The best of the Senate, the worst of the Senate



IF you endured for five hours, as I did, watching the Senate justice committee hearing yesterday, I’m sure you’d rejoice at times, but also weep at times over this key institution of the Republic.

Two senators, Richard Gordon and Panfilo Lacson, Jr., demonstrated they were the best of the Senate, at par with the pre-martial law titans of that body such as Jovito Salonga, Jose Diokno, and yes, Benigno Aquino, Jr. If these two get to be presidential timber, I begin to have hope for our unlucky country.

Two senators though, Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV, were the worst of the Senate — ever — and the best examples of this institution’s degradation. They have proved to be the best arguments for authoritarian rule, just so people can’t put the likes of them in power.

Committee chairman Gordon was dogged in ferreting out the facts, and he elicited an admission from Ronnie Dayan, Senator De Lima’s former lover and driver, that because of his intimacy with the then justice secretary, he got her to appoint two justice department officials to higher posts, one even as Bureau of Corrections director, and was paid for his efforts.

Gordon though was as independent as he was dogged. He was eloquent, with just the right amount of emotional intensity, when he lambasted Philippine National Police Director-General Ronald de la Rosa for failing to clamp down on the illegal drug criminals in Leyte when all the facts—that it was the territory of drug lord Kerwin Espinosa, that ranking police officials were protectors of the illegal trade, that there were brazen killings, including the execution of Albuera Mayor Rolando Espinosa, in the province involving the illegal trade —showed that the province was an epicenter of sorts of that criminal trade.

De la Rosa could only whimper, claiming that the legal system, including the procedures of the National Police Commission, made it easy for corrupt police officials to hold on to their posts.

BEST AND WORST? Left, Gordon and Lacson; right, De Lima and Trillanes.

BEST AND WORST? Left, Gordon and Lacson; right, De Lima and Trillanes.

It is difficult to believe that the inarticulate, simple-minded De la Rosa occupies a post which Lacson once did. Lacson at the hearings was as probing as he was statesmanlike, and extremely quick-witted.

Without a moment’s delay, Lacson debunked Trillanes’ dumb claim that De Lima was being convicted just because she was in a photo with drug lord Kerwin Espinosa. Foolishly thinking that a larger photo–-as displayed in a projector—would make his lie true, Trillanes even had projected on the Senate’s huge screen President Duterte’s photo at a social event with an alleged drug lord, Peter Lim.

While polite to this colleague, Lacson exposed Trillanes’ utter vacuity by pointing out that there was no one like Dayan or Espinosa alleging that Duterte got money from the drug lord. Trillanes shut up, seemingly shocked.

Trillanes at the hearing, and as always, seemed to think he was some god who can bully witnesses—that is, the resource persons—to get them to say what he wants them to say. No one of course did, even as he irritatingly repeated again and again to the poor resource persons that they were under oath.

Trillanes revealed himself to be a true believer of the “post-truth” era, repeating several times that the “truth will be different when the world turns, when another administration takes over.” He should be banned from ever speaking in the Senate.

Senator De Lima–the elephant in the room until the last minutes of the hearing when her turn to speak came, and the heroine of those against Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani—was an embarrassment to the Senate and the nation.

She screamed at her detractors from the top of her head, as if she were at home, and not in the hallowed halls of Congress. I don’t think there has ever been such a scandalous scene as De Lima made.

She seems to think that shouting hysterically at the resource persons can replace reason and logic, and would convince them to change their testimony. Everyone in the Senate hall was embarrassed at how a senator could make a fool of herself.

What reveals De Lima’s indecency is that she totally ignored Dayan, who she had admitted—in a facetious manner in an light-toned interview—was her lover, but dismissed the affair as the “frailties of a woman”.

Dayan is in big trouble now, his life totally changed for the worse. He could even be later charged for conspiracy in graft and jailed, as he delivered the bribe money from a drug lord to De Lima. The former justice secretary would have all the money to hire the best lawyers to defend her, and she would live comfortably for the rest of her life, especially if she manages to remain in the Senate.

But Dayan? He would even find it difficult to ride a jeepney or a bus home, as his face is now all too familiar to Filipinos who would stare at him, and even whisper to ridicule him.

De Lima would have gotten some sympathy from the public if she had addressed Dayan during the hearing to apologize for all the trouble he is in, because of her “frailty” which her political enemies are now exploiting. And I don’t think it was the driver-bodyguard who seduced her.

