I am a frustrated historian and political analyst. I must admit that after earning my degree in BA History from the University of the Philippines in 2005, i was one of the few sell-outs who decided to forego all nationalistic inclinations and instead, swim the ocean of what is most commonly known as the corporate world.
I still read and follow the news from time to time. I have to admit that given the fact that a lot of broadsheets nowadays resort to tabloid sensationalism, which gives me the usual urge to either scratch my head in confusion or vomit at the utter cheapness of it, i resort to avoid it unless it involves the Azkals, some interesting gossip or football in general.
So it is with my typical cynicism and apathy that i decided to steer away from following the Impeachment Trial of Renato Corona. First, i found it boring. Second, i’m too lazy to find a good live stream link to watch as i’m in the office during afternoons and third, i’m pretty sure that my average brain wouldn’t be able to follow the judicial jargon which will be spouted day-to-day (and i’m not just pertaining to Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago here). But then again, hearing a lot of my friends talk about it, reading about it in my Facebook Timeline and Twitter News Feed, I, like any typical “tsismosang Pilipina”, cannot help but be drawn to the impeachment drama like a moth to a flame, which somehow rekindled my long-hidden passion for anything historical and political.
I tuned in to rappler.com’s streaming of the trial for my daily dose. It was only the past two weeks that i really paid attention — about the same time that the defense presented Ombudsman Carpio-Morales as a witness (SIDENOTE: they labelled her as a “hostile witness”. Whatever that means, just ask your lawyer friends.) So anyway, ever since she dropped the “bomb” on the CJ’s 82 accounts, i was hooked and followed it until its climactic end yesterday, when the 23 Senator-Judges who were present explained their verdicts based on the evidences and testimonies presented by the prosecution and defense.
I’m sure a lot of lawyers, judges and politicians learned a lot from the impeachment which could be a precedent for cases/trials such as this. Lessons they could incorporate as they continue their profession in law. But what about the simple Filipino citizen like me? I hardly doubt that i will be experiencing any impeachment cases in my lifetime (not unless i run for public office, surprisingly win and do a really stupid job of leading the Filipino people. WHICH I WON’T, by the way) so in my own limited understanding, i have listed the 5 good things (IN MY OPINION) that came out of this impeachment trial.
1) JUSTICE WAS SERVED. Okay, okay. Some people may berate me and say, “And which justice do we presume to have been served here?! (with matching flaring of the nostrils)“. I get it, there are two sides of a coin, yes. But what i meant to point out merely is that, we finally had a verdict. Among the numerous cases being tried in the court (or Senate even), i can count on my fingers the ones i’m aware of (which may not be a lot, mind you) that was handed a verdict. A lot of times, cases will be presented for hearing, trial and everything else that they do in their “quest for justice” EXCEPT hand down a verdict. Really. They drag on and on until the Filipino people just lose track of it because another issue (or case) would pop up and overshadow the previous one. Case in point, the GMA-Jun Lozada-and-then-GMA-again-ZTE issue. Whatever happened to that?
2) FAMILY RECONCILIATION. So what if the reconciliation of the Corona-Basa-Guidote families seem to be for show when it happened? So what if it doesn’t seem logical for most people to see two estranged families, estranged for decades, hug and kiss each other days (2 days to be exact) after the defendant publicly maligned the name of their patriarch? Nevermind that for most of the duration of the trial, family issues of the Basa-Guidotes were aired like dirty laundry for public consumption as if everyone actually cared to know about those. THE FACT REMAINS THAT BOTH FAMILIES HAVE CHOSEN TO FORGIVE AND PUT ASIDE THEIR DIFFERENCES. That doesn’t happen all the time.
