"In societies where Robbing Hoods are treated like a celebrity it is but natural to expect political parties to act like a Mafia syndicate" Political Jaywalker "In a nation where corruption is endemic people tend to confuse due process with aiding and abetting criminals" Political Jaywalker "War doesn't determine who is right, war determines who is left" Bertrand Russell "You have just one flash flood of money, you keep your people poor. It's like a time bomb and it's scary" Philippine Lawmaker

Leonard Weinglass: Libertarian Lawyer and Human Rights Defender

Statement and Tribute of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers


“I have never worked as a lawyer with the aim of making money, or in litigations for money. Since I studied at the university and we were taught that being a lawyer entails a commitment to justice, I assumed it as such, with absolute passion. Since that point in time I have been involved in cases where justice has been denied, or in cases of a political nature insofar as I understand politics—a commitment to those whom are denied justice everyday.”

-Leonard Weinglass

As translated by Granma International

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL-Philippines), an association of human rights lawyers, students of law, legal practitioners and advocates for justice and human rights in the Philippines, grieve the untimely passing of a great comrade, lawyer, and human rights advocate, Leonard Weinglass.

Leonard Weinglass is an institution in the progressive legal community, not only in the United States but internationally as well. He was considered an expert in civil rights legislation. A staunch human rights defender, Weinglass has continuously handled cases in defense of those whose political and civil rights have been violated and trampled upon, and was counsel in civil rights cases such as those involving the famous Chicago 7 and actress Jane Fonda accused of treason for anti- Vietnam war advocacies, Patty Hearst kidnapping, Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers case, and the landmark decision in United States vs. US Districts Court which ruled on the issue of surveillance in the case against members of the Black Panthers. His dedication in the case of the Cuban 5, to which we have supported, is one of the many examples of his undaunted commitment and advocacy for freedom and human rights.

Leonard Weinglass is an ardent supporter of the Philippine democratic struggle since the Martial Law years under the dictatorial regime of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos and has kept abreast of Philippine politics and events, especially on issues involving peace and human rights. He was supposed to attend the 5th Conference of Lawyers in Asia-Pacific in the Philippines on September 2010 but was unable to do so for health reasons. Nonetheless, he made it a point to send his presentation which was subsequently read and presented to in his behalf in the said conference.

We, from the NUPL, give our highest honor and salute to Leonard Weinglass.

We may have lost a great libertarian lawyer in his passing, but we must take inspiration in his life, work and dedication to the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights. We must carry on what he has fought for and continue to stand and fight for the cause of the poor, the oppressed and the exploited. # # #

March 25, 2011

Photo from http://evesapple.blogspot.com/2011/03/rip-leonard-weinglass.html


Glorifying a Dictator Is an Insult to History; Victims of Human Rights Violations Still Seeking Justice


In a press release today, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) said that seeking a hero’s burial for the late dictator Ferdinand E. Marcos, is an insult to our country’s history and to thousands of human rights victims under the Marcos dictatorial regime.

The statement came as a reaction to a resolution signed by majority lawmakers led by Sorsogon Representative Salvador Escudero, appealing to President Noynoy Aquino to give the late dictator a hero’s burial.

Atty. Edre U. Olalia, Secretary-General of the NUPL said, “Millions of Filipinos suffered under the Marcos dictatorship, thousands of victims of human rights violations during his more than two-decade rule are still seeking justice until now, the wealth that they have plundered remains to be recovered. Glorifying Marcos is an insensitive act.”

It is an insult to our nation’s history and a direct attack against the freedom, dignity and integrity that the Filipino people have fought for especially during the Marcos regime,” added Olalia.

The NUPL is encouraging Pres. Aquino not to act on the resolution, and warned that acting on the resolution would give the wrong signals and set a dangerous precedent to dictators past, present and future, in the Philippines and elsewhere as it is akin to consenting to the crimes and the massive plunder that they have committed or are about to commit.

Instead of giving him a hero’s burial, the NUPL insists that the government should ensure the fast and speedy resolution of the cases involving victims of human rights violations during Marcos’ 20-year rule.

Let sleeping dogs, as it were. Do not distort history,” Olalia concluded.


National Secretariat
National Union of Peoples' Lawyers(NUPL)
3F Erythrina Bldg., Maaralin corner Matatag Sts. Central District,Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.No.920-6660,Telefax No. 927- 2812
Email addresses:nupl2007@gmail.com and nuplphilippines@yahoo.com


“Hello Merci”

Balitang Kutsero
By Perry Diaz

Ombudsman Merceditas “Merci” Gutierrez received a call in the wee hours the other day. The conversation went like this:

Merci: Hellooooow…

Caller: Hello, Merci, this is your Ate.

