Archive for April, 2009

In The Face of Swine Flu Threat, Pass Public Health Emergency Council Bill Now

Posted in Governance with tags , , , on April 27, 2009 by Ruffy Biazon

In the face of the threats to public health by the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico and the United States, and the World Health Organization’s warning to the rest of the world, I call on the President to certify as urgent and both chambers of Congress to pass House Bill No. 72 which seeks to create the Public Health Emergency Council. I first filed the bill in 2003 but the 12th and 13th Congress failed to act on it, but I am hoping that the 14th Congress will see the necessity of its passage in the face of this most recent outbreak.

While the Philippines successfully withstood the SARS pandemic six years ago, the country was not able to establish and institutionalize measures to counteract future infectious disease outbreaks and even biological attacks from terrorists. What the government did was only to implement reactionary measures specific to the SARS outbreak at that time.

The proposed creation of a Public Health Emergency Council (PHEC) will ensure that an emergency response template is in place whenever a public health emergency such as an outbreak of infectious diseases or even a biological, chemical or nuclear weapon attack.

If passed into law, the PHEC is convened immediately after the President declares a State of Public Health Emergency. In order to address and contain the effects of such a threat to public health, the PHEC shall formulate the Public Health Emergency Plan which shall detect, prevent the spread, contain and manage public health emergencies resulting from an outbreak of highly contagious or infectious diseases, or even biological, chemical or nuclear attack.

During a State of Public Health Emergency, the PHEC in coordination with other national and local government agencies, and other entities identified in the Public Health Emergency Plan, is empowered to take control over private medical facilities if government facilities are insufficient, control pharmaceutical agents and medical supplies, implement quarantine of persons, facilities and materials, and even impose disposal measures for the remains of persons who died of highly infectious diseases.

Among the other powers of the council is the management of information to ensure that the public is adequately informed about the public health emergency while at the same time balance the information to prevent panic and misinformation.

If passed into law, the bill will ensure that the country will be prepared for future public health emergencies that are caused by unusual contagions or unconventional weapons.

The bill may be viewed here.

Privilege Speech on the Presidential Chopper Crash and Secretary Cerge Remonde

Posted in Governance, Speeches with tags , , on April 21, 2009 by Ruffy Biazon

Mr Speaker,

I am certain that I can speak in behalf of this House when I say that we mourn the lives that were lost during the crash of that ill-fated Presidential helicopter in the mountains of Ifugao.

The country lost public servants—two Undersecretaries, one general, one director, two pilots, two soldiers.

We speak their names with reverence and a prayer that the Almighty has taken them into His arms in everlasting peace :

1. Undersecretary Jose Capadocia
2. Undersecretary Marilou Frostrom
3. Brig. Gen. Carlos Clet (AFP)
4. Assistant Director Perlita Bandayanon
5. Major Rolando Sacatani
6. Captain Alvin Alegata
7. Quarter Master 3rd Class Demy Reyno
8. Sergeant Roegem Perez

There is no doubt that the Filipino people, no matter what dialect, no matter what faith, no matter what occupation, no matter what political leaning, are united in extending sympathies to the families of the departed.

Personally, I am one of those who were shocked at hearing the news of the aircraft’s crash because I knew one of those on board, Marilou Frostrom. My immediate reaction was to offer a silent prayer for each of those who perished.

But while the lives of the eight have ceased to exist, life on this earth goes on and we all have our responsibilities to perform. One of those is to make sure that their lives were not lost in vain, that their deaths will mean more than just a helicopter succumbing to the elements and nature.

We must make sure that their loss will not be repeated again.

It is in the performance of that responsibility that the Philippine Air Force Aircraft Accident Investigation Board dutifully investigated the mishap. I must commend the Board for their immediate and swift action, which resulted in the determination of how the helicopter met its fate.

With the finding that the aircraft was in top airworthiness at the time of its loss, the investigation of the debris on site and the information gathered regarding the weather and flying conditions at that time, it was determined by the PAFAAIB that the Presidential helicopter, a Bell 412, fell to earth due to inclement weather and poor visibility.

I believe that the investigating board, with its technical knowledge, expertise and experience, came up with this conclusion with utmost reliable competence. There is no reason for us to doubt their results, which I am confident was arrived at with skill, diligence, and sincerity. I believe we can all accept the findings that the immediate cause of the crash was what was reported by the PAF Aircraft Accident Investigating Board.

