Charge de Lima, if you must, but save us from so much filth

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FRANCISCO S. TATAD

FRANCISCO S. TATAD

AS our congressmen tried to extract and savor every lurid detail of Sen. Leila de Lima’s extramarital exploits, without any regard for the last shred of her woman’s dignity as well as their own, I had to ask myself what happened to our country and to the Congress. As the inquiry (“in aid of legislation”) was on the alleged illegal drug trade at the New Bilibid Prisons when De Lima was still Secretary of Justice, I expected a little more focus. But the questions had nothing to do with drugs, only with De Lima’s steamy relationship with her alleged driver-security-boyfriend. The questions and those asking them all looked like they were coming from the most rotten sewer in the deepest parts of the underworld. I began to understand why when baboons congregate, they call it a congress.

This was the same House I knew before it became the House of Reprehensibles. It now intends to railroad the death penalty this December; lower the age of criminal responsibility among children, from the present 15 years to nine; limit to three the maximum number of children a married couple can have; fast-track all the so-called sexual orientation and gender identity bills from the foreign LGBT lobby; and, in the name of an inverted federalism, ram through the balkanization of our unitary Republic. “Power-mad” is not an adequate word for it.

The congressmen seem committed to shame a member of another House who has dared to raise some questions about the past activities of President Duterte when he was still mayor of Davao City. She has many political sins to atone for—against former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, whom she had whimsically stopped from leaving the country to get much-needed medical attention abroad, and against the late former Chief Justice Renato Corona before his removal—and, yes, her private life is no cleaner than a coal miner’s fingernails.

Even the most venal deserve some respect
But like every other flawed human being, she is entitled to some respect; as an elected senator, she deserves a modicum of parliamentary courtesy. These she did not get at the hearing. This is the first time in our bicameral Congress that a member of one House is being investigated by members of the other House, solely to please the Chief Executive. The precedent runs counter to the best examples we read in history books.

On January 4, 1642, King Charles I of England, accompanied by his soldiers, entered the English House of Commons and sat on the Speaker’s chair to demand the surrender of five members whom he had accused of treason. Not seeing them inside the hall, the King said, “I see the birds have flown,” and asked the Speaker to produce them. To this, the Speaker replied: “May it please your Majesty, I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am here.”

In De Lima’s case, the House has shown no reservation in trying to deliver her, bound and gagged, as it were, to Malacañang. The voyeurs in the House have also become the lynch mob.

If she’s immoral, is DU30 okay?
Given DU30’s proud and publicly applauded boast about his own sexual exploits, can his lackeys in Congress condemn De Lima for her admitted “frailties,” by turning their drug inquiry into a grand inquisition against her private conduct, without also sending a similar message to DU30. This could be lese majeste as far as the President is concerned, but it is exactly what the congressmen have done. Can they threaten De Lima with disbarment for immorality without challenging her camp to seek the President’s disbarment also, on the same ground? Presidential immunity may not be able to shield him from this.

This is not to suggest that the government should ignore whatever crimes De Lima has committed; it is merely to say that DU30’s enforcers while going after De Lima should observe the basic parliamentary rules and save the public from excessive improprieties. Disbar De Lima, if you like; charge her in court for any illegal drug involvement; run her out of the Senate, if you can; but in God’s name, spare us, especially the youth, from so much moral squalor and filth.

After De Lima, the death agenda follows
The De Lima inquiry—whatever its merits—is but a dry run. If Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez gets away with it, then all the other parliamentary atrocities will follow. The death penalty will be steam-rolled, without debate. Right now, we have a de facto death sentence imposed without due process on suspected drug dealers by the police and so-called vigilantes. Since July 1, they have already killed close to 5,000 suspects, while reportedly resisting arrest. This number includes Mayor Rolando Espinosa of Albuera, Leyte, who was killed at four o’clock in the morning inside his prison cell in Baybay City by a group of policemen who had motored from Tacloban allegedly to serve the inmate a search warrant.

DU30 might agree that the death sentence is not necessarily a deterrent, but he believes it exacts retribution and vengeance, under the principle of lex talionis—the law of the talion—or an eye for an eye. And that’s what he wants. Under this law, killing a person who has killed upholds the principle of mathematical equivalence. In a number of cases, though, certain individuals who had been sentenced to death were later on found to be innocent—some of them after they had been executed. And the death sentence, once carried out, can no longer be revoked.

