From Out of the Cave

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Beginning again (and again)

By Constitutional and statutory fiat, the terms of our elective (except Barangay) officials begin at noontime of June 30 following their election (held every...

The Nilo Tayag case revisited

The Bill of Rights of the 1935 Constitution then in force—as does our present (1987) Constitution—provides: “No ex post facto law or bill of attainder shall be enacted.”  While ex post facto laws are statutes that make an act criminal retroactively (i.e., the act was not a crime at the time it was committed but is sought to be penalized by the subsequent law), a bill of attainder is a statute that imposes a penalty without a trial or judicial process to determine guilt.  Both kinds are considered antithetical to the concept of “constitutional due process” or the demands of reasonableness and “fair play”. 

The Ghost Month of August

Am writing this on National Heroes’ Day, which is also the penultimate day of the month, and I cannot help considering that, for reasons...


Senator Pacquiao’s jocular response to the relatively recent presidential barb calling him “punch-drunk”—Makipag-contest ako ng memorization—could have triggered not just a few snickers of...

Dynasty vs. Family

The framers of the 1987 Constitution wisely left it to congress to define these terms, as the need may vary from time to time.  Thus, understandably, in an online study published by the Ateneo School of Government (spearheaded by its Dean, Dr. Ronald Mendoza), “political dynasty” is simply members of the same family (identified by the same “family name”) holding elective office: “Thin dynasties” are those where the relatives succeed each other in office (sunod-sunod); while “fat dynasties” are those where members of the same family hold various elective offices simultaneously (sabay-sabay).  Interestingly, the same study found that, at present, 80% of Governors, 68% of Vice-Governors, and 67% of Congressmen belong to “fat dynasties” (From Fat to Obese: Political Dynasties after the 2019 Midterm Elections, Ateneo School of Government Working Paper Series, September 2019). 

Anatomy of “an idea whose time has come”

It may sound slightly ungrammatical because the word “whose” requires a person as subject; but the literary giant Victor Hugo has been famously translated...

Government as structure and process

At some point, because of the division of the study of the Constitution into two courses, most law students would come to realize that...

Señor Santo Niño, 500YOC, and the virtue of Hope

In its strict sense, Christian Hope is the theological “virtue” (stable disposition or habitual inclination) of desiring Heaven (eternal happiness in union with God) and trusting in God’s help to get there.  Thus, Hope is not concerned with just any temporal good (e.g., an end to the Covid pandemic) but with the ultimate purpose of human existence: the “one thing necessary” of the Gospel (because everything else is only of relative importance [cf. Lk 10:42]).  Hope concerns the salvation offered by Christianity, i.e., one’s enjoying the benefits of the redemption accomplished by our Lord Jesus Christ.

The “sin” of “admiration”

There is, of course, something laudable in the effort to accord social recognition to virtue or excellence.  The honor serves as an incentive, and the awardee as a model and inspiration, for people to strive to acquire the highlighted virtues.  The problem, however, is whether or not the honoree truly deserved the recognition; or worse, whether or not the character trait recognized were truly virtue in the moral sense.

Postmortem for RA 11259

As all Palaweños should know by now, RA 11259 (An Act Dividing the Province of Palawan into Three Provinces) was roundly rejected in the...


Following the link from her tweet, I happily got to watch a lecture delivered recently at the University of Chicago by Prof. Miriam Coronel-Ferrer...

Palawan non-trivia

Am writing this on a Saturday, June 12, which is of course Philippine Independence Day, and the occasion makes me wax historical.  Since this...