To some, that closes the book on this tragedy. For others, including this representation it is not.

For this representation, stopping at the conclusion on the immediate cause of the crash will not help in preventing future accidents. Although it somehow sheds light on the sudden loss of lives, just knowing the immediate cause will not result in saving other lives.

It is for this reason that I dared ask a question that still lingered in my mind, at the risk of sounding insensitive since the people are still in mourning for the lives lost. But it bothered my conscience to think that this might all be forgotten after the period of mourning. The investigation will be wrapped up and we all go back to our normal lives.

For me, if that happens, then our eight countrymen, who lived for this country, would have died in vain.

I asked the question—who ordered or authorized the flight?

The question would not have been relevant except for one thing—-there is an existing policy or practice that aircraft are not supposed to fly out of Loakan after 3:00 PM. In fact, the airport closes at 3:30 PM. In fact, there is even a trivia among aviators about Loakan Airport being the only airport in the world where pedestrians are allowed to promenade on the runway and sometimes people take their cars on speed test runs on the tarmac after the airport closes.

The reason for the airport closure in the afternoon is common knowledge. The weather becomes unfavorable for flying in the afternoon. As the sun goes down and cools the air, the clouds begin to embrace the surrounding mountains and cause visibility to deteriorate. Coupled with increased winds blowing around the mountain range, flying becomes dangerous.

Whether it is a fixed policy or just a practice, it needs to be clarified. But the fact is, it is there for a reason—to prevent what happened to the Presidential helicopter on April 7, 2009.

While the investigating board’s report explained the immediate cause of the crash of a perfectly airworthy aircraft, it did not explain why it was allowed to take off at a time when it is common knowledge that aircraft are not allowed to take off from Loakan at that time of the day, never mind whether it is a policy or a just a practice.

With that consideration, the question of who ordered or authorized the flight becomes relevant.

I raised that question with the sincere objective of finding out the entire circumstance behind the crash of the helicopter. It is with the desire to find out how we can prevent the occurrence of such accidents in the future and to save lives.

That’s why I was first appalled then insulted by the reaction of Press Undersecretary Cerge Remonde to the question that I raised. Coincidentally, without us even talking about it or coordinating with each other, it was the same question raised by Senator Rodolfo Biazon, Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and a former AFP Chief of Staff.

Instead of simply offering a direct answer to a legitimate question, Secretary Remonde went on a tirade against this representation, labeling it as a query “below the belt”.

He said that it was a “senseless and baseless accusation” and that “insisting that the orders to take off came from someone from her family is the most callous, insensitive and senseless thing to do”. He went on to say that it was “adding insult to injury”.

He then accused me and the senator of allowing ourselves “to be used as a tool for dignifying these text rumors that were spread” about the crash.

I find the reaction of the Press Secretary off-tangent, out of line, missing its mark.

First off, this representation never made an accusation against anyone with the question that I raised. Being a former journalist, it should be clear to him that my question—“Who gave the order or authorized the flight?”—- is one of the basic questions that a journalist should ask to get information on a particular issue or event. “Who, What, When, Where, Why and How”. It is not an accusation but a query for facts.

Never did I insinuate any person’s involvement and neither did I cite any text message or rumor as a basis of the question. In fact, I did not even know about the text message until the Press Secretary himself said that there’s one.

I am not the one who allowed myself to be used as a tool for dignifying the text message, it is he. The citation of the text message by the Press Secretary and Spokesperson of the President in a press conference and interviews is the act which dignified the text message.

Worst, it is the Press Secretary himself who has officially dragged the name of the President and the members of the First Family into the issue. I reiterate that a did not mention, insinuate the involvement of or made reference to the President or any member of her family.

What he called as hitting below the belt is actually an act in compliance to my oversight duties as a legislator and Vice Chairman of the Committee on National Defense and Security of this chamber. Historical records and common knowledge in the House of Representatives will show that from my first term in the 12th Congress, I consistently focus on issues involving national defense, public order, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police and other related agendas.

What crashed is an air asset of the Philippine Air Force and the Presidential Security Group which are both units of the AFP and distinguished officers, one of them a general and two of our finest pilots, were lost. I believe I am perfectly within my field, area of focus and mandate to make queries on the matter.