In any case, until President Arroyo abolished the death penalty in 2006, all convicts on death row, except for those who had been convicted of the gang rape of Maggie de la Riva, were wretchedly poor. This raised the obvious question: are the poor the only ones capable of committing capital crimes? Or are they the only ones convicted because they are the only ones who could not avoid being arrested, who could not afford good lawyers, or who could not afford to bribe judges? The empirical data seems to support the thrust of the question.

Killing more of the poor
The passage of the death penalty law will merely kill more of the poor whom DU30 has promised to protect. This is already happening in the war on drugs, where “majority of the victims are the very same poor whose lives you promised to protect and alleviate from the shackles of abject poverty,” said an open letter signed by Bishop Joel Baylon, D.D., of Legazpi on behalf of the clergy, religious and lay leaders of his diocese.

After the death penalty, the House intends to lower the age of criminal liability for minors from 15 to nine. This is reportedly because in many robberies, children caught by the police could not be prosecuted because they carry birth certificates showing they are underage. This obviously shows the children are being used by criminal syndicates. So the solution should be to go after the syndicates. But the congressmen would rather bring down the age of criminal liability from 15 to 9. This is absolutely harebrained, without any moral or scientific basis.

On with its death agenda, the House intends to impose the three-children per family limit as its primary measure to stimulate economic growth. This is a measure that has failed. All countries that had adopted population control in the past are now paying for the price for it, in terms of a demographic deficit; the only ones who are insisting on it are the imperialist powers that continue to believe their only way to remain dominant is to control the technology, international finance, the use of resources, and the number of the world’s “useless eaters.”

The SOGI madness and the federalist humbug
The whole bunch of SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) bills are all in support of population control. They are intended to make the complementarity of man and woman, marriage, and childbearing obsolete, pursuant to the pipe dream of some members of the British aristocracy to reduce the world’s population to one billion people, and below. This is what DU30’s new hero—President Vladimir Putin—is at war against, and the US president-elect Donald Trump, is likely to oppose. If DU30 could copy this from his new heroes, he need not copy anything else.

His Congress lackeys must now change course.

Finally, there is the federalist idea. The proposal is fundamentally flawed. Federalism is an organizing principle for autonomous or independent units that need to coalesce into one distinct whole rather than for one distinct whole to subdivide into several autonomous units. The objective of the various parts is to create a federal union, rather than for the equivalent of a federal union to break up into independent parts. As Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano warns, if you break up the nation into several parts, you can’t say how long it will take to bring back the “one nation” all over again.

The federalist idea deserves deeper study, at the very least. But Alvarez seems hostile to the idea of studying anything in depth, and would simply jump because DU30 has commanded it. Der Fuhrer hat das Recht gesetzt—“the Fuhrer has laid down the law,” as the Nazis used to say; the Speaker’s only duty is to follow. He will not even be bothered by the express provision of the Constitution which assigns no role to the President in proposing any amendment to or revision of the Constitution. This right is vested in the Congress and the people alone, and by Congress the Constitution means an elected legislature which functions according to the will of the electorate, rather than according to the President’s diktat.

Cromwell needed
Under Alvarez, the House may have disqualified itself from making any laws. His luck is that Oliver Cromwell has not been reincarnated in his demigod. But given the present wreck of the Congress, DU30 may still have to consider adopting as his own Cromwell’s words to the Rump Parliament in London on April 20, 1653:

“It is high time to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtues and defiled by your practice of every vice.

“You are a factious crew and enemy to all good government.

“You are a pack of mercenary wretches, and would like Essau sell your country for a mess of pottage, and like Judas betray your God for a few pieces of money.

“Is there a single virtue now remaining among you? Is there one vice you do not possess?

“You have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which among you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man among you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?

“You sordid prostitutes, have you not defiled this sacred place, and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves, by your immoral principles and wicked practices?

“You are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.

“Your country therefore calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable, by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House, and which by God’s help, and through the strength he has given me, I must now come to do.

“I command you, therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place. Go, get out! Make haste! You venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there and lock up the doors.

