Wednesday, July 21

In Reply to: God and Pope Under Attack (Part 2)



In Part 2 of his PDI OUTLOOK column (4th paragraph) last July 15, Rigoberto Tiglao described Part 1 of his column last July 8 as “the assault on the church as an institution purportedly mediating between God and man”. Immediately after this, he posed the following rhetorical question: “How can the worst kind of sexual deviants -- those preying on the innocent -- speak for God and morality? Worse, there have emerged documented allegations that the present Pope, in his previous job since 1981 as head of the Vatican unit with authority in such cases, knew about these cases, but failed to act on them.”

Several paragraphs later, Tiglao took care of answering his own rhetorical question but with obvious prejudice as follows:

“These cases of sexual abuse worldwide have not only severely eroded the Church’s credibility as an institution of morality, and as God’s representative on earth. They have also put into question the credibility of the Vicar of Christ, the Pope himself.

xxxxx Investigations by the New York Times xxxxx and by other European journalists have definitively shown that Benedict was informed of the accusations since the 1990s and perhaps even earlier but had failed to act on them, allegedly even in effect ignoring them.”

There is nothing whatsoever in Tiglao’s July 15 column that would even thinly suggest some evenhandedness or balance in his treatment of these vicious accusations and allegations against Pope Benedict’s supposed failure to act or “even in effect ignoring” these “cases of sexual abuse worldwide” despite its perpetrators being “the worst kind of sexual deviants”!

The truth of the matter WILL REFUTE Tiglao’s diatribes! Consider that under Canon Law and common sense, it was the bishop of the diocese to which the offending priest belonged, who had to take immediate action and the duty to report the alleged crimes to the local police IF evidence of guilt was strong. Besides, Cardinal Ratzinger who was thousands of miles away had no legal standing nor practical means to be an effective complainant for such complex matters with such faraway police authorities.

Nevertheless, as the Catholic World Report publisher, Father Joseph Fessio, S.J. explained in the Letters (to the Editor) section of the June 2010 issue of his magazine, then Cardinal Ratzinger was “one of the few major prelates who took decisive action to respond to it. Thus some sixty percent of the cases reported by the bishops to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) were sent back to the bishops because the evidence was so strong (and so), a long canonical process (at the CDF) was not needed. The bishops (therefore) could and should have taken immediate action and reported those priests to the authorities.”

What Tiglao and the world’s media may also have forgotten, is that even more pronounced is the prevailing policy in most of the secular systems for criminal justice throughout the world to exercise PRUDENCE, such that:

1. The identities of the victims are assiduously protected from the glare of media publicity.

2. Considering that the allegations of any criminal wrongdoing may be FALSE, thus the accused who is “presumed innocent until proven guilty” STILL has a right to the protection of his/her reputation. And so U.S. civil libertarians have always insisted on the sacredness of the Miranda Doctrine which has been adopted here in the Philippines together with the underlying philosophy that “it is better to run the risk of having ten among those truly guilty getting away scot-free, than to have just one innocent person wrongly convicted of a crime.” That is why Criminal Law jurisprudence and the Rules of Court are stacked up in favor of the accused who does NOT have to prove his/her PRESUMED innocence, but instead has to be EXPLICITLY proven by the prosecution under proper DUE PROCESS, to be GUILTY BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT.

Tiglao et al may also not be aware of the fact further emphasized by Fr. Fessio, that as early as the year 2001 even before such scandals erupted in the U.S., Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II had already begun exercising their MORAL command responsibility, by mandating that “all credible allegations of child abuse by priests (should) be reported to the CDF”.

Be that as it may, the most unfortunate fact still remains, which Tiglao has emphasized, that the moral credibility of the Catholic Church especially among non-Catholics, has been “severely eroded”!

But this is precisely why we Catholics ought NOW to make an act of the will to remain steadfast in our Faith, on the SOLID PREMISE that we believe, nay we KNOW that Christ’s promise to Peter and his Papal Successors, despite the periodic and seemingly irreversible onslaught of skepticism, derision and all sorts of attack against the Mystical Body of Christ and His Vicar here on earth, even if as fearsome as the gates of hell -- is ROCK SOLID as ever in its TRUTH. Moreover, as many of us Catholics believe in the Fatima prophecies to be nearing their epiphany, we expect that the Immaculate Heart of Mary will SOON triumph, and the Sacred Heart of Jesus will thereafter reign over a heretofore skeptical mankind.

And so dear Pope Benedict XVI, we who believe in you, unabashedly AFFIRM with fervent faith and humble contrition for our own shortcomings as people of God: “YES, we BELIEVE Our Lord’s solemn declaration that you are Peter! And upon such a Rock, our one, holy, apostolic and Catholic Church is FOREVER built and subsists, so that even Hell itself and the powers of death will NOT prevail against this Rock of Faith. For wherever sin of even the worst kind is found, yet truly God’s grace all the more abounds…”

Eduardo B. Olaguer

Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate

of the Philippines


Tuesday, July 20

In Re: God and The Pope Under Attack (Part 1)



According to columnist Rigoberto Tiglao (PDI issue of July 8, 2010), the rise of atheism and agnosticism is the triumph of science as “the only tool to obtain objective truth”. Such a sweeping statement admitting no exceptions, is most typical of those who do NOT understand “science” as it is now and always has been. For if Tiglao’s theory is true which it is NOT, and such falsehood is demonstrable even by COMMON SENSE, therefore Tiglao’s 2-part article itself would a priori be violating “objective truthper se because its presentation is by no means a scientific treatise whatsoever.

In fact, being obviously NOT a qualified science practitioner himself, cosmologists and particularly those involved in theoretical quantum physics will cringe at Tiglao’s seemingly (to a science tyro) impressive statement that “science, with mathematical elegance and rigor, is going to the very depths of reality (super-string theories) and to the start of time (the Big Bang)”. And thus according to science-tyro Tiglao, “there is no need for the childish creation myths of religion”. It is therefore apparent that his conclusion is based on the naïve theory that science alone can explain cosmological reality (the whole physical structure of the universe) in full, down to the infinitesimally small nuclear quantum level, strictly by means of physics and mathematics. And worse: for IF SO, therefore we Catholics who sincerely believe in the Holy Trinity One God, including those among Tiglao’s PDI associates, are childish myth-fanatics or the like!?!

