POSTSCRIPT / March 26, 2009 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Gun-toting raps vs Erap? Toy-toting is more like it

TAWA NAMAN!: The police seem to be losing their sense of humor, and that’s bad.

Spotting former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada making like a returning General MacArthur on a restored World War-II jeep in Cebu with a mockup .30 cal. machinegun, the cops screamed about filing gun-toting charges against the retired movie actor.

“Toy-toting” would be more like it. Or better still, tutal wala namang nasaktan, just forget about the funny episode in the Lakbay Pasasalamat of Erap going the rounds to test the political waters.

Erap in dark glasses and a shadowy figure identified as Jojo Binay were in a parade organized by the town mayor. KJ policemen seized the toy machine gun.

If PNP chief Director General Jesus Verzosa does not rein in his boys he might be suspected of promoting the survey ratings of Erap by making people talk about him and causing the media to give him free Front Page treatment.

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GOD WILLING: Is Erap running in 2010? The official line from Polk Street is that he would run only if the opposition wannabes cannot agree who among them would be the standard bearer.

Since the field is now wide open because of the constitutional bar on President Gloria Arroyo running for reelection, there is a bumper crop of aspirants on both sides of the fence.

Even our governor-priest in Pampanga is all primed to run for president — God willing daw. Even God has been drawn into the melee.

I am not really against Gov. Eddie “Among Ed” Panlilio running for president if, in his words, that is God’s will. Who are we to go against the will of the Almighty?

The problem is Among might mistake for vox populi (and therefore the vox dei) the shrieks of the Loyola cheering squad behind him and the jingling of the donation box.

Seriously, if Panlilio and Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca run together in 2010, I prefer Grace running for president. I think she is more qualified as far as public administration and political skills are concerned. 

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PANLILIO VS LAPID: Even if Among Ed has not been a spectacular success as governor, I would still want him to run for reelection.

Reasons: (1) Nobody looms in the horizon who would be a good replacement. (2) We need Among Ed to stop Sen. Lito Lapid from reclaiming the capitolio and converting it into a money mill.

From the Senate, Lito was given a legal residence in Magallanes Village just to run for Makati mayor. He did not campaign on the belief that his showbiz popularity would carry him. It did not, and he lost miserably to Jojo Binay.

No problem, Lito simply walked back to the Senate and then on to the bank after counting his earnings. I guess he actually won that game.

Now he has reportedly changed (again) his legal address to Porac, his hometown, in preparation for his running again for Pampanga governor.

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CASE BACKLOG: Justice Lucas Bersamin of the Court of Appeals may want to attend to his case backlog first and wait for the next round of nominations for the lone vacancy in the Supreme Court. If he deserves it, he would get it anyway, sooner or later. 

The latest judicial data and statistics of the Court of Appeals dated March 11, 2009, show that Bersamin has 151 cases piled up awaiting decision, with only seven cases disposed of. What will happen to his backlog if he goes to the SC?

Bersamin’s 2002 batchmates seem to have been devoting more time to their work: Justice Hakim S. Abdulwahid has only nine cases pending, with 14 disposed of, while Rosmari D. Carandang has 43 pending cases, with 19 disposed of.

A justice has one year to decide a case from the time it is submitted for resolution. An performance audit by the SC would be interesting.

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SCORECARD: There are 45 justices in the Manila station of the Court of Appeals, two of them (Bienvenido L. Reyes and Jose C. Mendoza) on leave. The others have been distributed among 17 divisions, each group separately working on cases.

The scorecard signed by Danilo A. Constantino, acting chief of the CA information and statistical data division, shows that in the first quarter only Presiding Justice Conrado M. Vasquez Jr. and Justice Portia A. Hormachuelos have no (zero) cases awaiting decision.

On the other hand, Edgardo F. Sundiam has zero cases decided with 301 cases pending, and Vicente Zofronio E. Veloso also with no case resolved and four cases awaiting decision.

The rest: Martin S. Villarama with 13 cases decided and four pending; Andres B. Reyes Jr. (14 decided, 20 pending); Remedios S. Fernando (12, 2); Jose L. Sabio Jr. (11, 41); Edgardo P. Cruz (20, 51); Josefina Guevara Salonga (21, 16); Rebecca de Guia Salvador (16, 15); Juan Q. Enriquez Jr. (6, 8); Mariano C. del Castillo (16, 1); Amelita G. Tolentino (7, 36); Mario L. Guarina III (14, 204); Noel G. Tijam (15, 294); Rosalinda A. Vicente (8, 255); Jose C. Reyes Jr. (13, 269); Fernanda L. Peralta (16, 199); Magdangal M. de Leon (9, 4); Isaias P. Dicdican (31, 137); Arcangelita M. Romilla Lontok (22, 90); Japar B. Dimaampao (17, 148); Celia L. Leagogo (23, 3); Monina A. Zenarosa (11, 43); Pampio A. Abarintos (28, 241); Estela P. Bernabe (15, 5); Mariflor P. Castillo (11, 7); Teresita D.L. Flores (13, 169); Arturo G. Tayag (8, 272); Sesinando E. Villon (9, 286); Ramon M. Bato Jr. (12, 252); Myrna Dimaranan Vidal (17, 7); Normandie B. Pizarro (17, 29); Apolinario D. Bruselas Jr. (16, 38); Ramon R. Garcia (24, 12); Ricardo R. Rosario (19, 16); Marlene G. Sison (32, 108); Romeo F. Barsa (15, 185); and Sixto Marella Jr. (15, 263).

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of March 26, 2009)

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