The point I raised is not adding insult to injury but aimed at preventing injury and death in the future. The question of who authorized or ordered the flight is immediately followed by the query as to the basis of such order or authority in light of the no-fly-beyond-3:00 PM policy or practice, whatever it may be.

It is now imperative to determine whether it is indeed just a practice and not a policy. If it is a policy, then the flight is definitely and undeniably a violation of such policy. The one who authorized or ordered the flight should be held accountable.

If it is just a practice, then it is high time that we consider converting it to a policy, because the very reason why it is practiced just happened to the presidential helicopter.

As the country’s Legislature, it is therefore within our bounds, authority, and function to enact or cause the adoption of policy.

Contrary to the Secretary’s portrayal of this representation’s queries, it is he who is making baseless accusations and being callous and insensitive by desecrating the memory of those who died by dragging the whole matter into a political arena.

By accusing this representation of making baseless accusations against the President when he said “it is clear they’re trying to blame the President for it” when in fact I am not, he seems to have deliberately splashed political color to the issue. Using the unfortunate incident to portray those who raise legitimate questions as unduly hitting at the President is distasteful.

Perhaps the Secretary is being too overeager to earn brownie points by making a show of defending the President but sadly, at the expense of those who died and to the detriment of efforts to prevent future accidents.

It never crossed my mind that it was the President who ordered or authorized the flight. I have been exposed to and involved with the Armed Forces long enough to know that in the AFP organization, there is a Chain of Command where the principle is that officers and enlisted personnel only receive and obey orders from their immediate superiors.

I do not believe the President will break that Chain of Command and micro manage the flight of a particular Air Force chopper. When I asked for the identity of the source of flight orders or authorization, I was not expecting or suspecting the President because she is not the immediate superior of the pilots.

Furthermore, I am also aware that in the military organization, no movement, maneuver or operation involving military assets and personnel occurs without the corresponding necessary orders or authority. In the military organization, someone is always accountable for whatever happens.

Secretary Remonde’s explanation that the unit is autonomous, that they can fly whenever they want, wherever they want, to me is irregular and unacceptable. If that is a policy or a practice, it needs to be reviewed. While the Presidential Air Wing exists for the use and benefit of the President, they are still AFP assets and personnel and remain within the Chain of Command and therefore still covered by AFP rules and regulations.

His statement that the no-fly policy or practice only applies to civilian aircraft and not to military aircraft merits review. What makes civilian aircraft different from AFP aircraft which justifies the non-applicability of the rule? Are all our military aircraft all-weather capable? Is there a rule for military aircraft which carry civilian passengers? These are all well-meaning policy questions that are aimed at ensuring safe flying conditions.

The circumstances of the accident reveal that there is basis for the question I raised and more queries based on subsequent statements of Secretary Remonde. At first I thought that my simple question would be given a direct and simple answer which would have made matters more simple.

But Secretary Remonde’s tirade, which actually brought out more information that also bred more questions, has made it imperative for me to move that this House conduct an inquiry into the no-fly policy or practice in Loakan Airport, standard operating procedures for military aircraft, and command structure and relationship of the AFP and civilian government agencies that interact by reason of function.

I also move that this inquiry be conducted by the Committee on National Defense and Security based on the fact that the incident involves personnel and an air asset of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.

Finally, as a parting statement, I would like to give unsolicited advice to Secretary Remonde.

Do not put words into the mouths of other people, especially those who have not commissioned you as their spokesperson. I did not make an accusation against the president nor any other person. I raised a legitimate question in search of facts.

Do not be overeager to drag the name of the President into an issue on the pretext of defending her. Sometimes she is not even involved or she is not the target but in the eagerness to defend her, she is unwittingly cast into the limelight.

Do not think that everyone is out to simply politically harass the President. Your judgment on who is simply doing his job and who acts on political motivation seems to have been clouded by your own biases.

Hindi lahat ng tao ay gusto lang manggulo. Meron din namang iba na gusto lang na gawin yung tama sa tamang paraan.

To my distinguished colleagues and to the Speaker, thank you for the time.

House of Representatives
April 20, 2009

Conrado De Quiros Writes About My Open Letter to Him

Posted in Philippines and the Filipinos, Politics and Politicians with tags , , , on April 21, 2009 by Ruffy Biazon

Philippine Daily Inquirer Columnist Conrado De Quiros, who earlier wrote in his column his comments about a statement I made cautioning the Chief Justice from getting entangled with politics by leading the Moral Force Movement, wrote another article this time in response to my open letter.

