Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms (www.aer.ph).
It was the high school graduate, Sen. Lito Lapid, who delivered the best speech on verdict day. If prosecution lawyer Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas needed only one word—Palusot—to sum up Corona’s defense, then Lapid also needed only one word to locate where judgment must come from: Konsyensya.
Extemporaneous, straight from the heart, sympathetic and at the same time stinging, Sen. Lapid proved that you don’t need a college education or a law degree to tell right from wrong. In four short sentences— “Nagpiprisinta po ako dito hindi bilang abugasya. Hindi po ako pwedeng magsalita ng Republic Act dahil hindi maniniwala ang tao sakin. Hindi po ako nagmamarunong dito. Ang ginagamit ko lang po ay konsensya. Representate ako ng masa na hindi nakapag-aral, hindi marunong mag-inggles, walang alam sa batas”—the unschooled Lapid put Senators Miriam Santiago and Joker Arroyo, Corona’s pro bono defense team, and all the know-it-all legal eagles in their place.
I used to dismiss Sen. Lapid as just another empty suit because I mistook his silence for a lack of anything to add to any conversation but he proved me wrong. Lito Lapid the silent senator said more in his brief extemporaneous speech than any of the other 19 senators who delivered variations on the same theme of guilt and the three senators who tried to bury wrongdoing under a mountain of disputable legal opinions. Lapid was the MVP of the day.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile has been a heel and a hero, a trapo and a statesman over his long political career. There is a saying among golfers to describe Sen. Enrile’s game, “It’s not how you drive, it’s how you arrive.” It means how you finish is the only thing that will count. Sen. Enrile will be remembered for the firm, fair, and impartial way that he presided over the Impeachment Court and for being on the right side of history not once but twice, in 1986 and in 2012. The same cannot be said of Sen. Joker Arroyo who was the darling of the anti-martial crowd. He hit a great drive off the tee but every shot after that was a disaster. His record from being a freedom fighter to fighting for Jose Pidal all the way to Corona says it all. He turned his motto “Kung bad ka lagot ka” to “Kung bad ka sagot kita.”
Sen. Miriam Santiago will go down in history as the Chief Justice of the Scream Court* and Sen. Villar as the senator who voted to convict after giving all the reasons why he would have voted to acquit.
My friend said the downside of the Corona conviction would be a chilling effect on the judiciary. “Corona was the head of the judiciary and you know what happens if you cut off the head of an organization. It’s not going to be good for the rest of the body,” he said.
I replied, “Yeah, but what if it’s a snake?”
By the way, when will Court Administrator and spokesman Midas Marquez resign?
*Thanks to the blogger who coined the term.