I tell you, this impeachment trial is wonderful television. I had to kick my kid off his cartoons in order to watch Moe hammering Curly with a big wooden mallet the other day. And the raving Queen of Hearts offed Mr. Keh's head with her angry hatchet, somewhat dulled by abundant use.
The prosecution looked cool. The defense looked stressed; the microphone popped as beads of sweat dripped down and exploded into the sound man's earphones. The defense positively begged for an extra day to prep their final witness. As if truth required rehearsals.
Let me assure you, my kid will not be watching cartoons next Tuesday.
My first thought, watching Mr. Keh suffer as if his skin were being flayed, was that whistle-blowing is a dangerous thing to do hereabouts. What would you do if you got some information you found rather important, but unproven? I think I would have given it to the prosecution, but Mr. Keh did otherwise.
But it's rather like journalism, this whistle blowing. You toot the whistle or you write a cutting edge piece and you find yourself cut in pieces along the edge of the road, your brains resting somewhere in your helmet about 50 meters off the side of the road.
Or, if you run a school, you find your school is shut down.
I think Senator Santiago was a tad rough on the guy, and she ought to up her medication dosage or learn a little about the art of understatement. Like Senator Enrile. He chopped the dude down with about six words: "I may hold you in contempt."
If you listen to the defense team, it is THEY who are the whistle blowers. It is they who are the good guys. By God, they are going to show that this attack on the honorable Chief Justice is an evil plot by the President of the Philippines. They are going to instruct us on the truth of the President's nasty, crooked ways if they have to scream it over the crescendo of their shattering case.
I tell you, from this distance the carnage looks a lot like dollars are pouring freely from a Chief Justice's cooked books.
Whistle blowers are by definition honorable people. That's why they blow the whistle. Then the bad guys try to cut them to shreds to diminish their honor and punish them for the audacity of being honorable. That's the game. The whistle blows. The guilty become indignant and lash back.
Do you recognize who is indignant? Who is lashing back?
Not Mr. Keh. He just looks foolish for giving the envelope to Senator Enrile.
The defense has been strutting about indignant from the getgo. Lashing out at everyone.
So I'm wondering, if the defense represents a "good guy" whistle blower, why all this indignity? Why are they strutting around as if their ox has been gored? Where are the facts and why do they have to be dug out by a "hostile" act from the Ombudsman. Where's the maturity, the honor?
And that's another thing. The Chief Justice cries out for "independence" and respect for the judiciary. Why doesn't he give the same consideration to the Ombudsman? That agency of government has a legitimate, respected role to play. Why get her declared a "hostile witness"? Why sully her reputation and independence? THAT is in the best interest of the Philippines? To have a disrespected Ombudsman?
Pots and kettles, geese and ganders.
That's one of the things I've never understood about the Chief Justice. A judge in my eyes always walks with his head upright, calm, mature and with a kind of overarching paternal wisdom that pit bull attorneys don't have to have. Why is the top judge of the land behaving like a pit bull. Where is the overarching sense of reflection and prudence?
Honor would be found in showing his dollar accounts at the outset of the trial. That would be judicial. Why did the Ombudsman have to dredge the dollars out of the cellars of about 10 banks with a shovel and pick axe? Honor would be found in simply and accurately presenting the SALN property listing. Not redefining the facts as the case proceeds.
The defense has come to the point of arguing, "even if Mr. Corona is guilty, you can't find him guilty because of legal technicalities".
How about this notion. I don't give a shit where the information came from, or how it got here, if it is confirmed as accurate. Hang it on the gate. Sneak in through the air conditioning duct in the middle of the night. Text it in via Morse code. I don't care.
I care if this guy representing justice is, beneath his robe or behind his stonewalled bank accounts, a usurper of justice.
- "Usurper", noun, one who undermines with intent to overthrow
I have no idea where Mr. Corona got his money. I have no idea why he did not explain it on the SALN.
I have no idea why he is fighting so shamelessly. Blaming everyone else. Stonewalling behind legal technicalities and bank secrecy laws.
It is not the demeanor of a whistle blower. Or a judge.
But I confess.
Somewhere along the way, I lost my own objective bearing. I think it was when Mr. Corona appeared in court with about a dozen attorneys. The "guilt" sign went off in flashing neon letters above that huge pack of slavering wolves.
It did not exactly scream "humility", did it? Or good will.
So, for me, it has been "guilty until proven innocent".
I admit it.
Mr. Corona deserves his day in court.
Then our good Senators can throw him under the bus.