Thursday, September 23, 2021

Seares: Mixed feelings about de Lima

TWO images drawn of the beleaguered senator, Leila de Lima, as reported in the media yesterday:

-- One, of de Lima talking passionately at a forum on democracy at St. Scholastica's College where she recited a poem by Samih Al Qassim about enduring torment and she vowed, a tad dramatically, to resist "until the last pulse in my veins."

-- The other, of witness after witness testifying before the House committee that she profited millions of pesos from illegal drugs in the national prison when she was justice secretary.

One can sympathize with her in the first Image, but only tentatively as one is not sure if she is not guilty. When she quoted lines from Qassam's "Enemy of the Sun," about her youth being fed to the dogs or her heritage being plundered, one's heart could go out to her, as the Scholastica coeds must have felt. But what if what her accusers are right about her alleged corruption?

In the second frame, one can be initially appalled by disclosures, made at the House hearing, of alleged corruption through abuse of power. But the witnesses, mostly life-termers, could be coerced or bribed with promises of better treatment in jail. The shock could turn to one over an injustice.

Is de Lima a victim of an elaborate, state-instigated frame-up? Or is she a criminal who wants to get away with high crime?

The sex part

She has been getting support from women's groups and other sectors, but mostly for acts of oppression against a woman and the violation of the universal precept that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty and public shaming without evidence is must be condemned.

When the House members threatened to show a sex video of de Lima and one of her alleged lovers, the Senate unanimously condemned the plan. Immorality would be incongruous if her accusers are themselves immoral. But what if sex was an instrument used in the alleged corruption?

Thus the ambivalence many people feel about her plight.

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