If we recall, it was really just Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who kicked up the whole frenzy that had since turned into the circus now known as the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Because of one man’s vanity and one-dimensional “vision” (if you could even call it that), the whole country was plunged into a dark bipolar obsession that can only be described as monumental in its pointlessness. In the process, the once proud House of Representatives was turned into a little boys club of lackeys, and the once mighty Senate reduced to a chamber of performers enslaved by the Philippine media.
To be fair, a few sectors had already benefited from this circus. Most notable beneficiary is the Philippine Senate which had, to a certain degree, endeared itself to the public as an institution for its immense contribution to providing structure and coherence to what could have been a hopelessly convoluted and confusing showdown. Furthermore, each of the Senator Judges have had above average media exposure this year thanks to the format of the proceedings which allows each of them the chance in every session to take the podium to make their “manifestation” speeches or direct “clarificatory” questions to any participant in the trial. Considering how many Filipinos had been found to be avidly following the trial on television, that’s a lot of media mileage. Having myself followed the televised proceedings of most sessions, I have gotten to know a lot of the Senators more, at least as far as what I had seen on the tube. I can’t really say the same of the Lower House representatives, in my opinion, because none of those who had participated in the trial contributed to uplifting the image of their chamber in any way.
So if, as many impeachment trial apologists keep insisting, all this is really more a political exercise than it is a real bon a fide effort to uncover the truth, then here is what I think the political reality of this circus has come to at this point:
(1) The Senate is looking good and the House of Representatives is looking bad.
Time has proven that the image of 188 congressmen blindly signing a sloppily-written impeachment of complaint has stuck. The Senate, on the other hand has handily exhibited to all the sort of character, smarts, and savvy that separates members from the Upper House from their more plebian colleagues in the Lower House.
(2) The trial is progressively becoming a monument to the vanity and vacuousness of Noynoy.
The emergence of the Noynoying movement is the culmination of a months-long observation of how little Noynoy had so far achieved and how much of a chump he’s made of the nation’s people and institutions. In short, the yellow covers that once blanketed the Big Pinoy Con of the Century were given a final yank by this trial as Filipinos awaken to the vast waste of state resources that it really is.
(3) Everybody will benefit from declaring this circus a mistrial — except Noynoy.
Noynoy’s fatal error was giving himself only one path to victory in this spectacle: removal of Corona from the Supreme Court. Unfortunately for Noynoy, that path is becoming bumpier by the day. Pretty soon it will be impassable. For everyone else, however, it is a win-win. Convicted or acquitted, Corona would already have had the benefit of airing his side over national television via the brilliant manifestations of his top-notch legal team. His wealth will remain largely intact, and his dollar accounts still secret. The Senate, as I had explained earlier, will already have gotten much needed Media mileage to boost their political capital. The House of Representatives can simply rely on the renowned short memories of their constituents as the true implications of the shameful way its members had behaved simply fly over the stunted intellectual faculties of the electorate. And the media would simply go off laughing all the way to the bank having made their advertising dollars.
* * *
Forget for a moment that even from a purely legal perspective, a mistrial is already justified. The prosecution after all had been shown to have done nothing but make a mockery of everyone’s intelligence from Day One. The more important point to note is that from the more readily-digestible political perspective, declaring a mistrial makes even more perfect sense for all the parties most involved and most impacted by this national drama — except Noynoy.
In short, the only reason this trial will continue is because Noynoy wants it to. The whole point of his sitting in MalacaÃ±ang depends on it (at least because he lacks the imagination to envision an alternative path to take it). Everyone else — the Senate, the House, the Media, and the Filipino people — will simply move on either way — lives and fortunes basically unchanged. The only person here with a really compelling what’s-in-it-for-me proposition hanging on this trial is the President.
Are we going to accept then that this abomination of a political exercise proceed only because one man wishes it? Allowing this state of affairs to persist will simply make Filipinos even more deserving of the very political dysfunction that continues to impoverish the nation. Perhaps the interests of the nation are best served by putting this beast out of its misery.
And that’s as political as it gets.
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