Friday, February 19, 2016

on enrile and LGBT

Someone needs his jail time back.

It's not for me to lose patience over political issues. I can say that what with my limited patience have for our politicians, I still can spare deep sighs and heaving breaths to understand where they are coming from should they issue some statements which are highly controversial.

The whole Twitterdom exploded when Pacquiao made that scathing statement against the LGBT community. But really, it's not Pacquiao that I want to talk here, but the old man beside him. The old man who, for the amount of luck that he has for being a nonagenarian, now has the liberty to issue another pathetic statement if it were not for the Supreme Court to accord some due respect to him.

Sen. Johnny Enrile was quoted by Rappler as saying that members of the LGBT may go find "another planet" to live. If that suits him, fine, I think I'm better off to some Goldilocks planet. But what I find highly incredulous is his statement that Manny Pacquiao will win even if the entire LGBT will not vote for him. There may be truth in that, yes, but only "may."

True. It may be true that that the entire LGBT electorate is too insignificant a number for Pacquiao to prevent Pacquiao from snagging a senatorial seat. But what is good Enrile missing out on is that the LGBT is not the entire electorate. "Common sense" (pun intended) dictates that there is no gender requirement under Batas Pambasa Blg. 881 or the Omnibus Election Code for an individual to be a voter. Inasmuch as college degree and only an ability to read and write makes for a decent qualification for elective officials, the same vein that no gender requirement is imposed on a voter. In the same vein, no "specific-vote for clause" is in the Section 117 of the Election Code. Nary there is a statutory provision pointing for a voter to specifically vote for someone. It doesn't take a genius to know that we can vote for whoever we want and not vote for who we do not believe deserve our exercise of suffrage. It doesn't take a genius. That's "common sense" (again, pun intended).

Just plain logic. Any registered voter can or can not vote for any senatoriable, which means even a straight person can not vote for Pacquiao. This leads to a nothing but a mere exercise of syllogisms, permutations and premises that even your mother or father or grandfather or grandmother may not vote for Pacquiao. What loss Pacquiao may have with what the entire LGBT community not voting for him may suffer the same with straight people should they choose not to believe in Pacquiao.

What point that Enrile is sorely missing is that if straight people gets tired of all these crass and sick political circus vis-à-vis gender issues, any straight man or woman who are compassionate enough to align with the sentiments of the LGBT community on the most humanitarian basis of social justice will jeopardize Pacquiao's higher ascent to the Senate given that the LGBT are not the only electorate but also the straight community. Plain logic lang, hindi ba?

No provisions in law and in jurisprudence hinders a straight person from not voting a specific candidate. That is the very essence of right to suffrage and political exercise. It may be true that it is a fancy thought for the entire electorate to revolt against a candidate who does not support LGBT causes but the possibility is always there because it is not only members of the LGBT who vote but straight people too.

That's why reading the news piece, I really find it quite taxing, why Enrile, for all the mental tenacity that he has displayed both as a statesman and as a lawyer, have not thought of that. But the question is: should Pacquiao be really threatened by such possibility of straight people not voting for him? Two scenarios: the ideal and the real.

The ideal, he should be threatened. Because what with Pacquiao has done at the heels of his damning statement to put the fire out of the emotional wildfire already eating up people's chest, here comes Mang Johnny who is terribly worsening things. Instead of trying to help Pacquiao boost the Boxer's image as an apologetic athlete, here you have a senator, a former military official, an alleged crook and an extraordinaire macho philanderer taunting the populace that his bet can win the elections without the LGBT's help. And if get in the nerve of the straight people and incest them, they will only belatedly realize what bad mishap Enrile did for not shutting up when good opportunity calls for it.

The real, he shouldn't be threatened. Firstly, Because Manny Pacquiao has cemented himself as a national icon in this society too soft to be reminded of its transgressions against its people. After more controversial issues pick up the primetime news, everything will be forgotten and Manny Pacquiao will always be known as the boxer, not the senatorial candidate who issued a statement too unfitting for a legislator. Secondly, we have a culture of misguided electorate. We confuse national agenda with candidatorial prominence. We confuse legislative performance with regional biases. We confuse great mind with great names. We are a confused electorate--easily bought and easily swayed. (Trust me, I've seen worse during elections day because of my previous work.) And that confusion never allows us to hold on to whatever fear or anger that we have against an unfitting candidate. At the end of the day, when the Internet hubbub died down and the ebb of the political tsunami has receded back to the abyss of pardon and parole, we forget and default to being confused again.

This is why Enrile has had the opportunity to make his statement in the first place. Because we forgot the allegations surrounding him. We forgot about--at this point allow me to legally talk--the strict applications of the Revised Penal Code. The Supreme Court ruled that because of Johnny's old age, he should be given the chance to be excused from serving his temporary jail time while his plunder case is being heard. No intention to criticize the collective wisdom of the Supreme Court but the application of Article 13 (mitigating circumstances) in the bail petition is, in my humble submission, a stray application. In effect, we ushered into a novel jurisprudence and case law--a bad and dangerous precedent at that, and made the equal protection clause under the Constitution questionable? Is it only because of "humanitarian consideration" should Enrile be given the standing in law to not serve his detention when in fact, plunder is a non-bailable offense; and the Sandiganbayan dismissed the bail petition?

I still cannot understand why the majority reached that decision. Asked, I'd rather side with the minority. Anyway, it is already an operative fact that Enrile is out on a hefty bail and now challenging gay people to go find another planet. Tongue-in-cheek, why won't he go back to jail first, before I dispatch for another planet? Quid pro quo.

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