Let’s be Frank

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto P. Maceda Jr. - The Philippine Star

Call me irresponsible, Sinatra sang. The Chinese Foreign Ministry characterized our indignation at the sinking of a Philippine fishing boat and the intentional abandonment of 22 Filipino fishermen in open seas as “irresponsible politicizing” of the issue. 

If feeling outraged at the sight of brother Filipinos left to the mercy of the elements by the very vessel that sank their boat which China would caption as an “ordinary maritime accident” is politicizing, then call me irresponsible. 

If calling for China to issue an explanation is politicizing or to make a statement which it failed to do for up to four days after the incident and only upon the filing of a diplomatic protest, then call me irresponsible. 

Yes, a thorough investigation is warranted. But it was our own Secretary of National Defense, Delfin Lorenzana making the pronouncement. On June 12, Independence Day, at that. So go ahead and call the outrage and condemnation irresponsible.

The nation awaits a statement from the President. Many will follow his lead. Will Rodrigo be Frank, too?

1,800 more. The Supreme Court held its traditional special en banc session at the PICC last Thursday for the oath taking of the bar passers of 2018. Yesterday, at the Supreme Court premises, new brother attorneys attended their roll signing appointments with barangays in tow. 

With the Game of Thrones buzz surrounding the political departments these days with all of Congress embroiled in leadership struggles and the Palace with its hands full trying to tame the dragon in the north and understanding the mechanics of dialysis treatments to ghosts, its easy to forget the benign 3rd department.

A good read for the summer is Thomas Healy’s The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes changed his mind – and changed the history of free speech in America.The book reminds us of just how critical a role the Supreme Court plays in our daily lives. Healy recounts in detail the genesis of how this fundamental liberty came to be revered. To me, the eye opener was how it was understood before the Holmesian epiphany.

It was the aftermath of the World War I. A fragile nation continued to reel from the resistance to conscription and objections to the great war. And Holmes, champion of judicial restraint, could regularly be counted upon to uphold criminal prosecutions of radical speech which served no purpose except to impugn the war effort. Freedom of speech was an unknown liberty until then because the Supreme Court had not enlarged it. 

All this was changed by the Holmes pivot in Abrams vs U.S. which dissenting opinion, in time, became the bedrock of the great libertarian tradition of free speech. 

In the context of the West Philippine Sea collision, the point is – China doesn’t get to tell us what is or isn’t irresponsible. 

Father’s day. In my family, Father’s day will forever be linked to two events. First is the passing of my father, Senate President Ernesto M. Maceda. We were given the singular chance to celebrate Father’s day with him on June 19, 2016. It was our final event as a family as he left us in the early hours of the next day, June 20. Second is the NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors. Father’s day typically falls on or around the NBA finals schedule in June. The Warriors are the adopted Philippine Home team that has played in every finals series since their resurgence in 2015.

Yesterday, the Warriors lost the series, at home, to the Toronto Raptors. I hoped to congratulate the Warriors for extending the series to a 7th game. All for injured teammate, the great Kevin Durant and for home court, Oracle Arena, the oldest stadium in the league. It’s at Oracle that the GSW stages its annual Filipino Heritage Night in honor of its great core of Filipino supporters. And you wonder why the Warriors are our team. As my Lola used to say: amor con amor se paga.

Like most of their Filipino fans, I was banking on the Warriors’ championship experience to carry them through. With Toronto in the finals for only the first time in their franchise history, it was delusions galore that: (1) they would fold under pressure and (2) the Warriors’ injuries wouldn’t matter much. In the end, the Raptors didn’t fold and the injuries really hurt their chances.

Next year, with free agency looming and because of the impending transfer to the new stadium in town, we may be seeing a Warriors team with a new complexion. But Curry doesn’t worry because of Golden States …

… Champion Genes. The Tennis Major played on clay will forever be linked to its greatest champion, Spain’s Rafael Nadal. In the modern era, no player has dominated the tournament the way Nadal has. This 2019 edition, Rafa won a record extending 12th championship. 

But it is not solely men’s champions produced by the French Open tournament. There are, as well, the individual women’s champions and the champions in the boys and the girls divisions. This year’s French Open Girls Champion is Canadian. She was born in Quebec to an Ecuadorian father and Filipino mother. Leylah Annie Fernandez, a 16-year-old southpaw, is our latest world class heroine. Leylah speaks English, Spanish and French but she acknowledges and proudly celebrates her being Ecuadorian and Filipino. 

Athletes like Leylah and the other mixed bunch of the diaspora, together with the homegrown hungry, are producing a new, improved class of athletes. They may have different shapes and faces but they all share the same champion passion to raise the flag in victory. Olympic silver medalist Hidilyn Diaz recently bared the logistical struggles of trying to be competitive. It’s really time that the State match the fervor of these individual heroes and provide them with worthy facilities and support.

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