His latest comments may be read here and the Inquirer published my letter here

The Presidential Chopper Crash—Who Said Anything About President Arroyo?

Posted in Governance, Politics and Politicians with tags , , , on April 19, 2009 by Ruffy Biazon

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde’s tirade on this representation when I raised a question on who ordered or authorized the flight of the Presidential helicopter which crashed in Ifugao seems to be an attempt to deliberately politicize a legitimate question on operational procedures and policies of civilian and military aviation. The question is relevant to the issue not just to determine the responsibility for the crash but also to prevent future incidents from happening again.

The Press Secretary accused this representation of “hitting below the belt” and allowing myself to be used as “a tool for dignifying text rumors” which insinuated that the use of the helicopter by the President’s son contributed to the crash of the helicopter.

I take offense at such statements of the Press Secretary which are completely out of line and baseless.

I was not aware of such rumors when I raised the question and neither have I even read it. As Vice Chairman of the House Committee on National Defense and Security, I was perfectly within my scope of responsibility and concern when I raised the question of the flight’s orders and authorization. The Philippine Air Force lost an air asset and personnel, therefore this matter should not be taken lightly and looked into more extensively.

In addition, the fact that two Undersecretaries and personnel of the Presidential Management Staff were lost in a crash of a Presidential Aircraft should make it even more imperative for the matter to be fully investigated. It would be an injustice to the lives lost if this matter is swept under the rug.

It is common knowledge that flying out of Baguio at that time of the day is not advised. Whether it is a policy or just a practice needs to be determined. If it is a policy, then definitely it was violated. If it was just a practice, then it is time that we consider converting it to a policy. But it will not be determined if we do not take the issue into a full discussion.

The question of who ordered or authorized the flight is also borne from the fact that in the military, operations are always covered by orders, authorization or clearance. The pilots couldn’t have simply flown on their own decisions. There had to be someone in authority to order or allow the flight.

In addition, I am fully aware that the military structure strictly adheres to the principle of Chain of Command and that officers, such as the pilots of the ill-fated chopper, will only take orders from their immediate superiors. I do not believe that the President will short circuit that Chain of Command an micro-manage the flight of the chopper.

Never did I say nor insinuate that it was the President who ordered the flight. It was only Secretary Remonde who put words into my mouth when he said that “it is clear they’re trying to blame the President for it”. It is he who has dragged the name of the president into the matter. Not I. I urge him not to put words into my mouth because he is not my spokesperson.

By doing this, the Press Secretary turned a legitimate question into a political ploy. It is sad that he chose to ignore what the intention of the question is, which is to prevent future accidents, and turn it into a political controversy. It seems he is deliberately driving a wedge between this representation and the President, in order to rack up brownie points in the eyes of the President at the expense of those who died in the crash.

The Press Secretary must realize that not everyone is in the shoot-the-gun-and-damn-everything mindset and that there are those who are simply trying to do what is right. But if it will be the position of Malcanang to think that they have done the right thing by weeping and then simply forgetting about the whole thing , then I guess those who perished in the crash perished in vain.

God, Family, Country. In that order. How about you?

Posted in Family Life, Inner Thoughts with tags , on April 19, 2009 by Ruffy Biazon

After reading the papers, I did some reflection on what I had read about what’s going on in the country. In Facebook, I posted what was on my mind—“God, family, country. In that order.”

My Facebook contacts posted their own reactions, which varied although most agreed with my statement. Some posted their own beliefs, such as “God, Country, Family” and one even included his “Fraternity” after “God, Country, Family”. A true fratman, if I may say so.

With the varying responses, I wouldn’t dare to say who is right or who is wrong. I cannot be the judge of that. We all have our own value systems and I don’t think we are in a position to judge each other on that.

But I do believe that we should be accountable for those value systems we have and in my case, my accountability may be seen from the statement I made. Above anything or anyone else in this world, I am first accountable to God. Everything else comes and follows after that. Judging by the responses of those who reacted to what I posted, it seems that that is one thing everybody agrees on.

So why did I say that it’s “God, Family, Country. In that order”? Why doesn’t Country come ahead of Family?

As stated, I first hold myself accountable to God because as a believer, that is the direct offshoot of my faith in Him. As my creator, I believe that my purpose is live my life according to His desire and standards.

