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.

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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.

37 Replies to “Why Filipinos cannot seem to get what the defense team in the impeachment trial are up to”

  1. 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?

    1. The Filipinos are getting it. Halata na desperado na ipagtanggol ng depensa ang Thief justice. Nacontempt pa ang isa dhl sa panloloko nya. At pinilit pa na wla raw ntanggap n pdaf si Tiangco e lhat naman nkakatanggap? Dpat mtanggal itong kongresistang ito dhl khhyan sya ng mga mamamayan ng Navotas.

      1. Hindi dapat matanggal si Cong. Tiangco because he saw the stupidity of the whole Congress. Yes, the 188 who signed it refused to THINK, like you do.

        Mas kahihiyan si Vicenzo because he’s an emo-filled mindless zombie who worships Noynoy as a god. You can’t accept the fact that all of this are for selfish gain in order to retain Hacienda Luisita and worst of all, you’re desperate since you’re mouthing false hopes and empty rhetorics.

        1. @Henyong Sakuragi:
          Welcome to GRP.

          Vincenzo is a “regular” here. He constantly professes his undying love for his “Tito Noy” and “Tita Cory” and his hatred for anything remotely related to GMA. If you read all his posts you’ll find he adds nothing of value to the discussion, so it would probably be best to ignore him.

      2. No, vincenzo.. it is your stupid palpaksecution who are getting desperate. You still can’t handle the truth that your LOSER team hasn’t proven ANYTHING since DAY 1.

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

    1. @kagbalete it is too early for you to say that the CJ will not be able to dispute the charges against him. it is irresponsible for anyone to pass judgment without waiting for the defense to finish what they are supposed to do. but then that kind of thinking is so typical of the yellow mob and you are obviously one of then.

      1. God, why are some people very impatient? You don’t rush trials becuase everything is scrutanized in this type of forum or procedding. Everything must be legal and acocrdance with the law or else , it would just be rumors and innuedos. No stone should be left unturned and everybody has their turn. This is not pabilisan or a race, where teh winenr is edecided on speed. it’s decided on merit.

    2. Please don’t equate legal ethics to morality, they are not the same.

      Also, please have a little more patience. We did that for the proescution in their turn and we kept outr tempers with them. It would be magnamous of you and other people to show the same courtesy on the other side fo the fence. I don’t think waiting of both parties can kill anybody here. unles you’re talking about years.

      A legal trial is long and tedious. Everybody has their turn and there is the pressumption that everything should be scrutenized by legal means . It is a long and boring process but it must be done, if you really want to know the truth. If you don’t, you can have rumors and innuedos but no conclusions. And I don’t think you can prove anything by them.

      You are entitled to your opinion but please don’t expect eeryone to jump to the same conclusion as you do. We all have our standards of evidence, some are just more critical than others.

    3. Prosecution tried to push their BS through technicalities of the law too. And it would be too much of a stretch to demand from Corona to reveal his money, when he is within his rights to say “none of your business”.

      And which moral high road would be served when assuming he did reveal his money, yet the ignorant masses would say he was lying, thanks to the PNoy/oligarch press? Even some depth of thinking would see acquittal or dismissal as correct, yet that would be overwhelmed by the ignorant who claim to be the “morally superior.”

    4. The fact remains that what you are introducing to us as a fact is merely an unwarranted speculation to say the least. Who among the prosecutors or anyone in the impeachment proceeding has established that the CJ cannot explain his wealth? Where did you even get that? First, there is a difference between not being able to explain and opting not to explain. Although I am not saying that the CJ opted not to explain but that is just to educate you. Second, no one needs to explain something that was not alleged. Just also for your education, there is a difference between not disclosing one’s SALN and acquiring wealth illegally. What was alleged was that he did not disclose his SALN to the public. Disclosure of the SALN has no bearing with how his assets were acquired. Let us just put it simply for you, let us say the CJ is guilty of not disclosing his actual assets and net worth to the public, does that follow logically that he stole from the government? Let’s say a housewife is getting more money than what the husband gives because she is secretly dealing cosmetic products to her neighbors because her husband does not want her working and then the husband discovers this extra money, will it be logical for the husband to punish his wife because he thinks she is getting money from another man aside from him? NO, because in the same way it simply does not follow. For you to call the defense degenerate is degenerating on your part.

    5. Fact is, there are indeed a lot of unscrupulous people in power who have abused their position to acquire wealth, but I am sure there are a lot more who are straight.

