WSJ: In the Philippines, Judge Consults Three Wee Friends

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007 3:44 AM


In the Philippines, Judge Consults Three Wee Friends

Mr. Floro Loses His Job
But Becomes a Celebrity;
Using a Little Elfin Magic

September 17, 2007; Page A1

MANILA, Philippines -- As a trial-court judge, Florentino V. Floro Jr. acknowledged that he regularly sought the counsel of three elves only he could see. The Supreme Court deemed him unfit to serve and fired him last year.

Case closed? Not in the Philippines, where vampires are said to prey on unwary travelers and wealthy politicians consult fortune tellers and card readers. Mr. Floro, 54 years old, has become a media celebrity. He is now wielding his new clout to campaign for the return of his job -- and exact vengeance on the Supreme Court.

Helping him, he says, are his three invisible companions. "Angel" is the neutral force, he says. "Armand" is a benign influence. "Luis," whom Mr. Floro describes as the "king of kings," is an avenger.

Mr. Floro has become a regular on Philippine television. Often he is asked to make predictions with the help of his invisible friends. "They say your show will be taken off the air if you don't feature me more often," was Mr. Floro's reply to one interviewer.

The day after Mr. Floro's first appearance on television last year, hundreds of people turned up at his house in a dusty Manila suburb hoping he could use his supernatural powers to heal their illnesses. Now Mr. Floro, who travels by bus, is regularly recognized on the street.

The Supreme Court says its medical clinic determined that Mr. Floro was suffering from psychosis. Even so, a series of disturbing incidents appear to have the nation's top jurists rattled. According to local newspaper reports, a mysterious fire in January destroyed the Supreme Court's crest in its session hall, and a number of members of the court and their close family members have developed serious illnesses or have fallen victim to car accidents.

Enough bizarre things have happened that in July, the Supreme Court issued an en banc resolution asking Mr. Floro to desist in his threats of "ungodly reprisal." The Supreme Court's spokesman declined to elaborate.

Mr. Floro says he is not suffering from psychosis, and that he's not to blame for the incidents. He points the finger squarely at "king of kings" elf Luis, who Mr. Floro says is bent on cleaning up what he says is the Philippines' corrupt legal system.

Mr. Floro says he never consulted the invisible elves over judicial decisions and the fact that he puts faith in them should make no difference to his career. "It shouldn't matter what I believe in, whether it's Jesus, Muhammad, or Luis, Armand and Angel," he says in an interview.

The Philippines has a long history of mixing organized religion with a deep belief in the supernatural. During the 1950s and 1960s, when the Southeast Asian nation was already an independent republic, the Central Intelligence Agency stoked fears of vampires and ghouls to help its preferred candidates win elections.

The elf, or "duwende," is one of a rich pantheon of supernatural beings that predate the Philippines' colonization by Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century. Many Filipinos make pilgrimages to Mount Banahaw, just south of Manila, which is reputedly the country's capital for elves and other beings.


• Read the Philippines Supreme Court decision dismissing Mr. Floro from the service.Jaime Licauco, who teaches parapsychology at San Beda College in Manila, testified on behalf of Mr. Floro in a 2001 hearing. He argued Mr. Floro is mentally fit and argues the former judge's beliefs aren't so unusual in the Philippine context.

Like many others in the Philippines, Mr. Floro says he himself is a Roman Catholic, and once studied to be a priest. He recalls that he wasn't convinced that serving the church was necessarily the best way to serve other Filipinos. He says he thought he could improve more people's lives if he became a lawyer, and he handily passed the bar exams.

Mr. Floro says he first realized he had the power to perceive Armand, Angel and Luis in 1986. In 1998, he applied to switch from being a lawyer to becoming a judge. He passed a mandatory psychiatric evaluation applied to all prospective judges and was sworn in as a regional trial-court judge in November of that year, handling both civil and criminal cases in Malabon, a district in greater Manila.

In 1999, Mr. Floro invited officials from the Supreme Court's administration unit to inspect his small courtroom. What they found unnerved them, and the Supreme Court convened a hearing to determine whether Mr. Floro should be removed from the bench.

According to Supreme Court papers, the court investigators presenting evidence at the hearing said they found Mr. Floro wearing blue robes instead of the normal black. Mr. Floro's own witnesses testified that he wore black on Fridays to "recharge his psychic powers."

The court investigators also reported that Mr. Floro began court proceedings with readings from the Book of Revelation and conducted hands-on psychic healing sessions for members of the public in his chambers during recesses. The investigators said Mr. Floro would sometimes enter a trance to write his rulings.

During the hearing, Mr. Floro revealed his contact with his elves. He also shared with the judges that Luis predicted that then-Philippine President Joseph Estrada would be ousted from office; Mr. Estrada was forced from power by a popular revolt two years later in 2001 and was sentenced last week to life in prison for corruption.

In March 2006, after lengthy delays, the Supreme Court finally dismissed Mr. Floro from the court service, largely because of his belief in the supernatural. Even though Mr. Floro says the elves played no part in his judicial decisions, the Supreme Court justices said his broad faith in mysticism and supernatural phenomena had affected his work. "Lest we be misconstrued, we do not denigrate such a belief system," Associate Justice Minita Chico-Nazario wrote in the Supreme Court's verdict. "However, such beliefs, especially since Judge Floro acted on them, are at odds with the critical and impartial thinking required of a judge under our judicial system."

Mr. Floro dissents. He has filed three appeals of the Supreme Court's decision since then and is continuing his campaign on local television and on the Internet. The Supreme Court hasn't reversed any of his decisions after suspending and later removing him from the bench.

Write to James Hookway at


Judge Floro's Blog:

Judge Floro's 27 Philippine TV documentaries on YouTube:

Judge Floro's Auto / Article User Page on Wikipedia:

Judge Floro's 27 pages, 34, 000 views, 1, 400 replies Legendary thread on RUSH Counterparts Message Board:

Judge Floro's email and yahoo messenger:

Judge Floro's contact numbers:

Celphone No. secretary Belen:


digitel Philippines land line

(044) 662-8203

I am known as the psychic judge


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