Does Cayetano pass the ‘clean hands’ test?


There is an oft-repeated legal maxim which goes: “He who comes to court must come with clean hands.”

This simply means that one who goes to court with a lawsuit or petition asking the court for relief must himself be innocent of any wrongdoing or unfair conduct (i.e. have “clean hands”). This doctrine can actually be used as a defense in court by a defendant on the ground that his accuser has a “lack of clean hands.”

This is true for cases brought before the courts of law. This should also be true for issues brought before the court of public opinion.

Perhaps this is the reason why many ordinary folks watching the continuing demolition of Vice President Jejomar Binay by his political detractors are asking: Are these senators coming to us with clean hands?

In the court of public opinion, the “clean hands”
requirement should equally apply to similar infractions on the part of the accusers as well as to their hidden motives and political agenda.

It is this “clean hands” requirement which the Vice President’s adversaries are finding hard to meet.

Take the case of Senator Allan Peter Cayetano. The good senator has declared that he is running for president in the 2016 elections, a move that hardly generated any buzz among Filipinos. The latest surveys merely confirmed that the general public is not interested in handing him the top political post in the country.

Cayetano has piggy-backed on the Blue Ribbon subcommittee’s investigation of Binay. Before this, he raised the “political dynasty” issue against the Vice President, apparently believing that the presidency can only be won by dragging down the reputation of his rival instead of competing based on one’s own strengths.

Cayetano’s ploy seems to have backfired as it only raised questions regarding his own family’s political dynasty. It is, of course, public knowledge that his sister is a senator, his brother is a congressman and his wife is the mayor of Taguig City.

There is also widespread public skepticism that Cayetano’s war against the Vice President had nothing to do with the long-running (and heated) feud between Makati and the Cayetano fiefdom for control of the Fort Bonifacio Global City business district, especially after the Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Makati.

So, does Cayetano pass the “clean hands” test? We’re sure the thinking public knows the answer.

Senator Antonio Trillanes 4th, on the other hand, may have also hoped to achieve a coup, pardon the pun, by taking the lead in the Blue Ribbon subcommittee’s war against the Vice President.

Trillanes himself is a self-confessed aspirant for a higher position in the 2016 elections. The public has long suspected that his assault on the Vice President is meant to provide him with a good excuse to remain in the public eye. His “militaristic” demeanor may have generated some hatred towards the Vice President but we doubt it will increase his chances of being elected vice president.

The latest piggy-backer on the assault against the Vice President is the Blue Ribbon committee chairman, Senator Teofisto Guingona 3rd, or simply Tootsie Guingona, as he was known during his Ateneo Law School days.

Many do not understand why Tootsie Guingona allowed the Trillanes-Cayetano tandem to run the Blue Ribbon spectacle against the Vice President. The speculation is that Guingona is actually cozying up to the Binays hoping that the Vice President would take him into their slate in 2016 just in case his Liberal Party junks him due to his serious “winnability” issues. He ranks no. 15 in the latest senatorial surveys.

Guingona has recently surfaced, making a media show out of his announcement that he is “accepting the challenge of the Binay camp.”

Again, just like Cayetano and Trillanes, Guingona may have failed the “clean hands” test. The way the public will surely see Guingona’s lame piggy-back attempt is that he merely wants take back the limelight that Cayetano and Trillanes had taken away from him.

Tootsie Guingona will have to look for other piggy-back opportunities to help revive a sagging political career pockmarked by a weak presence, biased questioning and factional partisanship.

At the end of the day, the demolition efforts against the Vice President may have come too close to the 2016 elections.
Elections admittedly have a way of making political aspirants go for the jugular, hoping that the attack on the frontrunner would increase their political stock. However, the frenzy for public awareness and approval often makes them take the negative campaign route.

But what happens after this Senate circus loses its public appeal? What happens when the public’s attention turns to the accusers?

Would the accusers pass the “clean hands” test?

As far as Cayetano and Trillanes are concerned, there are doubts they would.