3) LITO LAPID’S SPEECH. Everyone was waiting for the former action star to speak. Some to understand what his basis for his GUILTY verdict was but most to humor themselves during the long day. I actually laughed when he said, “Hi Mark!” before beginning his speech (I think he was pertaining to his son who was also present at the Session Hall. Parang The Buzz lang ah.) and was already mentally preparing myself to count the mispronunciations and grammar lapses i was so sure would be the highlight of his speech (i wasn’t being mean by doing this, btw. it’s just something automatic. but i did ask forgiveness from God for doing it after) when i realized after just 10 seconds that out of all the Senator-Judges i’ve heard speak so far that time, his was the most sincere and touched on something that should be basic and present in all people especially those in public office (but sadly not all the time) – CONSCIENCE. Sure, his speech started in a tad bit insecure manner, highlighting the fact that he is only a high school graduate, even saying that and i quote, “na hindi maalam sa batas?” (and this came from a Senator, so i was alarmed) but he was the only one to acknowledge that his decision was based on his conscience, on the fact that he represents the uneducated, illiterate people who in reality doesn’t really understand the “picha pie” and see the long-term objectives of the said proceedings. Some of you may disagree with me pasensya na po, pasensya na po, but Leon Guerrero just redeemed himself from all his previous erring in this.
4) WHY I WILL NOT VOTE FOR MANNY VILLAR. EVER. Halfway through his speech, the reason why i did not vote for Manny Villar in the last presidential elections became more clear to me — THE MAN IS THINKING ONLY OF HIMSELF. In my understanding, it was Chief Justice Renato Corona that was being tried, not Villar. But no, he managed to turned the whole situation around and talk about himself. The unfair treatment he got during the past elections – black propaganda that was spread about him. For a good 15 minutes (or was it longer?). It seemed to me that he found an avenue in the impeachment court to voice out long-suppressed angst and frustrations from his 2010 campaign. The explanation of his guilty verdict along with my esteem for him as a senator all drowned in that dagat ng basura that he used to swim in. Let it go, Mr. Villar. Take some notes from the Basa-Guidotes. It might do you a lot of good and probably earn you points in the next elections. PROBABLY.
5) JPE’s 20-3 GUILTY VERDICT. Some would say that this trial is JPE’s Swan Song. 88 years old and still as sharp and witty as ever, it was him who pounded the final nail in the coffin to seal Renato Corona’s fate in the impeachment court. When the tally was already 16-3 in favor of conviction, many wanted to skip the other Senator-Judges’ speeches and proceed directly to JPE’s. After all, he is not just a Senate-President but also a lawyer by profession and public servant by choice. It also seemed to a lot of Filipinos that his verdict would be the most straightforward one – considering he doesn’t have any future political aspirations anymore, given his age. True to form, it was exactly that — addressing the issue of a hastily formed case by the prosecution and the defense’s penchant for involving media (okay, both sides LOVE to involve the media), JPE’s explanation upheld that the public servant’ first and foremost responsibility and interest should be to the Filipino people. Additional points for me that JPE acknowledged the imperfection and fallibility of all mortals, no matter how educated and intelligent they may be (unlike Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s narcissism), that at the end of the day, it is God The Almighty who is the Ultimate Judge.
So what happens now? After the case, the trial and verdict was handed, what is next?
Obviously, regular afternoon programming of boring shows with social responsibility will be back for PTV4. No more live streaming for Rappler.com (my best friend for the past two weeks), Bellagio Condominium sales will skyrocket, as if it’s not expensive already. Heck, even Medical City might have a rise of panic-stricken diabetics having themselves checked in at the hospital ICU (or not). There will still be no instant food on the table for the poor people living in the slums, oil prices will still be dizzyingly high. In fact, i’m pretty sure that poverty is still the number one concern for most Filipinos.
So what’s the point then, really?
Baby steps. When waiting in a long line inside a bank, an additional open counter makes a big difference to the whole customer experience. In a factory line, an additional person can help produce more goods to be sold. These are all processes that involves little things, without which, the whole experience would yield a different outcome.
BUT YOU SEE, EVEN THE LITTLE THINGS MATTER. If we are consistent in the small things (though this impeachment is no small feat), then bigger things, BIGGER CHANGES will follow suit.
So let’s be patient. God didn’t finish creating the world overnight. Who are we to think we can do better than that?