Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror September 12, 2007 edition, p. A10.

Dear Pal,

First, let’s put things in the proper context:  A soldier blew the whistle on a rogue intelligence gathering operation called Project Lighthouse; the majority of your colleagues thought the story, if true, could have grave national security implications so they initiated an investigation.

Now, what’s wrong with that?


But last Friday, I saw you, Joker, and Johnny tag-team to block the probe and to impeach the whistleblower, Vidal Doble.

Your Team Gloria was not only “nasty, brutish and short,” it was also comical, mindlessly clichéd, and loony.

Joker opened his act with the old ruse of juxtaposing contradictory testimonies, a proven impeachment technique, except that Joker chose a transcript written in a language he couldn’t read—Pilipino.

Act Two of Joker’s comedy went something like this:

Joker (to Doble): “Did you have the benefit of legal counsel during your testimony before the Lower House?”

Blank stare from Doble.

Joker (whispering to a seatmate): “Can you translate my question?”

Seatmate (translating): “Binigyan ka ba ng abogado?”

Doble: “Opo.”

The climactic ending of Joker’s show was supposed to be “Aha!”—Joker proclaims Doble a perjurer because his testimony, given to the Lower House with the aid of a civilian lawyer, contradicted his testimony to the Senate.

But this is what happened instead:

Joker (through translator): “Yung abogado mo, galing ba sa AFP o civilian siya?”

Doble: “Civilian po.”

Joker (preparing to deliver the coup de grace): “Sino yun abogado mo?”

Doble: “Ibinigay po siya sa akin ng Criminal Investigation and Detection Group ng Philippine National Police.”

Joker: “Ooops!” or, as they say in legal circles, “No further questions.”

Johnny came next. His act could have been called “Nuts”—short for “Doing the same thing in the same way and expecting a different result.”

Johnny brandished a different transcript, but a transcript nonetheless. He read aloud Doble’s testimony before the Court of Appeals. He pointed out that all of Doble’s lawyers came from the opposition. And he got Doble to admit that he lied to the court…

…But only after Doble explained he went to court under military custody and that an officer told him, right before he testified, that it would be useless to tell the truth because he was still a soldier and, no matter how the court ruled, he would remain under the AFP’s control.

Joker and Johnny, comical, mindlessly clichéd and loony, only succeeded in proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the military coerced Doble to lie. And they call him a perjurer.

I expected you to do something different.  And you did. You did something nasty, brutish, and short-winged.

You asked Doble if he had a “relasyon” with Marietta Santos, the woman who accompanied him to San Carlos Seminary on that famous day when Gloria’s future looked mighty bleak. You forced him to admit, in public, that he had sex with Marietta.

One of your colleagues said your question was irrelevant but you stood your ground, insisting it went to the very heart of Doble’s credibility.

Pal, that’s low. Very low. That’s lower than any Blue Eagle has ever flown.

Forget Marietta, forget Doble’s wife, they’re adults, but didn’t you care how his kids would feel hearing their father admit he was cheating on their mother?

And, for the sake of argument, let’s say Doble didn’t have kids; you still embarrassed Mrs. Doble and Marietta.

And for what?

To prove that a married man who will not admit publicly that he had an extra-marital affair cannot be trusted to tell the truth about anything?

Pull your head out of your butt, pal; you only proved you don’t give a rat’s ass about a woman’s dignity.

Didn’t your mother ever teach you that it doesn’t matter whether a woman is from the Assumption, or from the Red Cross, or from the skankiest KTV bar in town, her right to her dignity and privacy is inviolable?

Fer crissakes pal, is there no limit to what you will do to protect Gloria? Couldn’t you have found another way to impeach Doble without diving into the gutter?  Have you forgotten “Fly high, Blue Eagle?”

You’re lucky Doble didn’t respond to your seedy line of questions with Joseph Welsh’s rebuke to Senator Joseph McCarthy, the witch-hunter who, unfortunately, was also a Jesuit product. I’m sure you’re familiar with that famous reprimand, “Senator, have you no shame? Have you no sense of decency left?”

Dick, leave your cheerleader’s jacket at home for the next Ateneo-La Salle game. A low-flying bird like you does not deserve to wear our Blue Eagles’ jacket.

One angry Atenean,