Tuesday, April 28, 2009


This is a supplement to my previous post concerning what I believe is a mistake by the Supreme Court in ruling in Banat v. COMELEC that there will be a corresponding increase in the number of party-list representatives whenever a legislative district is created by law.

To refresh, Section 5(1), Article VI of the Constitution states that the House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than 250, unless a law is passed changing this number. Section 5(2) further states that the party-list representatives shall constitute 20% of the total House membership including party-list members.

The Supreme Cout in Banat observed that there are currently 220 legislative districts, which means there will be 220 congressmen to be elected from congressional districts (district representatives). To determine the number of seats available to congressmen to be elected under the party-list system (party-list representatives), which under the Constitution shall not exceed 20% of the total House membership, Banat adopted the following formula:

Number of seats available to legislative districts (220) divided by .80, then multiplied by .20 equals the number of seats available to party-list representatives or 55

This formulation was clearly adopted from Veterans Federation Party, et al. v. COMELEC, et al, the pertinent portion of the ruling stating as follows:

"Clearly, the Constitution makes the number of district representatives the determinant in arriving at the number of seats allocated for party-list lawmakers, who shall comprise "twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party-list. . . This formulation means that any increase in the number of district representatives, as may be provided by law, will necessarily result in a corresponding increase in the number of party-list seats . . ."

With due respect, I beg to disagree with this interpretation. The phrases “[t]he House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members" in Section 5(1) and "[t]he party-list representatives shall constitute twenty per centum of the total number of representatives including those under the party-list" in Section 5(2) of the Constitution unequivocally make 250, as the total number of House members, the determinant in arriving at the number of party-list representatives. It should be borne in mind that the House membership is classified or divided into district representatives and party-list representatives. Thus, when the Constitution speaks of the "House of Representatives," "250 members," and "total number of representatives," it refers to both types of members and not only to district representatives.

The 20% party-list membership would, therefore, have to be based on 250 or any number later on fixed by Congress. To my mind, the view that the creation of a congressional district - which could either be by the creation of a province, a city with not less than 250,000 population, or a reapportionment of legislative districts - will carry with it the increase not only in the number of district representatives, but also party-list representatives is simply mistaken. It loses sight of the fact that a congressional district may only be represented by a district representative or one who is a resident of the district and elected by its constituency. A party-list representative, on the other hand, is elected through the party-list system - an entirely distinct methodology of electing a lawmaker.

A newly-created district necessarily paves the way for the creation of a new congressional seat so that such district can have representation in Congress. A party-list representative, on the other hand, is not necessary since no new constituency is created for such type of representative. Only when a party representing a marginalized or underrepresented sector is registered and voted will a party-list representative be entitled to a congressional seat. And even then, the votes obtained by its party must meet the percentage of votes set by law, the number of allowable representatives from his or her party, and the seat to be created will not exceed the 20% ceiling set by the Constitution. Given this distinct nature of a party-list representative it would be absurd - contrary to the concept of dual type of representation introduced by the 1987 Constitution - to tie the increase in their membership to the creation of legislative districts.

To maintain the 80-20 proportion whenever new provinces or cities with population of at least 250,000 are created, what Congress needs to do is provide a provision for a corresponding party-list seat.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


The recent ruling of the Supreme Court in the consolidated cases of BANAT v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 179271 and BAYAN MUNA, et al., v. COMELEC, G.R. No. 179295 has elicited concerns about its constitutionality from some prominent legislators, bloggers, legal and political analysts, which reminded me of an old law school humor that when a lower court makes a mistake in interpreting the law it becomes reversible error, but when the Supreme Court makes the mistake it becomes law of the land.

This, I believe, is what happened in the above-cited cases which we will call Banat for brevity. Although the central ruling of the Court in Banat concerns the formula to be adopted in applying the votes for party-list representatives, which paved the way for an increase in their number from currently 22 to 55, it also created the consequent effect of increasing the members of the House of Representatives in a most questionable manner.

