Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Lunch at Cafe Havana

Every other Wednesday at Cafe Havana in Makati, writer Carmen Guerrero Nakpil co-hosts a charming and usually scintillating lil luncheon get-together with her daughter, Gemma Cruz Araneta-- for journalists and foreign correspondents, itinerant senators, roving ambassadors, university professors, assorted philosophers, government officials and military officers, (and assorted riffraff like me.) Mother and daughter--Chitang and Gemma-- are stunning in their own ways, all having to do with a certain conception of literature and life, of body and soul, perhaps having something to do with being members of the Jose Rizal descendants. As accomplished women in their own rights, they always make for convivial company. I've been attending more regularly and this week's episode did not disappoint.

ISAGANI CRUZ reaped a whirlwind of disdain from Prof. Jose David Lapuz of the University of Sto. Tomas for his recent gay-bashing essays. And that was before we could start on the appetizers! But Kit Tatad seemed quietly to back the beleaguered gay basher at the Philippine Daily Inquirer. But he was clearly outnumbered and gamely tried to change the subject. "Isagani Cruz" was a more interesting topic than the international criminal court. I really wanted to hear about his recent trip to Spain and the Pope's recent family values message via the conservative Spanish faithful. But I didn't get a chance to bring it up with Senator Kit because Tita Chitang Nakpil was "tsk tsking" Isagani Cruz for his frankly backward and intolerant views. John Silva's salvoes were mentioned and Manolo Quezon's two excellent ripostes were much discussed and argued. But together or individually, the rhetorical foes of Isagani Cruz are every bit a match for him and it seems to me they have the moral and intellectual ascendancy over his troglodyte views which do not seem to be shared by the majority of Filipinos.

By the time we all got down to Main Courses, the discussion had turned to NUCLEAR WEAPONS and the problem of controlling them, when someone brought up the just-announced defiant stand of Iran's leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad despite a seemingly united stand by the international community--even France and Germany!

I posed the question to the group: Is there a right to possess nuclear weapons? Who owns such a right? I shall leave out the lively repartee that followed so as to elicit the comments of Philippine Commentary regulars on the matter.

SENATOR PIA CAYETANO had it exactly right on ABSCBN ANC News just now in calling for the Philippine Government to act now on the Guimaras Island oil spill involving over 450,000 gallons of bunker fuel in a sunken Sunshine Maritime vessel chartered by Petron Oil Co. Said to be lying in over 1800 feet of water off the southwest coast of the island, the oil leaking from its damaged hold(s) threatens not only Guimaras and Panay Islands, but also the entire fabled Sulu-Sulawesi Sea ecosystem, in the middle of which are, for example, the Tubbataha Reefs and its unparalleled marine biodiversity. Accounts can be settled with Petron sooner or later, but that spil better be dealt with quick. Just at noon, I heard a report of a Press Conference at the Manila Polo Club at which Petron chairman Nicasio Alcantara admitted a second leak may have sprung on the ill-fated m.v. Solar 1 fuel tanker. A SINGLE-HULLED oil tanker plying one of the most precious ocean waters anywhere on the planet. Petron claims it will pay for all costs of the cleanup. You bet your gas you will!

{UPDATE) House Deputy Majority Leader EDCEL LAGMAN played his part in the recently concluded Second Impeachment Hearings with relish, at one point reminding his colleague, ROILO GOLEZ that the latter is NOT a LAWYER and ought not speak as if he were one. This was during Golez's rather telling citations of American jurisprudence on impeachment proceedings and his parliamentary inquiries into the exact nature of impeachment proceedings in the Philippine jurisdiction. But Edcel Lagman had the numbers and dutifully intoned the suppletory nature of such external jurisprudence to the local House Rules. Disingenuity on Rep. Lagman's part only shows when he insists it was the Minority that last year moved to adopt the current impeachment proceeding rules. But I doubt very much that the result would've been any different even if the rules that Edcel Lagman asserts he proposed instead had been adopted. Numbers do matter, and next year, in the 2007 elections, assuming they are held [sic!], the Opposition will get its chance to elect the mere one-third of the House that is required for a third impeachment attempt. The House Plenary today junked the Second complaint by a vote of 173 - 32, a greater margin than last year.





Dear Progressive Comrades,

I would like to propose to your organization/ state agency the idea that Mr.

