(Photo courtesy: South China Morning Post)

Pure legalese isn’t my expertise. My interest in law is predicated on how it is used or misused for the common tao (person); not to advance some private concerns of individual politicians. So, when the Zoom conference I had been invited to was turning out to be a grand display of mastery of electoral jurisprudence, I cringed at a sudden seizure of inferiority complex.

The subject of the event was the electoral protest of former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. I had prepared some questions for placing the issue in what I believed was the correct context: that the Bongbong-Leni electoral protest case has gone beyond the ambit of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) to decide and has fallen into the mercy of hidden powers who stood to benefit from their desired verdict on the case.

In other words, you no longer talk of whether there had been massive cheating in the vice presidential contest in 2016,  which could reverse the announced results so as to favor Marcos. Rather, you need to determine what powers are at play behind the proceedings at the PET and will these powers allow a Marcos win?

In the Zoom proceedings, Mentong Laurel, invoking his own nonexpertise at legalese, raised the point that the protest has gone so long without any visible headway having been attained, and what has Bongbong got to say on this?

Bongbong’s answer could be summed up into pure desperation and not knowing anything to do by way of expediting the PET proceedings to achieve favorable results within the extremely little time left for that to happen. Still the Junior Marcos expressed pinning his hope of getting those results through sheer legalities.

Bongbong’s answer revealed not even vague shades of the Great Dictator, much less a chip of the old block. Had not Bongbong learned from his father?

In 1976, President Ferdinand E. Marcos finally got his representatives sitting down with Nur Misuari in Tripoli, Libya, for the conclusion of the Tripoli Agreement ending the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) rebellion and establishing an autonomous government in Muslim Mindanao. When asked why he had the ceasefire agreement done in faraway Libya, Marcos, rather tongue-in-cheek, proclaimed the principle: party-in-interest.

In settling disputes, look for the party-in-interest, Marcos advised. Talk to that party and the dispute is resolved.

Marcos had rightly seen that the party-in-interest in the MNLF insurgency was not the Mindanao Muslims but Moammar Khadaffi. So, he sent the then ravishing beautiful First Lady Imelda Marcos to talk to Khadaffi, whom she sought out in the Libyan strongman’s desert stronghold. That meeting resulted in the conclusion of the Tripoli Agreement on Dec. 23, 1976.

Bongbong complains of Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Mario Victor Leonen having “sat” on the case for the past eleven months, only to come up with a recommendation for the Commission on Elections and the Solicitor General to comment on the case. The discussants at the above-cited Zoom conference were one in opining that such sought comment, whatever it turns out to be, won’t have any further impact so as to make the case reach a decision; if at all, it was said, the recommendation is one more delaying move for the case to be declared moot and academic in the end.

In fact, the Bongbong fight for the vice presidency had been a battle lost from the very beginning. He was up against a yellow candidate who was there not on her own credentials for the post but precisely as a tool for stealing what was clearly his burgeoning victorious surge.

“Stop Bongbong Marcos at all cost.”

That was Judy Taguiwalo’s battlecry at the head of a phalanx of yellow activists campaigning for Leni Robredo.

If it took massive cheating to make that cost, so be it.

I am a Bicolano, and if I were to be chauvinistic about it, I should be going for Leni in the contest. But I had long made a rethinking of President Marcos, had grown an admirer of the many good deeds he actually made for the Filipino nation, and in the vice presidential race of 2016, I had a mindset for his son’s win early on.

Yes, I am pragmatic as well to admit that cheating in Philippine elections is a matter of course. But blame my penchant for fair play; electoral results proved I went naïve in believing that no amount of cheating could do the trick for Leni. It did.

To go wiser, then, about the issue, I must harken back to Bongbong’s father’s advice: “Look for the party-in-interest.”

Who composes the PET? Who has appointed its members? Who has caused their appointment?

Particularly on Leonen whom Bongbong accuses as having sat on his protest for eleven months, who has been turning the key at his back in his public actuations?

Leonen was the head of the government panel in negotiations with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) that resulted in the creation of the Bangsamoro Juridical Entity (BJE). In essence, the BJE gave the Muslim rebels their own government complete with their own legislature, judiciary and armed forces, all the appurtenances of an independent state but for 25 percent of natural resources retained by the Philippine republic.

In Leonen’s hands, the above veritable sellout of Philippine sovereignty was a done deal.

But something went wrong somehow for the rebels. The BJE went into the domain of the Senate, particularly the Committee on Local Governments, which worked on the BJE such that what actually was an independent Muslim state aspired for by the MILF turned into the mere Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM).

Who was the head of that committee?

Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

Need we still ask why the massive cheating that resulted in Bongbong’s loss to Leni took place in Maguindanao and elsewhere in the BARMM?

Meantime, Leonen went on to become Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, eventually taking charge of the electoral protest of the man who emasculated the sellout he made of Philippine sovereignty once upon a time.

Early on, I had a hunch that Leonen, as far back as the peace talks with the MILF, was already being programmed for something big. That was the period when I saw the United States’ hand in the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

In an article I wrote in my blog “Kamao,” I hinted that Leonen would be the replacement Chief Justice. I thought I was wrong when he didn’t make it to that post, but I believed I was partly right anyway when Leonen was appointed associate justice nonetheless. One year later, somebody in the know of inner transpirations in Malacañang disclosed to me that Leonen, indeed, was offered the post of chief justice but, for some reason, declined.

So, in Bongbong’s aborted flight to the vice presidency, everything falls into place?

Not quite. Just one last refrain. After the conclusion of the BJE, I contacted a comrade who had set up a base in the United States. I asked him about Leonen. He said something about vague CIA connections.

We all know how the CIA works. They don’t allow anti-US people sitting at the top of the Philippine government.

Will the CIA allow Bongbong to win his electoral protest? If he does, he is one short step away from the presidency.

So, will Leonen relent in just sitting on the Bongbong protest till it had gone moot and academic?

There, Bongbong, is your father’s concept of “party-in-interest.” Isn’t it high time you learned?

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