For ease of reference, Section 5, Article VI of the Constitution provides the following:

Section 5. (1) The House of Representatives shall be composed of not more than two hundred and fifty members, unless otherwise fixed by law, who shall be elected from legislative districts apportioned among the provinces, cities, and the Metropolitan Manila area in accordance with the number of their respective inhabitants, and on the basis of a uniform and progressive ratio, and those who, as provided by law, shall be elected through a party-list system of registered national, regional, and sectoral parties or organizations. (emphasis mine)

Notice in the foregoing that the number of members of the House of Representatives shall be 250. These 250 shall be composed of district representatives (those to be elected through congressional districts) and party-list representatives (those to be elected under the party-list system). Section 5(2), Article VI limits the number of party-list representatives to 20% of the total House membership, including those elected under the party-list system. In other words, going by the 250 limit set by section 5(1), there shall only be 50 party-list representatives.

But Banat changed this when the Supreme Court determined there should be 55 party-list seats based on the existing 220 congressional districts. As we know, of course, every congressional district is entitled to one congressman, and since there are 220 congressional districts there will be 220 corresponding congressmen or district representatives. The Supreme Court extrapolated the 55 by following the 20% limitation in section 5(2) in this wise: 220 + 55 = 275. 20% of 275 is 55. In other words, it arrived at this number by choosing one which when added to 220 would become 20% of the sum.

The Supreme Court used 220 as the known value, which is based on the number of existing congressional districts. The implication of this is that whenever new congressional districts are created – which, as observed by constitutional law expert Fr. Joaquin Bernas, S.J., are at present merely incidental to the creation of cities or provinces – the known value increases and more seats for party-list representatives are also created. This will result in an increase in the number of members of the House of Representatives. As clearly pointed out by Philippine Commentary blogger Dean Jorge Bacobo, “every time five new Congressional Districts are created because of population growth, we are now to assume that one new Lower House seat has been created as well and made available to the Party List System.”

What is questionable about this is that section 5(1) clearly limits the number of congressmen to 250, and only a law passed by Congress can change this number by the phrase “unless otherwise fixed by law.” While the creation of a new province could very well satisfy the requirement of a law, since in that case Congress will have to pass a law and such newly-created province, by constitutional mandate, automatically carries with it the creation of a new congressional district and, therefore, a corresponding increase in House membership, the same rule cannot extend to an increase in House membership through party-list representatives. An increase in House membership brought about by the creation of a new province clearly refers only to district representatives as opposed to party-list representatives, because it is based on the creation of a congressional district.

It would be a stretch of the imagination to say that the law fixing the number of House members can be a ruling of the Supreme Court, for while decisions of the Supreme Court form part of the law of the land they are strictly speaking merely interpretations of what the law is. Clearly, the law contemplated in section 5(1) is one that is passed by Congress in the performance of its legislative function.

To quote Sema v. COMELEC, G.R. Nos. 177597 & G.R. No. 178628 (July 16, 2008), which is incidentally also written by Justice Antonio Carpio, “[u]nder the present Constitution, as well as in past Constitutions, the power to increase the allowable membership in the House of Representatives, and to reapportion legislative districts, is vested exclusively in Congress. . .Section 5 (1), Article VI of the Constitution vests in Congress the power to increase, through a law, the allowable membership in the House of Representatives.” (emphasis mine)

What suddenly made the Supreme Court reverse itself and stretch the rule on increasing House membership via the creation of a legislative district to party-list representatives is perplexing. The following obiter dictum in the Sema case is interesting, especially so that the writer therein is the writer of the Court’s opinion in Banat:

Incidentally, in the present 14th Congress, there are 219 district representatives out of the maximum 250 seats in the House of Representatives. Since party-list members shall constitute 20 percent of total membership of the House, there should at least be 50 party-list seats available in every election in case 50 party-list candidates are proclaimed winners. This leaves only 200 seats for district representatives, much less than the 219 incumbent district representatives. Thus, there is a need now for Congress to increase by law the allowable membership of the House, even before Congress can create new provinces. (emphasis mine)

This observation of Justice Carpio clearly shows that only a law passed by Congress can increase House membership via party-list representatives. In fact, he was even urging Congress then that such law should precede the creation of any new province, obviously to comply with the constitutional requirement that party-list representatives shall constitute 20% of the total House membership.

