Bluffing at One’s Own Risk

When in doubt, bluff.

Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. stated last Saturday that the prosecution has acquired the proverbial last nail on Corona’s coffin regarding the second article of impeachment. To recap, the second article of impeachment against the respondent, Chief Justice Renato Corona, states that:

“RESPONDENT COMMITTED CULPABLE VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION AND/OR BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST WHEN HE FAILED TO DISCLOSE TO THE PUBLIC HIS STATEMENT OF ASSETS, LIABILITIES, AND NET WORTH AS REQUIRED UNDER SEC. 17, ART. XI OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.”

(Source: Link)

Marikina Representative Romero Quimbo went on to explain that the prosecution panel intends to rest their case on Article 2, briefly discuss Article 3, and then proceed to attack the respondent on grounds of the seventh article impeachment, which explains the respondent’s prejudice towards former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“RESPONDENT BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST THROUGH HIS PARTIALITY IN GRANTING A TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER (TRO) IN FAVOR OF FORMER PRESIDENT GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO AND HER HUSBAND JOSE MIGUEL ARROYO IN ORDER TO GIVE THEM AN OPPORTUNITY TO ESCAPE PROSECUTION AND TO FRUSTRATE THE ENDS OF JUSTICE, AND IN DISTORTING THE SUPREME COURT DECISION ON THE EFFECTIVITY OF THE TRO IN VIEW OF A CLEAR FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE CONDITIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT’S OWN TRO.”

Quimbo also questioned the respondent’s eligibility in returning to office after his Corona’s outbursts against his persecutors. According to him:

His actions have only made his remaining in office untenable. Before he starts acting like a politician, he should first get elected. If he wants to attack other people and talk on top of soapboxes, he should resign first and run for [public] office.

Meanwhile, Tupas claimed that the defense’s stratagem of making the prosecution incompetent backfired on the respondent.

The mere fact that they went to the Supreme Court to stop the proceedings already shows that they have no defense. It’s a desperate act that leads to a very weak defense.

As expected, the prosecution’s bold claim is backed by the Palace. Budget Secretary Florencio Abad argued that there was already enough evidence presented in court to incriminate the respondent for good. Furthermore, Abad argued that Corona’s refusal to have his bank accounts scrutinized in court incriminates the respondent in the process. He added:

And considering that the unreported assets are grossly disproportionate to what he has declared in his SALNs, it is not going to be difficult to draw conclusions.

He went on to argue that although the quantum of evidence will ultimately rest on the decision of the presiding jury, he believes that the testimonies and documents presented can warrant a sound and fair judgment, which is quite amusing, considering the fact that the respondent’s “bank records” presented in court are, in all probability, falsified.

Finally, Undersecretary Abigail Valte insisted that the President has full faith in the impeachment process, another shameless assertion, if we consider the contradiction that ensues in such a claim, which I explained in this article.

(To read the full story, visit this link.)

So it seems the prosecution, or so it says anyway, is sharpening its claws to start pouncing on the respondent and oust him from office, backed by the Palace’s support. However, if we take the entirety of the impeachment trial into account, such a bold declaration of strength from the prosecution is not really something noteworthy. After all, they’ve been practically doing it during the course of the trial, only to be shamed by the defense and their own lack of organization and competence.

The discrepancies in the list of the respondent’s properties and assets, the blatant lie of Tupas in court as he defended himself regarding the presentation of the said list, the prosecution’s blunder in compromising bank secrecy laws, the fake documents presented in court, the persistent doubts on the prosecutors’ reputation, and of course, Tupas’ hubris in the impeachment trial, mounted on top of each other, building a mountain of shame that the prosecution will have to carry for the remainder of the trial. Given the decaying reputation of the prosecution and even of the Palace, Tupas, Abad and company might be digging their own graves by once again bluffing their way to regaining the confidence of the people.

Robert Greene, author of the 48 Laws of Power, explained the importance of reputation in making your point:

Law 5: So Much Depends on Reputation – Guard It with Your Life

Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win; once it slips, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides…

The prosecution, in bluffing their hearts out despite the growing skepticism in their credibility, is risking the totality of their reputation in the process. Should this bluff of theirs lead to another humiliation, which is by all means probable, there’s no telling how strong a blow will be dealt to their collective reputation as “seekers of justice.” By literally placing their reputation on the line, they are exposing themselves to attack from the searching eyes of the defense and the public.

Then there’s the matter of discretion in what one says in public, which is a requisite to the preservation of one’s reputation:

Law 4: Always Say Less Than Necessary

…The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.

