Rare book on Supreme Court snubbed by National Book Store?

Posted at 03/12/10 8:23 PM

Ramos: National Book Store has right to choose what books to carry

"Shadow of Doubt" chapters

(From http://www.shadowofdoubt.info/)

Part One

Parting the Curtains - This takes off from the retirement ceremonies of Justices—the only social function hosted by the Supreme Court—and leads to various facets of life on the Court

Father and Daughter - A comparison of how Diosdado Macapagal and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo dealt with the Supreme Court, including an account of how the Justices decided on President Arroyo's controversial oath-taking after Edsa 2, and her victories on the Court

Mortal Combat - The first comprehensive account of the Davide impeachment

Part Two

Packing the Court- A detailed look at the politicized appointment process of Supreme Court Justices, including the power brokers

When Justices Flip-Flop - I chose three cases which show how Justices reverse themselves for various reasons

Part Three

The Chameleon- An assessment of Chief Justice Puno's leadership, based on his decisions and management of the Supreme Court (Read excerpt here)

Puno's Quest - I followed Chief Justice Puno's activities outside the Court--as preacher, Mason, and Moral Force founder

The Successor - A comparison of the two most senior Justices, Antonio Carpio and Renato Corona; I tell part of the story of how President Ramos was rebuffed by the Supreme Court when he was pushing for someone to join the Court

Lost Momentum - The slowing down of reforms on the Court

MANILA, Philippines – The first book that provides an eye-popping look into the closed world of the Supreme Court almost never made it to print and has been snubbed by a major bookstore.

The author, Newsbreak journalist Marites Vitug, believes people inside the High Court are trying to suppress the book since it details several justices in an unfavorable light.

“Getting funding for the book was difficult. Many refused to be involved because it is controversial,” Vitug said.

But she persisted. The book, “Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court” will be launched on March 16.

“I was so intrigued by the secrecy that wraps the Court, its culture of confidentiality. The Supreme Court is an important institution yet it's not really scrutinized. It is the least known branch of government.” This is Vitug’s fourth book.

The book, which was partly funded by overseas donors, is the first to expose the maneuverings and the politics behind the High Court’s controversial decisions and scandals that rocked a sacrosanct institution. But it was a subject that was considered too hot to handle.

As “Shadow of Doubt” was about to go to press, Vitug’s publisher backed out.

In a text message to ABS-CBN News, Karina Bolasco, president of Anvil Publishing, confirmed they backed out of the project.

“Our lawyers advised us. It didn't even reach our dealer bookstores," she said.

One of the key bookstores is National Bookstore, the biggest retail book chain in the country.

Miguel Ramos, a scion of the family that owns National Bookstore, told ABS-CBN News that they haven’t seen Vitug’s book. He stressed, however, that the book chain reserves the right to choose what books they carry on their shelves.

Retiring Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno, who was one of those profiled in the book, denied any hand in the troubles Vitug and her book have gone through. He said he is not aware that anyone is trying to prevent the book’s publication and distribution.

“I am not aware that any member of the Court would exert any kind of effort,” Puno told ABS-CBN News, adding that the book’s subject and its release is all part of press freedom.

“This is part of freedom of the press. It's part of the exercise of that policy of coordinating with all branches of government, with NGOs (non-government organizations), with how policies and decision are made. So let it be," the chief justice said.


Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court is a publication of Public Trust Media Group Inc. For more info, check http://www.shadowofdoubt.info/ and http://www.newsbreak.com.ph/To place orders, contact Newsbreak at tel. (+632) 920-0997, fax (+632) 920-3611, email [email protected] Regular prices are P795 hardbound, P475 paperback.

Marites Vitug, the book’s author, is the chairperson of Newsbreak, a content provider and editorial consultant of abs-cbnNEWS.com.