Merci: Ate Glo? Is that you?

Caller: I won’t tell you cuz your phone might be tapped by P-Noy.

Merci: Ay naku! That P-Noy! Grrrrr… I hate him! I hate…

Caller: Relax ka lang, Merci. Don’t get mad, get even.

Merci: Okay! Grrrrr… I’m okay. Grrrrr…

Caller: Stop it, Merci. You might have a heart attack.

Merci: Okay, I’ll calm down. What shall I do, Ate Glo? I’m at wit’s end. Maloloko ako!

Caller: Me, too. I think P-Noy is after me. I’m having nightmares even during the day! And our friends in the Supreme Court are getting cold feet.

Merci: Yes, they’re abandoning us, especially that midnight chief justice of yours! Have you talked to him lately?

Caller: I tried but he won’t return my phone calls. I think he’s laying low cuz there’s a congressman from Ilocos Norte who’s threatening to impeach eight Supreme Court justices including him.

Merci: What? Was it Imeldific?

Caller: Oh, no. Not Imeldific. She’s a friend of ours. It’s the other Ilocos Norte congressman. That jerk! Grrr….

Merci: Yup, he’s the vice chair of the House Justice committee that filed the Articles of Impeachment against me!Tamaan sana siya ng kidlat! Grrr…

Caller: Yep, that’s him! He was once my ally but now he’s with P-Noy.

Merci: Balimbing talaga! Grrr… Ate Glo, I need your help. Can’t you stop the impeachment in the House? You’re now a congresswoman. I’m sure you still have clout.

Caller: I don’t know what happened but my PalaKa party mates have abandoned me. P-Noy doubled their pork barrel! Can you believe that? That nerd is learning fast! He’s more dangerous than he looks! I see him even in my sleep. Grrr…

Merci: I thought P-Noy was your secret friend?

Caller: That’s what I was made to believe by some people. He even approved my P2.2-billion pork barrel. I didn’t realize he was just trying to break down my defenses and I fell for it. Ay naku, Merci, ang life nga naman. Last year I was on top of the world, now I’m in Hell! I wanna cry. Hu hu hu…

Merci: I wanna cry, too. Wah wah…

Caller: Enough! We gotta think! For sure you’re going to be impeached by the House…

Merci: Wah…. Hu hu hu…

Caller: Stop crying, Merci. Look, Our only chance is in the Senate where they’ll try you after you’re impeached in the House. Here are the magic numbers: Sixteen senator-judges are needed to convict you or eight to acquit you. Got that?

Merci: Yeah, but who are the eight senators who could help me?

Caller: Don’t worry, let me work on that. For starters we have the joker with us. Let’s do it one at a time like what I did with the Supreme Court justices.

Merci: But it took you years to stack up the court with… never mind.

Caller: I know. It’s gonna be tough. Also, those senators are all primadonnas. They all have their own private agenda. Most of them are presidential wannabes.

Merci: Hey, aren’t the “grand old man” from Cagayan, that fiery woman who talks and talks, your secret presidential candidate “Villarroyo,” those two American-born brother and sister, and the heir to the “Great Again Society” all your friends?

Caller: Yes, they’re all my friends. That’s seven including the joker. All we need is one more.

Merci: Yeah! One more and I’ll be free. Home free, yeaaaah!

Caller: Looks like you’ll beat the rap, my friend. Okay, I’m just curious, are you really guilty of the charges against you?

Merci: Yes! Of course, I’m guilty as hell! He he he… But I did it all for you and your husband. Otherwise you’d be history, kaput! He he he… You should be thankful that I did it for you, Ate Glo. You promised you’re going to help me line up support in the Senate, right?

Caller: Not too fast, my friend. You’re now history. They’ll fry you in the Senate. You’re toast! Ha ha ha…

Merci: What the hell are you saying, Ate Glo?

Caller: I am not your Ate Glo. Ha ha ha…

Merci: Huh? Who the hell are you?

Caller: This is Kris, P-Noy’s sister. Our conversation is being taped and I’ll give the Senate a copy with you confession, “I’m guilty as hell!” Ha ha ha…

Merci: Walang hiya!

Caller: Bye-bye, Merci. Ha ha ha…




By Jose Ma. Montelibano

“If it was all right to have a Gloria Arroyo Supreme Court, it should be much better to have a Noynoy Aquino Supreme Court.”

This would be my response to the rhetorical question asked by the spokesman of the Supreme Court if we wanted an Aquino Supreme Court. His question apparently was premised on a speculation that the majority members of the Supreme Court, except one appointed by P-Noy, could possibly be impeached.

