Prosecution’s losing streak was capped by Vitallano Aguirre’s meltdown

Do you know anyone who has ever had a meltdown? How about this flight attendant who became infamous after pulling the emergency-exit chute of an airplane in the United States in 2010? Apparently, this JetBlue airlines flight attendant got upset with an uncooperative passenger on a just-landed flight and “unleashed a profanity-laden tirade on the public address system, pulled the emergency-exit chute, slid off the plane and fled Kennedy International Airport”. It was classic. He even became some sort of a hero to those who are fed up with customers who bully employees in the service industry. But of course the flight attendant suffered the consequences of his actions, got fined and fired at the same time.

On the 26th day of the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, one of the private prosecutors for the House of Representatives also had an infamous meltdown. Just before the presiding officer, Senator Juan Ponce Enrile announced the “court is adjourned”, lawyer Vitallano Aquirre had a “You can’t fire me, I quit!” moment.

Senator Miriam Santiago was probably the only one who missed seeing Aguirre covering his ears with his two hands while the Senator was giving one of her regular lectures for the prosecution during the trial. Most people watching the proceedings live on national television would have found it hard to miss Aguirre giving his version of the “Up Yours!” gesture in front of the camera. It was Senator Jinggoy Estrada who called Aguirre’s attention to his unusual behavior, which riled up Senator Santiago who quickly moved to cite Aguirre in contempt of court which, in turn, was concurred to by Senator Pia Cayetano. In granting the motion, Senator Enrile agreed that, “it’s a sign of disrespect to a member in this court and that can’t be allowed to pass and must be dealt with according to the rules.”

To those who have been watching the impeachment trial every week and following the drama like a compelling television soap series, the last episode was certainly a cliffhanger. The next session will be a highly anticipated one, indeed.

The reaction to Aquirre’s contemptuous act was mixed. There are those who say that he deserves to be cited for contempt — 73.26 percent of respondents in a recent survey agreed with the impeachment court’s ruling while only 26.74 percent disagreed with it. Many of those who disagreed with the court’s ruling see Aguirre as some kind of hero. They think that he just stood up to Senator Santiago who they thought was being a bully. Obviously, these people do not see the point. The point is, no matter how badly you feel about someone who is in a position to make your life miserable, you just don’t do anything that would give that person more reason to make things even worse for you.

It was one thing for Aguirre to cover his ears but he didn’t have to “pull the emergency-exit chute” when he was called to explain why he was covering his ears. He could have just done an Umali or a Banal and mumbled something about a “small lady” or a “document under the gate” just to get out of that sticky situation. But no; Aguirre seemed like he wanted to be a “hero” when he spoke on behalf of those who he felt have taken on the “last straw” as far as the beratings dished out by the feisty lady-Senator go.

But to echo the words of Senator Santiago, “Whaaaaat the hell was he thinking?!?” If Aguirre thought he could get some respect by provoking someone who is already seething with annoyance for the prosecution, then he was totally mistaken. His decision to be honest about what he thought of Senator Santiago could not have gained him enough sympathy because he was not in the best position to do so; Senator Santiago had a point when she was highlighting the prosecution’s incompetence; and the fact is, everyone knows that Santiago really has a high-pitched voice and her Ilonggo accent probably makes her voice sound even more agitated even when she’s not, meaning most people — especially the prosecutors — should have been used to her mannerism by now.

In crying out for respect, Aguirre and some of the prosecutors seemed like the sort of Filipinos who are good at playing the “victim card” in the way they appear very sensitive and emotional. They obviously like playing the victim card in front of the public to get as much of their sympathy as possible. Filipinos like them always try to get around following any rules and regulations or even simple guidelines by appealing to emotion. Likewise, they always want to play the victim even though they actually act like an aggressor most times. Certainly in this case, the prosecutors were the original aggressors in filing an unverified impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Corona and conducting a trial by publicity.

Aguirre is probably asking himself now, “Was it worth it?” He has apologized for offending Senator Santiago but he is not sorry for what he did. Considering that he managed to piss off a few of the other judges, most people would agree that his stunt wasn’t worth it. There might be some judges who are sympathetic to Aguirre like Senator Panfilo Lacson, but that is only due to his association with Aguirre who used to be his lawyer. What Aguirre didn’t or still doesn’t realize is that, there’s no way he would get majority of the judges on his side because everyone knows that Senator Santiago is suffering from hypertension. One just doesn’t antagonize someone who is ill. You’ll just end up looking like the douchebag even if you think the other party did something foul. Plus, I don’t know what planet Aguirre comes from but on planet Earth, you just don’t embarrass a woman if you want to earn some respect.

