno’s dissent) I still have to say that Puno totally should not have sounded off like that. It didn’t add to the validity of his opinion, nor did it make the majority decision any more heinous than it already is. All he did was make sure that no one would ever fully trust his Court again.

Filed under: jurisprudence, musings, politics, , , , , , ,

9-6

Update: I’ve read the decision (thanks to the link provided by a noted blogger) and I still say bullshit.

The Court ruled:

Using the above elements, we are convinced that, indeed, the communications elicited by the three (3) questions are covered by the presidential communications privilege. First, the communications relate to a “quintessential and non-delegable power” of the President, i.e. the power to enter into an executive agreement with other countries. This authority of the President to enter into executive agreements without the concurrence of the Legislature has traditionally been recognized in Philippine jurisprudence. Second, the communications are “received” by a close advisor of the President. Under the “operational proximity” test, petitioner can be considered a close advisor, being a member of President Arroyo’s cabinet. And third, there is no adequate showing of a compelling need that would justify the limitation of the privilege and of the unavailability of the information elsewhere by an appropriate investigating authority.

All technically correct, of course. However, the first conclusion is premised on the presumption that the Malakanyang’s characterization of the questions as relating to diplomatic relations is accurate. The Court never really discussed why this was so, much less validated the characterization. This makes the first conclusion really shaky since it is based on a premise that has not yet been proven accurate.

The second conclusion is really of no use since it is an undisputed fact that Neri is a close advisor of the Prez. All this conclusion does is bolster the fact that Neri can claim privilege. But that was never at issue. The issue is whether the claim is justified. Again, the justifiability of the claim seems to have been taken for granted.

The third conclusion is the linchpin, and it is based on the fact that

“The case of Senate v. Ermita only requires that an allegation be made “whether the information demanded involves military or diplomatic secrets, closed-door Cabinet meetings, etc.” The particular ground must only be specified. The enumeration is not even intended to be comprehensive.”

In other words, the claim actually need not be justified. In cases where the Senate thinks the claim is unjustified, it can take the case to the SC. But that remedy is, in fact, illusory since, when it receives the case, all the SC will look for is whether the allegation was properly made – it won’t even look into the reasonableness of the claim. For instance, Midas Marquez – the Court’s spokesman – is now emphasizing that the reason the Court ruled for Neri is actually because the Senate was unable to show any compelling need for the information. This line of reasoning implies that if a need was shown, the privilege would have been denied. BUT that implication is contradictory to what the Court itself said when it declared that a mere allegation of privilege, properly made, is all that is needed. How can any enumeration of “compelling need” be validated without measuring those claims against the justifications for keeping the privilege intact? How can you say that the justifications for disclosure are more ‘compelling’ than the justifications for secrecy when the secrecy need not even be justified?

That all looks kinda circular to me.

“Did the President (Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo) follow up with you on the ZTE contract?”

“Did she tell you to prioritize the ZTE contract?”

“Despite knowing the flaws of the contract did she tell you to approve it?”

Why were these questions characterized as falling within executive privilege? Neri’s claim is that “Malacañang was concerned about ‘the impact of the bribery scandal involving high government officials on the country’s diplomatic relations and economic and military affairs, and the possible loss of confidence of foreign investors and lenders in the Philippines.'” Caveat lector, though: Having not read the Supreme Court’s 9-6 decision (anyone with a link to the damned thing, feel free to post it in the comments sections), I’m going to have to assume that 9 justices out of 15 agreed that the responses to those three questions would have undermined diplomatic relations and scared investors away.

But that’s stupid.

The problem is that the application of executive privilege seems to have been granted to specific questions, instead of a class of questions. The implication is that if those specific questions are asked, all the problems with diplomatic relations and such will arise. And since the questions are all yes-no in nature, it’s pretty easy to divine what the answers actually are.

If the answers to those questions had been no, no, and no, there would be no worries about diplomatic relations and investor confidence, and therefore there would have been no basis for invoking executive privilege. Straight no’s would have clearly communicated an image of the President as being tough and principled against corruption. The first two questions – follow ups and prioritization – answered no would indicate that she at least tried to keep her distance from the project; the third question answered no would have indicated that she at least did not give unequivocal approval of a possibly flawed project.

On the other hand, if any one of the answers had been a “YES,” then it would have proven presidential complicity (remember, the assumption underlying those questions is that Neri had already told the President that a bribe had been offered). In that case, diplomatic relations would be the least of the president’s problems.

This makes it very clear to me – and I’m agreeing with a noted blogger on this one – that invoking executive privilege in relation to those three specific questions operates only to conceal a crime. While executive privilege is supposed to guarantee that the Prez doesn’t have to worry about making an unpopular decision – or even a wrong one – it certainly does not operate to conceal a decision made with full appreciation of that decision’s illegality.

I truly do not understand why the Court would make such a transparent ruling. It’s almost as if they ruled in favor of Neri simply to avoid antagonizing the Palace; so, by allowing the invocation of executive privilege on these specific questions, is the Supreme Court in fact sending out the message that there is something that needs to be hidden?

This evokes images of kidnap victims smiling at their abductors while scribbling “help me” messages on whatever they can get their hands on.

Is the Supreme Court asking for help?

(A note about the image: Over at the noted blogger‘s stomping grounds, DJB has taken to referring to the SC as SCORP – Supreme Court Of the Republic of the Philippines – definitely a take-off on SCOTUS which is gonadally related to the diarrheic POTUS and the stinky FLOTUS. DJB’s SCORP inspired me to complete the acronym, hence, SCORPION – SCORP Institutionalizes Obstruction of Neri. Sounds like a villain organization right out of Ian Fleming’s lurid imagination.)

Filed under: jurisprudence, musings, politics, , ,

As the year turns

As the year turns, some interesting tidbits:

The LP stands by Mar Roxas; the Nacionalista’s confirm Villar’s run for Prez. Both guys are in my top 10 potential candidates, and they will stay there until they both file their certificates of candidacy. Until then, who knows what winds will blow.

A Supreme Court decision that doesn’t pander to the holier than thou amongst us: getting preggers out of wedlock isn’t necessarily immoral. According to the Court, if either or both parent’s aren’t married to other people, getting knocked up without the benefit of a prior marriage can’t be considered an offense to public or secular morality. Bravissimo, Justice Corona! In a country where religious morality seems to have a death grip on governance, this is a distinction that has been too long in coming. On the other hand, BOO! to the Inquirer whose version of the story emphasized only that the pregnancy didn’t affect the character or nature of the pregnant woman’s job with the judiciary. While that may be a valid aspect of this story, the more weighty pronouncement was the one on morality, especially since the charge was more about the woman’s morality – hence her perceived fitness to perform her work – than about the relation of her condition to her employment. More than likely, this anonymous complaint was filed by some uptight, sanctimonious bitch who never misses a novena.

Jarius Bondoc refuses to do what others (like the Gentleman from Quezon) do: tiptoe around the stupidity of Rufus Rodriguez. Just like me … ehem. I hope others follow Bondoc’s lead.

Filed under: 2010 watch, church and state, jurisprudence, politics, , , , ,