It looks like Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy FariÃ±as might be laying the groundwork for a completely different approach to prosecuting Chief Justice Renato Corona. In what was described in an ABS-CBN â€œreportâ€ as an episode that provided “some unexpected comic relief” to the impeachment trial, FariÃ±as delivered a fine performance for the cameras as he argued his position with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile — so fine, that reporter Karen Davila was moved to gush over Twitter “Cong. Rudy Farinas is hilarious.”
The tactic has obviously worked on some people. FariÃ±as seems to be capitalising on the media coverage of this circus to slant the trial more towards what many who have criticised the erstwhile Vulcan logic applied by Enrile and lead defense attorney Serafin Cuevas have long asserted that it really is — a political exercise and not a criminal proceeding. Specifically, it is one that will have brought to bear the weight of public opinion upon the motivation of the senator-judges to convict or acquit Corona. Where former lead prosecutor Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr failed both as a lawyer and as a grandstander, FariÃ±as has evidently stepped up.
If Davila’s reaction reflects the broader sentiment of the Filipino public — a public enamored to patawa and ocho-ocho politics, then it is possible that the prosecution has found its footing after weeks of stumbling over itself.
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In this light, FariÃ±as’s astoundingly bold dismissal of the very Articles of Impeachment his team supposedly stands for as a “poorly crafted” legal artifact and the audacity he exhibited in proudly highlighting the fact that he was not one of the 188 House representatives who were strong-armed into signing it could possibly be a stroke of genius. By discrediting the sloppily-written Articles of Impeachment and, on the same stroke, giving a demonstration today of how a bit of showbiz flair applied to the floor can suddenly pump up an audience, FariÃ±as may have set the stage for an unhinging of the prosecution strategy from the dud of a document that had been dragging it down.
That, plus a hoped-for snowballing of a critical mass of audience-fueled momentum around FariÃ±as’s cheerleading style on the floor could turn the tables on the defense team who have so far enjoyed broad public approval for the class it had consistently exhibited over the last several weeks of the trial.
Ultimately it depends on the resolve of the senator-judges to stay the course and keep the trial proceedings sober and dignified. Enrile had, unfortunately, exhibited disturbing signs today that he could be steamrollered by FariÃ±as’s yammering. Influential media personalities like Davila likewise had already shown early signs of susceptibility to showmanship that is irrelevant to the goal of the trial. Indeed a trial that is turned into a comedy show would presumably be in the interest of media networks who are investing vast resources to cover this event. After all, if the trial drags on and legalese progressively pervades it, it could lose the lucrative audience that is the whole point of that investment.
For now, hats off to the prosecution who today surfed on FariÃ±as’s oratory flair and the very evident litigation chops of his colleague Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao. O sige na nga, lets give na rin an honourable mention to the newly-designated prosecution â€œchuwariwariwapâ€ Niel Tupas Jr.
[Photo courtesy Interaksyon.com.]
benign0 is the Webmaster of GetRealPhilippines.com.