So what precipitated this sudden departure from the clearly established rule that only a law passed by Congress can increase membership in the House of Representatives? Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, April 20, 2009


A U.S. soldier watches over a detainee in a prolonged
stress position at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq

Sleep deprivation. Starvation. Forced nudity. Prolonged stress position. Water dousing. Slamming on a wall. Enhanced interrogation techniques. Secret detention facililties. These may all sound like straight out of a Robert Ludlum spy novel, but no, these are practices that have been adopted by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) after 9/11 in dealing with suspected terrorists.

It is now official: the U.S. government has authorized the use of torture in interrogating terrorist suspects. This was the revelation made with the recent release of Bush administration memos that outlined and sanctioned the various extra-constitutional methods employed in interrogating terrorist suspects - just a few weeks after a confidential Red Cross report found its way to a journalist's hands which enumerated in gory details these interrogation techniques and confirmed the existence of secret detention facilities abroad being maintained by the CIA, known as "black sites," where terrorist suspects are whisked in secret for the purpose of conducting unfettered interrogations in a practice called "extraordinary rendition."

U.S. President Obama has stood firm by his campaign promises and committment to keep America's ideals and security in harmony by adhering to its values of protecting and promoting civil liberties under the constitution. Just a few days into his office, Obama issued an executive order for the closure in a year's time of the notorious Guantanamo Bay detention facilities (Gitmo) in Cuba; he appointed Leon Panetta - a vocal critic against torture - to head the CIA, who himself has recently ordered the closure of all "black sites" and an end to extraordinary rendition. And now, Obama has authorized the release of Bush administration memos on torture, which got national security hawks and right wingers peddling claims about America's safety being endangered by Obama's actions.

This is yet evidence of another instance in America's history where its constitution has been thrown out of the window under the murky justification called national security. Although Bush administration officials and supporters - mostly from the conservative right - maintain that these interrogation techniques are not torture, their very inhumane nature militates against such claim. In water boarding, for example, where a detainee is laid on his back with his feet raised while his head is covered with cloth, water is poured continuously over the covered face which produces the sensation of drowning. Another example of a reprehensible interrogation technique is deprivation of a detainee's basic necessities - which is accomplished by stripping him naked, starving him for days and depriving him of sleep. Now I don't know what's inhuman if this is not.

Fueled by fear and paranoia as a result of the deadliest terrorist attack on its soil, America has stooped down and disregarded its ideals by resorting to methods repugnant to its constitution. What was once the example and leader of democratic ideals by other countries - such as the Philippines - had gone down a path where individual civil liberties became illusory, at least as far as terrorist suspects are concerned. No matter who the victims are, however, this will not detract from the fact that America's hands were mired in the dirt of human rights violations.

It is hoped that President Obama will remain true to his committment to restore America's fallen image. Even as now, however, doubts are already lingering about his resolve when he declared immunity from prosecution of those involved in torture. Human rights groups took no pause in criticizing Obama's refusal to prosecute those who engaged in or authorized the tortures, accusing him of political expediency. But by releasing the torture memos at the risk of criticisms from conservatives and even the alienation of his own intelligence community, Obama clearly has taken a bold step in righting the wrongs of the past and moving in the right direction. The US constitution just got retrieved from a heap of garbage . . . hopefully for good.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


With the controversy on the shooting of ABS-CBN broadcaster Ted Failon’s wife and subsequent arrest of his employees, “obstruction of justice” is now probably one of the most searched – googled, if you will – phrases in the internet among Filipinos. Even before this incident, however, I’m sure you have heard it mentioned several times already after the 2007 Manila Peninsula Hotel coup when several journalists were arrested for this offense.

The plain objective of PD 1829 is to penalize people who prevent the arrest and prosecution of criminals as shown by the title of the law. Section 1 tells us the different ways how this crime may be committed, but of immediate concern are the prohibited acts attributed to Failon and his employees which are found in paragraph (b) of Section 1. The pertinent provisions are as follow:

Section 1. The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases by committing any of the following acts:
x x x
(b) altering, destroying, suppressing or concealing any paper, record, document, or object, with intent to impair its verity, authenticity, legibility, availability, or admissibility as evidence in any investigation of or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or to be used in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases;

Simply put, Section 1(b) means destroying or messing up anything that might furnish evidence for the arrest and prosecution of criminal suspects. As applied to Failon and company, they are being charged under this section for cleaning the bathroom where Failon’s wife was shot; for corrupting a crime scene. The theory is that by cleaning the bathroom investigators were prevented from collecting evidence that would help them identify, arrest and prosecute the offenders.