      Seems like we are not only ‘droll and unintelligent’, we are also perennially of a negative frame of mind. Our eyebrows shot up when we see an official who drives an above average priced car. Our narrow minds expect only to see poverty. We expect our judges to drive only a Vios. If they drive anything that even slightly looks like a BMW, our minds immediately conjure ‘unexplained wealth’ and corruption. If an official don’t have a hacienda, we assume that an official’s only source of income is his salary.

      I’m not implying Corona’s innocence or guilt. Just adding over the droll & unintelligent adjectives that describe us, the ‘poor-minded’ frame of mind.

  4. 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 complaint)., it only shows that we’re not rushing into things and we like to analyze and see things in a much bigger picture and context rather than the complaint.
    It has been said over and over again that impeachment is a political and legal trial. We have been playing on the legal side. Why not on the political side? Because we’re gonna ruffle some feathers?
    It’s true that we’re on a tight schedule but it’s not an excuse to throw caution to the wind and leave some stones unturned. If they (the court and the people) want closure, cover all the bases so that nobody can claim foul in the end (because one party will always claim so). Remember, this type of trial has no appeal. It’s like a death sentence twice over. Why would anyone like to give that so heavy punishment so swiftly and with no just?

  5. 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 umaabuso sa kanilang pwesto.

    These people hang on to power even when evidence point to their scheming and selfish ambitions to enrich themselves.

    1. So which scheming, self-enriching personalities are those? I will count the PNoy among them, because he’s intent on keeping himself burned out of the clan by his uncle.

    2. Ang linis linis ng nakaupo sa Malacañang. Lalo na yung mga nakapaligid sa kanya kahit na mga dating nakapanig ang mga iyon kay…


  6. 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.

    1. No doubt it will be Pnoy’s greatest achievement… To commit more corruption/obtain more “unauditable” funds.

  7. 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 officials are fit to retain the office entrusted to him/her by the people, an idea you alluded to but then dismissed simply because you feel those at the helm of the impeachment process don’t measure up in your estimation; about how the defense’s entire technique thus far has been to obscure relevant fact behind the smokescreen of judicialized rules and a misplaced, hyper-textualist take on “rule of law” rather than directly confront the substance of the issues raised; and about the oppression, corruption and violence of the Marcos and GMA regimes, all of which was experienced directly by the people and is borne out in our historical record, but you’d probably just call me stupid.

    It’s funny how you speak about evidence in support of your position when there actually is ample evidence suggesting that Corona might be tainted and unfit to hold public office. The procedural rules with regard to this evidence, while important, isn’t the crux of the issue, and shouldn’t be treated as such. The truth is the most important thing.

    1. TROLL.

      So you want to break the LAW just for the sake fo seeking the TRUTH. Fact is you want to make yourself feel better.

      Confirm for sadist who loves to burn houses just to catch mice. A Yellow Zombie indeed. Also, stupid because you the joke is on YOU because the former Cory and the current Noynoy regime also speaks corruption and violence. Makes sense? 🙂

      1. @Daido

        Not everyone with a different opinion or view from your own is stupid, a troll or a “yellow zombie”.

        While expressing your views may be your right as a citizen of a democracy, name-calling and condescension are not a good use of your freedom of speech.

        1. Please state FACTS for once and not much on rhetorics, conspiracy theories and crap.

          Hehe, the guy that I replied is an idiot blaming Marcos and GMA for no good or flawed reasons whatsoever. You’re missing the point, sir.

  8. 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 towards more enlightened and responsible citizenry and even more responsible elected politicians.
    May the tribe of Cong. Toby Tiangco increase.

  9. 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.

    1. Unfortunattely for you, you’re one of ‘them.’ The prosecution’s stupidity is more like an insult to Filipino intelligence.

      Point f*cking missed. Confirmed for trolling 😛

    2. Pray tell, what is your alternative? I thought early on that this impeachment trial is a way for Pnoy to ‘fight corruption’ that he vowed on his cmapiagn speeches. And you cannot deny the fact that some Filipinos out tehre are willing to pass quick judgements rather than think for themselves compared to what the media or the govenremnt tell without proof. It’s not insulting all of the Filipinos (becuase they are still people who think) but majority are the Pinoys who would prefer sponfed info and eblieve anything than see exactly what is in front of them. We are fond of escaping from reality because it hurts our already thin sensabilities. We cannot always be like this.

  10. 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.

    1. while the impeachment court may regard the testimony as irrelevant, i don’t hear anybody denying, or at least succeeding at denying the accuracy of cong. tiangco’s allegation. at the very least, this now casts doubt on the integrity of the incumbent and is a clear contradiction to what daang matuwid embodies.

  11. 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. 🙂

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