By Alex P. Vidal
“People are getting smarter nowadays; they are letting lawyers, instead of their conscience, be their guide.”—Will Rogers
IF we killed all the lawyers, as what William Shakespeare had “suggested” in Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2, no one would believe Rowena Guanzon, the fire-spewing outgoing Commission on Elections (Comelec) commissioner, who helped enriched our knowledge about “moral turpitude”, now becoming the oft-repeated words in the furor involving the case for disqualification filed against presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
In voting to disqualify the 64-year-old son of the late strongman Marcos Sr. in the May 9, 2022 election, lawyer Guanzon emphasized repeatedly in various media interviews that Marcos Jr. “committed a moral turpitude” when he didn’t pay his taxes as Ilocos Norte governor from 1982 to 1985.
And because of this, he was convicted in the trial court and ordered by the Court of Appeals to pay a penalty which he didn’t do, according to the flamboyant lady poll commissioner.
The first two petitions filed in the Comelec first division where Guanzon is the presiding judge, alleged that Marcos is “perpetually ineligible” to run for public office as he was found guilty of failing to file income tax returns and pay his income taxes.
This was before the then First Family was ousted via “People Power” EDSA Revolution in 1986.
Bongbong Marcos supposedly was guilty of moral turpitude for having been convicted of the tax offense.
The word turpitude can be defined as a shameful, vile, or corrupt character or acts.
According to Legal Dictionary, moral turpitude refers to conduct that shocks the public conscience, or which does not fall within the moral standards held by the community.
The law concerning moral turpitude reportedly has been constantly changing and evolving, as the moral standards of society in general change.
If the world “listened” to William Shakespeare and “stopped producing” lawyers or legal luminaries starting some 400 years ago, no one would explain to ordinary laypersons what moral turpitude and the legalese as a whole are all about.
Only the lawyers or those in the legal profession can enlighten and tell us that crimes involving moral turpitude are generally grouped into three distinct general categories.
The general categories of crimes and moral turpitude, according to Legal Dictionary, include: (1) crimes against property, (2) crimes against the government, and (3) crimes against people.
Each category reportedly consists of certain crimes involving moral turpitude, and crimes that are not considered to involve moral turpitude.
For the second time in six years, I considered myself to be very lucky when powerful blizzards like the recent “Bomb Cyclone” battered the Northeast and East Coast.
When the snow storm, categorized as hurricane, came January 28 evening until January 30, I was in my workplace and didn’t go out until after the weather monster has left.
Thus, I was spared of the terrible inconvenience and possible harm experienced by motorists and those who traveled from workplace to home vice versa during those turbulent hours via subway and highways.
When the historic blizzard, with a force double than the “Bomb Cyclone”, lashed at East Coast in 2016, I was also lucky to be “stranded” for several days in my workplace in Manhattan, thus I was also safe and sound there.
When I reached my apartment after the super snow storm in 2016, most of my stuff had been gobbled up by thick snow that penetrated through my room’s sliding glass door facing the street (that’s how ferocious was that 2016 blizzard).
As of this writing, I don’t have any idea what happened to my stuff when I come home after the “Bomb Cyclone.”
More than a foot of snow fell in coastal New Jersey, with 7.5 to 10 inches in the metro New York City area. Islip Airport on Long Island reported 22.4 inches.
As of Saturday evening, A foot-and-a-half to two feet had fallen in the Boston area from Plymouth to Essex counties, with the powdery snow blowing and drifting in the frigid winds. Final totals could reach 30 inches in some locations, as light snow was still falling.
Given the high winds, lack of visibility and phenomenal snowfall rates, airports were having a hard time staying open.
(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo.—Ed)