But in fact the Tiglao-cited “super-string theories” (for indeed there are several theoretical variations at odds with one another), are still infinitely far from “going to the very depths of reality”. As of now these theories consist of mere trial-and-error ATTEMPTS over the past 20 years to verify its YET UNPROVEN MAIN ASSUMPTIONthat physical matter at the quantum level is a string-like membrane or combination of infinitesimally small compositely structured quanta”, and NOT the classic quantum physics STANDARD MODEL’s single point-like specks (e.g. electrons and quarks). And their researcher-scientists have NOT yet even arrived at the initial stage of mathematically DEBUNKING existing contrary theories under Einstein’s widely accepted General Theory (yes, also still a theory up to now!) of Relativity or the old classic Standard Model based on quantum particle physics.

In fact String and Super-String theories have been overtaken by a more recent and CONTRADICTORY theory - - that of the theory of Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG) as the latest alternative to String Theory or M-Theory, its more technically acceptable name. LQG’s main theoretical ASSUMPTION (thus its parallel attempts in competition with String theorists to prove its assumptions as mathematically correct), is that space is NOT continuous, but comes only in specific quantum units of area and volume. The term “loop” refers to its mathematically implied existence of “small loops marked out in spacetime”. The dynamic quantum geometry of space over infinitesimally short periods of time is what is referred to as spacetime.

But Tiglao’s worst error is his implicit conclusion that science as exemplified by the EXPLORATORY mathematics of those behind Super-string theories, has already and forever demolished any reasonable belief in God and His creation of the world out of nothing; and implicitly, that all these mind bogglingly complex yet mathematically precise (conceptually) infinitesimal structures are mere products of RANDOM CHANCE.

For had Tiglao correctly understood the basic aspects of “String Theories”, the reverse conclusion is MORE REASONABLE, which is that there must be a sovereign Super-Intelligence behind it all! For it is basic in the science of statistics with its unique mathematics on permutations and combinations I first learned in our Higher Algebra (Math 30) course in U.P. under Prof. Manuel Bendaña, that with MORE FACTORS involved, the GREATER are the odds against the random occurrence of a specific event. For example, picking the shortest route covering 100 towns by mere chance will have odds of 1 in 100-factorial, where the latter number is 100 x 99 x 98 x 97 … x 2 x 1. Thus even the most modern computer engaged in solving this classic Traveller’s mathematical problem would take tens of millions of years to arrive at the complete answer. For the skeptic, try multiplying with a calculator just the first five (5) factors to get an idea of how many permutations and combinations are involved, each of which the Traveller cum computer must still analyze to get the shortest route.

And so let’s consider that thus far, String Theories’ mathematical models and equations (from my old copy of the Special Edition of the Scientific American, February 2006) IMPLY, not prove but merely imply, as follows:

1. Aside from the four dimensions of length, width, height/depth and time, there are SIX extra DIMENSIONS that are too small to have yet been detected.

2. It also suggests that our present observable universe with its present approximate radius of 13.4 billion light years, may just be “one random valley (or universe) out of a virtually infinite selection of valleys (or multiverses) in a vast landscape of possibilities”.

3. This infinite landscape or “spacescape” has perhaps 10500valleys”, each one of which has its own set of “Laws of Physics” that operate uniquely in separate vast “bubbles of space”. (Pls. note that 102 is 100, 103 is 1000. Thus 10500 has 500 zeros in it all in all!)

4. Our present visible universe would thus be “only one relatively small region within one such bubble”. (Note: From the article by Raphael Bousso and Joseph Polansky in the Special Edition (The Frontiers of Physics) in my old copy of The Scientific American, February 2006.

And yet Tiglao unabashedly proclaims that a) all these are already existing

realities and b) all these by inference, are products of random chance arising from OUT OF NOTHING, in keeping with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Is it a reasonable or a cock-eyed conclusion based on common sense?

Furthermore, let me also correct Mr. Tiglao’s Bible exegesis on the “virgin birth” of Jesus Christ from the Blessed Virgin Mary’s womb. Its scriptural proof is NOT primarily much less exclusively based on the Old Testament, but from the New Testament i.e. from the Gospels of St. Matthew (1:18-25) and St. Luke (1:26-38) whose translations from the original text have NEVER been seriously questioned as to their correctness.

At any rate, Mr. Tiglao’s selection of popular and seemingly heavyweight atheist-witnesses for his persecution/prosecution of God e.g. Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Victor J. Stenger among others, as his testimonial evidence to prove that “God is a myth”, in contrast to his choice of little known lighweight “defenders” such as John Polkinghorne (a former priest), Karen Armstrong (a former nun) and Antony Flew (an atheist allegedly converted to theism!), clearly smacks of a rigged Trial Court with himself as the only member of the jury.

And contrary to Tiglao’s primary thesis that science, particularly physics and mathematics “is the only tool to obtain objective truth”, his primary witness Richard Dawkins’ book The God Delusion, similar to the Tiglao column, is mostly a hodge-podge of passionately bitter polemical criticisms of the alleged downright STUPIDITIES of fanatics in all religions. And so Dawkins VULGARLY describes them as merely “sucking up to their God”. The book is also larded over with a lot of pseudo-metaphysics that would easily be fried crisp if subjected to the 24-carat metaphysical and theological brilliance of St. ThomasSumma Theologica.

On the other hand, Sam Harris’ The End of Faith, so highly touted too by Tiglao, uses the 9-11 tragedy at the New York City Twin Towers, as his ultimate exhibit in his litany of CONDEMNATORY EVIDENCE versus ALL kinds of religious FAITH. Thus he extrapolated those Twin Towers as proof that: the perpetrators of such a heinous act were allegedly men of perfect faith”. ERGO, all such “pretensions to theological knowledge” are EVIL per se… whether from a Buddhist, Christian, Hindu or Muslim, etc.

How I wish Gilbert Keith Chesterton our Thomas Aquinas of the 20th century and par excellence defender-through-common sense of our faith, were still alive! He would have easily and simultaneously put both Dawkins and Harris down on the floor, whether figuratively or even literally, during any debate.

Tiglao’s third seeming heavyweight witness for the prosecution of God and all religions, is Victor J. Stenger together with his book “The Failed Hypothesis: How Science Shows That God Does NOT Exist”. Stenger is the only one among Tiglao’s witnesses who uses modern physics as the major part of the proffered evidence. Thus Stenger, the professional particle physicist and lately active in philosophy and popular fora on religious skepticism, insists that if God exists, some evidence of His existence should be detectable “by scientific means”, and that there is none of such evidence whatsoever. On the other hand, Stenger claims that based on all the SAME scientific evidence available, the conclusion should be that “beyond reasonable doubt the universe and life itself exists” without any alleged Sovereign Prime Being to thank and acknowledge as the Creator. In short: if I can’t prove my presence/innocence, therefore I must be non-existent/guilty beyond reasonable doubt?!?