Tupas, Abad and company, by saying perhaps too much in public, exposed themselves to close scrutiny, putting them in a very delicate position.

1. In recklessly claiming that the prosecution has proof beyond reasonable doubt, they have only raised the stakes in the impeachment trial, something they tried so hard to avoid these past few weeks, while acceding at the same time to the judgment of the defense that the quantum of evidence should be similar with that of a criminal trial. In effect, they might have bitten off more than they can chew, as we’re not treading on solid, damning evidence, not the clumsy ones that they have a strange habit of presenting.

2. In asserting that the defense has a very weak defense just because they’re objecting to the disclosure of the respondent’s bank records and whatnot, Tupas simply showed how clueless he actually is, and for one simple reason; the prosecution has already been stumped by the defense, even when the defense has hardly presented evidence in court. The prosecution’s witness shot up to a hundred, while the defense prepared no more than twenty, but it was the prosecution that took the harder blow. Even in the midst of the controversial claim of the defense regarding Senate bribery, to assert that the defense has a weak defense is nothing short of childish hubris.

3. As aforementioned, Abad’s statements betray his short-sightedness in legal proceedings. How can someone formulate a sound judgment from a bunch of fake documents and shady testimonies? Furthermore, the respondent’s refusal to submit to the pressure of the prosecution regarding his dollar accounts do not incriminate him in any way, since, aside from the bank secrecy law, he’s also exercising his rights as an accused.

Letters D and E of Section 1 of Rule 115 in the Rules of Court state two of the rights of the accused, which also apply to impeachment trials:

(d) To testify as a witness in his own behalf but subject to cross-examination on matters covered by direct examination. His silence shall not in any manner prejudice him.

(e) To be exempt from being compelled to be a witness against himself.

The respondent’s silence is an insufficient ground for incrimination.

4. Finally, as also aforementioned, Valte’s insistence on PNoy fully trusting the impeachment process confirms that PNoy is a man of contradictions, as explained in my previous article. If he trusts the impeachment process, why would he try to steer the proceedings as he sees fit?

All in all, the prosecution, together with the Palace, is treading on very dangerous waters. To think that a single respondent will force the government to lay their reputation on the line will simply show how desperate the Aquino administration really is.

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29 Comments on “Bluffing at One’s Own Risk”

  1. I am really confused. What is the business of a budget secretary commenting on the impeachment of CJ Corona. Is he one of the complainants? Last I checked, there is no budget issue raised in the articles of impeachment.

  2. It seems that the clock is ticking. The prosecution has resorted to their last desperate action: bluffing. Very soon, the prosecution will fall and their balding boss will be exposed to the country as total frauds.

  3. the BSP audit now leaves no doubt, except how many PEPs (politically exposed people) were also checked into under the guise of an audit for future threats/blackmail

    1 question could have ended the trial today. did any of the accounts audited by BSP/AMLA belong to other senior judges?
    if the answer was yes, the senate and/or SC would stop the trial.

    interesting that the psb chief compliance offer didnt go via the branch manager or even copy her about the audit. basic SOP, and that he emigrated shortly after the audit to US/Canada, no doubt with a big payoff from someone!

  4. “…the BSP audit now leaves no doubt…”

    Let’s do some armchair sleuthing. The ‘small lady’ is/could be one of the following:

    1. An officer/teller/clerk in the PSB Katipunan Branch
    2. A bank officer/employee in the PSB head office
    3. A BSP/AMLA auditor
    4. The yaya of Cognressman Umali
    5. The cook of Congressman Banal
    6. Twin sister of Congressman Tupas Jr.
    7. PSB President Pastor Garcia in drags

    The way in which Mr. Garcia was being defensive in the hearing today, it could be no 7. 🙂

  5. Arche, remember the way I played around with the title of your previous article? It fits this.

    Sigh, in the absence of confidence, hubris takes its place.

    1. Now that I think of it, I guess you’re right. ^^

      Well, the prosecution does have hubris, but hardly any leverage. They are slowly resorting to bluffs in an attempt to hold the defense back.

  6. Arche, remember the way I played around with the title of your previous article? It fits this.

    Regarding the prosecution’s situation, in the absence of confidence, hubris takes its place.

  7. A lot of our countrymen, specially those “righteous” daw really have a simplistic notion on the accusations they have thrown over Corona.

    The SHEER VOLUME and the SERIOUSNESS of the accusations will crucify him!

    Never mind if they’re credible.

    What happens now to the sheer volume – how many articles of impeachment will be discarded now?