To be liable for this crime, however, the law requires a particular state of mind or what lawyers call the mens rea. It is not enough that the prohibited act was committed; the act must be accompanied by a particular state of mind. The offense, as defined, requires the doing of the act with a guilty mind or criminal intent as opposed to one being penalized only for reasons of public policy – an offense where a person would be held criminally liable by merely intentionally and voluntarily doing the prohibited act, such as illegal possession of firearms. Obstruction, in contrast, cannot be committed by the mere intentional and voluntary commission of any of the prohibited acts in Section 1 for it requires a specific criminal intent.

The word “willfully” in Section 1 clearly indicates this, which means there was awareness that the act performed was of a particular nature or knowledge that the act will necessarily or very likely cause a particular result. In other words, the suspect knows that his act of destroying, concealing or corrupting evidence will prevent or delay or very likely prevent or delay the arrest and prosecution of a criminal suspect.

Specifically, the mens rea in paragraph (b) is the intent to impair the authenticity, legibility, verity or availability of the evidence in a crime. Applying this to Failon and company, it must be proven that their intention in cleaning the bathroom was to remove or destroy anything that might provide evidence against whoever was responsible for the shooting of Failon’s wife.

Thus, if it could be proven that the scene of the incident was cleaned for sanitary purposes or to remove traces or memory of the tragic incident the mens rea required would be lacking. Given the claim of suicide by Failon, it would not be out of the ordinary that the bathroom would immediately be cleaned. It is very likely and reasonable for someone to want that part of his house where a family member has just committed suicide to be cleared and removed of the traces of the incident, as obviously no one would want to keep seeing such a gruesome scene.

By the way, one of Failon’s employees already explained that the reason why the bathroom was immediately cleaned is to prevent Failon’s daughter from seeing the blood; apparently to protect her from witnessing such horrifying scene.

Another important consideration is the necessity of the existence of a crime. As noted earlier, the purpose of the law is to prevent obstruction in the arrest and prosecution of criminal offenders. Liability is premised on the commission of a crime and preventing or obstructing the authorities in investigating, identifying, arresting and prosecuting whoever is responsible for that crime. The sentence “in any investigation of or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or to be used in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases in paragraph (b) of Section 1 clearly shows this.

Until now, the police are still in the dark as to whether the shooting of Failon’s wife is suicidal or homicidal. They have yet to make a definitive determination on the matter. If the shooting turns out to be suicidal, no crime was committed. There being no crime there would be no obstruction of justice to speak of, as then who would the suspects be protecting from arrest and prosecution? The raison d’etre for the crime of obstruction would simply not be there.

In Ilusorio v. Ilusorio, et al, G.R. No. 171659 (Dec. 13, 2007), the petitioner therein filed charges against the respondents for robbery and qualified trespass to dwelling. She also charged them for obstruction of justice on her claim that they destroyed or corrupted the evidence for robbery and trespass. The Supreme Court ordered the dismissal of the obstruction charge against the respondents – as inevitable and necessary – after finding no basis for robbery and qualified trespass to dwelling. Since the court found no underlying crimes there was no basis for the obstruction charge.

Having said this, I was surprised when Sr. Superintendent Elmo San Diego, head of the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) which is investigating the Failon case, said during a press conference that even if they found Failon’s wife’s shooting to be suicide that would not mean there would no longer be criminal liability for obstruction of justice. I thought it was only his head of criminal investigation, Superintendent Mabanag, who was ignorant when he said no warrant is necessary for arrests under PD 1829. If it was suicide what crime Failon and company were supposedly preventing from being investigated, and who were they supposedly protecting from arrest and prosecution? San Diego is clearly equally clueless about what he is saying.

Friday, April 17, 2009


I mentioned in my previous post how the police made a mess with the arrest of ABS-CBN broadcaster Ted Failon's driver and three house helpers in connection with the shooting of his late wife, Trinidad Arteche-Etong. As it is, public outrage not only from the Failon family but from public officials and other observers rained on the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) for the brusque and cavalier manner with which its personnel carried out the arrest of Failon's employees, which resulted in an immediate backlash with the relief of the cops involved.