And so I now present as my rebuttal witness, Stenger’s colleague in the science profession. He is Charles Townes, a former UCLA professor, co-inventor of the laser and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. And in March 2005 at the age of 89, he was the recipient of the Templeton Prize for “Progress towards Research and Discoveries about Spiritual Realities”, with a cash award of USD 1.5 Million.

Townes’ simple and straightforward rebuttal testimony is that “Many people don’t realize that science basically involves assumptions and faith. But nothing is absolutely proved. Wonderful things in both science and religion come from our efforts based on observations, thoughtful assumptions, faith and logic”. Townes concludes that it is “extremely unlikely” that the findings of modern physics will ever prove that life and humanity are “just accidental”, thus leading to the reasonable religious belief that the universe has an intelligent author-creator. For indeed if there is such a God, which we Christians DO BELIEVE to be true, therefore faith and reason will NOT, can NOT CONTRADICT each other.

Lastly, I call on my early boyhood’s love, Mathematics - - the quintessential SCIENCE- - as my last witness for the DEFENSE of GOD and for the purpose of showing that contrary to Tiglao’s theory, Mathematics itself, through its unavoidably esoteric and complex but necessarily THEORETICAL mathematical models, is NOT INERRANTLY capable of solving all the mysteries of cosmological and quantum realities. And so I offer as my exhibit-in-evidence page 30 of my old copy of another Special Edition of the Scientific American on “The Mysteries of Mathematics”. I refer in particular to an article written by John L. Casti entitled “Confronting Science’s Logical Limits” originally published in October 1996, where John L. Casti asked the following crucial yet ILLUMINATING question:

How do we know that mathematical models of a natural system and the system itself bear any (exact or otherwise) relation to each other?

And that is exactly why Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes says: “Science basically involves assumptions and faith.” Deo gratias et AMEN!


God and the Pope under attack (Part 1)

By Rigoberto D. Tiglao
Philippine Daily Inquirer
July 8, 2010

THAT CERTAINLY IS AN ATTENTION-GRABBING headline that, some critics say, is this newspaper’s flavor. But I assure you, it’s accurate. And it is certainly news in a country where Masses are held even in malls, where prelates pontificate on politics, and where a jogging cleric’s rants are news sound bites.

The 21st century is seeing the most intense attacks on belief in God in general and the Roman Catholic Church in particular. The siege is both on the intellectual level, the subject of the first part of this column, and on the cultural and institutional level, next week’s topic.

In high school, practically the only intellectually rigorous argument against the existence of God was Bertrand Russell’s essay, “Why I Am Not a Christian” (published 1967), which during those times you couldn’t even find in local bookstores.

Not anymore, the first decade of the century has seen a slew of books by the planet’s most respected intellectuals debunking religion, and arguing that God is simply in the genre of Santa Claus, Zeus, or the sky-god Bathala—fairy tales necessary in humanity’s infantile phase, but now unnecessary. Not only that, these have become bestsellers, so widely in demand that they are mostly now in paperback, a sure sign that a lot of people have read them and a lot more are likely to buy the cheaper edition.

UCLA neuroscientist Sam Harris probably ignited current interest with his short “The End of Faith” (2004). It argued that the rejection of reason, which is what religious faith is, has led to humanity’s monstrosities—from the brutal wars waged by the tribes of Israel to the medieval crusades to the latest jihadist car bomber. Even the Holocaust is said to have been justified by the anti-Semitism that the Good Book bred when one Gospel blamed the Jewish mob, not the Romans, for the Messiah’s crucifixion.

Several top-caliber intellectuals and scientists stepped out of their specialized fields to write books debunking religion, among them, particle physicist Victor Stenger (“God: The Failed Hypothesis. How Science Shows That God Does Not Exist”), biologist and consciousness-research pioneer Daniel Dennet (“Religion: Breaking the Spell”); Oxford University evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins (“The God Delusion”); and respected intellectual and journalist Christopher Hitchens “God is Not Great.”

One of the memorable trivia (at least for me) in Dawkins’ book was his ridicule of the pantheon of Catholic saints: “The Catholic Community Forum helpfully lists 5,120 saints, together with their areas of expertise, which include abdominal pains… anorexia… bowel disorders. ” (Fortunately, the Filipino faithful now has its patron saint, St. Lorenzo Ruiz, martyred in Japan in 1637, the sole Filipino saint after five centuries of Christianity, and for a country with the planet’s fourth biggest Catholic population.)

On the other hand, many of Hitchens’ points stupefy this Jesuit-educated columnist. Example: If the Ten Commandments were the word of God, how come it didn’t prohibit slavery and rape, among the heinous crimes all humanity abhors? His answer: The Commandments were simply a tribal code—as all tribes have in one form of another. Slavery and rape were acceptable 4,000 years ago, if inflicted on a conquered tribe.

There have been, of course, a slew of counter-attacks against the atheist books by scholars of Dawkins’ or Dennet’s caliber, notably from University of Cambridge professor of mathematical physics and former priest John Polkinghorne (“Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship”), former nun and professor of religion Karen Armstrong (“The Case for God”), and perhaps one of the most respected philosophers of the past century, Anthony Flew (“There is a God: How the World’s Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind”).

These, however, actually would give little comfort to Catholics. For instance, it turns out that Flew’s “conversion” means he still does not believe in “the Gods of the Christian and the Islamic Revelations,” but rather in “the God of Aristotle or Spinoza.” That’s an abstract god; you might as well believe in Yoda’s “The Force.”

The rise of atheism and agnosticism do not seem to be a fashion, but the result of the triumph of science starting in the past century as the only tool to attain objective truth. Even 200 years ago, the story of Adam and Eve would have been so easy to believe. Impossible now after Darwin and the reality—not theory—of evolution by natural selection. Science, with mathematical elegance and rigor, is going to the very depths of reality (super-string theories) and to the start of time (the Big Bang). There is no need for the childish creation myths of religion.

And I do not mean only natural sciences. Without the development for instance of anthropology and linguistics, the following claims could never have been brought up:

• That the word “virgin”, as in Jesus borne out of a virgin, is a mis-translation from the Hebrew almah of the Old Testament which only means “young woman.” And after all, virgin births are almost always a feature of ancient Mediterranean religions, from the Egyptian god Horus to Greek heroes to even the Roman Emperor Augustus. (Cf., James Still, “The Virgin Birth and the Childhood Mysteries of Jesus.”)

