There are some things that I don’t understand with how some of our government officials are making decisions and policies.
Take the case, for example, the ongoing impeachment trial against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
When the president decided to gear the nation towards this direction, it seemed that the government is trying to make an impression that it stands against any and all forms of corruption in all levels of public service. The trial, whether it be in the senate court room, or in the public venue, takes upon it a cloak of moral fortitude, or in the very least the pursuit of it. It seems every other news item and event that has transpired since the impeachment trial commenced is but a mere footnote to the ongoing proceedings.
But after 24 days, and millions of pesos spent already, has there been really any significant progress?
I highly doubt it.
And while I am no political expert, my being a voter, I believe, entitles me to this opinion–that this whole impeachment trial has done nothing but to waste the precious money of our taxpayers.
To which fellow critics would pose a rebuttal “so what do you suggest?”
If I may… here is my suggestion:
Get the Freedom of Information Bill approved.
I remember myself inside the Batasan Hall during the last day of the previous congress. The FOI Bill was in the verge of getting approved. All it needed was a formality of vote-taking in the plenary. But from out of nowhere this congressman raises a question on the quorum, and in a seeming act of conspiracy, the vote was not taken, and the bill was killed.
I remember the former sixth district Congressman Benny Abante, the strongest proponent of the bill on floor, with all the strength he could muster, issued a strong warning that if this bill were to be denied its due approval, ultimately the nation will suffer more years of enduring the pangs of corruption that will remain unaddressed for as long as the government is not equipped with the right weapon to curb it. Cong. Abante, for sure, knows what he is talking about–as a pastor and leader of pastors for decades, he has stood himself behind his sacred pulpit to declare a divine war against corruption of the human heart. With a chance of doing the same, this time behind the rostrum of the House of Representatives, Cong. Abante, together with his fellow advocates of righteous governance, stood with hope that the bill would find its way in the noble laws of our nation, thereby proving our nation’s commitment against corruption.
Alas, the clamour fell on deaf ears.
A mere technicality rendered the killing strike to the bill which could have been the key to finally solving the issue our nation now faces. The nation is fast growing tired of the proceedings that have literally overshadowed more important issues like the plight of our brothers in the Visayas area who were struck by earthquake; of the rainstorms and flash floods that have crippled places like Quezon and Bicol; of the growing violence among our youth, the most recent of which has been the death of a student due to hazing.
And now the president took to the stage a few days ago to herald his administration’s support for the FOI bill to be approved. At such a time as this? I may be an optimist, but I must definitely stretch my optimism a whole lot further by saying that the approval of this bill ain’t too late yet. I am just hoping that our lawmakers would act as quickly as they rushed to bring the impeachment complaint up to the senate in getting this bill approved.
At the very least, Congressman Abante, together with the host of other lawmakers wanting to establish righteous rule in the nation, would finally be vindicated.
Do you know the feeling of getting impeached, or at least the threat of it?
In one way, I do.
Way back in high school, a joke was pulled on me as class president. While the ongoing impeachment hearing against then President Erap Estrada was at its noisiest, several of my classmates suggested my impeachment as well. The progenitor of the idea was the class escort (who is now a doctor), who, found it incumbent upon himself to “oust” me from the presidency, and him taking over. Talk about bypassing all the other positions of “government.” This was all, of course, taken in jest and good humor. Believe it or not, up to this very day, my classmates would remind me of that funny “incident”–a first, probably, in high school presidency history.
Believe me, my impeachment is nowhere near one-hundredth of the one Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez is now facing.
I must say she’s taking all of this pretty much in jest as well, even using a weakly concealed allusion to the late Angelo Reyes’ apparent suicide (hindi pa naman ako magha-hara-kiri). Whatever deeper concern or anxiety Gutierrez is trying to hide behind her smiles and light mood in front of the camera, I’ll have to give it to her that she’s done good so far in keeping her real emotions hidden.
I’m supposed to ask here (and answer as well) if she’s guilty or not. And then I remembered the Bible’s exact words: judge not, that ye be not judged. So, instead of clothing myself with an imaginary garb, and meting out a verdict on the embattled ombudsman, I’ll ask this: is this impeachment complaint morally or politically motivated?
Last night, as I was watching the news, several issues were being thrown against Cong. Neil Tupas Jr., the chairman of the committee formalizing the impeachment complaint, and whose father, Gov. Tupas, has a case in the ombudsman. I cannot help but think if Cong. Tupas’ seeming “eagerness” to get the impeachment complaint done is nothing less of an act of vendetta on his part. And I cannot help as well but question what the president meant in addressing his co-party members in the house to get her impeached. Is he breathing on the necks of the LP congressmen to ultimately finish her off, even before she can start defending herself, or is he trying to show that this new administration is well on track when it comes to correcting the errors of the past administration? I would suppose the Supreme Court’s decision to junk Gutierrez’s motion for reconsideration is to prove that they are not beholden to the former president’s presence and power, and that, in effect, they have their own standards of basing their decisions, free from the political influence of any public official. Personally, I do not view the Supreme Court’s decision as an act of the justices taking side with the administration. I still believe (despite the now circulating accusations of the wounded Lauro Vizconde against the justices) that the Supreme Court, as the highest judicial body of the land, must remain its detachment from any political motivation or manipulation.
I will not say that Merceditas Gutierrez is either guilty or innocent. Let the body that will try this case be the one to pass judgment. Let the due process of law take its proper course on this. My only hope is that getting to a decision or verdict of whether she is guilty or not, would not be the result of a political vengeance being waged by any one man or one party. My hope, and I believe, every Filipino citizen’s hope, is that truth prevail.
I know one thing for sure. If Merceditas Gutierrez was indeed guilty, she’d wish the impeachment proceedings would be no more than a high school prank.