“In the name of God, go!”

fstatad@gmail.com

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29 Comments

  1. vagoneto rieles on

    It’s hard to see how the methods of the good Congressmen advanced the case against Senator Delima. Neither is it reassuring that their line of questioning aided any legislative purpose.
    The fact is…Delima’s ‘goose is cooked’. She’s done; finished as a Senator or as any kind of government functionary. The lewd,obscene, and smutty voyeurism resorted to by the good Congressmen was unnecessary. It served only to expose their real selves…bawdy, coarse and bullying show-offs. Oddly enough, among thinking people, the accused Delima came out to be the bigger of the whole bunch…even if she did ‘cook her own goose’.

  2. This was the same House I knew before it became the House of Reprehensibles. by Sec. Kit Tatad

    I would not claim being knowledgeable about Philippines politics. I watched a couple of house and senate hearing and it got me very discombobulated. It was so disorganized and confusing. I don’t know where the judicial and legislative element of the government separate. It is very entertaining though.

    I agree there are a lot testosterone spewing in the House. DeLima sexual exploit should not be part of legislation. If the House want her disbarred and censured her for her exploit file the case and it send to the proper venue. Stop the slut shaming, a new term for me. Your mother like mother is a woman. Respect her.

    There are differing studies about deterrent effect of death penalty. Discussion on this topic has voice out different opinion. Just like the gun law in the US, the topic is to deter crime and lost of life and property. Crimes is more rampant in areas designated as a Gun Free Zone here. Criminals would never commit their dastardly acts in places where somebody will shoot back. I believe in the sanctity of life but I believe in the idiom “an ounces of precaution is better than a pound of preventions”. Lowering criminal age limit down to 9 years of age is very stiff legislation. Is it that bad that the youths of the Philippines are all immoral? What happen to the parents and school watching them? Legislation should focus more on this part of child care. Return the legislation against TRUANCY. Enforce 10 years imprisonment for individuals involved in syndicates promoting child criminality. Never am I fan of political correctness , I alway refer to common sense and free will as basis to most of issues. Whether you prefer to differ from your own gender it is your choice. If you prefer to have children or not that is your prerogative. I believe that government should not put their hand in one’s own choice. Only that individual should take responsibility for their decision and take the consequences.

    May be it is about time we change the form of government. My Philippines has experienced the same old promises election after election. After every election, the same politicians break their promises, cater to friends and family members and say ” I will see next election”, forgetting the common people. PDU30 , I have noticed, have mention it a couple of time “these politicians and appointees would not leave”. It is time to “drain the swamp”. Let the filipino clean house and rid of this useless politician Thank you

  3. About de Lima, focussing on this, shows just their weakness on a personal level but also concerning investigation capability. Philippines can’t even solve any murder case. NONE!

  4. About the Federal system. Democracy is not even working now in the Philippines. How can anyone even consider the Federal system. It will only create, more seperate dicatators. More curruption and violation of human rights.

  5. Mr. Tatad this is a brilliant and spot-on article. Very few people have the courage, decency and brilliance to write such an eye-opening piece. Would that the senators and House representatives open their hearts and consciences to truly serve the people of the Philippines, and not bow to greed or to licking the President’s shoes.

    Mr. Tatad, I pray that you will continue to serve the people of your great nation with your writings, and that God will protect you from all harm.

  6. I had to study this article twice to understand, but it’s more than interesting and extremely striking, should publish it in a book format some day. Who am i to say anything as i’m not even Filipino. I loved the references to UK history as we can only learn from history, but we never do. The truth is sometimes hard to swallow, the message is very clear, (but we news-followers felt that already) it’s not going well in the Philippines in many ways, especially on a democratic level. Back to 0 it seems and it goes on and on..

  7. tatad’s commentary is so long that it becomes just purely talk and monotonous. he just tackled the right of de lima without even mentioning the feelings of dayan’s wife. or maybe not really required because, in engineering parlance, dayan’s wife is negligible. then where’s fairness in this commentary.

    • Rey, as you have obviously missed the point, let me reiterate that Mr. Tatad is not claiming that Senator De Lima is blameless. He is saying that the “investigation” of Senator De Lima by the House of Representatives should not be turned into a circus, especially as it appears that the House may only be doing so to please the President.

  8. Well they say what they can do for the People just to be elected. Now that they are in the house, what kind of
    laws are they making? Did they forget that the law of the land is to give equal protection to all citizen? But if there intention is to protect their position and wealth, that is something else. I hope this does not backfire on them.

