Saturday 15 December, 2018
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Supreme Court Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo

Anyare? Ruben Carranza wonders how Alex Gesmundo changed from being a freedom fighter to a dictator’s enabler

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Ruben Carranza couldn’t help but remember the good old days of working alongside Supreme Court Associate Justice Alexander Gesmundo in light of Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s ouster.

Gesmundo was one of the eight magistrates who voted to invalidate Sereno’s appointment as Chief Justice over her failure to submit all of her Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALNs) when she was applying for the post.

Critics said granting the quo warranto petition filed against Sereno destroys judicial independence since the petitioner, Solicitor General Jose Calida, is linked to President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been vocal about his intention to oust the Chief Justice.

In a Facebook post, Carranza, an abogado whose expertise is international human rights, recalled his stint working with Gesmundo to recover the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth.

At the time, Carranza was a Commissioner of the Presidential Commission on Good Governance while Gesmundo was with the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG).

“My dear Alex, in the time I’ve known and worked with you, I know that you tried to be on the right side of history and justice,” he said.

“When we were figuring out how the courts of countries where they (Marcoses) hid their stolen money could help us recover what they stole, I assumed we shared the same sense of grievance, even anger, at how a dictator broke every law to be able to enrich himself — while killing thousands,” the abogado added.

Carranza said the desire to prevent a repetition of the injustice and oppression during Martial Law may have been what drove Gesmundo to do his job at the OSG well even if it meant being apart from his family.

“The way you talked about your family while we were in San Francisco to meet with the PCGG’s US lawyers, I thought then that that was one reason why you were there, seeking justice despite its physical toll on you,” he said.

Now that Gesmundo is on the Supreme Court, Carranza wondered if the values they used to hold dear are still with his old colleague.

“Do these reasons still matter to you now that you are on the Supreme Court, in a time when your sense of justice and your measure of right and wrong can actually be what makes the difference between dictatorship and a future without one?” he asked.

While the Supreme Court ruled that Sereno’s ouster was immediately executory, Carranza remains hopeful that Gesmundo will recall their days of fighting for truth and reverse his decision on the quo warranto case.

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