Most Filipinos who tuned in might consider Aquirre the prosecution’s mere “Side Show Bob” but what happened between him and Senator Santiago during the impeachment trial is actually a microcosm of what is wrong with Philippine society. Like what I wrote previously: “If you read Philippine publications, watch local talk shows on TV or even just peruse other popular collective Filipino blogsites, you can pretty much tell what the national preoccupation is about. The national preoccupation is centered on the Filipino ego. To be specific, it’s all about who has offended who and who needs to apologise to whom. This preoccupation pretty much prevents our country from moving forward.

Rather than focus on ideas or the concept of what a person is saying, most Filipinos focus more on whether or not the person was disrespectful or polite. They can’t seem to take a bit of the bigger perspective and brush things off and take what are really small things with a grain of salt. It is a characteristic that seems to defy our Catholic upbringing. Jesus Christ needs to come back down to earth to reiterate a lesson or two in humility to Filipinos.

There seems to be something wrong with a psyche that makes us so vulnerable to getting upset or offended so easily. Most Filipinos get offended so easily from a perceived indiscretion and are often unable to move on to something bigger or higher than such trivial pursuits. We tend to be consumed with words that should mean nothing to us if they were untrue. This demonstrates a real sign of having an unhealthy ego and being beset by insecurity. As someone aptly put it, most Filipinos can be onion-skinned-cry-babies.”

We all have the option to walk away from a perceived slight. We all have the option to take the high road and shrug off criticism. Private prosecutor, Vitallano Aguirre could have done both if he only had some respect for himself.

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55 Comments on “Prosecution’s losing streak was capped by Vitallano Aguirre’s meltdown”

  1. “Rather than focus on ideas or the concept of what a person is saying, most Filipinos focus more on whether or not the person was disrespectful or polite. ”

    For me, best line in the article. Sending this to all my religious (kuno) friends (priests, madres, church beatas) who are easily butt-hurt, who are more concerned on how you deliver your message & accept you based on how you deliver your message, than what the message is all about. saying “gago ka!” in malumay tone is more acceptable than saying “get in line” in heavy tone.

      1. If I may suggest, don’t block the trolls and drive-bys.They are the exhibits of how these anti-due process and Penoyistas minds work. They are gems.

        1. As long as they do not use foul language or spam the comment section, they are welcome to stay.

    1. @John

      What makes you think I have something against Catholics? Please read this paragraph again:

      Rather than focus on ideas or the concept of what a person is saying, most Filipinos focus more on whether or not the person was disrespectful or polite. They can’t seem to take a bit of the bigger perspective and brush things off and take what are really small things with a grain of salt. It is a characteristic that seems to defy our Catholic upbringing. Jesus Christ needs to come back down to earth to reiterate a lesson or two in humility to Filipinos.

      1. Thanks for the clarification I get it now. Love this post, don’t love noynoy, staunchly catholic and there are many like me. Good article by the way. Hope CJ wins!

  2. It was apparently planned from the beginning. Mr. Aguirre is now the prosecution’s dark side poster boy. The arrogance of power, gross ignorance of the law, mismanagement, dark scheming plans and action speaks for itself.Their master and dictator Mr. Aquino has a contagious psyche. He exudes absolute power and control and this makes them and the bow well movement 188 feel invincible. Senator Santiago is publicly known to be hypertensive. The hear no evil monkey set himself up close and personal to be videoed. He was seen smiling. He admitted it in public. It was a deliberate act intended to raise the blood pressure of the good senator. The Dr. Jekyll gentlemanly appearance of Mr. Aguirre transformed to the scoundrel Mr. Hyde. Perhaps his brain never analyzed the fatal consequences of such a dastardly act leading to a tragic stroke or heart attack. Thank God it never happened.

      1. i read it as a deliberate act to get miriam’s hypertension rise to dangerous levels and really cause her harm, just to get her out of the way. aguirre is lucky he’s getting away with just a slap on the wrist and a lifetime of being associated with the google search terms of “gago” and “prosecution”.

        1. a lifetime of being associated with the google search terms of “gago” and “prosecution”.

          lol…classic. 😉

        2. @ Parallax

          “…being associated with the google search terms of “gago” and “prosecution”.”

          First time you made me laugh hard…

        3. Parallax,

          a lifetime of being associated with the google search terms of “gago” and “prosecution”.

          That is a very good way of putting it. I bet Aguirre quit the prosecution team because he can only hear “gago” every time he steps into the impeachment court.

        4. @ilda: 🙂

          @trosp: i actually tried googling it and it works! haha

          @fallenangel: he wanted fame, he got it. just not the sort of thing he expected to be famous for. at reunions, people will probably be whispering among themselves “uy wag maingay, papunta si gago dito.” and at the back of aguirre’s mind, with every person he’ll meet he’ll wonder if the person has the word “gago” on his/her mind, no different from the way people hope nobody notices how fake their toupe looks. so if he ever goes anywhere and nobody says gago like they’re actually avoiding saying it, he KNOWS they’re thinking it. poor sod.