Anyone who has read that best-seller “A Purpose Driven Life” knows the logic of the Creator’s Purpose— that a thing is created with a specific reason and purpose, therefore it is necessary for that creation to fulfill its purpose. For myself, believing in my Creator necessitates that I know His purpose for my life and for me to pursue that purpose.

Why does the family come before country?

As a public official, I am guided by the purpose set out by God for me, as stated in the Creator’s Manual for Life, the Bible. In that reference, it is clearly stated that before one leads over others in the community (or country), one must first be able to show leadership and good governance over one’s family.

1 Timothy 3:1-5 says: “Here is a trustworthy saying: If anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task. Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?”

The importance of the family is emphasized even in our own Constitution which recognizes that “the family is a basic autonomous social institution” and the State “shall protect and strengthen” it.

It is my belief that the obligation to govern over one’s family first is not just an obligation of those who lead the community or country but of each and every person who considers himself a faithful believer and loyal citizen. The foundation of the country is the family, therefore, it is imperative that we all take part in firming up and strengthening that foundation on which we will build up our country.

To illustrate, which is preferred, a good leader with a bad family life or a good leader with a good family life?

As far as I am concerned, it is incumbent upon me to strive to be a good father and husband in order for me to be a worthy public official. It is definitely a difficult challenge given all the obstructions and temptations along the way, but acknowledging that obligation is the first step towards fulfilling that commitment to God and family.

Perhaps some see it as self-serving or an unpatriotic act to put family first before country. One who reacted to my post raised a question: “Sir, if I may ask. What if what’s good for your family isn’t good for your country? Or what’s good for your country wouldn’t be good for your family?”

A good point, indeed. But he left out one aspect—God. The three should be taken together, not singly. Above everything else, living according to God’s laws and principles. It doesn’t matter if what one does is good for his family and not good for the country or one does good for the country and not for his family if what one is doing is not right in the eyes of God.

For example, if a person steals from the country for his family, it doesn’t make it right in the eyes of God. Or if one devotes all his time in the service of the people but he does not even have time to raise his child as an obedient and respectful son or daughter, it doesn’t make it right in the eyes of God.

Therefore, all three aspects—God, Family, Country—must all be taken together and not separately.

Living your life to be an ideal believer, family member or citizen is not an easy task. There are many obstacles and challenges that pull us down or block our ways, but that’s what makes it more precious and fulfilling to achieve. If it were that easy, then it wouldn’t be an accomplishment at all.

Extend the Term of the New AFP Chief of Staff

Posted in Governance with tags , , , on April 14, 2009 by Ruffy Biazon

I congratulate Lt. Gen. Victor Ibrado for being appointed successor to AFP Chief of Staff Gen. Alexander Yano. He is an accomplished officer and a gentleman who will not have a hard time earning the respect and obedience of the Armed Forces, just as Gen. Yano did when he assumed the top post of the AFP.

The announcement of Lt. Gen. Ibrado’s appointment as CSAFP several weeks before the retirement of the incumbent AFP Chief will do well to avoid the usual militics (military politics) that attend to such command turnovers. The jockeying for the chance to be appointed SCAFP is prevented, and a smooth transition is ensured.

Following that concern about the issues that usually precede the change in the AFP leadership, now that President Arroyo has announced her choice, it might also be worthy for her to consider at this early stage to already extend the term of Lt. Gen. Ibrado, allowing him to serve until the end of the term of the president.

The reason for the suggestion is that Lt. Gen. Ibrado will retire on March 2010, or right in the middle of the national and local election season. That situation brings to fore some concerns:

1. It would be best if the AFP has stable leadership during the entire process of the elections, from the beginning of the campaign to the end of the canvassing. It is expected that the elections will be more “exciting” since it is a presidential election. Therefore, stability in the AFP is not only crucial but essential, and it would be good to have someone singularly accountable for the AFP during the entire election period.
2. The change in AFP leadership in the middle of the campaign of the national and local elections will result in politics and militics simultaneously taking center stage.
3. The appointment of a new AFP Chief of Staff during the final few months of the current administration is unfair to the next President who may be forced to accept a Chief of Staff who is not his choice or be forced to replace him ahead of his retirement in which case it would be to the disadvantage of the newly appointed officer.