But at the hearing, she totally ignored Dayan—except when she included him as the target of her rant along with Espinosa and several Bilibid convicts who also fingered her—as if he was, to use that cruel Filipino saying, a rag that had performed its function and was now to be thrown to the wastebasket.

What kind of senator, what kind of human being is that?
FB: Rigoberto Tiglao and BobiTiglao


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  1. “They have proved to be the best arguments for authoritarian rule, just so people can’t put the likes of them in power.” CLASSIC. There are people who still believe and support Trillanes and De Lima. Obviously, they see things differently. For me, they are disrespectful to the resource persons, and even to their fellow senators. They put so much heat on their Senate guests, but when they themselves cannot take the heat, they stage a walk-out. Incredible.

  2. Lopsided arguments from Mr. Tiglao. I can just guesa that eveeyrhing is subjective in this world. You got all the rationalities that also unveil your irrational analytics. Read more about Life to understand behavioral dynamics that are tolerable within the limits of ambiguity. Anyhow, you deserve norhing but the Filipinos’ pity for recreating realities not within the reach of your sanity!

  3. what if the bagman dayan did not account to his handler(s?) the true amounts he got from kerwin or from other drug personality??? no receipts! no bookeeping! just words of mouth!!! would you like to dig deeper who else is or are handlers of dayan? the lady senator was hysterically furious, but she can’t squeeze dayan to spill his other handler(s).Again if you are betrayed unknowingly just what the lady jsecretary experienced, then knowing these all now, how do you feel? sting sting sting worse than a bee

  4. what if the bagman dayan did not account to his handler(s?) the true amounts he got from kerwin or from other drug personality??? no receipts! no bookeeping! just words of mouth!!! would you like to dig deeper who else is or are handlers of dayan? the lady senator was hysterically furious, but she can’t squeeze dayan to spill his other handler(s).Again if you are betrayed unknowingly just what the lady jsecretary experienced, then knowing these all now, how do you feel? sting sting sting worse than a bee

  5. one thing that seems familiar pattern is showing, those who were with d5 need to examine their sanity. trillanes allowed himself to be rediculed albiet politely by his colleagues, when he tried to dfrive his point, which only fool would consume. dayan became a living zombie….
    one thing everyone ignored, the silent victims of dayan and d5 frailty….the poor wife and children of dayan….

  6. juan manuel jose on

    Sir Tiglao, sana po eh subaybayan nyo pa nang mas maigi ang mga kaguluhan sa kongreso at senado, pati na rin yung pangulo natin. Enough of the Marcos, Martial Law, EDSA rhetoric. Minsan hindi din ako kumbensido sa mga opinyo mo pero ikaw ang isa sa mga nagmumulat sa akin sa iba pang perspektibo ng istorya.

    What we need right now is a keen eye to examine these trapos who pretend to be the voice of the people. Your article sir is like a diamond that breaks the sunlight into several colors revealing all the sides of the argument.

    Ipagpatuloy nyo lang po yan sir.

  7. As someone who can’t vote here, although I pay many taxes. Your whole political process is unbelievably pathetic. Good luck. I can’t see anyone other than Gordon who deserves the title “Senator “

  8. same behaviour and attitude trillanes did to angelo reyes who was accused being corrupt during the arroyo administration. angelo reyes was a decent man i beleived and was only used. now again, it was happening… wala sanang mag isip na mag suicide sa dalawang resource persons dahil sa estilo ni trillanes ng pagtatanong.

  9. Although I admire the courage and intelligence of Senator Leila DeLima , I also believe that her attitude in the Senate hearing towards the “resource persons” and a “civilian observer” is inappropriate … however, for a person who cannot present an evidence to prove her innocence (except shouting series of DENIALS),I sincerely understand her hysterical way of conducting herself.

    I do admire Senator Lacson for showing how foolish Senator Trillanes for equating two pictures (under diametrically opposite circumstances) in his attempt to defend Senator DeLima.

    I salute Senator Gordon for proving that Senator DeLima lied about the Baguio incident.

    YES MR. TIGLAO , Senators DeLima and Trillanes should be ousted from the Senate !!!

  10. Gordon and Lacson are Presidential timber? Then Lito Lapid can be King of the Philippines for life. The Congress as a whole is one stupid circus for which the country spends billions to entertain the people. Name the best Senator and Congressman and tell me one thing he or she has done to radically change the life of millions stuck in poverty, injustice, drugs, government corruption, etc. What have they done aside from talk and sell themselves on television for the next elections?

