Lito Lapid on Twitter

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Thursday, February 2, 2012


HE asked a question and got Twitted about.

The question was neither eyebrow-raising nor head-scratching. It was the man who asked the question that had everyone sit still and listen to what he had to say.

“Ano po ang difference ng cash advance sa loan o utang?”

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For the first time since the Corona impeachment trial began, Sen. Lito Lapid, the action star turned legislator turned impeachment court judge, spoke and asked. He had raised his hand to ask to be recognized by the presiding officer, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile.

Enrile acknowledged him as “the gentleman from Pampanga,” a reference the people in the Congress hall took to mean Sen. Francis Pangilinan. But it was Senator Lapid who spoke and all eyes were on him.

He took the rostrum and asked the audience why they were laughing, “O, bakit kayo tumatawa diyan?” Of course he didn’t go to the rostrum just to ask this question that required no answer.

News reports from Manila quoted Lapid as wanting to be clarified on the difference between a “cash advance” and a “loan” in the light of the information raised at the impeachment hearing that Chief Justice Renato Corona had indicated in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) that he taken out a cash advance of P11 million.

Lapid’s speakout moment was Twitted about, and it became “the top local trending topic on Twitter for a few minutes, according to an abs-cbnnews.com report.

Lapid, according to accounts of journalists who cover the Senate, rarely speaks out in discussions. The senator is humble enough to say that he doesn’t speak English much and prefers to express his thoughts in Tagalog, the language he speaks and thinks in.

Regardless of whether Lapid didn’t truly know the difference between a cash advance and a loan, or he had had enough of being a member of the so-called committee on silence after 10 days of hearing the other legislators exchange questions and answers about Corona’s wealth, the prosecution panel took his question seriously.

Whether the senator was satisfied with the answer of Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali of the prosecution was not mentioned in the news report.

Umali, according to the abs-cbnnews.com story, had answered Lapid by saying that Corona’s availment of a cash advance was what the prosecution panel was trying to find out.

If the senator had an iPad with him, he could have checked the definitions of “cash advance” and “loan.” A cash advance is an amount paid before it is earned. A loan is a sum of money lent at interest.

His question was in context, and he wanted the matter clarified. Unfortunately for the senator, some members of the audience joked about his speakout moment on Twitter, the abs-cbnnews report said.

Among the Tweets were: “Tumigil and mundo ng tumayo at nagtanong si Lito Lapid.” “Sen. Lito Lapid nakaka pressure maging senator-judge, kailangan magtanong ng may sense. Pero pasok ka!” “Wow, Sen. Lito Lapid is asking a question.” “I almost fainted when Lito Lapid stood up and took the podium.”

Lito Lapid, the Tagalog-speaking senator from Pampanga, stood up and asked an innocuous question during the Corona impeachment trial and stirred the Twitter world.

It’s more fun in the Philippines.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on February 02, 2012.

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