An extension of Lt. Gen. Ibrado’s service until the end of President Arroyo’s term will only be for three months, a tolerable extension given the concerns about a mid-election leadership transition in the AFP. It may even be considered a courtesy by President Arroyo to the next president who will then have a free hand in appointing a new AFP Chief of Staff at the beginning of his term.

The extension will not be unprecedented, since General Hermogenes Esperon was given a chance to serve beyond his retirement. If a controversial officer like Gen. Esperon was given an extension, why not a fine officer like Lt. Gen. Ibrado?

In relation to this, I would like to call on the Senate and the House of Representatives to pass the pending bills by Senator Rodolfo Biazon and this representation proposing the establishment of a fixed three-year term for the AFP Chief of Staff.

If passed into law, it will prevent the “revolving door practice” where Chiefs of Staff serve only for several months, making generals pre-occupied with who will get the prized appointment. It will also give more stability to the AFP leadership and provide a longer tour duty for the AFP Chief to manage the military’s multi-year programs, particularly those of the Modernization Program.

Open Letter to Mr. Conrado De Quiros

Posted in Inner Thoughts, Politics and Politicians with tags , , , , on April 14, 2009 by Ruffy Biazon

This is in response to the column of Mr. Conrado De Quiros published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer today. The title of his article is Transformative

Dear Mr. De Quiros,

It is such an honor to have been mentioned in the column of one of my favorite columnists of all time, even though the reference to this representation is a critical commentary to a statement I had made pertaining to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and the Moral Force Movement.

I would say that almost all of the time, I have been biased in favor of the ideas and opinions written in your column. Of the very few times that I did not sympathize with what you wrote, I acknowledged the wisdom and logic of your point of view. Of course, it also goes without saying that your literary style is superb.

But this would be the first time I have been compelled to write in reaction to your column. Not to violently object but to gently provide a clarification to what I think is an off-tangent perspective of the statements that I made concerning the Chief.

First, my statement, which was an answer to a reporter’s question for my reaction to Chief Justice Puno’s leading the Moral Force, was not a call on the Chief Justice to resign but was a reminder that his present position as Chief of the Supreme Court should be insulated from partisan and political affairs.

As I stated in a television interview, I believe that a person should be asked to resign only if he has committed a mistake or violated the law. I do not think the Chief Justice has committed any mistake not violated any law. In past instances when officials erred, I always merely reminded them the wisdom of quitting their posts, but not as active call for them to resign. The only time I had asked an official to resign was after that shameful Hello Garci expose.

Second, I did not say that politics and morality do not mix, which is what your column portrayed in its commentary on my statement. There is absolutely no phrase or sentence in my statement which said that, whether categorically or implied. On the contrary, I have always believed that each person, whatever profession, is obligated to be moral as an individual. So too, does society have to be moral.

But what my statement was pointing out was that Politics and the Judiciary do not mix. That’s the reason ever since I became a member of the House, I had always spoken against politicians being appointed in the Judiciary. I believe that a person who has dipped his hands into politics and have wallowed in it, loses the “cold neutrality of an impartial judge” required of in the Judiciary. He will always look at things from the point of view of a politician.

Third, the logic which you applied on my statement is overstretching the meaning of what I had said. You wrote:

“Let’s see if this makes sense: Philippine society needs moral recovery. Moral recovery is largely a political exercise. Only politicians may engage in a political exercise. Politicians (as we know them) are what Philippine society needs to morally recover from. Only the people this society needs to morally recover from may mount a moral recovery program.”

The basic idea behind my statement is that the Moral Force movement is led by Chief Justic Puno, who at the same time is the head of the Judiciary; the reform sought by the Moral Force movement is in the field of politics, which will necessitate their engagement in politics; but politics and the judiciary do not mix.

Therefore the point is not that moral recovery in politics is reserved only for politicians. The point is that the Chief Justice (the position, not the person) should not be engaged in politics. It is the position he occupies that makes the circumstances of the Honorable Reynato Puno unique from all of the other Filipinos in this country who are calling for moral recovery.

I perfectly agree with your point that as an individual, each one of us has the right to call for moral recovery and that “it is not only our privilege to engage in politics, it is our duty to do so as citizens of the Republic”. But I do believe that the Chief Justice, whoever may be occupying that position, must not engage in politics.

I hope you will find time to visit my website at http://www.ruffybiazon.ph for related write up I posted yesterday.

Thank you very much.

Sincerely,

Ruffy Biazon
Representative
Lone District of Muntinlupa City