• That “virgin” as in the dozens of “virgins” that a jihadist martyr would purportedly enjoy in the afterlife as his reward is a mis-translation from a word in Syriac (a language other than Arabic used in the Koran) that means “white raisins.” (Cf., Ibn Warraq, “Virgins, What Virgins?”).

(Next week: The cultural and institutional siege against the Church)


Wednesday, July 14


The following article will be published tomorrow or the day after in the Philippine Daily Inquirer. If you agree with it substantially, kindly pass on or alert others of kindred spirits.

Eduardo B. Olaguer


We, the Advocates of Truth in Lending associates hereby announce that we are joining the national clamor “to defeat the enemies of the state through good governance… by wielding the tools of justice, social reform and equitable governance” as was so sincerely and inspiringly proclaimed by President Noy Aquino in his inaugural address.
Thus we humbly dare to speak for the tens of millions of our countrymen who for so long have suffered with us, especially during the last twelve years, from unconscionably and iniquitously EXCESSIVE interest rates which have gone as high as 36% per annum that have been routinely imposed by commercial banks under the supervision of the Bangko Sentral; or those surreptitiously collected by quasi-financing companies NOT supervised by the latter charging at least 45% per annum; or by installment-sales Dealers of motorcycles/tricycles with their going rate of at least 58% p.a. AND, worst of all, by giant department stores and their “SUPERMALL” owners-BANKERS who charge their BONDED agents/dealers 2-month fixed interest charges of 5% to be added to and payable with the principal in 4-equal installments every 15 days, which actually translate to an effective rate of 57.6% per annum when computed on the basis of the Bangko Sentral’s statutory and mathematical definition of effective “Simple Interest” for such installment credit transactions. In turn, these agents/dealers recruit their own customers who will pay for their purchases on installment using the bank-and-mall-owner’s Credit Cards, at the higher rate of 7% (instead of 5%) for two months’ credit as the add-on interest charge, payable together with the principal in 4 equal semi-monthly installments. These naïve customers enter into such atrociously objectionable contracts, OBLIVIOUS of the universally recognized mathematical fact, (but certainly KNOWN by the mall-owners-bankers) that they are being actually charged interest at the stupendous rate of 80.64% per annum, based on the Bangko Sentral’s statutory formula. That formula has the force of law because it is mandated by Section 2i of CB Circular No. 158 which are the Implementing Rules and Regulations of The Truth in Lending Act (RA 3765).
The root cause of this free-for-all nationwide GRAVE SOCIAL INJUSTICE perpetrated by means of gouging naively trusting consumers with unconscionably USURIOUS interest charges, is the fact that Ferdinand Marcos issued P.D. No. 1684 on March 17, 1980 thereby authorizing the old Central Bank to prescribe the maximum rate of interest. And so in 1982, the Jobo Fernandez-led Monetary Board WENT OVERBOARD by issuing its infamous Circular No. 905 which provided among others, that: “The rate of interest …. on a loan … regardless of maturity and whether secured or unsecured, that may be charged or collected by any person… should NOT BE SUBJECT TO ANY CEILING prescribed under or pursuant to the Usury Laws as amended.” (emphasis added)
Nevertheless in various landmark Decisions e.g. Corazon G. Ruiz vs Court of Appeals (GR. No. 146942), Medel vs Court of Appeals (299 SCRA 481), Sps. Solangon vs Salazar (GR. No. 125944), the High Court has been consistently INVALIDATING excessive e.g. 3% per month (which is actually 42.576% per annum!), stipulated interest rates, and instead has reduced them to the legal rate of 12% per annum! And in Almeda vs PNB and Court of Appeals (256 SCRA 307) the High Court has reiterated that “Any contract which appears to be heavily weighed in favor of one of the parties so as to lead to an unconscionable result, IS VOID”! (emphasis added)
It is high time therefore that P.Noy’s A-Team of policy and decision makers in the fields of economics, finance and justice working in collaboration with Congress, should immediately take steps to REPEAL this highly anachronistic and INIQUITOUS Presidential Decree No. 1684. Otherwise, it will only be in our oft belittled “Pilipines” where there continues to be such a barbarically CRIMINAL albeit legalized USURY imposed by and/or in collaboration with seemingly respectable Christian businessmen including prominent Catholics who despite being conscienceless USURERS, routinely participate in the “Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” and even dare to receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. They ought to be reminded that whether legal or not, USURY remains MORALLY ABHORRENT. (vide Catholic Catechism paragraphs 2409 and 2536)
Hopefully therefore, our most respected Catholic economists will all see the GRAVE SOCIAL INJUSTICE in such a sad state of credit affairs, considering that no country in the whole wide world has ever attained sustainable long-term economic growth and stability, while burdened by high interest rates, and MUCH LESS when UNCONSCIONABLY EXCESSIVE. Thus our Supreme Court’s aforecited Decisions enlightened by its Justices’ mostly intuitive grasp of real economics AND with a deep sense of SOCIAL JUSTICE, have been consistently STIGMATIZING interest rates greater than 18% per annum as “iniquitous and contrary to public policy”, even if mutually agreed to by both borrower and lender!

Admittedly it will take at least a year for the repeal of Presidential Decree No. 1684 even assuming OPTIMISTICALLY, that the shaky majorities in both the Senate and Lower House will be in agreement.
In the meantime however, there is SO MUCH that is DOABLE and OUGHT BE DONE IMMEDIATELY, in order “to defeat the enemies of the state through good governance” strictly on the basis of that little known and much less understood nor appreciated old Central Bank Circular No. 158 which provides the statutory teeth for the Truth in Lending Act together with the wellknown relevant provisions of our Civil and Penal Codes vis-à-vis commercial obligations and contracts.
These forgotten statutory teeth of CB Circular No. 158 which was issued in October 1963, are the technical provisions under Section 2i thereof, which contain the statutory definitions (hence with the force of law) of Simple Annual Interest Rates i.e. interest rates per annum, and the statutory limitations on the widely mis-used interest computation formula I = PRT/365, as follows: (with emphases and comments added)
“Simple annual rate” is the uniform percentage which represents the ratio, on an annual basis, between the finance charges and the amount to be financed.
In the case of a single payment upon maturity, the simple annual rate in percent is determined by the following method:
finance charge 12 x
amount to be maturity period
financed in months

