February 2012

Bakit ako?

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After the prosecution showed the wide disparity between impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona’s undeclared assets and the assets he declared under oath in his SALNs (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and net worth), Corona’s apostles counterattacked with a story lifted from the gospel of John.

They said John wrote that Jesus told a crowd who had gathered to stone a woman caught committing adultery, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”. From there they turned to the prosecution panel and the senator judges and asked, “Who among you has never lied in his SALN?”

Apparently, Lent has inspired them to preach and pontificate on the gospel. They would have us believe that the moral of John’s story is Christ wanted the stoners to leave the judging and punishing to Him because He is the only one among them who is without sin or, as they say in the native tongue, “I-pa sa Diyos niyo na lang ang mga makasalanan.”

Ano kayo sinuswerte? But okay, I’ll play along.

“Now I ask you,” as Sen. Joker Arroyo is wont to say in his tortuous soliloquies, but this is me asking myself a question, “why do we even bother to have cops, prosecutors, judges, and jailers if everyone is a sinner anyway and we already have someone who is without sin to cast the first stone?”

The answer to that question is so obvious that I don’t have to be defense counsel Serafin Cuevas to raise a crooked finger and say, “Liding kweschon, Yerenner plis, not only that but it is also rhetorical so it does not require an answer, Yerenner.”

Okay, I will reframe my question, “Are you nuts?”

And the answer to my own question is, “No, because we need order in society and someone has to enforce it. We agreed among ourselves that, although we are all sinners, we have no choice but to employ fellow sinners to act as law enforcers—to be cops, prosecutors, judges, and jailers—so that we don’t have to live like animals, so that our lives do not become nasty, brutish, and short.”

The answer does not end there.

“Because we are all sinners and we appointed fellow sinners to uphold and enforce our rules, the cardinal rule then becomes ‘don’t get caught’ and not ‘he who is without sin cast the first stone’. That’s why when you break the law and you get caught you can’t go around wailing and getting indignant over the fact that you are not the only lawbreaker because, in fact, you are the only one stupid enough to get caught and you are now being stoned so that your fellow sinners can feel good about themselves.”

That brings us to the subject of sacrificial lambs. My good friend Oichi Peeja explained, “A sacrificial lamb is a metaphorical reference to a person or animal sacrificed (killed or discounted in some way) for the common good. The term is derived from the traditions of Abrahamic religion where a lamb is a highly valued possession, but is offered to God as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of Sin.”

Jesus Christ is the quintessential sacrificial lamb. “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” He came to earth and had Himself crucified to atone for and wash away all of our sins.

Similarly, shouldn’t Corona welcome his impeachment as a blessed opportunity to emulate Jesus Christ? Not everybody is chosen to become a sacrificial lamb, the one who will atone for and wash away all the sins of our utterly corrupt society, the one who will make all of us feel good and clean afterwards. It’s a great and distinct honor to be chosen as the sacrificial lamb. It is sacred and saintly. That’s why I don’t understand why Corona has been going around crying and wailing like a spoiled child asking the whole world, “Bakit ako,bakit hindi na lang si Noynoy ang i-sacrifice ninyo?”

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‘Di lahat ng legal ay makatarungan. ‘Di lahat ng hatol ay makatotohanan. Inosente lang ang naniniwala

Sa simula ng paglilitis kay Chief Justice Renato Corona, isa ako sa mga umasang ang impeachment ay magsisilbing instrumento para maliwanagan tayo kung bakit kailangan matanggal ang punong mahistrado sa pwesto.

Umasa akong hindi lamang mailalatag ang mga ebidensiya para sa mga senador—ito rin ay maipapakita sa mga simpleng taong tulad ko.

Umasa akong kapag nagdesisyon ang Impeachment Tribunal, ito ay base sa lahat ng ebidensiyang maari nilang makalap. Samakatuwid, umasa akong ang Impeachment Tribunal ay magiging instrumento para sa katotohanan at katarungan.

Kaya naman lubos ang aking pagkabigo nang mapakinggan ang opening statement ni Dean Eduardo delos Angeles para kay Corona kung saan ipinaalala niya ang kaso ni Harry Stonehill. Si Stonehill ay isang Amerikanong negosyante na inusig ni dating Secretary of Justice Jose W. Diokno dahil sa kanyang pagsuhol sa mga opisyal ng gobyerno.

Natagpuan sa bahay ni Stonehill ang mga edidensiyang kayang magpatunay ng kanyang krimen. Kasama pa dito ang isang “blue book” kung saan nakatala ang pangalan ng mga linkod bayang nagpasuhol sa Amerikano.

Ngunit matapos ang tatlong araw, ipinagbawal ng Korte Suprema ang paggamit ng blue book at iba pang dokumento bilang ebidensiya. Si Stonehill at lahat ng mga nagpapasuhol na opisyal ay nakaiwas sa pagkaaresto. Inutusan ni dating pangulong Diosdado Macapagal si Secretary Dioko na mag-resign. Nagmalaki pa si Stonehill. “Lahat ng tao ay nababayaran,” aniya. “Ako ang gobyerno ng Pilipinas.”

Hindi tama ang nangyari sa kaso ni Stonehill; hindi ito makatarungan. Ngunit ayon sa Defense Panel ni Chief Justice Corona, ito ang batas. Ito ang legal. Ito ang hatol ng Korte Suprema.

Sa mga sumunod na araw, paulit-ulit na ipinaalala sa atin ng mga abogado ni Corona ang ganitong pag-iisip. Ang ebidensiya daw ay “immaterial.” Ang testimonya daw ay “hearsay.” Hindi ‘yan naaayon sa batas. Ako po ay nahiyang magsalita, natakot magsulat dahil ano ba ang alam ko sa batas. Hindi ako abogado at malamang babagsak ako kapag kumuha ng klase ni Sen. Miriam sa Peyups.

Ngunit sa haba ng paglilitis ay napansin ko ring ‘di naman dapat ako nananahimik. Ilang ebidensiya ang naitago at pilit na itinatago sa likod ng teknikalidad: 1) Ang mga dollar accounts ni Chief Jusitce Corona. 2) Ang kanyang privilege card sa Philippine Airlines. 3) Ang mga testimonya ng security guard ng Korte Suprema na bigla na lang naglaho mula sa holding room ng Senado. 4) Ang testimonya ng iba pang mga hukom ng Korte Suprema.

Ang batas ay hindi po laging makatarungan. Ang mga hatol ng mga korte ay hindi po laging makatotohanan. May mundong malawak sa labas ng mga kwarto ng Korte Suprema. At ang katarungan ay mas makakabuluhan sa mga teknikalidad ng batas.

Walang nakakahiya sa pagsusulong para sa makatotohanan at makatarungang paglilitis. Hindi porke’t wala tayong alam sa batas ay magpapatumpik-tumpik na tayo sa pagpapahayag ng ating mga opinyon. Inosente lang ang naniwalang hustisya ang habol ng mga abogado. Kung may kikilos pa para sa katarungan, sana tayo na iyon.