By Jerry Tundag | The Freeman
The world is being turned upside down by a virus no one can see. Millions are sick and dying. The economy is in shambles. People are jobless. Families are separated. It is the worst of times for most of humanity. So why go through an impeachment over "a simple matter" of a Supreme Court justice not having filed a number of SALNs?
Because we need the majesty of the law to prevail especially at this time. A time of great pain, danger and uncertainty is precisely the right time to show that the law is strong, just, and unforgiving. When society is this close to anarchy because of the aforementioned hardships, it is precisely the notion that the law spares no one that will eventually keep the fabric of society together.
It is not the gravity of the offense, like not filing a SALN, that deserves emphasis in the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Justice Marvic Leonen but the assurance that the law continues to operate even in a pandemic. To ignore a SALN violation because there are so many other things on our plate is dangerous. It can inspire the hungry to grab what is on your plate and put it on theirs. And blame the pandemic.
And then there is the matter of Larry Gadon vs. Marvic Leonen. People can say anything they want against Gadon. But the fact is, he is not kicking in the door to Leonen's chambers armed with a baseball bat. He is submitting himself to a process that has been laid out by far more learned men who have come before him. In contrast, it is Leonen who did not submit to legal processes by not filing his SALN, not once but many times.
Leonen has been described in such heaping superlatives that even Leonen himself would probably puke in disgust, that is if he is just half the man described. But I do not think so. A man described like that would have no qualms filing his SALN. A man described as the best, the brightest, and the greatest would file his SALN in accordance with his character. Not doing so makes the best, the brightest and the greatest worse than even Gadon.
Gadon can never breach the heights to which Leonen soars with exalted ease. Every inch of grudging respect and dignity that life may offer Gadon he has to fight and scramble for with bloody intensity. But it is not who Gadon is that makes or unmakes his case. The impeachment is not about Gadon. It is about Leonen. And if the facts bear the allegations out, not all the pains to his name will bail him out.
In the movie "Crimson Tide" the character of Gene Hackman, the commander of the US nuclear submarine USS Alabama, saw it fit to run a nuclear attack drill in the middle of a fire in the kitchen. He wanted to find out if things still worked and the system did not break down under such potentially catastrophic circumstances. Such circumstances are like what we have now. We also need to test if law and order still applies.
In these desperate times, a weak government, one that will just look the other way for "minor breaches" like not filing SALNs by a Supreme Court justice, is the surest way to inspire anarchy. The hungry, jobless, those who lost loved ones or even those with just too much time on their hands need only a little inequality, be it a cup of rice aid or the application of law, to start a fire. Even the god Leonen is a small price to pay for stability.