Why Filipinos cannot seem to get what the defense team in the impeachment trial are up to

Kiko Pangilinan and Senator-Judge Jinggoy Estrada don’t seem to get it. Neither do any of the media commentators who talked about today’s hearing in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. Echoing Pangilinan’s and Estrada’s assertion, Media pundits also expressed how they saw no point in the Defense team’s tack in raising the issue of the quality of the impeachment complaint and the integrity of the 188 House complainants who signed it. Can we really blame them? Perhaps no, on account of the fundamental nature of this circus being itself a key element in the intellectual DNA of Philippine society and therefore virtually invisible to the range of a Filipino’s self-awareness.

The defense team of course refered today to the nature of the very core artifact upon which this whole circus rests — the Articles of Impeachment which, key prosecution team member Rodolfo Fariñas himself asserted, was not worth the paper it is printed on, and which was railroaded through Congress in a manner that speaks of the stunted character of its signatories. Taking the witness stand, Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco was quite clear about what one of his primary considerations were in his decision on whether or not to sign the shoddily-written impeachment complaint: “I don’t want to earn the ire of the most powerful man in the country.” he said under questioning by defense lawyer Dennis Manalo. Tiangco was referring, of course, to Philippine President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III who back in mid-December 2011 reportedly angrily applied pressure on Congress to fast-track Corona’s impeachment.

What Filipinos, their Media, and some of their Senators can’t seem to get is that the nature of the very system that is determining the fate of Corona is, itself, on trial. This is as much about the very character of the Filipino as it is about the character — and credibility — of the personalities in this drama who are trying to persuade both the judges and the public to see things their way. On one side are those who presume to bring to bear the nebulous force of the “will” of the “people” into the verdict. On the other side are those who weigh in with evidence.

The earlier appeals to a mob, while the latter appeals to the intellect. Indeed, while it takes only a half-brained warm fuzzy feeling to succumb to the appeal of a mob out for a lynching, it takes conscious and deliberate consideration to evaluate facts and connect the dots to form a logical construct based on these. Which of the two more describes the inclination of the Filipino? The answer is a no-brainer. Recent history alone — all 26 years of it — makes the answer to that question very self-evident. For more than a quarter of a century vacuous notions of “people power”, God’s “will”, and the symbols, slogans, and jingles that served as the tools with which these were ingrained into the fabric of the Filipino national psyche turned Filipinos into suckers for shrink-wrapped junk politics.

The prosecution rested their case after spending weeks serving Filipinos their fix of junk politics — very moving to the feeble-minded but lacking in any substance of consequence. While impeachment trial apologists will make a righteous point that the exercise is really political in nature and only semi-judicial in procedure, it still does not change the fact that impeachment in the hands of politicians who take their cue from constituents who have been conditioned for years to lazily follow stupid rather than labour to consider what is sound is analogous to a blowtorch given to a two-year-old to play with. Indeed, we’ve already seen how Filipinos used two other democratic “rights” to turn the Philippines into a vast graveyard of otherwise noble concepts — they used the Vote to catapult one of the most uninspiring and ill-qualified men to the most powerful office in the land, and they used their “freedom of speech” to habitually bury important issues with irrelevant but sensational drivel. It is quite apparent that impeachment has now become the latest weapon of choice for the abatement of the national intellect.

It does not seem to bother anyone that the prosecution had, by design and therefore on their own account, set themselves up to fail. Perhaps it is because their sloppy complaint document and the astoundingly shameful way they ran it through the system reflects the character of the Filipino — a character that predisposes us to cobble together a mediocre product (pwede na yan) then stupidly expect it to strike it rich for us (bahala na). This is after all a society of people who see buying a lottery ticket as an acceptable primary investment strategy.

If we really want to be known more for our yet unproven “ingenuity” and less for our more than adequately proven penchant for banal stupidity then it is high time we wean ourselves off the junk politics that have become fatal legacies of two and a half decades of the wrong arguments consistently winning, the trivial being made to be important, and the irrelevant made consequential.

As an “admired Filipino economist, based in New York” once lamented, “What ails the country is that Philippine society is intellectually bankrupt.” She added her two cents on the National Debate…

“They are droll and unintelligent, focused on the trivial or the irrelevant.” When the issues are of some significance, it’s the wrong arguments that prevail, the wrong side wins. Logic and common sense take the backseat to political arguments and the views of the poorly-educated.

Political arguments are, indeed, the sort of cancers that take deep root in a society dominated by the poorly-educated. The impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona may likely go down in history as further proof of this unshakable reality of the Filipino Condition. Then again, it may go on to become the seminal milestone that sees the Filipino step up from their renowned condition and think their way through the mess that their popular president created. It is all up to the Filipino. All we need is the ability to get what the defense team in this trial are trying to do.