Addendum: (Comments)
a) Let the “finance charge” or interest be denoted as I
b) Let the “amount to be financed” or Principal be denoted as P
c) Let the “maturity period in months” be denoted as T and 12 as the number of months in one (1) year.
d) And thus by substitution with the above algebraic symbols, the “simple interest” formula with LIMITED APPLICABILITY is the result, per CB Circular 158 (2i) derived as follows:
The Simple Annual Rate R = I/P x 12/T or: R = 12I/PT
e) And by transposition, it becomes:The Interest Charges or Finance Charges I = PRT/12 where T is the maturity period expressed in months which may often be less than 12 months, and R is the given or resulting Simple Annual Rate as the case may be, while P is the principal or amount to be financed
f) And so if the maturity period T will be expressed in days (which may often be less than 365 days) instead of months, necessarily the denominator 12(months) should be replaced by 365 (days). Thus the formula becomes: I = PRT/365, Thus too:
I = P x R x T/365, where P is the Principal, R is the given Simple Annual Rate, and T is the maturity period expressed in days, at the end of which “one single payment” of interest I is due.
g) Hence I = PRT/365 MAY NOT BE USED on a monthly/quarterly basis PRIOR to loan

In the case of the normal installment type of credit of at least one year in duration, where installment payments of equal amount are made in regular time periods spaced not more than one year apart, the simple annual rate (R), in percent, is computed by the following method:

Number of payments
finance charge in a year x
amount to be total number of
financed payments plus one

In cases where the credit matures in less than one year (e.g., installment payments are required every month for six months), the same formula will apply except that: the number of payments in a year would refer to the number of installment periods, as defined in the credit contract, if the credit matures in one year. For example, the number of payments in a year would be twelve for this purpose in a case where six monthly installment payments are called for in the credit transaction.

Incidentally, RA 3765 requires all establishments extending credit, to have all the above statutory provisions posted prominently within their premises!
Sad to say, our commercial banks and other commercial lenders or financiers are favored with the obvious and benign tolerance of the Bangko Sentral whose chief executive Governor as well as its Chairman of the Monetary Board who is often the Secretary of Finance, are both usually former Presidents of our biggest commercial banks. Thus it practically explains why our local BIG MONEY LENDERS have succeeded in SUPPRESSING the statutorily-mandated FULL publication of CB Circular 158. And as a result, the formula I =PRT/365 and the more complicated formulae for installment purchases on credit, are often FRAUDULENTLY mis-used or ignored in computing the monthly or quarterly interest charges on loans and/or their corresponding “effective” rates. And so the FRAUDULENT compounding and bloating of already bloated interest rates well beyond their contractually stipulated Simple Annual Rates are cleverly or even CRIMINALLY DISGUISED! And so too unfortunately today, virtually a handful of borrowers outside big corporate boardrooms know for a fact that Section 2i of CB Circular No. 158 PROHIBITS the use of the formula I = PRT/365 except for interest charges covering “single payments upon maturity”!!! And worse, installment-sales buyers/customers unwittingly accept installment payment plans whose effective interest rates range from 57.6% per annum to as high as 80.64% per annum!
In addition to our urgent recommendation for the immediate STOPPAGE of such widespread fraudulent victimization of innocent borrowers, we also completely agree with the incoming administration’s LOGICALLY CORRECT policy of FIRST IMPROVING TAX COLLECTION EFFICIENCY, before even considering the oppressive alternative of RAISING TAX RATES or TAXING OTHER NEW SOURCES of commercial revenue. Thus for example, it is a far simpler matter of IMMEDIATELY ORDERING the B.I.R. to APPREHEND and PENALIZE those responsible for the widespread commercial banking MALPRACTICE of NOT ISSUING OFFICIAL RECEIPTS on interest charges collected from borrowers, instead of increasing the Withholding Tax on such earnings. For it is a widely known fact that instead of O.R.s, merely Debit Memos and/or Statements of Account are issued by these banks to acknowledge interest payments directly deducted from the borrowers’ bank deposit accounts, thus facilitating large scale TAX EVASION…
Our collective records show that all the abovedescribed commercial lending malpractices among others, have been brought up repeatedly to NO AVAIL to the official attention of both the Bangko Sentral and the B.I.R. as well as in various judicial courts over the last ten years. Nevertheless, these FRAUDULENT malpractices have continued UNABATED with ever growing IMPUNITY!
Thus in a letter-complaint dated 5 April 2000 addressed to members of the House and Senate Committees on Banks, with a copy furnished to Mr. Rafael Buenaventura as Governor of the Bangko Sentral, one of our incorporators brought up the mathematically precise fact that the STATUTORY formula I = PRT/365 when fraudulently mis-used on a monthly basis instead of only for single payments of interest and principal “UPON MATURITY”, and if applied on an 18% per annum Promissory Note, such mis-use results in an effective rate of 19.56% per annum, or an illicit gain of 8.67% MORE (19.56/18), in terms of EFFECTIVE interest income earned by the lender-bank. Applying this ILLICIT incremental gain of 8.67% on Two Trillion Pesos in commercial bank loans outstanding in 1999 with an assumed average stipulated interest rate of 18% per annum, he conservatively estimated in April 2000 that the fraudulent incremental “boondoggle” was around P31 Billion per year. That was TEN YEARS AGO! That amount should now be at least DOUBLE on an annualized basis.
In comparison, the one-time Bolante boondoggle in fertilizers worth some P728 Million, PALES in comparison. Therefore: tama na, sobra na!

The Incorporators
(In the process of incorporation)
P.O. Box 745 Araneta Center
Cubao, Quezon City 1135

Atty. Nelson A. Clemente Atty. Nathaniel A. Lobigas
Romeo J. Jorge Eduardo B. Olaguer
Priscilla D. Zapanta Carmelito R. Zapanta
Atty. Runy M. Sarda

Friday, February 12

MARY, “Mediatrix of All Grace” (Part 2)



One of the most significant features of the Catholic Church that distinguishes it from any other religion or “church”, is its constant and endless stream of “private” supernatural revelations as distinguished from the “public” or official revelations contained in the Old and New Testaments. Particularly significant are the claims for such private occurrences during the past two centuries involving the Blessed Virgin Mary and Her prophetic announcements of apocalyptic Divine Justice “soon” to be faced by mankind.