  9. Kit..You are absolutely right!. Our congressmen most of them reprobates are just disgusting. Most of the congressmen who asked these vulgar questions should be charged with unethical behaviors.
    It is obvious that what these congressmen are doing are reflections of what the President thinks or might have done. Words he uttered on the Australian lady that was raped and killed…”sana ako muna” are just reprehensible. Alvarez has no control over the congressmen who are all kiss ass.

  10. What happened to D5 undesirable affair with her driver does also happen to other congressmen and senators, though in a different way, not their drivers but might be their office workers like former senator Enrile to Gigi Reyes or someone of their choice anywhere within their reach when they feel they would be at their hobby. When the congressmen crossed examine D5’s lover over his affair with D5 than for her drug involvement, I found it not interesting anymore. The congressmen looked like idiot when they asked the lover of D5 in much detail of their love affairs. But they are our congessmen who are paid by the tax payers. One party list congressman even became piqued, for D5 has destroyed the integrity of the senate. My question is: is there any integrity in the senate or even in the our congress? That integrity has been the aspiration we are looking for in both houses, but it has never descended ever since in our political history. Politicians start to corrupt our people from election wherein bought buying is a culture of every politician. Is there integrity in that bought buying Mr. Party list congressman? If I were to ask if there is integrity in the senate much more in the congress, I would say zero integrity.

  11. Maribel A. Calanda on

    There is no problem with the lines of questioning that the House has thrown at Dayan last Thursday. It is just right to center it on the love affair of De Lima and Dayan. The House has already said that they have finished the committee report and everything needed to craft laws regarding the New Bilibid Prison drug trade are in process. Besides you cannot tackle everything in just one day. Dayan has still kept some secrets which are worth unfolding but the Congressmen left the matter to the DOJ. The congressmen apparently do not want to waste time their time on somebody who will just echo the lines of De Lima such as ” I do not know them”, “They are all fabricated and lies” They might as well center on the immoral activities of the lovers which I believe was truthfully declared by Dayan. De Lima is finished but still I am wondering where in the hell is she getting her dense face in facing her fellow Senators and the public. Hey De Lima, what you have committed is a mortal sin! You have victimized Dayan’s wife and children. Mangilabot ka, isa kang illegal drug protector at home wrecker at the same time. Nakakahiya ka!!!

  12. Daniel B. Laurente on

    Sino ba ang unang nambaboy sa Congress? Di ba may Administrasyon na bumaboy nito so kaya ganyan ang kinahihinatnan….

  13. The very “Bastos” questioning of the baboons in congress is but a result of their mad scramble to outdo each other in pleasing the most “Bastos” baboon in town.

    Aguirre and the Congressmen are acting like mga kabayo ng kalesa na sunud-sunuran lang sa hampas ng kutsero (Duterte), focusing their vision and mission on the destruction of De Lima at all costs, just to satisfy Duterte’s obsession.

    In the meantime the Narco-Generals in connivance with corrupt politicians, are given time to hide or even kill the evidence against them. And I won’t be surprised that many if not most of the EJKs are but a part of the cleansing game which I call as the “Game of the Corrupt Generals”

    And sadly it seems that, because of the undue attention to De Lima and her boyfriend/s, the corrupt generals are winning.

  14. Mr. Tatad is right to demand that Congress spare the public of all the lurid details of Senator de Lima’s private life. The only thing that Congress would profit from this mob-like spectacle is disgust with that so-called noble law-making authority from the thinking public. Everyone knows that Congress is doing this to humiliate de Lima, to punish her for daring to object to the government’s drug policy.
    If de Lima is a hypocrite in the eyes of members of the House of Representatives, we should ask whether the same is true of these officials for one reason or another.
    Moreover, I agree totally with Mr. Tatad that the appropriate proceedings should be filed against de Lima. Anything less than that would be too low for such a noble law-making authority.