Luckily, however, the sacked policemen's superior Chief Superintendent Franklin Mabanag came out of the incident unscathed despite his clear involvement in the fiasco and clear command responsibility. In one of the coverages by ABS-CBN's TV Patrol news on the arrest of Failon's employees, Mabanag was seen arguing with Failon's lawyer about the questionable arrest. When the lawyer asked Mabanag if the police have warrants for the four's arrest, Mabanag curtly replied that the four were arrested for violation of PD 1829 (law on obstruction of justice) for which arrest warrants were not necessary. Yes, you heard that right lawyers out there, Mabanag boldly declared that an arrest for PD 1829 requires no warrant.

Now, I am wondering where the heck Superintendent Mabanag got that ridiculous and grossly misinformed statement. I have yet to come across a law, a rule of procedure or jurisprudence - let alone an amendment to the Bill of Rights of the Constitution (it is true that cha-cha is being cooked but congress has yet to finalize it) - which says that little understood Marcos-era law has been added as one of the instances of a warrantless arrest under Section 5, Rule 113 of the Revised Rules of Criminal Procedure. For emphasis, again let me enumerate (this time verbatimly) the instances of a valid warrantless arrest under Section 5, Rule 113:

"Sec. 5. Arrest without warrant; when lawful. – A peace officer or a private person may, without a warrant, arrest a person:

(a) When, in his presence, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit an offense;
(b) When an offense has just been committed and he has probable cause to believe based on personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the person to be arrested has committed it; and
(c) When the person to be arrested is a prisoner who has escaped from a penal establishment or place where he is serving final judgment or is temporarily confined while his case is pending, or has escaped while being transferred from one confinement to another. x x x"

Clearly, there is nothing in the foregoing that includes PD 1829 as an exception. One would also search in vain the provisions of PD 1829 and will find nothing that says an arrest under this statute requires no warrant. Besides, even assuming that PD 1829 says something to that effect, it would have been rendered unlawful already by the 1987 Constitution.

Philippine National Police Chief Versoza should immediately order the relief of Superintendent Mabanag as head of the QCPD Criminal Investigation Division and send him back to schooling to learn the rights of an accused person and basic criminal procedure. Better yet, Mabanag should act honorably by acknowledging his inexcusable mistake and voluntarily step down as an officer and a gentleman.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


I don’t know why the police keep violating the protocols established by law in carrying out their duties, especially the constitutional protections accorded each individual suspected of a crime. Is it lack of training, forgetfulness, comprehension or plain disregard for the law borne of a cavalier attitude – nurtured by that Maoist principle that power comes from the barrel of a gun?

Whatever the reason is, the plain fact is that the police never seem to learn from their mistakes in disregarding constitutional safeguards that only make criminal defense attorneys too happy in taking the cases of their clients and arguing for the dismissal of the charges against them on constitutional grounds – never mind the evidence, however overwhelming it is, for when the court finds the police violated the suspect’s constitutional rights in obtaining evidence against him, such evidence becomes useless.

This again is shown in the arrest on Thursday of ABS-CBN broadcaster Ted Failon’s driver and three house helpers in connection with the shooting of Failon’s wife last Wednesday. Despite frantic protestations from the arrestees’ lady lawyer about the absence of warrants of arrest, the police proceeded with the arrest in haste by collaring, handcuffing and herding the arrestees into their patrol cars, as if they were dangerous criminals.

By the way, the police later on issued a statement saying that the four were not arrested but merely invited for questioning. But no amount of spinning will detract from that fact that these hapless individuals were arrested, however the police would like to characterize it. Clearly, the four were not free to decline the “invitation” since they were collared and even handcuffed as they were led into the patrol cars. Those were clear indications of restraint on the arrestees’ freedom of movement.

Article 3, Section 2 of the Constitution declares in no uncertain terms the right of every person against unreasonable seizure to be inviolable. This constitutional protection is bolstered by the Rules on Criminal Procedure which requires every arrest to be accompanied by a valid warrant issued by a judge and enumerates limited instances when a warrantless arrest may be valid, namely: (1) when, in the presence of a police officer, the person to be arrested has committed, is actually committing, or is attempting to commit a crime; (2) when an offense has just been committed and the arresting officer has probable cause to arrest; and (3) when the person to be arrested is an escaped prisoner or detainee.