Why would it not be good to have a new composition in the Supreme Court? After all, what Supreme Court in recent memory had more questionable behavior and decisions than the present one? It had its own version of midnight appointments when it could not wait for Noynoy Aquino to take his oath as President of the Republic and then appoint his choice of Chief Justice. By that act alone, the majority members of the Supreme Court chose a path that it must now swallow. It also reached a shameful low, morally and in legal jurisprudence, when it re-defined the meaning of plagiarism, directly benefiting one of their own who was caught and accused of the wrongdoing.

It was the spokesman of the Supreme Court who used the reference “Aquino Supreme Court” in what obviously was a comparison to a Supreme Court referred by many as the Arroyo Supreme Court. Let us dissect the backdrop of his statement, especially the difference between the present Supreme Court versus one where the majority would be appointed by P-Noy.

Obviously, the main difference would be less in the quality of the appointee and more in the quality of the appointing power, the quality of Gloria Arroyo and the quality of Noynoy Aquino. Why would the quality of the appointing power be of crucial difference to the quality of their appointed?

Let us put ourselves in the shoes of Gloria Arroyo as we, the people know her. If you and I were Gloria Arroyo, what would be most important to us? As we knew Gloria Arroyo over all her years as an official of DOTC, specifically head of GTEB, then senator, vice-president, and the infamous Hello Garci, “I am sorry” president, what would we want in the years ahead of us when we am not president anymore? If we had a husband by the name of Mike Arroyo, what kind of Supreme Court would we want to be out there after a controversial and scandal-filled nine-year presidency?

When Gloria Arroyo was president, what noble legacy was she trying to build, or extend? As the product of Edsa Dos, she was quick to downplay the very revolution that installed her as president. And there seemed to be no proud reference of a 2004 presidential election that allowed her to serve another six years. There was, of course, much criticism about a swearing in by the Chief Justice in January of 2001 – simply because a revolution was sadly translated as a legal procedure. A story which sounded like a fairy take to many had to be created so that there was legal basis for an Estrada resignation. The fact remains that Estrada was ousted by a popular revolt by the people and which key military officers supported – even before Gen. Angelo Reyes defected, or the cause why Reyes recapitulated.

A presidency which begins with a lie, or which dishonored the courage and effort of a people who risked all to bring down a sitting president, created a path that was strewn with lies. All the way to the end, truth suffered in ways unimaginable in a democracy. Even certain bishops were suspected to be in Gloria’s pocket, beneficiaries of government funds for their pet projects. The death of Jaime Cardinal Sin saw the exit of clear and resolute positions by the Church and gave birth, instead, to a Church hierarchy alternating between conflicting or no positions at all.

Of course, a general’s wife and children were caught bringing huge sums of money into the United States and opened a can of worms about plunder in the military. It was a rather large can, opened in 2004 and still not yet completely emptied by March 2011. After a scandal that began before 2004 and went on, according to whistle-blower Col. Rabusa, to two more Chiefs of Staff after Gen. Reyes, the administration of Gloria Arroyo made its deep mark as host to a most dirty leadership – in and beyond the military.

Now, with the quality of a president like Gloria Arroyo, what could we expect in the choices she would have made for government officials who would still be around after her presidency? Did she show consistent signs that her choices of key officers were based on their integrity or their propensity to follow her wishes even if such would compromise their integrity? Does the popular belief that Gloria Arroyo needed a supportive Supreme Court to shield her, and members of her family, from future suits have any basis beyond reasonable doubt?

In contrast, does Noynoy Aquino have a clear legacy to protect and even enhance? Does his father’s martyrdom, does his mother’s heroism, loom large in his life, in his presidency, in his relationship with the Filipino people? Whatever his shortcomings, or whatever successes he will achieve, will these remain independent of, or rooted in, a legacy of father, mother and son to the fate and history of the Filipino people? When it comes to freedom and democracy, will Noynoy as P-Noy not take special care to be fair, honest and brave?

In the institution called the Supreme Court, why will P-Noy not insist on the truth to come out, even in an imperfect executive order? Why will P-Noy not push for truth missions instead since the Supreme Court shot down his proposal to establish the Truth Commission? The challenge is not for P-Noy to appoint the majority members of the Supreme Court; rather, it is for the Supreme Court to strive for heroic achievements in justice which has been the grand loser under the Arroyo administration. And, most of all, the challenge is for P-Noy to stoke in the hearts and resolve of the people to build an environment where truth becomes a primordial demand.

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