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Saturday, June 22, 2024

We need more patriots

We need more patriots"Many are too attached to entitlements."

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When I was younger and was still able to travel the world, I had wanted to go on a safari trip to South Africa. I had always been fascinated by what I saw in the movies.

But my wife said she hated animals in any form—especially domesticated pets like dogs and cats. She said that when she was still single, she asked her suitors whether they loved dogs or cats. If they said they had pets, she would just dismiss them. Poor suitors!

I am not so crazy about animals, myself. Still, at that time, I thought going on a safari would be the experience of a lifetime.

My son Nicky once went with his wife. He told me that they took an open jeep and their guide carried a shotgun and a rifle. He asked what the arms were for, and he was told: “Just in case a lion, or tiger, or leopard, or panther, or rhino attacks the tourist, we will be ready.” The weapons contained anti-mobility pellets.

My son even told me that their hotel, which was built like a tent, was surrounded by armed guards.

When I finally told my wife I had given up my dream, she was greatly relieved!

***

On Oct. 26, my favorite Supreme Court Justice, Antonio Carpio, who I often say is the most qualified and is the best Chief Justice this country never had, will retire after 18 years in the High Court.

I received an invitation from the Villaraza and Angangco law office (“The Firm”) to attend the “Night of Roasting a Patriot.” The invitation described Tony as a scholar, leader, jurist and above all, a patriot. What a fitting tribute.

Tony had several opportunities to become Chief Justice, but somehow he did not take these. The first was in May 2010 upon the retirement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno. He turned down the appointment out of delicadeza. The appointing power at that time was President Gloria Arroyo, a former client.

The second time was when Chief Justice Renato Corona was impeached by the House and ousted by the Senate.

The third was when Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was removed. Again, Tony refused out of delicadeza.

The fourth chance was after the retirement of Justice Teresita Leonardo de Castro. President Duterte instead chose Lucas Bersamin as Chief Justice.

Finally, the President was reportedly open to naming Carpio Chief Justice one or two days before his compulsory retirement. Carpio preempted the President and declined.

That’s Tony for you—every mindful of ethics and self-respect.

Former Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban pays tribute to Carpio by saying that “his consuming ambition remains his passionate crusade for sovereign rights of our country in the West Philippine Sea.”

What Carpio dislikes the most, according to Art, are two-faced Januses, grafters and schemers. What is more important to him, rather than titles, was honor.

Webster’s Dictionary describes a patriot as one who loves his country and supports its authority and interests. This is what Tony Carpio has been doing for many years, given his adamant stand for sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario also said Carpio was a true patriot for his passionate advocacy.

Indeed, Tony has remained steadfast and adamant on this issue, notwithstanding President Duterte’s pivot to China.

In my book, not all patriots need to be martyred at Luneta. Patriots are also those who show their love of country, and who are not cowed despite threats to their freedom and rights.

That’s the tragedy of our nation today. Many are afraid to use their entitlements so they just accept anything in order to gain/keep these luxuries.

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