Editorial: Who will have the last laugh?

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Monday, June 16, 2014


THE scorn heaped on Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. for saying he might run for president in 2016 despite facing plunder charges with the Sandiganbayan is understandable.

The common view is that when a politician is haled to court for corruption, he should consider as dead his political career. Revilla sounds thick-faced not to think that way.

But one can consider Revilla’s statement in the context of the stage he is in, which seems to be the denial phase. Revilla has long intimated his intention to seek a higher position. That he is insisting on pursuing that plan means he is refusing to accept current reality.

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Someone diagnosed with cancer, doctors say, goes through commonly recognized stages of grief, the first being denial, followed by anger, bargaining, depression and finally acceptance. Denial, according to Stanford Cancer Institute, is a “protective emotion when a life event is too overwhelming to deal with all at once.”

Being charged with plunder, for a politician, is like being told by his doctor that he has cancer. The prospect of being jailed and one’s political career ending can be too overwhelming to deal with.

This analogy can apply to Revilla more than to his two colleagues, Juan Ponce Enrile and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada. Enrile and Estrada can be considered veterans in understanding the realities in this country. They are thus acting cool despite the charges, unlike Revilla.

This is not to say that Revilla should be pitied like we pity a cancer patient. But it is possible that when he is jailed and is no longer overwhelmed by his predicament, he would sober up and see the folly of his “running for president” statement.

And Revilla’s statement can’t be more scornful than the derisive calmness with which Enrile and Estrada are reacting to the plunder charges filed against them. If Revilla insulted the voters and our electoral setup, Enrile and Estrada seem to take lightly not only our politics but also the country’s judicial processes.

Still, our hope is that the Filipino people and not Revilla, Enrile and Estrada will eventually have the last laugh in this pork barrel mess.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on June 17, 2014.

Opinion

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