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Damocles and Thanos.

Today, 14 Justices of the Supreme Court, the Guardians of the Judiciary (not the Galaxy) will decide on the Quo Warranto case filed against their Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. In doing so they will also decide on their future.

Will they now strip themselves of the purple robes of infallibility? Will they allow their emotions and human imperfections to give life to a perpetual curse for magistrates of the future who can be subjected to a Quo Warranto based on political or personal grudge? Is this the legacy they wish to leave behind: a sword that hangs on the heads of Justices of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary?

As I reflected on these things I remembered the phrase 'The Sword of Damocles' and while many people use the phrase, not all know the full content or context, so I looked it up and herewith I am printing what Wikipedia provides on the topic:

Sword of Damocles

According to the story, Damocles was pandering to Dionysius, his king, and exclaimed to him that Dionysius was truly fortunate as a great man of power and authority, surrounded by magnificence. In response, Dionysius offered to switch places with Damocles for one day so that Damocles could taste that very fortune firsthand. Damocles quickly and eagerly accepted the king's proposal. Damocles sat down in the king's throne surrounded by every luxury, but Dionysius arranged that a huge sword should hang above the throne, held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse's tail. Damocles finally begged the king that he be allowed to depart because he no longer wanted to be so fortunate, realizing that with great fortune and power comes also great danger.

King Dionysius effectively conveyed the sense of constant fear in which a person with great power may live. Cicero used this story as the last in a series of contrasting examples for reaching the conclusion towards which he had been moving in this fifth Disputation, in which the theme is that having virtue is sufficient for living a happy life. Cicero asks, 'Does not Dionysius seem to have made it sufficiently clear that there can be nothing happy for the person over whom some fear always looms?'

I recently did a trial interview for 'AGENDA' on Cignal TV with Atty. Jojo Lacanilao, an associate professor of Law at La Salle University, someone who has worked with the Philippine Mission to the UN or United Nations for many years and currently one of the spokespersons of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno. If there was one thing of critical importance that Atty. Lacanilao brought to the table, it would have to be how the granting of the Quo Warranto will make the Solicitor General one of the most powerful and feared man in government now and in the future, particularly for the Judiciary. The Quo Warranto would effectively create a 'Thanos' who, based on whim or perception, would simply eradicate matter to create order.

Having the power and the authority to decide who can be targeted for Quo Warranto, the Solicitor General now and of the future can use the process to remove Justices and the likes in order to appoint people who are aligned or cooperative with their government or political view. Once upon a time, the Solicitor General was indeed a powerful and influential man and that was during the time of President Ferdinand Marcos, who entrusted the office to someone named Estelito Mendoza. Succeeding governments after Martial Law worked at cutting back the power and influence of the Solicitor General's office through the creation of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Sandiganbayan etc. But if the Supreme Court grants the Quo Warranto petition of SolGen Calida, that decision would effectively make the Solicitor General the very sword of Duterte that will hang over the entire judiciary!

SPOILER ALERT #THANOSdemandsyoursilence

If you have watched 'The Avengers - Infinity Wars,' a very short scene in the movie shows Thanos meeting his daughter as a child in the afterlife. Gamora his daughter asks: Did you do it? (Impose his vision of balance and order by killing half of all living things randomly) Thanos: 'Yes.' And what did it cost? Asked the little girl. Thanos: 'Everything.'

Let's all pray that reason, humility and divine intervention would take hold of ALL our Supreme Court Justices today and that God's will be done in their decision on the Quo Warranto petition.

Fair is Fair and today allow me to praise the MIAA and the NAIA 3 management for finally fixing the air-conditioning system of Terminal 3. I recently passed through NAIA 3 on our way to Legazpi for the BMeg Fiestahan Caravan and my colleagues and I were all pleasantly surprised at how cool/cold it was inside the terminal Tuesday lunch time, unlike in our previous trips. I also saw an airport police officer accosting an individual whom he suspected of trying to illegally contract passengers in front of the Coupon Taxi counter last Wednesday evening.

Speaking of counters, NAIA 3 management might want to fix or rearrange the chairs at the coupon taxi counter. It is quite confusing because the seats are alongside where passengers line up to book their cabs. Place a cordon or barrier to separate those signing up from those waiting for their rides.

Finally, just a suggestion to the folks at Cebu Pacific. I couldn't help notice that Cebu Pacific has more, and has longer in flight announcements than other airlines. After a series of flights, I've determined that those announcements can be disruptive for passengers trying to rest, work or listen to something. Instead of inter-active games, why not hide a ticket or voucher on the seat pocket and just tell passengers there is a prize they can claim from the FA. Other than that, thank you Cebu Pacific for being Pet friendly and continuing to ship animals all over the country.
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Publication:Philippines Star (Manila, Philippines)
Date:May 11, 2018
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