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.