  11. Delimaw should be charged of sexual harassment also. Hindi sya pinatulan ng mga lalaking type nya na matatalino. Kaya binaling nya ang libog nya sa mga subordinates nya. Nakakahiya. Disgrasya rin sa Senado ang katulad ni Bambam Aquino at Risa Honti-virus. Dapat maalis na sila.

  12. mr. tiglao what about pacquiao? he asked silly questions and said ” mistir tsir ay mub dat mr. dayan bi kuntimpt”

  13. You are one of a kind, Secretary RIGOBERTO D. TIGLAO. Excellent in all aspects as far as journalism is concern. You made our morning complete. BRAVO..

  14. Leodegardo Pruna on

    From villain to hero and vice versa or a zarsuela is what is happening in the legislative committee hearings. Let the truth come out and let those liable get their due.. God bless the Philippines.

  15. I agree. Gordon and Lacson did demonstrate the knowledge, demeanor, and actions that we want from Senators. On the other side of the coin, Delima and Trilannes represent the kind of people we do not want in any position of government, much less in the Senate.

  16. The Great Defiant on

    Mr. Tiglao…
    better if you classify them according to their reptilians species…

  17. Yes, Siree! Delima does not behave like an honorable senator (or lawyer for that matter) She obviously emotes like those nagging wretched stepmother or mother-in-law in TV sitcoms or in movies. And Trillianes is so bereft of logic and reason every time he opens his mouth.

  18. This braggart Trillanes, every time he opens his mouth his hubris is stronger than typhoon signal 5.

  19. Mr Tiglao,

    I totally agree with you. The reason I stopped watching ALDUB is because our Senate is as entertaining as this comedy show. Medyo corny ang Aldub sa akin ngayon dahil alam ko na this is just a skit, compared to Delima’s affair. This one is for real and very entertaining.

  20. Btw dat bootlicker Liberal Party Senator should be hauled to d court too.I hope someone will file a case against him whereby he went d backdoor negotiating quietly with China presumedly with ExPresident Aquino’s blessing.He looks Bobo with his arguments during this Senate hearing.

  21. Dear Mr.Tiglao,
    I’m glad like millions of Filipinos with ur observations and comments on d Senate hearing pertaining to d above matters. Sometimes,i wish we have a President like Sen.Ping Lacson to wipe out all those crooks,murderers ,corrupt officials/policemen.Surely ,Ping would hve them behind bars in a matter of time.We need political will to do dat.
    Look at that hypocrite De Lima ,pretending to b d true crusader against EJK ,human rights activists all d bullshit.i wonder why d Chairman never caution her though she is Senator an accused in d ongoing senate probe,she shouldn’t be shouting at d resource person and labeling them as liars!.she was implicated of collecting drug money for her senatorial campaign by her lover of 7 yrs yet she pretended as if shes squeaky clean.Does she has d right to call anyone including d resource persons liars,whereas her ownself morally is tainted ? Calling and branding her own President as murderer ,liar whatnot ,yet crying wolf when she was implicated in narco politics despite d overwhelming evidences and witnesses.Dat woman is an international disgrace an epitome of a corrupt legislator ,with no moral standing ,no matter how well she tried to defend herself.honestly ,I wouldn’t be surprised she will just break down someday and even take her own life out of one is to be blamed ,just her egoistic approach thinking dat she’s d only supreme lady capable of dodging scandals and defaming d President Duterte ,when she was implicated in narco politics.We really hope the truth will be exposed further pertaining to her involvement in narco politics.
    Cheers to u Mr Tiglao.well enumerated article.cherrs

  22. Can’t blame De Lima, She is under stress when all those People she had prosecuted are all turning against her.

    • Hundreds or even thousands of testimonies given under oath by drug lords fingerpointing De Lima means nothing without supporting evidence. The single and only photo of De Lima with Kerwin hardly qualifies as one. It’s as harmless as the photo of Duterte taken with Peter Lim. That’s the point Trillanes is trying to make. Where’s the crime in that photo? If they can produce several photos of De Lima with Kerwin or any drug lords in the act of committing a crime that will be enough to prove her guilt. Without supporting evidence proving that the witnesses are telling the truth De Lima will just dismiss them as mere fabrications.