Senator Bong Revilla’s privilege speech confirmed what many ordinary Filipinos already know: that PNoy’s “tuwid na daan”—the centerpiece of his supposed moral crusade in government—is nothing more than a convenient alibi for the “take down” of his political targets.
According to Revilla, PNoy personally tried to influence the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona by asking for the latter’s head right inside Bahay Pangarap, the presidential residence. “Ibalato mo na sa akin ito. Kailangan sya ma-impeach. (Do this for me as a favor. He has to be impeached.),” PNoy reportedly said.
Although PNoy has his own version of his conversation with Revilla, what is clear is that by clandestinely meeting and talking with a senator-judge about an on-going trial, PNoy has shown that he is not above using any scheme or tactic—be it devious, underhanded or treacherous—to get what he wants.
That PNoy sees nothing wrong with what he did only makes the Bahay Pangarap incident even more alarming. This mindset, many observers say, reflects the Machiavellian philosophy that “the end justifies the means.”
“What I was trying to do was basically ensure that they decide the case on the merits of the case rather than any other outside factor . . . I would have been very irresponsible if I just let those who were exerting pressure to have their way without addressing this or doing something to counter this pressure,” Aquino explained.
But isn’t PNoy “doing something to counter (the) pressure” also an admission that he applied pressure on some senator-judges? And since it was common knowledge that PNoy was quarterbacking the ouster of Corona, isn’t telling senator-judges “that they should decide the case on the merits” tantamount to a veiled threat?
PNoy also admits telling senator-judges that he was ready to give his support “if they [did]what was right.” But why volunteer to “support” senator-judges when they weren’t even asking for it? Isn’t that just another way of saying that senator-judges would be rewarded if they voted to convict Corona? Isn’t that bribery?
Clearly, PNoy’s actions were meant to influence the decision of senator-judges while Corona’s impeachment trial was on-going. In the United States, that would constitute the crime of “jury tampering.” And that cloak-and-dagger tactics were employed to reach out to a senator-judge further bolstered the belief of many thinking Filipinos that PNoy and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas knew they were committing an unethical, if not illegal, act.
Of course, PNoy’s political allies were quick to defend his meeting with Revilla, arguing that an impeachment trial is political and not judicial in nature.
We don’t know where they got this absurd legal theory.
What we do know is that the constitutional guarantee of due process and fair play dictates that all defendants are entitled to nothing less than “the cold neutrality of an impartial judge.”
The Aquino administration’s seeming contempt for people’s civil liberties probably explains why it has no scruples in using “tainted” conspirators-turned-whistleblowers as so-called “state witnesses” against its political foes.
Several months ago, we asked in this space why admitted criminals were being prematurely granted immunity from prosecution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) despite serious flaws in their stories—and credibility.
Take the case, for instance, of pork scam whistleblower Ben Hur Luy whose story Revilla revealed to be “full of holes.”
We recall that Luy claimed to have given PDAF money to lawyer Richard Cambe, a member of Revilla’s Senate staff. Based on his ledger, Luy even gave a date and time when he handed the money over to Cambe.
According to Revilla, Luy’s allegations are patently untrue because Cambe was out of the country on the date and time that the whistleblower said he met with Cambe.
Revilla presented photos of Cambe’s passport and airline records showing that Cambe could not have met with Luy because he was not even in the Philippines at the time.
Revilla also said that, contrary to the whistleblowers’ claims, he did not sign documents endorsing dubious foundations as recipients of his PDAF. As proof, Revilla flashed on the screen two sets of signatures to show as “clear as sunrise” that the “documents that they’re using as evidence against [him]are not [his].”
These forgeries, Revilla pointed out, were the handiwork of Luy, whom the senator tagged as “Boy Pirma” because of the whistleblower’s own admission that he is an expert in forging lawmakers’ signatures to expedite the paperwork on their PDAF.
“Inamin ng kanilang whistleblower na eksperto siya sa panggagaya at pamemeke ng pirma. Ibig sabihin, sila ang gumagawa ng lahat ng dokumento mula sa endorsement ng proyekto pati mismong pag-notaryo,” Revilla said.
We’re certain the serious blows inflicted by Revilla on Luy’s credibility will have an adverse impact on the cases filed by De Lima. But then, that’s always the problem when you use tainted witnesses to pin down your enemies.