DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/25 June) — JUSTICE CARPIO There’s a guy who’s been silent but had shown all these years his independence of mind and judicial fortitude.

Justice Antonio Carpio was even bypassed in the past. But he kept his quiet dignity. It’s not because he is a Davaoeño that I am rooting for him. But he deserves to be seriously considered Chief Justice, as he is the most senior Supreme Court justice now. He knows the ills of the judiciary and by being an insider he is in the best position to deal with the internal dynamics and the imperatives. If indeed there is a need to do some reforms in the judiciary, let this be done by the judiciary itself. The constitutional fiction of departmental independence, co -equalness and separation will be better served that way. Appointing the most senior and seating insider who kept his nose above the political fray in the previous administration will be best.

In fact, Justice Carpio was a consistent dissenter in his decisions during the GMA administration, although he was appointed to the Supreme Court by former President Arroyo herself. Returning to the time-honored and tested seniority rule in the highest tribunal will further insulate it from the undignified circus that goes with the scramble for the post every time a vacancy exists. This is that we are seeing today. And what we saw in the past. Let’s not perpetuate an aberration.

If indeed President PNoy’s move is to reform the judiciary and make it truly independent, he must, first and foremost, make it independent from him. Choosing known loyalists will make a mockery of his publicly avowed reforms and will confirm criticisms that he got CJ Corona removed because he wanted to have full control of the Supreme Court. Appointing Justice Carpio will be solomonic. That’s my unsolicited advice, Mr. President. (Ooops, I forgot I’m no longer presidential adviser!)

PACMAN TIDBITS: With the WBO finding Pacman the true winner, if I were Bradley, I’ll also return the title. But Pacman publicly said he would reject it and would rather retake it in the rematch. The problem is with the money that changed hands in the betting. Will the winning bettors return? I doubt it. That’s where the real problem lies.
A Facebook friend, Davaoeña US resident Choda Cuevo commented re Pacman-Bradley issue: “It’s not about MANNY. It’s all about MONEY!”
My friend, Col Art Evangelista, PNP officer commented that it looks like a conspiracy because big money promoters in the boxing world are now grooming Bradley due to Pacman’s rumored early retirement. So launching a new moneymaking machine, huh? Not cool!
CHINA RULES —I’m halfway reading Martin Jacques’ book WHEN CHINA RULES THE WORLD. It predicts that by 2025, China’s economy will outrun all others (Japan, EU etc.) and will be a close second to the United States. But by 2050, China will be way ahead with her economy doubly bigger than the US. India will be close behind while Indonesia will be a major player. All of today’s advanced countries will lag behind. Watch out!

BIG POPULATION –Don’t we all notice that the bigger the population, the best chance there is to grow economically big? China, India, Indonesia are examples. The countries that have lesser population growth like those in Europe will eventually fall by the wayside. So what’s all this hoopla about population control? All we need to do is put our acts together, not to cut down on birth, but on responding to the needs of more people being born.

Filipinos are good anywhere in the world. Let’s not worry about multiplying like rabbits or about our ballooning population. In fact, we should have more of our kind to populate the Earth and not unduly interfere with God’s wonder of creation.

The big question is: Are we preparing ourselves to deal with this?
STEM CELL THERAPY — I’m also reading another book “THE STEM CELL HOPE” I picked up from the National bookstore. It tells about how stem cell medicine can change our lives. Fresh stem cell treatment is a simple procedure where stem cells extracted from newborn baby’s umbilical cords or from bone marrow or from the fetus of specially grown sheep (Marino) are injected and which can cure and rejuvenate a person. No operation needed and no rejection dangers nor adverse effects. It can be the much-awaited “elixir of youth” because it is said to reverse the aging process with the young stem cells propagating and taking over one’s old aging and sick cells. It can cure sick organs.

I was told noted fresh stem cell beneficiaries are Senate President Enrile, President Erap Estrada, former first Lady Imelda Marcos, among others, including Davao’s own Don Tony Floirendo. I heard about Don Tony’s foray into stem cell therapy in his trips to Switzerland many years ago. (For how can you explain his energy now for such an advanced age!) His son Tonyboy even marvels at his father’s staying power not only in the poker table but in horse racing, travels and still keeping close tab of the Floirendo business empire. (Staying power in all fields, Tonyboy would insist with a naughty wink!)

P1 MILLION — I saw a brochure a few days ago. A medical center in Germany called VILLA MEDICA (go Google it!) even has a 4-day stay-in treatment package in its plush resort -like facilities. It reportedly costs US$25,000 (about one million pesos). A friend, a kidney doctor in Manila will personally visit the facilities soon and check. I’ll write about the results of her trip. Some medical centers in Manila have started their own stem cell treatment units lately, too.

So, if there’s someone having a baby in the family soon, go check with your doctor about that disposable umbilical cord, reportedly a source of stem cells. But don’t start butchering your pregnant “karneros” (Okay if for lechon or kaldereta). The tested therapy is using the so-called Marino sheep breed specially raised under controlled conditions in the European clinics.

REACTIONS — Here are a few reactions from the mail:
ENGR ROBERT “Boyet” QUINTO : “About the rice sufficiency issue, I think we have to leave the rice to the best producers and concentrate on where we are best, Bananas. I was told that the per capita consumption of rice by the Japanese is much lower than their consumption of banana. They are one of the healthiest people in the world. We should educate Filipinos to eat more bananas since it is healthier food than rice. Better too for our economy.”

MY COMMENTS: The name of the game today is complementarity in this shrinking global village. If it is much cheaper to buy rice from our Asian neighbors, to make up for our rice production shortfall, then let’s buy from them. There’s no point forcing it (and causing economic distortions) when it will be cheaper to get it somewhere else. Let’s concentrate, indeed, where we are best.)
MAMERTO “Mert” MARCELO JR : “Jess Dureza was in the Cabinet of GMA and an old friend in Davao from way back. He and his “friend” Party-list Cong Luz Ilagan (Gabriela) studied together at the Ateneo de Davao U in the early 1960′s. I, as a Jesuit was also in their batch. See what a Jesuit education can make out of individuals? Jess is contra-divorce while Luz is pro-divorce, of course with divergent reasons! BTW, Larry Ilagan, the late husband of Luz (also from ADDU) was a fierce human rights lawyer in Davao. (Was he not killed during martial law, in the late 1970′s?) Where does that leave me?”
MY COMMENTS: Luz and I truly ARE friends, without the (“) symbols, Mert! Larry was detained during martial law but later died due to health reasons. Mert whom we called then “Brother Marcelo” later “divorced” from the Jesuits and the last time I heard, he’s an accomplished business executive somewhere. Cool!