      2. “Be careful with your character than your reputation because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

        I would say that while Miriam Defensor has the reputation, Aguirre has the character.

  3. Paano yan mukhang natatanga na naman ang mga alipores ni Penoy naubusan na ng bala sa trial at kung anu-ano nang ginagawa? Sabagay ang ganung behavior ni Aguirre mukhang namana nya sa kanyang among si Penoy. Mga exhibitionists ng bastos na asal.

    1. i guess nagtatangatangahan lang ang mga yan, moro-moro talaga ang ginawa nila pag endorso sa senate ng mahinang basehan ng impeachment ni CJ. kasi pag hindi na convict si CJ may rason na si Pnoy ng kanyang kahinaan sa pangangasiwa ng gobyerno. si Cj na nmn ang ituturo nya. eh ngayon nga nasa poder na sya, yon mga nag rarally sa mediola kinokondena pa rin si Gloria na naka hospital arrest.

      talagang blanko ang road map ng tuwid na daan. walang kapag-a-pag asa na umunlad ang bansa.. ang mga programa nito puro palpak, example lang, yon k+12, dios mio…wala ngang mapasukan ang mga graduate ng kolehiyo, sandamakmak na surplus nurses walang hospital! dadagdagan pa ng taon ang edukasyon?. mahal na nga ang tuition, wala pang classroom.

      talagang wala na eto magawa bugok na presidente na eto.

    1. As far as I know, the military is disgruntled, but they don’t yet see any point in doing a coup.

      As for why they are disgruntled, you should know this already since you’ve been posting those links about the NPA and MILF. And to add to those, the Peenoy’s favoritism and vindictiveness have not spared the military.

        1. Coup Me, Coup You

          According to Wikipedia…
          “Paranoia is a thought process believed to be heavily influenced by anxiety or fear, often to the point of irrationality or delusion. Paranoid thinking includes persecutory beliefs, or beliefs of conspiracy concerning a perceived threat towards oneself. Making false accusations and the general distrust of others also frequently accompany paranoia.”

    2. This only strengthens my belief that this person needs further work up on his current mental health. He is just not paranoid, i think he is also delusional!

      1. dunno what’s worse for the country – him playing victim or him playing playstation and comes to his appointments late. he does both so we’re doubly screwed.

  4. The evil examples that are now instruments of public policy:

    1. Black Propaganda and Lying.

    2. Trial by Publicity.

    3. Fabrication and Falsification of Evidence.

    4. The Use and Abuse of the Machinery of State.

    5. Hate-Think by way of Vilifying and Demonizing Characters and Reputations.

    6. Speedy Railroading of Cases Against Perceived Enemies.

    7. Coddling and Protecting Cronies and Perceived Friends.

    Name your own…

    1. massive application of double standards

      exploitation of media stupidity and dysfunctional filipino culture for personal monetary/material pursuits while in public office

    1. @Peste

      It’s still hard to reconcile the findings in the article with the fact that some of PNoy’s supporters are well-educated. I mean, some of them have masters degrees, law degrees and even doctors. You’d think they are not the type who would fall for the yellow propaganda.

      A parliamentary system might be able to help us elect better leaders. At least the party members can change their party leader every time he becomes proven as incompetent or unpopular. They do not even have to wait for an election to change their party leader.

  5. What does martial law or a dead son had to do with the impeachment? Nagmana sa amo nilang walang modo mula umpisa. *coughs* bgy captain *coughs*

  6. The Senate Court of Enrile is like a Kindergarten class, whereby you allowed the children in the class to do their things; without any rules imposed.
    So, your class is a free-for-all. Your classroom became a mess. And we are complaining…why these Prosecutors/Lawyers are acting like mentally retarded children?
    The Planners of the Noynoy Aquino Camp did this on purpose, with the help of some Senators. To put a scene, to divert your attentions on high prices, and to our economic deterioration. And to have a subtle attack on the Senate and the Judiciary, at the same time…
    It’s Political Inquisition, that Noynoy Aquino is doing…Kick the Bastard on the rear…

    1. It may be a circus for now,but it will end. Regardless of acquittal or conviction, PNoy wouldn’t come out unscathed.

      A conviction would make him a wimp dictator, who relies on numbers and bribes to win. An acquittal will make him an mad/crazy leader,seeing he is getting more and more paranoid this days.

      Worst effect of this: Philippines would break. After Corona, reality will bite back PNoy and the country.