    What happens to the seriousness of the accusations – we now have this legalese terminology: “high crime”.

    Now, some sectors would like Corona to just resign and sacrifice himself for the greater good.

    Jeez…

    1. Just shows the worrisome lack of comprehension of the due process and rational thinking in this country.

      Quantity of evidence is not proportional to quality of evidence.

  8. Mmmm. He’s clearly priming the public, even he knows he doesn’t have enough to convict, whether it be the facts or the numbers. It looks like the House and the Executive are planning to have mobs march on the Senate and the Supreme Court. I hope somehow the military steps in to protect the country’s institutions. After all, PNoy isn’t very fragrant to them at the moment. Or at least, a repeat of what had happened to then Pres. Cory Aquino (who, I think, despite her deficiencies as a politician, is still an infinitely more respectable person than her son), when she asked mobs to march on the Senate as it voted on the issue of the US bases in the country. :\

    1. an appeal to, and assault on, the emotions of the masses in a build up to the 25th feb.
      maybe grace lee will be used to add the human touch, personality, appeal to youth, which p-noy lacks. repeat the shalani trick and the cory card.
      trust me i’m cojuangco-aquino!!!!!

  9. Noynoy is of the delusion that he commands the support of the majority, forgetting he was elected as a minority President in the first place. He assumes wrongly that he has the support of the masses. He will learn the hard way.

  10. They’re calling in everyone including De Lima. It’s so obvious that they just want Corona out for a self-interested reason, not because of anti-corruption.

  11. It’s been said many times already: the impeachment case was railroaded by congress. They should stop this nonsense now and get on with their real JOBS which is to serve the people.

  12. With all the noise and stupidities, we are undergoing. Prosecution submitting and leaking fake document evidences. They are even lying in the Senate…
    The true issue of the decision of Corona on Noynoy Aquino’s Hacienda Luisita is being covered. Justice Corona, decided to distribute the lands Swindled by the Aquinos and the Cojuangcos, from the Philippine government to farmers…
    These people are spending the resources of our country, just to claim the lands they swindled…it shows what kind of people , they are: mga swapang…

    1. Agreed… Lying, trial by publicity, fabrication of evidence and media/survey manipulation is now an instrument of public policy.

      There was a illegal discharge shooting incident in HLI. Farmers tried to stop fencing of the land. I’ll try to post.

  13. The impeachment trial reminds me of Aikido and chess. Aikido states that the overwhelming strength of your bully opponent can be used to make him fall. Chess masters warn against making the strongest move because it can provoke an even stronger move against you – as in creating a desperado position where you think you are winning, and the one and only possible move of your opponent turns tables on you and make you lose. In the impeachment, Cuevas and the defense team has not even presented their side yet, but the case of the prosecution is popping up explosive holes all over. REALLY REALLY STUPID AND AMATEURISH. It makes me so afraid of where the country is going – being led by leaders who got failing grades in school. For example, for the country’s economy, they set a high mark of 7 (which is actually lower that other countries like Cambodia and Vietnam) and let a low mark of 4 for GNP. And in the end, the country got 3.5. FAILURE!!! The Peso-Dollar is 42, but how come fuel prices are so much higher?

  14. This is called “digging their own graves”, with their lies and fabricated evidences. They leaked fabricated evidences, to make the public accept it as truth. Then, there was even a “small lady” (Maligno), who handed documents for the prosecution…
    I wonder, if these people have already been influenced and contaminated by the mental illness of Noynoy Aquino. They are not thinking right.
    They build their case like a house of cards. Then, as their house of cards crumbles, infront of their eyes: they bluff..some whines…

  15. Small lady = nana ex machina. Because deus is so 1986.

    Crazy thing is that there is this Movement 188 motion to commend Umali and Banal. At best (if the documents were true and authentic, etc.), the two were lucky. At worst (and more likely), these lawmakers have broken the law.

    How I wish we had more senators like Miriam who would call their bluff.

    When this impeachment thing started, it really looked like Aquino and his allies were flexing their political muscles (“Look, Corona and supporters! We so strong! We so many!”) but the proceedings have so far been embarrassing for them. To think, it has still only really been their move because the defense has yet to make its case. Tsk tsk.

    Aside: Anyway, the Impeachment proceedings have improved my estimation of some senators. Miriam, of course. JPE’s statements re: RH were disappointing but I can’t watch the trial without thinking of his performance as “masterful.” Sen. Marcos doesn’t say much but when he does, it’s worth it. Sen. Legarda’s questions were very helpful, better even than those who like reminding us they are lawyers.

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