Lawyers who didn’t learn social justice from Fr. Joaquin Bernas
The editorial “An excellent Filipino” (3/12/21) paid tribute to the Atenean priest and lawyer, Fr. Joaquin Bernas, SJ, who passed away on March 6, 2021: “Those who had the privilege of knowing him hailed Bernas for raising a new generation of lawyers with a strong sense of social justice, and for helping a country just coming out of 14 years of authoritarian rule to again find its bearings as a democracy.” Needless to say, Ferdinand Marcos, who plundered this country for decades, was absolutely no “hero” to Bernas.
In his column (“Q&A on the game-changing SC cases,” 4/4/21), retired chief justice Artemio Panganiban reminded us how three prominent Atenean lawyers—namely, retired justices Arturo Brion and Mariano del Castillo and sitting justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe—never learned their lessons from Bernas on “social justice.” It is now on record that, to them, Marcos was a “hero” and deserved to be enshrined at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.
Truth be told, had the three Atenean justices voted according to their conscience in light of their supposed moral upbringing, the carcass of Marcos would have remained to rot where it had been for decades — in a refrigerated coffin at an altar in his Ilocos hometown far, far away from hallowed grounds. They conveniently forgot that in many decisions of the Supreme Court in the past, Marcos had been found guilty of massively amassing ill-gotten wealth — indeed, a scoundrel through and through!
The gobbledygook those Atenean lawyers had used to justify their decisions to “honor” Marcos with a “hero’s burial” had caused this egregious mockery of justice to be perpetually inflicted on a nation of believers in Edsa I, a phenomenon the whole world hailed as the Filipinos’ finest hour.
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