  7. I really love the way this was written. Starts with a title that seems to be exclusively all about the impeachment, clearly dissected and voila,ends up with a gestalt defined by the damaged Filipino psyche.

  8. while i agree with most that the tirades delivered by the good senator is somewhat off. one caanot blame her considering the endless boo boos of the prosecutipn team. i would like to think that what provoked her is their seeming arrogance particularly spokesperson Quimbo who almost always points out that their evidence will surely convict corona nothwithstanding that the defense has not even started presenting theirs. as for atty aguirre who is my former law professor i am indeed surprised at his reaction knowing him to be a cool guy byt then he must have his reasons.

    1. @sacrosanct

      I don’t understand why he had a meltdown. Usually those who have a meltdown are people who feel trapped in a situation, like a dead-end job or something. It’s not like he was forced to act as a prosecutor. I know he just volunteered to be part of the team. Maybe they are paying him. But I did read somewhere that he was going to present one of the articles that got dropped. So maybe he felt frustrated that he wouldn’t be getting his turn to speak anymore.

  9. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. The prosecution , most especially Aguirre, learned this the hard way. And if the recent wave of trolls persists, Ate Ilda will use her own Limit Break. Hehehe.

    Ilda, I honestly thought the prosecution had already sunk to their lowest before Aguirre did this. This episode only proves that they have yet to hit rock bottom. I also personally detest the victim card that some supposedly educated Filipinos play.

    Another thing I get PO’d at is the confusion certain Filipinos have between being just plain stubborn and “may pinaninindigan”. That is certainly the impression I got about Atty. Aguirre’s actions.

    Unless Filipinos learn to let go of their ego, like you’ve been saying ever since, and unless they develop discernment when it comes to criticism, things will never change.

    And I must never forget to complement your articles because they have always been consistently good.

    1. @FallenAngel

      Despite regularly getting admonished by the Senator Judges, the prosecution through their leader, Neil Tupas still had the nerve to say that they were prepared for the trial. It’s amazing how nothing gets through to any of them. They are really stubborn and hopeless.

      Thank you!

  10. Ilda

    –The “cloak of legislative immunity”: Sec. 11, Art. VI: “No Member shall be questioned nor be held liable in any other place for any speech or debate in the Congress or in any committee thereof.”

    –The power to punish: Section 16 (3) “Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly behavior.”

    –The Rules of the Senate: Rule XXXIV (Unparliamentary Acts and Language), Sec. 93: “Acts and language which offend a Senator or any public institution shall be deemed unparliamentary.”

    –The Senate Rules of Procedure: Sec. 15. Conduct of Counsel: “Counsel for a witness shall conduct himself in a professional, ethical and proper manner. His failure to do so shall subject such counsel to disciplinary action which may include a warning, censure, removal from the hearing room, or punishment for contempt.”

    –Contemnor: “A person or entity who is guilty of contempt before a judicial or legislative body.”

    So, unless the Senate–alone and no other–decides to “punish” Miriam for her “disorderly behavior,” contemnor Atty. Vitaliano N. Aguirre will just have to grin and bear the perceived rudeness of Miriam’s tirade and to accept the “punishment by contempt” the Impeachment Court has handed down for mockingly covering both his ears in a childish “hear no evil” monkey gesture while conspicuously seated in the front row during Miriam’s scolding.

    Understandably, this prompted Enrile to intone that such “sign of disrespect to a member in this court … can’t be allowed to pass and must be dealt with according to the rules.”

    The “sign of disrespect” that Enrile refers to is actually the open assault by Aguirre upon the “dignity of Congress”–as one of the three separate institutions of government–particularly while convened in this instance to perform its constitutional duty to act as an “Impeachment Court,” and certainly not upon the individual “dignity” of the elective members comprising that institution acting as judges who come and go and whose terms are fixed.

    1. They are all valid points that seem to validate the claim that Aguirre was in the wrong. The guy might have a high IQ but he obviously has low EQ.

  11. Thank you for this post ms Ilda. I was all nods while reading your blog. It contains sense, reason, and substance. I am actually checking also on some other blog sites,i read both posts by the anti-Coronas,(judgmental ignorant people who expresses their opinions in a very unreasonable way) and also posts from people who are in favor of just following the right due process. Since i love a little debate, I would always comment on the Anti-coronas. I notice that when they feel that they can’t win the argument, they would use the old time personal attack strategy,and all these trashy words would start coming out,can’t help feeling sorry for them. On the other hand, i find it really hilarious though!!..

    Anyways, all praises to your posts.. Good luck and God bless…

    1. Hi Clyde

      Thanks. Kudos also for getting the point of the article.

      As for the yellow trolls, I don’t bother with them so much. Like I always say, it’s better to talk to a brick wall than some rabid PNoy supporters. 🙂

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