Not nearly of the same mold

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By Andy H. Hagad

Bottom Line

Wednesday, January 22, 2014


I DON'T know how long he reflected on that privilege speech of his, but it looks like Senator Bong Revilla shot himself on the foot with it.

On nationwide television, the senator revealed that he was allegedly invited to a clandestine meeting at Malacañang Palace by President Noynoy Aquino. At the Palace, the President was said to have asked him to render a judgment of conviction upon Chief Justice Renato Corona. In reply, Senator Bong said he told PNoy “I will vote for what is right,” or words to that effect. Then he proceeded to convict the Chief Justice.

Assuming he was accurate in the facts he related in that privilege speech, we may then also assume that he voted for what he believed was right, that Corona was guilty. So why is he implying that the Senate vote of conviction was manipulated by the President, making it appear that without presidential manipulation the judgment of the Senate, his judgment especially, would have been different?

If he was as honest and as incorruptible as he tried to make us believe in that speech of his, then he must have voted to convict because he believed it was the right and just vote. On the other hand, if it was true (as again the tone of his speech implies) that he would have voted to acquit Corona if only the President had not asked him to convict, then he was just as guilty of manipulating the judgment as the former. The pot has no right to call the kettle black.
Senator Revilla accused Malacañang of political harassment in the filing of criminal charges against him. I will not go so far as to say that the President and his Liberal Party will never play politics because we can find “trapos” with their unsavory traditional political activities in every political party in the country. But I daresay if PNoy wanted to harass Bong Revilla without any factual or legal basis to back his harassment up, the wrong laps to throw the senator’s case would be on those of DOJ Secretary De Lima, Ombudsman Carpio-Morales and COA Chair Pulido-Tan, as independent-minded a triumvirate as one can find anywhere, a trio that no one, not even the President, can presumably manipulate.

Senator Bong attempted to connect the whistleblowers’ testimonies against him with the President, at one point saying that if Ben Hur Luy’s nose would stretch every time he told a lie it would reach all the way to Malacañang. As he accuses the whistleblowers of making up their statements, he should also be warned not do the same thing. A lie, even a white one, has a way of catching up on the liar, and unless he has evidence to prove that PNoy is in conspiracy with the whistleblowers to put him down politically, and that there is no basis to link him with the Napoles-Pdaf scandal, the prudent thing would be for him to keep his mouth shut.

I am old enough to have listened to the senators of yesteryears, the likes of Senators Diokno, Salonga, Aquino, etc. Even during the times when they would froth at the mouth when making privilege speeches, their honesty in attacking wrongdoing and the wrongdoer, and the fairness and the tone of the language that they used, even in righteous anger, were lessons to be lapped up and remembered eagerly.

Sayang, many of our lawmakers today are not of the same mold, apparently.*

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on January 22, 2014.

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