Congress should learn Kim Chiu's law of the classroom
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - May 23, 2020 - 12:00am

In her own simple and clearly understandable terms, our “paisana” Cebuana film actress Kim Chiu is teaching the nation the basic rules of living, which is to follow the rule of law. Senators and congressmen might have to learn these fundamental precepts from Kim.

She tells us if the rule isn’t to go out of the classroom, then we should follow. And if we deviate from the law, we should rectify and institute remedial measures. The problem with both houses is they are rushing to cater to the demands of ABS-CBN, while the top priority should be to protect our people from COVID-19. By fussing over this trifle, this narrow interest of a big business empire, while setting aside the urgent needs of millions caught between the imminence of death and infection and also of hunger and starvation. By so doing, Congress is going out of Kim's classroom. Straying away from what matters most. Wrong sense of priorities.

The Senate is also going out of Kim's virtual classroom. With the sole exception of Senator Francis Tolentino, senators exceeded the bounds when they jumped the gun on the House. They conducted investigations as early as March when the Constitution is clear the law granting franchises should originate from the Lower House. Earlier this week, they discussed the bill still being deliberated in the House of Representatives. They even invited as resource persons former senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, former chief justice Renato Puno, and San Beda Law Graduate School Dean Fr. Ranhilio Aquino. This too was an act of going out of Kim's classroom.

In fact, to my mind, this whole thing of proceeding to deliberate on the matter, while there’s a pending case before the Supreme Court violates the “sub judice” rule, going outside Kim’s classroom. The High Court has given NTC 10 days to answer ABS-CBN’s petition, and thereafter another five days for ABS-CBN to reply. Then, there might be some rejoinders and exchange of more pleadings. These all mean some delays because the ponente will have to write his decision, after an exhaustive research by the staff and legal assistants. A court hearing shall be held, where both petitioners and respondents shall be heard. By that time, if Congress shall have passed the law granting provisional franchise, wouldn't such law make the Supreme Court case moot and academic? That is violating Kim's law.

Kim may not be a lawyer but she understands the fundamentals of adhering to the norms and respecting the rule of law. It’s funny, if not preposterous that the Senate’s legal luminaries don’t understand the basics, or if they do understand and still opt to stray outside the bounds of the law, then, I would say, with due respect, that they deteriorate from ineptitude to malice or bad faith. The Senate president isn’t a lawyer but he’s man of wisdom, a scion of our own Don Vicente Sotto and Don Filemon Sotto. The House Speaker is a brilliant lawyer from UP, son of Senator Rene Cayetano, and brother of another lawyer, Senator Pia. But all of them can learn from Kim Chiu.

At the end of the day, we don’t need to be legal luminaries, senators, or congressmen to understand that, for the peace and harmony of life, for order and to establish justice in any society, we need to follow the law, obey the authorities and adhere to the protocols established by authorities. Kim's classroom analogy is a microcosm of the whole world, and Kim's law is an analogy of life's simple rules in human relations. It’s a shame we have to learn this from Kim.

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