Do you know why I love the Philippines and Filipinos? Because they have character.
They're good, they're bad, they're ugly.
Take the impeachment trial. Senator Enrile is a good guy. He holds the wisdom of the ages in his still brilliant legal mind. Sure it takes him some time to piece his sentences together, to rummage through the crowded or clouded memory banks to find precisely the right words to line up, to make every sentence mean something. But if you wait patiently, you find impeccable logic and profound thinking. Like the last two questions he asked that demonstrated clearly that the bank secrecy laws and SALN are NOT in conflict, leading even a half-wit to figure out that SALN requires voluntary disclosure of dollar amounts . . . or resignation because you can't live up to the oath.
Well, also not grasping the notion is the defense who clasped desperately to any log they could find as they shot down the river toward destiny. Interestingly, they lost control when the defense took over the trial and they got upended by calling the Ombudsman to the stand.
But lead counsel Cuevas was another good guy. Sure, he was stuck with defending a slimeball, but somebody's got to do it. He had to stand at the mike and face the condemnation of Enrile as the other attorneys slunk down in their chairs as the Chief Slinker Corona exited during his infamous walkout. Other attorneys were evidently in on the ploy, but poor Mr. Cuevas was not. Still, he hung boldly in there, apologizing and doing all he could do to protect his ill-mannered client. Throughout the trial, he had to work in a public spotlight with and against colleagues who were friends and former students of his. But he stuck to the high road, vigorously arguing the law and the facts, slanted to reinforce his interpretation of the law.
One of the "bads" was the Chief Justice who redefines slime-in-a-robe . . . offering up any excuse, any whine, any political attack in the name of vengance. His walk-out will define him for life, and his pathetic look, sitting eyes down in his wheel chair, getting reprimanded like a child.
And I put President Aquino among the bad, too, for this particular exercise, the trial. He just could not shut up, never understanding that his political condemnations of the Chief Justice during the trial were exactly the thing we hate about the Chief Justice: it's called meddling. Reaching for the court of public opinion rather than the principle of justice, the principle that Mr. Corona deserves a trial untainted by Executive opinion.
One ugly was that goody-two-shoes Keh fellow, who took it upon himself to go directly to Senator Enrile, as if he, Keh, were an esteemed part of the judicial process because he is idealistically pure. Well, he got what he deserved. A belt whipping on national TV.
The other ugly was whipping the belt . . . Senator Santiago. She used to be refreshing, her candid rants putting people in their place. But now every time she steps to the microphone, there is anger in every word. Maybe she should consider retiring, eh? The Senate is a demanding job, and no one will ever be able to live up to the perfections that she demands. She has become a bore, not refreshing.
And for me, personally, it has been a delight watching the various senators perform. I say "perform" because I think they do a lot of acting. My favorite was young Estrada, and I'm sorry to understand that he is close to the Arroyos. He has a disarming way of laughing at things. We never quite know what he is laughing at, but he laughs a lot, and sometimes I suspect he is laughing at us. That's very different than the stiff formality we see in other senators, and I like it.
Perhaps the ugliest of the uglies are the media, the sensationalists posing as journalists.
No dirt, no rumor, no slander is too cheap for them to blaze in the headlines. I suppose they don't have enough staff or professionalism to actually dig for facts, to write in-depth stories that interview several perspectives. To do thoughtful pieces. No, they take the quick hit, the vivid display of shock and surprise, and wrap it in tissue paper. Then put it in the headlines. Then look for the anger that flows forth to add "substance" to the story.
I look around my neighborhood and I see more goods and bads and uglies. They are all over the place. More goods than bads. More bads than uglies.
And I find myself, like Senator Estrada, inclined to laugh a lot.
And so I am happy here.