Starting with La Sallete (1846) and Lourdes (1858), both in France, Fatima in Portugal (1917), Beauraing (1932) and Banneux (1933) both in Belgium, Amsterdam in Holland (1945-59),Garanbandal in Spain (1961-1965), Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovinna (1981 up to now), Akita in Japan (1973), Kibeho in Rwanda (1982-88), Hrushivan in Ukraine (1987) and Lipa in the Philippines (1948 and 1992-94), plus many more albeit less known, Our Lady’s singleminded core message has been centered on Her urgent pleas for constant prayer (particularly Holy Mass and the Rosary) with sincere penance, as the only way towards spiritual conversion (metanoia) into the safety and salvation in Her Son Jesus Christ. She makes these requests together with stark reminders about the ever worsening material, political, economic, moral and spiritual crises confronting the whole world.

Regardless of whether or not we believe in those private apocalyptic revelations, there is nevertheless widespread acceptance of the fact that modern civilization is now threatened with imminent near-total chaos and/or destruction, as a result of any one or a combination of probable events such as a global economic meltdown, warming of our oceans particularly those in the polar regions, extreme weather conditions, our planet Earth’s collision with an asteroid, Richter Scale 7 to 8-magnitude earthquakes, tsunamis, diseases like SARS, swine or bird flu, and even nuclear war erupting from any of the explosive geo-political controversies involving Palestine, Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Taipei, Russia, Europe, China, the U.S. and the Middle East.

On February 16, 2006 CNN Television aired a scientific panel discussion during which it was claimed that as many as 142 million lives could be lost through a pandemic Bird Flu outbreak. Earlier it was posted on the website of <> that on September 17, 2005 Islamic fundamentalist President Ahmadinejad of Iran addressed a prayer right there in New York City during a speech before the General Assembly of the United Nations, to Iran’s and all Moslems’ expected liberator and “Messiah”, the so-called 12th Immam, who is expected to come soon. And thus he said a month later on October 26, 2005 as reported by the Al Jazeerah News, that the 12th Immam’s return would be the start of a world-wide conflagration whereby Iran would triumph over her enemies and the annihilation of Israel. This is one of the reasons why practically all major nations except Russia and China, are moving heaven and earth to stop Iran from producing its own nuclear weapons. They fear that with such WMDs, it will enable Iran to make good its threat to “wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

And just a couple of days ago, the Eastern seaboard of the United States was again blanketed with almost a meter thick of blizzard-driven snow, causing the virtual paralyzation of the whole region including the Federal government in Washington D.C. for four successive days. Widespread speculations soon followed about a coming “Snowpocalypse” or even “Snowmaggeddon”. And practically every recent moviegoer was also reminded about Nostradamus and the related film of his predictions concerning his version of “Apocalypse Now”, widely shown in movie theaters throughout the world.

But from Our Lady’s supernatural point of view, such probably imminent physical catastrophes, though also a part of her own prophetic warnings, are NOT her main concern. In fact she considers that such cataclysmic natural phenomena, social upheavals and economic meltdown involving MAMON and his MONEY, including a geo-politically triggered nuclear war, are but God’s ultimate alternative recourse other than Our Lady’s pleas, in order to drive home the fundamental existential fact -- that without Jesus Christ, Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, mankind will surely sow and regretfully reap his own terrible destruction.

And so I still vividly recall that evening when my late dear departed brother, Antonio B. Olaguer, S.J. and I were gifted with the rare privilege of having a marathon after-dinner tête-tête with Lipa’s visionary Teresing Castillo sometime in 1993 or thereabouts. It was some 45 years after Our Lady had completed Her first series of apparitions circa 1948 as Mediatrix of All Grace. And this second time around, through Her own voice perceived by Teresing to be emanating from a “globe of light”, She repeated Her global warning e.g. “The days are counted and judgment will come!”, and that “God’s wrath is still held by my (Our Lady’s) pleading hands… (for the world) to repent and be converted ….. (because as our Mother, she) would not like to be witness to His plan of punishment.”

And much later in November of 2006, I was once again providentially privileged in being one of those invited, aside from Teresing Castillo, separately but following each other, to confer privately with the latest visionary from Ireland, Anne, who describes herself as a simple Lay Apostle.

The private supernatural messages coursed through Anne since the year 2003 are contained in eight booklets or Volumes and other books published by Direction for Our Times and distributed here in the Philippines by former Ambassador Howard Dee’s Assisi Development Foundation. The Volumes have a formal Imprimatur from retired Bishop Federico O. Escaler, S.J.

Seeing Anne and Teresing Castillo from a short distance warmly greeting and embracing each other there at the top floor of the Intercon Hotel in Makati City, later on made me realize that it was a rare yet edifying opportunity to be a witness for a particular truth: the truth that their acceptance and obedience to Our Lady’s messages and urgent pleas for prayer and penance were a sure guarantee of a deeper universal truth – that these two visionaries, as Our Lady’s and Her Son’s true friends and disciples, had been destined to become “victim souls”, to be immolated by long years of suffering including SLANDER and VILIFICATION, but always for the sake of Christ and in Christ.

Coincidentally but certainly providentially too, the first of the eight booklets of the messages given to Anne contain Our Lady’s affirmation of those previously given by Her to Teresing which I have cited earlier. It reads as follows: (with emphases added)

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Blessed Mother: Do you hear My Son’s voice? He is calling His children with authority. Dear little ones, He does this in an effort to save them. The Voice of my Son bears authority and that is why He says His children will know that it is He, their God, who calls out to them. My little ones must make a choice now. And they must choose God and all that is good. Chosen ones, it is time to pray, and you have been called upon to pray. Join your mother in this mission of mercy to your fallen brothers and sisters. Together we minister to their souls, preparing their souls to melt with love for the Divine Rescuer, who seeks them out at this time. Truly, we call you with an unparalleled urgency. You feel this in your hearts and this is an accurate, divinely placed, knowledge. Little ones, be joyful. God has chosen you to help Him and that is wonderful for you and for every soul that you reach. Through you, I will reach out to many. I am helping Jesus, with every grace available to me at this time. Much of this grace comes from your prayers and sacrifices and little offerings. So do not begrudge me these gifts. Children, I am also using, in a special way, the lives of my holy ones who are consecrated to me. Priests and religious, holy men and women, console my heart in extraordinary fashion right now and I am maximizing the tremendous graces I receive from these righteous souls. Religious in the world are under attack. Be brave, religious souls. Your mother defends you as her own and you will be raised up to your rightful place soon. Instead of being honoured by the world, you are reviled and slandered. This will not endure. I want to say that there are those religious who have disappointed my Son and turned to the evil one. Do not think, oh souls of Satan, that you will escape divine justice. And for you who have damaged innocent souls? All of heaven quakes with the retribution that will be yours. I say this to you with a special gravity. Repent. Admit your sins and become cleansed. Only in this way will you enter into the Kingdom of God. Children, be reflective during these times. We are with you, and preparing the world for a marked change. I bless all of you and seek to lead you to my Son.”