Kofi Annan should now voluntarily resign from his current post as U.N. Secretary-

General. I would like to request your state agency/ organization to peacefully and

lawfully appeal to Mr. Kofi Annan to voluntarily resign from being the Secretary-General

of the U.N., and, after resigning from such position, convince his colleagues at the U.N.

headquarters to implement reforms that will truly democratize the whole structure of the

U.N. Organization. I believe that Mr. Annan has done great works for the U.N. Org

as the United Nations’ Secretary-General. But his works at the U.N. Org didn’t pave

the way for the United Nations’ Organization to completely embrace democratic

procedures and processes. So, Mr. Kofi Annan should gracefully resign now from his

position as the U.N. Org’s Secretary-General.

I hope that your state agency/ organization will also peacefully and lawfully

call for the democratization of the U.N. Organization. I would also like your state

agency/ organization to support the nomination of Miss Aung San Suu Kyi as the new

Secretary-General of the U.N.. Miss Aung San Suu Kyi is the most eligible person in

this world right now who can replace Mr. Kofi Annan. Miss Aung San Suu Kyi’s

ascension as the new Secretary-General would give the U.N. Organization’s

democratization a better chance to succeed. I hope that your state agency/

organization will support these proposals. Our group is called the LEAGUE OF

POLITICAL ABROGATIONISTS or the L.P.A.. Our group is advocating real, global and

moral democracy through peaceful and lawful means. I hope that your state agency/ organization

will effectively support the mentioned proposals in this message. Thanks.



Chairman of the LEAGUE OF



ricelander said...

Re Nuke weapons: I believe no nation has a right of possession. To grant that right to one is to grant that right to all. All nukes should be, if we have to keep them, transferred under the control of the UN. I am not that naive though to believe that those which have them now would just give em up that easily. One of these days they might just realize the burdens that go with keeping them.

jemy said...

Regarding nuclear weapons, if we were to discuss the same purely under the perspective of international law, it may be useful to look up on the ICJ's Advisory Opinion in 1996 on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons.

Essentially, the Opinion states that there is no customary or conventional international law that prohibits the use of nuclear weapons. However, it must also be considered that the use of any such weapon must be in conformity with international law principles on the use of force, particularly Article 2.4 of the UN Charter (which prohibits use of force) and Article 51 of the UNC (which allows force but only in self-defense if an armed attack occurs).

Other principles that need to be taken into account are those stated in the Caroline, Nicaragua, and Corfu Channel Cases, as well as the provisions of the Geneva Conventions, and the principles of proportionality, humanity, and military necessity.

The problem, however, with the Advisory Opinion is that the discussion takes a circular route, whereby nuclear weapons, as mentioned above, are legal only if in conformity with the principles on the use of force. Confusingly, the mere possession of nuclear weapons (categorized under the status of "threat") can only be justified if such was done in response to a prior possession by another country which, to justify the second country's possession, would necessarily have to be illegal.

Thus, the discussion goes on and it is presumed that a clearer legal scenario on nuclear weapons will only be developed if a more consistent body of treaties (probably discounting the viability of customary law for the present case) are executed to that effect.

John Silva said...

hi deanie,

the fact that isagani didn't have a counter editorial today may mean he's been told to shut up. Or he's had an epiphany. I have been told that the opinion editor Jorge aruta does have significant powers to edit a column before printing or even hold it back altogether. If that's so, Jorge's been sleeping on the job or else he was clueless on offensive anti-gay remarks. Believe me, there's still a lot of those types around.


Howdy Dean!

Exciting that editorial exchange between Cruz and Quezon, wasn't it? I'd sort of had an inkling that MLQ3 was homosexual and believe it or not, I'd always wanted to ask him or you but never plucked the courage to do so (teeh hee) or simply perhaps, because I didn't care. Actually, it's his blog's masthead which I thought spoke a thousand words.

Hmm, good to hear news bits about Gemma Cruz, the stunning Pinay.

Jego said...

If one nation has nukes, then all nations have the right to possess them as well. Iran, fo example, has the right to have them (except that its leader is a certifiable psycho). The US, France, and the UK have no right to ask Iran not to acquire nuclear weapons when they themselves have them. They could block nuke technology from their countries to reach Iran but if Iran can develop them herself, other countries, especially the nuke countries have no right to tell them to stop. The suggestion to give up nukes to the jurisdiction of the UN is a sound one, if quite lofty. That way nukes will only be used on an extraterrestrial threat like a comet or asteroid on collision course with us.

We could adapt the 'Dune' solution, wherein if a nation uses a nuke unjustifiedly, then the other nations would nuke the heck out of it, but that wouldnt work. In the novel Dune, each nation is also its own planet.

(BTW, Mr Quezon's orientation shouldnt have mattered to what he does, and therefore Hillblogger was correct not to care. ;-) )