  15. Sa halip na maging huwaran ang Kongreso sa mga kabataan kabastusan ang pinapakita nila, kabastusan para sa mga kababaihan, para silang walang mga nanay at kapatid na babae, matatalino pa sa kanila ang mga kabataan ngayon e, sayang ng mga kinukuha nyong funds na galing sa buwis ng mga tao, magtrabaho kayo ng matino! at kong ano ang issue yon lang walang personalan at pangbababoy sa pagkatao ng iniimbistigahan nyo! o baka naman mana lang kayo don sa nakakataas sa inyo at sumusunod kayo sa utos nya! Walang mga utak sayang ang kikukuha nyo sa kaban ng bayn!!!!!

    • Joy, imulat mo ang iyong mata. Si D5 ang hindi gumagalang sa mga kababaihan, Lalaki rito lalaki doon..may Dayan na, meron pang iba.. yan ba ang kagalang galang sa parte ng kababaihan? Pareho kayo ni TATAD kung mag isip. Kapag may hearing’ ang isang tao lahat yan ay uu-sisain..lalo na at meron itong kaugnayan sa kaso… Ang babae ay dapat disente, hindi ganyan sa babaing pinagtatanggol mo at meron kapa comment sa kongreso…aba napaka-talino mo…ikaw na kaya ang pumalit kay D5?

  16. mr tatad will do anything to justify de lima’s extra marital affairs during her stint at the commission on human rights and DOJ. WOW!. Tatad wants her to be exempted from the law just because her party is LP, the epitome of righteousness and hypocrisy.

  17. That is why these Congressmen belong to the so called LOWER HOUSE because they are LOW in MORALITY, LOW in INTELLIGENCE, LOW in CIVILITY and what have you. They are no doubt an ABERRATION to Society. They have no place in a CIVILIZED world.

  18. “I had to ask myself what happened to our country…?”

    I think the answer can be found in your phraise “…the House of Reprehensibles” with its obvious comparison to the US situation.

    The Philippines has fallen prey to the same extreme demagogic forces that have infected the US and other countries such as the UK, France, Turkey, etc., etc. Some people compare Duterte to Trump, but a better comparison is to Mike Pence. Trump is no ideologue or politician, he is merely a money-grabbing (among other things) elitist capitalist. But he has surrounded himself with dangerous white nationalists, and the even more dangerous Christian extremist Pence who would destroy basic constitutional principles of the American state in the name of religion. While Pence and Duterte may be on opposite sides of the religious/political spectrum, they are both experienced political idealogues who think nothing of using demagoguery and the political power it brings to violate the most basic human rights.

    The Filipino people should be careful in what they wished for in voting for and supporting an authoritarian like Duterte in such large numbers. To paraphrase that famous WW2 poem, first they came for the drug addicts and you said nothing, then they came for the human rights activists, and you said nothing, and then they came for you, and there was no one left to speak for you. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_they_came_

    • It’s too easy to say that. I think it’s totally different. What’s happening in Europe, they cannot take on more and more refugees. Besides that some Moslims allready living there give allot of problems. People just say it’s enough, we can’t take anymore. There is NO violation of human rights at all to these people! Europeans just want it to be controled in some way, that’s all. Nobody is violated. The same with Trump, he just wants to control the illegals entering the country, and he’s right. He’s not a murderer as Duterte is. Dont generalise pl. (as everybody does it seems) Same for le Pen, Wilders, these are democratic intelligent and respectfull people, but they dare to say what the people think, enough is enough. Look further/

  19. Respect is earned not given. I cannot respect Delima, she wasn’t elected by the people but by hocus Pcos machine. She became senator out of lie and deceit.

  20. The late feisty Merriam Defensor said the government spent P32B just to stay the SK election. Early on someone insinuated the removal, if not staying, of congress to be reactivated again only if we needed more laws. In LGUs it seems the upkeep budget of elected officials even surpasses that of the employees-their working horses. So when elected officials finally reach term limits many employees would feel relief and be ecstatic silently saying, by all means ‘go’!

  21. Bravo Mr. Tatad for this article!!! I hope these scoundrelsl in Congress read this piece. To what moral abyss has our

    country and our leaders descended? We need to uproot them and the country. Duterte too should go. We need to

    pray for our country and our leaders.

  22. I might disagree with Mr. Tatad in some of his previous political stands but his opinion against the type of behavior exhibited by our so called “gentlemen” in congress gets my 100% support.

  23. I began to understand why when baboons congregate, they call it a congress.
    —————————————————————–

    Spot on.

    Congress is proving once again that they are not worth the money, They do not represent the people.

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