Sen. Lacson’s Sponsorship Speech for Sec. Raul Gonzalez at the Commission on Appointments

PingGonzales

PHOTO: Newly confirmed Justice Secretary Raul M. Gonzalez shakes hands with Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson, who sponsored his confirmation before the Commission on Appointments on June 11. 

I checked the appointee’s medical records, he may remain standing.

His detractors would say – outside his family, nobody seems to like him, except the President of the Republic. They would add, even that may need further validation.

Our appointee spews acid right in the faces of his critics when he talks. His acerbic tongue spares no one, and no one means including those whose tragedies in life and tragic deaths had brought the nation in grief and shock. Often vinegarish in his remarks, he creates enemies faster than he thinks of how to castrate them.

He defies the odds, strikes back at adversaries with bravado, and proves that he can outsprint the Grim Reaper.

There must be something in Sec. Raul Gonzalez to make me stand her and recommend to you, distinguished members of this powerful Commission on Appointments, his confirmation as Secretary of Justice.

Not many of us here know that the appointee took and passed the Bar in 1955 with a grade of 99% in Remedial Law. Kaya raw magaling magremedyo, sabi ni Senator Jinggoy; and 95% in International Law. He also tapped the Judge Advocate General’s Office examinations.

He has been serving the public for almost 5 decades, starting as a legal assistant to the governor of Iloilo in 1960, then Senior Legal Assistant to the Mayor of Manila in 1961.

He entered politics in 1995 when he handily won the lone congressional district of Iloilo City, the same district now being represented by his son Raul Jr. Raul Jr. is actually the third member of the Gonzalez family to serve in Congress. Dr. Pacita Trinidad-Gonzalez, his loving wife, once served and served well as representative of the second district of Zambales.

He was appointed to his present position in 2004. he went on leave only once on Aug. 31, 2007, in preparation for his kidney operation two weeks thereafter. When Felicito Gunay or Muroy’s kidney (that’s his loyal driver) was transplanted into his body system on Sept. 14 of the same year. The following day, our appointee recovered from the kidney transplant with excellent kidney function. Thus urine output of 6 liters in 20 hours, creatinine secretion of 1.5 mg per deciliter, the normal being 1.3.

The National Kidney and Transplant Institute says 98% of kidney recipients lived after 1 year, 93% survive after 3 years, and 83% after 5 years.

While Speaker Boy Nograles had denied reports he wanted our recommendee’s job as a steppingstone to his being an associate justice of the Supreme Court, other lawyers of the administration party may have to wait for now or never.

Defending the appointee may put anyone in a no-win situation. I remember it did not take 24 hours after this representation, on behalf of the committee on justice and JBC recommended Sec. Gonzalez for confirmation before the plenary, I woke up the following morning chewing not a few scathing words from the main editorial of a major, major newspaper.

In part, the editorial quoted my remark during the committee hearing when I said ‘A journey, no matter how long and hard, should reach the crossroads.’ The same editorial then proceeded to say ‘Well yes but reaching the crossroads does not necessarily mean going ahead; it can also mean turning back. Lacson’s metaphorical justification does not in fact justify anything.’

Ladies and gentlemen of this august body, you and I know that crossroads in our case can only mean two possible turns, left or right. Either we confirm or reject a nominee or an appointee. We do not turn back on a motion and its subsequent secondment.

Sec. Gonzalez weathered through the professional and personal allegations leveled against him. Evidence of his tenacity and steadfastness was the secretary’s ability to outlast two congresses, and therefore two Commissions on Appointments.

We must therefore give due credence to Sec. Gonzalez’s endurance not only in his professional career but in his personal life as well.

Immediately going back to work after a life-threatening kidney operation would indicate his passion and dedication that many of us in government do not possess and should possess. He definitely loves his job and he certainly loves to work.

This humble representation has mostly been at the receiving end of the appointee’s passion for persecuting the so-called enemies of the state. My friends in the opposition had asked me to meet the secretary’s passion with equal passion to wit. I asked them back, how about compassion?

Therefore as chairman of the committee on justice and the JBC, it is this humble representation’s distinct privilege and honor to recommend the confirmation of the ad interim appointment of the Hon. Raul M. Gonzalez as SOJ.

I so move Mr. Chairman.

*****