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.
This yuletide season, perhaps the two happiest persons in the country are Hubert Webb and Hayden Kho.
In just a span of 4 days, the prime suspect to the Vizconde Massacre and the scandalous ex-dermatologist were both acquitted of their crimes, both on grounds of insufficiency of evidence. While Kho’s acquittal was somewhat an acceptable bitter pill, it was the acquittal of Webb and his co-accused that rocked the nation unlike any other in judicial history. What further sets these two cases apart is the fact that the case against Kho hasn’t seen its end yet, as it can still be elevated to the Court of Appeals, and if pushed further, to the Supreme Court; in the case of Hubert Webb, his quest for freedom has found its finality after 15 years of languishing in jail.
A finality, that still eludes Lauro Vizconde.
Sad as it seems, the survivor of the massacre that claimed the life of his wife and children might not live to see the day that the true murderers of his family will be caught and imprisoned. While on the one side, a complete family will be celebrating Christmas, on the other side is a widowed husband, still searching for justice.
People have been asking–is justice dead in the country, with the acquittal of Webb and Kho? Perhaps the first question to be asked is ‘who is saying that justice is dead?’ An even more fundamental question would be, ‘on what basis can justice be said dead?’
I think the problem begins when people think and talk of justice in terms of fairness. People seem to expect justice to be fair to everybody, both for the victim and the accused. We should be reminded that at the end of any hearing, one party will end up rejoicing, and the other reeling. Justice cannot absolutely tell who is telling the truth. It is not perfect. And when people start expecting justice to be perfect, people end up looking at it to be anything but.
Perhaps the most obvious irony with justice is that its fairness stems from its being unfair.