My compliments to columnist Ms Teresa Abesamis on your March 20’s page 5 “Truth or Evidence”. She points out the “decision of the Senate impeachment court will set the ethical standards for the Chief Justice of the Court of Last Resort”. That Court presides over the entire judiciary, the government arm empowered to make the final verdicts over life, liberty and belongings of the Filipino people. The decision will most certainly influence how business will be done in this country – through the buying and/or delaying of court cases on life, liberty and property or in ensuring that cases are decided firmly with fairness and dispatch.
I address this letter to your readers who like me are in the business of our business, but should not limit themselves to it, and must think beyond its narrow confines.
Mr. Corona so lusted to be Chief Justice as to prevail on his colleagues to decide that the Constitutional provision should not be applied to appointments to the Supreme Court. Was not that self serving decision prohibited, if not by law, then certainly by decency and morality, for Court members to decree that a Constitutional prohibition does not apply to them?
Business needs to understand the gravity of the Impeachment Court ’s decision. If it is to retain Corona as Chief Justice, I say that will signal to many corrupt members of the Philippine judiciary that they also could continue in corrupt practices without fear. I say that will signal to senior government employees also illegally appointed by Gloria Arroyo that they have sympathizers in the highest court and need not fear to be removed. It is my serious fear that a retention of Mr. Corona as Chief Justice will preserve, allow uncut, the chains of corruption that still afflict our country from the rule of Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
I appeal to my fellow businessmen. Open your eyes to see how such developments would end the world’s present favorable outlook for our country. The anticipation that BRIC is about to be followed by VIP – Vietnam , Indonesia , Philippines – could be shattered. Because we did not see, nor lift a finger to prevent, the defense panel’s obfuscation of facts that were being brought out into the open. Because we were so absorbed in our businesses of the moment, we did not realize the senator judges were agreeing to honor self serving decisions by colleagues of Mr. Corona in the Supreme Court. Or did a too-timid business community lack the guts or the wisdom to take action and contribute their viewpoints on the people’s ongoing debate about the Impeachment Court ?
Let us not consent to flagrant suppression of truths. Let it not be said that business people like you and me timidly opted to behave like the monkeys who refused to see, hear or speak about evil. For we will inevitably be among that evil’s inheritors, but unlike most Filipinos we could now be helping much more to prevent it.
Vicente T. Paterno
I trust you will allow this letter some space. If you do not allow your readers to read it, please allow some of your staff and reporters to read it. If you do not allow so, this will be my first and definitely last letter to you. Thank you for your attention.
Vicente T Paterno