Since Failon’s driver and house helpers were arrested without warrants, their case should fall under the exceptions enumerated above for the arrest to be legal. The arrest, however, does not fall either under number (1) or number (3). The police were not present at the house of Failon on the Wednesday morning that his wife was shot; they did not witness the clearing or attempt to clear a possible crime scene. The police effected the arrest only on Thursday. Obviously, the four are not fugitives from justice.

Likewise, the police had no probable cause to arrest them based on number (2) because it is not yet established that a crime of obstruction of justice was in fact committed – that is only a belief being entertained by the Quezon City Police District (QCPD) – nor were the police with personal knowledge of facts or circumstances that the arrestees committed the alleged crime. The police were only drawing their conclusion that the arrestees could have been the ones responsible for the clearing of what could be a possible crime scene simply because they were under the employ of Failon. This is not the probable cause required by law.

Take note, it is not even established yet that there was a crime committed, since Failon’s wife could have committed suicide. If there was no crime how could there be obstruction of justice?

Clearly, the police acted in haste and without putting much thought into what they did. While zealousness in the performance of a public duty is commendable, respect for the law and rights of others is equally important. If the police do not want to be accused of inaction, if that is what impelled them to take hasty moves, they could have filed charges before the appropriate court or prosecutor’s office for a proper determination of possible culpability of their suspects. It’s not like by the time the police have secured warrants the suspects would have fled already; there is clearly no such exigency in this case.

What is sad in this is that even in cases where the police have correctly pinpointed the culprits in a crime, the suspects go scot-free because of the constitutional short-cuts taken. One need only survey the multitude of cases that reached the Supreme Court to see that skirting the requirements of the law in exchange for a quick arrest does not really serve the police well. By doing this the police are only making a mockery of themselves.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


While most people see Jesus as a religious leader- a savior - it is undeniable that Jesus was also a political leader of his time. Palestine, as present-day Israel was known during Jesus's time, used to be an occupied province of the Roman Empire, which was then divided into Galilee and Judea. It was then being administered by the ruthless and disciplinarian Pontius Pilate with the cooperation of Jewish puppets like King Herod and the religious elite - the Pharisees.

During the time of Jesus, the Jewish people were under the oppressive rule of the Romans. To make matters worst, their own leaders curried favors with the Romans to remain in power and religious leaders engaged in lavish lifestyles out of the taxes they exacted from the people, in addition to what Rome demanded. Poverty was massive and the Jews were restive of their unfortunate lot.

This made the Romans particularly strict in maintaining peace and order in their occupied territory. They saw to it that any dissent, or what they perceived to be as one, is promptly suppressed, such as the arrest and beheading of John the Baptist when he started attracting massive following out of his teachings on repentance and baptism.

Enter Jesus of Nazareth. Son of a carpenter or a mason, as some historians speculate, Jesus grew up as a poor boy in a small village where he saw poverty everywhere. This, historians believe, might have been one of the major reasons why Jesus grew up to advocate for the poor that infuriated those in power and led to his crucifiction.

Jesus introduced revolutionary ideas that ran conter with the conventional wisdom of the time. He brought hope and promise of a better life to the poor that gained him mass following, which made the Romans and religious elite uneasy. While the message of Jesus was spiritual in nature, such as by promising to the poor the Kingdom of God, everlasting life, love for one's enemies, those in power saw his growing ministry as a threat to them - an erosion of Roman political authority and religious influence of the Pharisees.

In a real sense Jesus was a political leader because he espoused ideas that run counter with the estabished order. The line between religion and politics was blur during those days; in fact Jerusalem, then considered a religious mecca for Jews, was the center of both religious and political power. But unlike most political leaders who went against the establishment, Jesus did not advocate the overthrow of the government nor called on the people to rebel against the Pharisees. He did not call for civil disobedience, rather he asked them to give what is due to Ceasar. He even proclaimed that he did not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. But those in power thought otherwise.

However the Romans and Jewish religious leaders viewed Jesus, his teachings endured and spread like wildfire that even his death and the passage of time could not contain. The irony is that the Roman empire - under whose power and authority Jesus was executed - eventually embraced his teachings and adopted Christianity as its official religion. Today about two billion people, around one-third of the world's population, are Christians. Amazing how a poor boy from a small village could become the center of a world religion.