And much earlier on October 29, 1977 our Blessed Mother gave a similar, albeit milder warning through Reverend Father Stefano Gobbi (Message No 138 from Our Lady Speaks to Her Beloved Priests), as follows: (with emphases added)


October 29, 1977

Feast of Blessed Michael Rua

Doubts and Perplexity

a. “Do not be surprised, beloved sons, that my Adversary does everything he can to obstruct this work of mine.

b. His favorite weapon is to sow doubts and perplexity about what I am doing in the Church. He tries to base these doubts on reasons which are seemingly solid and justifiable. Thus he instills a critical attitude toward whatever I tell you, even before you have received and understood my words.

c. You happen to hear of certain brothers of yours who are cultured men and often even experts and masters in theology, who reject those things I tell you, because they sift all my words with their minds, which have already been filled with the richness of their culture. And so they find insurmountable difficulties precisely in those phrases which are so clear to the simple and small.

d. My words can be understood and accepted only by one whose mind is humble and well-disposed, who has a simple heart, and whose eyes are clear and pure. When the Mother speaks to her children, they listen to her because they love her. They do whatever she tells them, and thus they grow in knowledge and life.

e. Those who criticize her even before they have listened to her and those who reject what she says before putting it into practice, cannot be her children. These people, even though they increase in learning, cannot grow in wisdom and life.

f. I tell you this so that you will not be troubled if you hear that even the learned and the teachers find difficulty in my words, while everything appears so clear and simple to whomever I call to be little. Look to your heavenly Mother who knows very well where and how to lead you so that the plan of her Immaculate Heart may be fulfilled. Do not allow yourselves to be either discouraged or surprised by the doubts and the perplexities which can even increase, without however being prejudicial in any way to my great work of love.”

Therefore it has to be emphasized that the much more significant and essential messages given by our Blessed Mother to both Anne and Teresing as well as those through Father Gobbi, have to do with God’s LOVE for mankind, now expressed more often during this Marian Age, through our Blessed Mother. She pleads with us to repent and to reconcile with Her Son Jesus Christ preferably through the intercession of Her Immaculate Heart. And it is precisely such seemingly unsophisticated, thus incredible to the sophisticated and even irrelevant, messages that most of the secular world will reject. In fact, Christ Himself predicted such a typical reaction from among “the wise and learned” (Matthew 11:25). For indeed whenever we are so full of our proud thoughts, we reject divinely inspired promptings and messages which to the simple, poor and oppressed, are so limpidly edifying.

And so I believe we should pray for and take real pity on the Papal Nuncio and the President of the University of Sto. Tomas who at that time in 1948, orchestrated the condemnation of Teresing Castillo’s and her other reliable co-witnesses’ testimonies concerning Our Blessed Mother’s private revelations, as the “Work of the Devil!”

And yet there are still too many Catholic bishops and priests nowadays, who think that it is fashionably “progressive” for them to consider all private supernatural revelations as mere superstition or at best irrelevant.


Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate of the Philippines


February 12, 2010

Thursday, February 4


TO LIGHT A FIRE! 61-020410

I have always believed that a “NO BRAINER” in any profession or work is basically a “NO BRAINER” too for ordinary persons gifted with common-sense, even if they are in some OTHER field or discipline.

Thus for us ordinary non-lawyers who have an adequate understanding of the English language and a College-level grasp of basic logic, a provision of our Constitution which states that the appointment of a successor-in-office to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court SHOULD be made by our President within ninety days after that judicial office becomes vacant, is NOT CONTRADICTED but merely QUALIFIED by another provision which mandates an EXCEPTION to the prior rule. And so such appointments are EXPLICITLY prohibited by our Constitution from being made, starting two (2) months prior to a Presidential election and until the end of the incumbent President’s term of office. Besides, as in the case of the incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno who will retire on 17 May 2010, the mandatory period for making his successor’s appointment extends 90 days after May 17 or until August 14, 2010. And since by EXCEPTION the prohibited period will end much earlier on June 30, 2010 therefore, there will still remain some 45 days for the next elected President to fulfill the mandate of the law.

For most basic it is in LOGIC that an EXCEPTION is NOT a CONTRADICTION! Thus my Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary (10th Edition) defines “EXCEPTION” as an “exclusion: a case to which a rule does not apply”; whereas “CONTRADICTION” is defined as a situation wherein two related propositions, statements or rules CANNOT BE TRUE OR POSSIBLE, BOTH AT THE SAME TIME. Thus if one of the two is true or possible, the other one must be false or impossible. And conversely, if one of the two is false, the other one must be true. As an example, the Christian proposition that “God exists” is contradictory to atheists’ belief that “There is NO God!” But such is NOT the case in the abovecited provisions of our Constitution! And so in contrast, the statement “All souls will be eternally saved EXCEPT those who refuse to be saved!” just like those Constitutional provisions, do NOT contain a contradiction at all. Indeed a NO BRAINER

And so in order to “cure the contradiction” (sic!), or more precisely, to FELONIOUSLY circumvent thus KNOWINGLY VIOLATE the law, PGMA wants to make the appointment prior to March 12, 2010 when the 2-month prohibitory period kicks in, even if there is still NO VACANCY in the position of SC Chief Justice at that time obviously because Chief Justice Puno would NOT YET have retired prior to May 17, 2010!

Thus the public statement issued by the past (covering the last 10 years) National Presidents of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, should please all lovers of logic and common-sense, particularly with respect to the following:

v The proposal… to circumvent (the) Constitution… is sheer arrogance of power.

v It is preposterous (and) ludicrous… to claim… the proposition is necessary…

v It is sheer sophistry to say now that this rule of succession (Section 2 of the Judiciary Act of 1948) has been repealed by the 1987 Constitution… (considering that the latter) provides that “all existing laws not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed or revoked”.

v It insults the intelligence of even the most puerile mind for anyone to argue that the Chief Justice is not a member of the Supreme Court. (For if so according to PGMA and her mouthpieces, the successor to Chief Justice Puno is NOT covered by the pre-election ban KUNO!)

