IBP’s silence on China’s accountability for COVID-19 is deafening | Inquirer Opinion
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IBP’s silence on China’s accountability for COVID-19 is deafening

/ 05:01 AM October 01, 2021

The alarm raised by the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) apropos the sharp increase (by 500 percent) in the number of its members being killed under President Duterte’s watch—compared to an average of “only 10 killings” under each of the past administrations, including the despotic rule of the late Ferdinand Marcos (“No freedom under fear, says IBP,” News, 9/18/21)—was long overdue. By all means, despite nearing the end of its term, the current regime should be called out for its miserable failure to inspire confidence in this country’s system of justice.

But not to denigrate the “chilling effect” of the “serial liquidation of lawyers” under the present dispensation (“Impunity gone berserk,” 9/22/21), we are truly flummoxed at the IBP’s egregious lack of interest to seek justice and reparation for the families of the thousands of Filipinos who died, and hundreds more who are dying, due to COVID-19. Compelling evidence has piled up that this pandemic did come from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China where the deadly virus could have escaped accidentally, or could have been unleashed deliberately. China should be made to recompense the world for the millions of deaths and immeasurable misery it has caused through negligence, at the very least.

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Indeed, contrary to all China-driven disinformation earlier that China was not to blame since the virus sprang from nature, more independent experts are now convinced that Chinese scientists “weaponized” the bat virus. And no deal that big could have taken place without the knowledge of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the political party that lords it over all of China. With its military arm in kinetic control of that lab, the CCP did all manner of cover-up from the get-go, and then allowed Wuhan residents to travel around the world. It does not take rocket science to figure out what all that was about, does it?

The CCP’s hegemonic and imperialistic agenda is no secret at all. It has flaunted it. And as its COVID-19 continues to decimate the world, the CCP has been going on a rampage to acquire distressed companies at scrap value, including strategic territories everywhere. In the South China Sea, it has ratcheted up its aggression in defiance of the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling that its maritime claims there are bogus. And Taiwan, which is chiefly dependent on American military might for its survival, is now a sitting duck in the wake of US President Joe Biden’s shameful debacle in Afghanistan. Another US-reliant country, South Korea, is now an easy target, too, as China’s spoiled brat in North Korea continues to salivate over the prospect of conquering it.

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Everything seems to have fallen in place for China. But many parts of the world are pushing back. Litigations in numerous countries have aimed their guns at the CCP’s assets and businesses within their respective jurisdictions. In this country, CCP-owned or -controlled properties and fortunes are estimated to be in the tens of billions in dollars (gazillions in pesos). It may seem “suntok sa buwan” to many of us, but lawyers all over the world don’t think so.

How may this class suit be done in this country? The IBP can file it directly with the Supreme Court against the CCP (as a foreign company holding property and doing business in this country). Since the Supreme Court has the plenary power to suspend or recast any or all of its own rules of procedure “in the substantial interest of justice,” and given the sui generis character of this suit, it can morph ad hoc into a “trier of facts,” just like any trial court, to receive evidence of the CCP’s culpability for this horrific pandemic.

The Supreme Court has been doing precisely that when it regularly transforms itself into a Presidential Electoral Tribunal and takes cognizance of evidence of electoral fraud (literally by the truckloads) in any presidential or vice presidential protest.

The IBP’s long silence regarding this colossal injustice has been deafening—thus giving the impression that it is too effete to rise to this challenge of a lifetime, and that the legendary brilliance of many of its members, who are said to be able to litigate any issue under the sun, is grossly overrated.

Stephen L. Monsanto, [email protected]

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TAGS: accountability, China, COVID-19, IBP, silence
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