‘Palusot,’ lawyerly evasion-A A +A
Sunday, January 20, 2013
“PALUSOT” was used 15 times in a 24-minute summary of arguments by Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodulfo Fariñas, deputy chief prosecutor, in last year’s Corona impeachment trial.
A top buzzword of 2012, it meant (1) alibi to avoid liability and (2) politician’s lame excuses.
“Palusot” was said to have single-handedly clinched Corona’s conviction, an exaggeration because he brought it on himself when he admitted owning money he couldn’t have earned honestly in several lifetimes.
Now the word is often used to pelt at the claim of a politician accused of mischief.
The result is the crippling of even a well-meaning attempt to explain. When a politician or public official asserts a valid defense, he’s capped with the charge of “palusot.”
It was effective against Corona and could apply to many other wily and corrupt officials. But it could also be a sweeping, stereotype attack that muddles a debate.
A similar non-argument is when an accused public official is berated for using lawyerly evasion.
When Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile said the 2012 General Appropriation Act allowed him to use Senate savings for senators’ expenses, Sen. Miriam Santiago said it was a lawyer’s ruse. Being also a lawyer, she must know not all lawyerly moves are shyster tricks.
If Miriam believes the budget law violates the Constitution, she can condemn it publicly and raise the issue to high courts.
At the impeachment trial, her repeated tirades at prosecutors not only made her a bully but gave comfort and aid to the side that used more (because it knew more) lawyerly gimmicks than its rivals.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 21, 2013.