But the Attorneys/Past IBP Presidents Raoul R. Angangco, Jose Aguila Grapilon, Arthur D. Lim, Teofilo S. Pilando and Feliciano M. Bautista saved what was best, for the last, when they cited Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code and Section 3(a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act (R.A. 3019) both of which “impose the penalty of imprisonment and permanent disqualification from public office” on violators thereof. Thus by inference, on the basis of those statements from our courageous and clearheaded IBP Past Presidents, those harsh provisions of existing CRIMINAL laws would clearly be applicable in particular to Supreme Court Associate Justice Renato Corona or to anyone else “who succumbs to the temptation of power and accepts an illegal appointment to become the next Chief Justice (because he/she) benefits from the proceeds of the crime and shall stand criminal prosecution.” (emphasis added)

For the benefit of those who may disagree, the abovecited statements are reproduced here below in FULL together with the relevant Constitutional provisions involved.

But the most vexing question remains: why would the President of the Philippines and her would-be accomplices to such an obviously NO BRAINER criminal act with CONSPIRACY to boot, take such a GREAT RISK of becoming convicted felons incarcerated behind PRISON BARS? What’s behind it all? Are they that desperate?


Catholic Xybrspace Apostolate

of the Philippines


February 04, 2010

Relevant Provisions of our Constitution

Article VIII Sec 4. (1) The Supreme Court shall be composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. It may sit en banc or in its discretion, in divisions of three, five, or seven Members. Any vacancy shall be filled within ninety days from the occurrence thereof.

Article VII Sec. 15. Two months immediately before the next presidential elections and up to the end of his term, a President or Acting President shall not make appointments, except temporary appointments to executive positions when continued vacancies therein will prejudice public service or endanger public safety.

Article VIII Sec. 9. The Members of the Supreme Court and judges of lower courts shall be appointed by the President from a list of at least three nominees prepared by the Judicial and Bar Council for every vacancy. Such appointments need no confirmation.

Article XVIII Sec 3. All existing laws, decrees, executive orders, proclamations, letters of instructions, and other executive issuances not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed or revoked.



We, the undersigned past National Presidents of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, strongly condemn the actions of a powerful yet subservient few who are proposing to commence the procedure in nominating applicants for the vacancy to be left by Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno prior to his mandatory retirement on May 17, 2010.

Under Section 15, Article VII of the Constitution, the President is prohibited from making any appointments at least two (2) months prior to the next Presidential Elections. In fact, the Supreme Court categorically declared in the case of In Re Appointments, 298 SCRA 408 (1998), “that this ban not only applies to the Executive but also to the Judiciary.”

The proposal to appoint a Chief Justice is obviously intended to circumvent this Constitutional prohibition against midnight appointments and lay the basis for the outgoing President to appoint a Chief Justice of her choice despite the absence of a vacancy. This is sheer arrogance of power.

It is preposterous for those behind this ludicrous proposal to claim that the proposition is necessary in order for the Supreme Court to function unhampered by the “hiatus” occasioned by a vacancy in the High Tribunal. At present, the Supreme Court is composed of Chief Justice Puno and 14 Justices. Upon the retirement of Chief Justice Puno, 14 Associate Justices will be more than enough to constitute a quorum.

At that point in time, by operation of law, the most senior Associate Justice will then take the place of Chief Justice Puno as Acting Chief Justice pursuant to Section 2 of the Judiciary Act of 1948. This is a time-honored tradition observed for more than half a century in the history of the Supreme Court.

It is sheer sophistry to say now that this rule of succession has been repealed by the 1987 Constitution. Section 3 Article XVIII of the 1987 Constitution provides that “all existing laws not inconsistent with this Constitution shall remain operative until amended, repealed or revoked.” The framers of the 1987 Constitutional Commission are clear in their deliberations that in the event of the inability of the Chief Justice to act in any capacity, for any reason, including his retirement, the most senior Associate Justice shall assume the position as Acting Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

In fact, the same rule of succession was followed in 1992 at the end of the term of Chief Justice Marcelo B. Fernan where then Associate Justice Andres R. Narvasa assumed the position as Acting Chief Justice prior to his official appointment as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. To argue an implied repeal is disingenuous.

It is also a misrepresentation of the letter and intent of the law to say that the President can appoint the next Chief Justice even in the absence of a nomination from the JBC. The flimsy justification advanced in support of this position is that Section 9, Article VIII of the Constitution on the power of the JBC to submit nominations refers only to “members of the Supreme Court.”

It insults the intelligence of even the most puerile mind for anyone to argue that the Chief Justice is not a member of the Supreme Court. Section 4(1), Article VIII of the Constitution clearly states that the Supreme Court is composed of a Chief Justice and fourteen Associate Justices. Since the ratification of the 1987 constitution and the establishment of the JBC, all appointments of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, including the appointment of Chief Justice Puno by the incumbent President, were issued on the basis of the list of nominees submitted by the JBC. It taxes credulity how such a misinterpretation of the Constitution can be foisted upon our people.

What is clear is that anyone taking part in this shameful conspiracy to trample upon the Constitution in blind obedience to the whims of today’s wielders of power will have to contend with penal laws that punish their actions.

Section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code defines the issuance of midnight appointments and promotions during an election ban as an election offense and punishes with imprisonment and permanent disqualification from office all principals, accomplices and accessories in this illegal act.

Section 3 (a) of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act also punishes with imprisonment and disqualification from public office anyone “persuading, inducing or influencing another public officer to perform an act constituting a violation of rules and regulations duly promulgated by competent authority or an offense in connection with the official duties of the latter, or allowing himself to be persuaded, induced, or influenced to commit such violation or offense.”

That both penal laws impose the penalty of disqualification from public office emphasize that these acts constitute a clear betrayal of public trust. Let it be known that apart from individuals now obviously complicit in this attack against our fundamental law, anyone who succumbs to the temptation of power and accepts an illegal appointment to become the next Chief Justice benefits from the proceeds of the crime and shall stand criminal prosecution.

When the powerful begin to misinterpret clear provisions of law to suit their selfish ends, the law becomes a tool for the mighty when it was meant as protection for the weak.

We implore the Judicial and Bar Council to stand in defense of the rule of law and to restore decency in the process of succession to the highest office in our judicial establishment. We ask them not to bow down to the blatant abuse of power by a partisan few.

We simply ask people in whom we have reposed our trust to serve our nation, to follow the Constitution, to act with a modicum of decency, and to stand on the right side of history as we join hands in defeating the machinations of those betraying the public trust.