Colder in the court | Inquirer Business
Breaktime

Colder in the court

/ 12:58 AM August 20, 2012

Watch out: Some clandestine and, presumably, shrewd group already launched a “text-blasting” campaign obviously to try to sway our leader Benigno Simeon (aka BS) in his choice for a new chief justice.

From what I gathered, media people and business groups received the text messages, mostly attacking certain nominees to the position. That such an offensive came from a group backing one of the candidates, well, was the only conclusion that our contacts in business could offer. Somebody must want the powerful position badly.

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Now, if the group could engage in such a sneaky hi-tech assault, addressing the public at large, the guys down here in my barangay shudder to think what kind of intrigues that the group already sowed in the inner circle of our leader BS, where the actual struggle should take place. I tell you, there is some covert operation going on high up there in the government.

Anyway, the selection committee called JBC (or the Judicial Bar Council) already came up with a list of eight names as nominees, made up of five Supreme Court “insiders” and three “outsiders.” The “insiders” are acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio and Associate Justices Roberto Abad, Arturo Brion, Teresita de Castro and Ma. Lourdes Sereno, while the “outsiders” are former San Juan congressman and Estrada executive secretary Ronaldo Zamora, Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza and Ateneo Law School dean Cesar Villanueva.

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It seems to me that the JBC shortlist showed bias for an “insider” as their choice for the position. For instance, the JBC acting chief, Associate Justice Diosdado Peralta, reportedly only voted for five of his peers in the Supreme Court—and no one else—although the JBC had about 20 candidates in the original list. By the way, Associate Justice Sereno, who is the first appointee of our leader BS to the Supreme Court, in her interview with members of the JBC that was aired on television, said that the Supreme Court did not need any fixing because nothing was wrong with the institution.

She also intimated that, at lunchtime even during the impeachment of former chief justice Renato Corona, the justices would tell each other some “corny” jokes, and they all laughed anyway. In other words, to the good justice, there was nothing to fix in the Supreme Court, and they did not need a “healing” chief justice.

I am not sure that many in the business sector, or even the guys down here in my barangay, would share such a view of the courts, much colder than the prevailing assessment by the public. We all know that the Maguindanao massacre trial has been taking its sweet slow time, perhaps trying to establish a record or something, and the Supreme Court seemed powerless over the whole travesty.

In the business community, moreover, the biggest concern has always been the intrusion of the Supreme Court into some economic issues such as the location of the petrochemical plant or the Manila Hotel bidding. Besides, the entire judiciary has long been suffering from inadequate funding, not to mention corruption. How much is a TRO these days again please?

In contrast, Associate Justice Abad acknowledged that the Supreme Court was “wounded” after the trial and eventual removal of Corona, needing somebody to restore order in the courts. Anyway, despite the seeming partiality of the JBC list to an “insider,” some business groups actually put forward the idea of an “outsider” as a way to bring new perspectives and ideas to an injured institution. They are saying that, in the United States, for instance, the appointment of an “outsider” as chief justice has been the norm rather than the exception.

And it seems that Malacañang was listening. Based on recent pronouncements of the Palace boys, it seems that our leader BS was open to the idea. Let us see.

*  *  *

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Apparently in reaction to our piece last August 16, Globe Telecom e-mailed us an update on its $700-million (or about P3 billion) modernization program that it expected to complete early next year. It seems that, so far, Globe already activated some 800 sites for the so-called HSPA+ (or the “high speed packet access”), which speeds up connection for mobile phone and Internet.

At the top of the list was Davao City, which to Globe was a key market. The program started in Davao City last March and, according to Globe, its mobile telephone capacity in the area already doubled. The Davao region also saw the rollout of 10,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable for the phase of the Globe program called “4G long-term evolution” (or LTE) system, which is fast becoming the first global mobile phone standard that also increases speed in Internet and mobile connection. Thus, it all means better Globe service to subscribers in Davao.

In Cebu, according to Globe, the company also upgraded its cell sites and other network facilities by replacing old (or “antiquated”) equipment. Globe claimed that subscribers in Cebu (including the entire Central Visayas region) now enjoy wider coverage with less dropped calls, for instance, because of “superior signal strength, demonstrated by impeccable call connections and clarity, instantaneous text message transmissions and richer web browsing experience.”

As for Metro Manila and Rizal, in which Globe presumably has millions of users, the company said that “infrastructure change-outs” were already completed in Caloocan, Malabon, Navotas and Valenzuela (or the Camanava) as well as the towns of Angono, Baras, Binangonan, Cardona, Jala-Jala, Morong, Pililla, Rodriguez, San Mateo, Tanay and Teresa. The company is also about to complete the upgrade of its cell sites in Marikina, Antipolo and Taytay.

Globe promises that it will do more key activation in the next few months in the “mega” Manila, northern Luzon, the Visayas and Mindanao.

As a background, under the first phase of the Globe modernization program, the company planned to replace all—again, ALL—of its hardware and cell sites with new equipment, through a partnership with a supplier in China. That is what Globe has been doing so far. Now, the second phase is the more exciting portion, since it involves the more advanced systems such as the HSPA+ and the LTE—you know, the so-called 4G wireless technology, the thing of the future—needing some 12,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables that Globe plans to install.

In other words, Globe promises better service when its program is completed. Let us see.

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TAGS: chief justice, Globe telecom, JBC shortlist, modernization program, supreme court, telco, Telecommunications
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