As for Tootsie Guingona, the public will simply say, “Guingona who?”


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  1. Sugpuin ang corruption ng mga Binay!
    Ang lalaki ng mga overpriced at mga pera hindi nila maipaliwanag!

  2. mas malaking corrupt sa lipunan ang mga binay’s… they are only good making them selves rich… Famous sila sa mga projects nila, dahil malaki pala talaga yung mga na kickback nila…. if si VP Binay yung magiging president, kawawa na siguro ang bansang Pilipinas…..

  3. nakakahiyang mga atty pimentel cayetano at guingona san nilla and the coupal coup triallanes the are all linta and buwaya sa lipunan na dapat walisin mga nakakahiya nilalang instead na ang pagtuunan ng kanilang akaalaman ay ang lumalalang problema sa employment their minds are focus on the coming 2016 pres election. magpakita muna kau ng paltform kung bakit dapat namin kau piliin bialang next pres. o ngayon pareho kau ni Pinoy at cohorts mga tuta at linta limatik

  4. The logic applied on Marcos is acceptable but not when it comes to Binay? I don’t know of any politician who is a saint, and if you do then he must be from another planet. As far as ordinary folks are concerned who do not think like lawyers, any politician’s character who is aspiring for the highest position deserves to be examined by any means necessary, more so because of our recent experiences with presidents. Its okay for a thief to catch a thief, unless it someone like Binay?

  5. Kung ganito ang ating panuntunan na alam naman natin that “no one is clean” aba sige-sige nalang ang lahat ng bagay. Waalang pakialaman tutal lahat tayo masama. Walang usapan ng order, ng batas, ng katarungan.Higit sa lahat huwag sana dumami ang taong may ganyang pagiisip.

  6. If by you very first statement you said is correct then no case in this country would ever come to court. Everyone could get their case thrown out. A very simple explanation for that statement is this, ask any lawyer how much tax he has paid in the last 10 years. Then look at where he lives where he eats what car(s) he drives, just look at his lifestyle in general. You will see instantly that he cant be telling the whole truth. Now if your law also states that when confronted with a crime you can co confront the confronter that itself becomes a joke. No wonder when any person is accused they also accuse the other. Each accused should show evidence showing their innocence where appropriate. If there is no corrorabitive evidence then the case should be thrown out of court, it shouldnt even get to court.

  7. P. on

    I have stated somewhere previously that while Binay should, by all means, be investigated, the investigators should also be investigated. Pare-pare lang naman sila! VP Binay will run for the highest position of the land and he is “fair game”. Who knows he might be “corrupter”.

    On this note, are there any other qualified candidates to build up for congress? The media should be naming some possible candidates, say good mayors and governors from the provinces. Having the same names for the positions in congress, there is a saying which says: ” Old dogs can no longer learn new tricks”. However, I am more of the belief that these old dogs not really cannot learn new tricks, but they already know all the available tricks, including how to ‘corrupt’ and get free! No wonder, there’s no progress in the Philippines!

  8. No wonder the Philippines could never get out of the economic quagmire it has been languishing for the past 3 decades. It is being hypocritical in applying standards such as this “clean hands” criteria to determine whether individuals being accused and investigated of corruption are culpable or not. If this “clean hands” was used as one of the criterion, then nobody in government will ever be held culpable as every single government official and employee are guilty of corruption of varying degrees. I believe you yourself Mr. Dulay once served as a gov official. Don’t pretend that you did not benefit financially during your tenure because it is a surety you did. Maybe you did not get tens of millions but you DID benefit financially. So using this “clean hands” criteria, you also are not qualified to point an accusing finger at anyone – perhaps not even qualified to comment on this topic. So stop the hypocrisy. The indictment of thieving govt officials must start somewhere. We all know the Marcoses stole unimaginable amounts of public funds but to this day not one of the surviving Marcoses has ever been indicted much less imprisoned. It is time to stop preaching from your legal pulpit and start looking at plunder matters like this from the perspective of the middle and lower class pinoys.