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moments mundane and magical

Archive for November 2011

May it please the Court

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For nearly an hour,  I stood and made my case before the gods of Mt. Olympus, my heart in my mouth.  It was my very first time to actually argue before the Philippine Supreme Court — and I was  co-counsel to Prof. Harry Roque in a petition we filed on behalf of  residents of the Province of Palawan in their bid to get a rightful share in the proceeds of the Malampaya oil and gas wells.  Our case rested on the constitutionalization of the international legal regime of the Continental Shelf and the constitutional and statutory grant of fiscal autonomy for local governments.

I barely survived the intense  questioning — for the most part, by  Justices Antonio Carpio and Teresita De Castro. We were given 25 minutes to make our arguments. Prof. Roque, who was first to argue, took 17 minutes to discuss the first three points of our case. I  took care of the last two points in 8 minutes. But the interpellation took much longer. Prof. Roque was grilled for a little more than two hours, and I, for nearly an hour.

When it was all  over, I was simply thankful that I survived the ordeal without throwing up or fainting in shame and terror. It was an unforgettable day for another reason — the oral arguments were held a day after the Maguindanao Massacre.  The very next day, I took the earliest flight to Davao City  to head for Maguindanao  and see how the Center for International Law may assist authorities and families of the victims in the quest for justice.

The photo below was taken after the oral arguments. (From L-R: Me,  Prof.  Roque, Dr. Raul C. Pangalangan and the DFA’s Mr. Henry Bensurto, the latter two being amici curiae in the case).

The same photo introduces the sixth and last installment in the SIX BIG QUESTIONS project of Gideon Strauss, senior fellow of the US-based Center for Public Justice.   In this project,  I join several guest bloggers in his blog in answering, in 250 words or less, six questions that deal with faith, character, vision and personal context.  What contributions am I called to make? And my response is found here. For my fifth post, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Romel

November 28, 2011 at 3:46 pm

GMA Arrested: Problem, Promise, Prognosis

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I spoke tonight at a forum organized by theology students at the Asian Theological Seminary (ATS) on the current political situation in the Philippines. In particular, I discussed the topic, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo Arrested: Problem, Promise and Prognosis.

I built the talk around the thesis that what we are witnessing is an opportunity for the country’s political system to decisively defeat the forces of traditional  and patronage politics and set in place a public legal community founded on the norms of public justice.

Click here for  link to the outline of my presentation.

 

 

Written by Romel

November 25, 2011 at 3:09 pm

On Possibilites and Limitations

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Amsterdam’s  Museum of Modern Art — the Stedelijk Museum — housed Picassos, Warhols and De Koonings (apart from the works of many other modern masters). Which is one of the reasons why for the better part of 2007 towards the end of my graduate studies,  I spent many Sunday afternoons there (at its temporary quarters that is) , to write  my master’s thesis .  There was a restaurant on the 6th floor, if memory serves me right, where one could grab a beer or juice to relax after hours spent in the exhibits. But cash-strapped, I brought for merienda home-made  sandwiches and cheap 1-liter orange juice in tetrapak.

This graduate school memento many pounds ago  prefaces the fifth installment in the SIX BIG QUESTIONS project of Gideon Strauss, senior fellow of the Center for Public Justice.

As a guest blogger, I answer six questions. I’m now on my fifth.  The post answers the question, what possibilities are afforded to me and what constraints are imposed upon me by my time and place?  Click here for my previous post.

Written by Romel

November 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Where do I belong?

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Please don’t laugh at the photograph.
That’s really me four years ago,  in a country where regular hair cuts were beyond  the means of a graduate student subsisting on starvation-level scholarship stipend.

And yes, the guy I’m talking to in the photo  is the man himself, Mr. Jose Maria Sison.

I thought this photograph would make an intriguing  introduction to the fourth  installment in the SIX BIG QUESTIONS project initiated by Gideon Strauss, senior fellow of the US-based Center for Public Justice.   Along with  several bloggers, I  reflect on six questions in 250 words or less and post my reflections on his blog.

The fourth question: where do I belong? And my response may be found here.  Click here for the third  installment.

Written by Romel

November 21, 2011 at 3:03 pm

Who am I?

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It’s not a movie by Jackie Chan (which I love, by the way) but the third installment in the SIX BIG QUESTIONS project. This project was initiated by Gideon Strauss, senior fellow of the US-based Center for Public Justice.   Along with  several bloggers, I  reflect on six questions in 250 words or less and post my reflections on his blog.

Who am I? Here’s my answer. Click here for the previous installment.

Written by Romel

November 18, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Posted in Bagares, balak, beauty

Tagged with , ,

What do I believe?

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This is the second in the  SIX BIG QUESTIONS project initiated by Gideon Strauss, senior fellow of the US-based Center for Public Justice.

This time, I outline what I believe as a person of faith in 250 words or less. Click  here for the link to the first post.

Written by Romel

November 17, 2011 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Bagares, balak, beauty

Tagged with , ,

The things I love

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Gideon Strauss, senior fellow at the Center for Public Justice, asked me to participate as one of several guest bloggers on his blog. In this SIX BIG QUESTIONS  project inspired by the thought of  his friend Steven Garber,  the guest bloggers are asked to list down the things they love and then, to answer the other FIVE  big questions:

What do I believe?

Who am I?

where do I belong?  

What possibilities are afford to me what constraints are imposed on me by my time and place?

What contributions am I called to make?

Here is my response to the first question: What do I love?

Written by Romel

November 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm

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