Post Author: benign0

benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.

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37 Comments on "Why Filipinos cannot seem to get what the defense team in the impeachment trial are up to"

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I think you’re right there are two sides in every coin. The prosecution side have presented their arguments let’s see the other side of the story and find out who the least intelligent as suggested by a well known Filipino economist in New York, with due respect. The fascinating thing in here is the much awaited verdict, again will this also reflect Enrile and its committee’s level of intelligence?

Curious Housewife

Excellent as usual!!! I will share this on my FB. Thank you.


the defense team are up against the likes of Drilon, Pangilinan and other senators who are Pinoy supporters. I think they want to “railroad” too the evidence that the defense will present, insisting that they only want them to present witnesses for Art 2 which they perceive to be their strongest accusation. You are right, we, and the majority of the Filipinos including some narrow minded senators should be able to grasp what the defense team are trying to do.


But the fact remains that the Chief Justice cannot explain how he acquired his wealth… and would rather hind behind technicalities to skirt the law….. The prosecution maybe intellectually bankrupt, but the defense is morally degenerate; and that famous and admired economist is guilty of the same crime during the Marcos regime…

My take on this issue is that people are anxious to get this over with. People expected too much – that everything is set and we’re all ready to go. There is a good reason for this however, it think laying the foundation first is the most crucial. Everybody says that this impeachment case is a precedent to other succeeding trials and presently, it is playing by the ear. So why not test the boundaries fo the rules. If the following trial can benefit from this one (for example – the existence of pretrial or uncovering the motive of the… Read more »
I don’t think there has ever been a big political figure that has been prosecuted for corruption. They wag their ill gotten wealth to judges and pay them off. This is happening under our very own eyes and it seems that some people have become so calloused to the point of surrendering their own morals and convictions. These people use their financial and positional clout to get away from being persecuted even if evidences show beyond doubt that their integrity has been compromised. Gumising tayo mga kababayan at huwag natin palampasin ang pag tangal sa mga balasubas na tao na… Read more »
Myla Lagyan

This is not about the prosecution or the defense team.

The Philippines has a lot of problems that need to be addressed. If the prosecution succeeded, will this uplift our standard of living? I doubt it. It’s a no win situation for the Pinoy. Just a waste of resources, time and taxpayer’s money.

But in case they succeeded, this will go down in history book as his greatest achievement for fighting corruption. Further cementing the yellow ribbon legacy into the hearts of the poor.

Karlo Marco
The article author’s points about the inadequacies of the prosecution and the impeachment complaint, as well as the tragic historical shortcomings of our public officials (including Pnoy) may be true and valid, but this blog’s plain view sympathies for some incontestably horrible people, i.e. Marcos, GMA and their allies/cronies; its haughty, arrogant tone and intellectual posturing; and the way it looks down on and casually waves off the “poorly-educated” Filipino everyman are astounding. I could go on here about how impeachment at its core is a political exercise rather than a trial- i.e. a means for deciding whether powerful public… Read more »
vic hernandez
All the while I thought that the congressmen who signed the impeachment articles were just humoring the President while hoping to preserve the continuing and prompt release of their congressional PDAF. Railroaded complaint is more like it as Senator Villar and Senator Estrada expressed it in March 12 resumption of the impeachment trial.”Man does not live by bread alone, but also by the word of God”. Politics (and democracy) without morality is tantamount to numbers is might. There is tyranny in numbers. I hope that the increasing budget allocation to education will redound to real freedom from ignorance and freedom… Read more »
imahinasyong sosyolohikal
imahinasyong sosyolohikal

I am bothered with the article’s lack of sociological understanding of how Philippine society evolved. This article is in no way helpful to the cause of nation-building and the creation of common history of the Filipino people; it only bolsters the rhetoric that Filipinos are inferior and creates further division to the very social fabric that we wish to preserve. And so, rather than blaming the mindset and the intellect of the Filipino people, try offering an alternative that is hopefully not as myopic as the views “exposed” in this published article.

roy marquina

let’s just wait and see as the impeachment proceedings goes on…cong. tiangco’s testimony seems irrelevant to art. 2, 3, & 7 but his words were so truthful enough to reconsider the validity of the said complaint. not just railroaded but also like a shotgun wedding.


i really pray that the impeachment, as you said, would be “the seminal milestone that sees the Filipino step up from their renowned condition and think their way through the mess that their popular president created.”

more power to you. 🙂