Can’t agree Leonen’s dissent is ‘baseless’

/ 05:12 AM July 14, 2017

There is so much I agree with in what my pal, Compañero Oscar Franklin Tan, writes that I am surprised when we differ. “Leonen’s baseless anti-martial law dissent” (Opinion, 7/10/17) may be premature.

Supreme Court justices answer to history.


On March 31, 1973, six justices (Makalintal, Castro, Barredo, Makasiar, Antonio and Esguerra) prevailed in ruling that “there is no further judicial obstacle to the new Constitution being considered in force and effect.”

I don’t believe history has been kind to the six in letting the Siopao Constitution enter into force. (In the Barangay Citizen’s Assemblies of Jan. 17, 1973, the attendees were asked, “Sino sa inyo ang may gusto ng siopao?”—with predictable responses.)


Chief Justice Concepcion, dismayed, reportedly stopped reporting for work after March 31, 1973. Joining him in dissent were Zaldivar, Fernando and Teehankee.

I believe the jury is still out. I cannot agree now that Justice Marvic Leonen’s dissent is “baseless.”

Too soon. We will have to await the wisdom of a new day. My own gut feel is that if Leonen is not our new Teehankee, he could be our new consistent Concepcion or Zaldivar. Or the sadly inconsistent Fernando.

I lament that not too much importance may have been given to the position of the brave Lanao del Sur chapter of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, which denounced government abuse. Its officers are on the ground with no feet planted firmly in midair.

Military intelligence has failed President Duterte on the Marawi crisis buildup and start, as well as its length.
Yet, he says he will continue to rely on the military, over which the civilian authority is superior.

Is the President aware that we have a National Security Council (NSC)? Better to convene it than rely on the Chuwari-Wari Choirs in the Bigger House and the supposedly Better House, and on military intelligence (arguably a
contradiction in terms).

War is too important a matter to leave to the generals, said Clemenceau. That is why we have an NSC, which the President has not convened, maybe because it is not predictable, unlike Congress or the military. The NSC
members may be unwelcome Voices, not welcome Echoes.


We need to hear the sounds, even noises, of democracy. The compulsory unification of opinion only leads to the unanimity of the graveyard.—Jackson

RENE SAGUISAG, [email protected]

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TAGS: anti-martial law dissent, Marvic Leonen, Oscar Franklin Tan, Siopao Constitution
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