Stop the bullshit by Sylvia Estrada Claudio

Enrile, Revilla, Estrada, and Binay are paying their publicists and lawyers with money taken from government coffers. Don’t they at least have the responsibility to come up with something less trite and more entertaining?

They all, at first instance, proclaim their innocence: Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada, and lately Vice President Jejomar Binay.

Almost to a man they have invoked God as their witness. Down to the last thief they have welcomed the cases to be filed against them so that they can prove their innocence. Down to the last bad melodramatic flourish, they have assumed an air of martyred sacrifice as they claim they are victims of the bankrupt politics they have been trying so hard to reform. “Please,” they beg of the public, “do not judge us by media reports. We are innocent until proven guilty.” We can prove, they say, that everything we touched was above board.

Until, of course, the evidence does begin to come out, in these cases through Senate inquiries.

It turns out they were wrong. That their strong sure knowledge that everything was done with great honesty, was wrong after all. Then the press release has to be more nuanced. One nuance is that the people who testified against them are lying. This is accompanied by character assassination, usually pointing out that the whistle blower has admitted to a crime and we cannot trust such criminals. Another variation is that, though the corruption happened, they did not know anything about it. They are so absolutely shocked at what has been discovered.

Many an ordinary citizen has pointed out that whistle blowers are likely to be parties to the crime especially when the crime is corruption. Those with an understanding of our law on whistle blowers also add that the law recognizes the truth that emerges from these tainted individuals. One wonders therefore whether the accused, some of them lawyers themselves, are incompetent when they make this argument. So incompetent that they do not know that there is a law on whistle blowers.

Innocent but incompetent

The argument that they did not know is an admission of their utter incompetence.

In the cases of Enrile, Revilla, Estrada, and lately, Binay, we are not talking about small amounts and single transactions over a limited period of time. We are talking about billions of pesos, repeated transactions and bad practice over a period of years. These are the people who have the gall to say they deserve national office? Even if we were to grant their argument that they knew nothing about it, such epic dereliction should still qualify as some sort of crime. At the very least they should resign in shame and never dare show their faces to the public again. The pomposity of most politicians is already a travesty. What more if that pomposity is compounded by sheer incompetence?

These accused say they cannot wait for the cases against them to be filed in the proper courts. Enrile is the poster boy for this, refusing to rebut the media reports and the findings of the Senate inquiry after his initial profession of innocence. But whether they engage the media or not, they all say that they will prove their innocence beyond doubt. “We shall be vindicated!”, they shout from the rooftops.

Their statements lead the public to believe that given a fair venue, like the courts, irrefutable evidence of their innocence will emerge. The court will acquit them. They and their colleagues, staff, relatives, and lovers, will walk out of the court with heads held high and praises to Jesus in their hearts.

Until, the trial actually starts. Instead of an enthusiastic impatience to meet the charges head on, Enrile has tried to delay the case, if not have it dismissed. He repeatedly states that he must know what exactly he is charged with and with what evidence. Estrada and Revilla have made similar arguments. In contrast to their ringing cries of “not guilty” to the public, in court where they claim to be more confident that their God-certified truths will finally be heard, they refuse to enter a plea of “not guilty.”

Guilty of poor taste

I suspect that their publicists and lawyers have helped these men craft their public and legal strategies. They certainly have the money to hire any number of these people. But they are left with very little choice. With endless amounts of money to achieve some sort of deodorization, their lawyers and publicists wrap the stuff up in gold leaf hoping that those of us who are impressed with the glitter might fail to notice the smell of feces.

Yet the storyline is getting predictable, stale, and irritating. Must these men, their lawyers and their publicists add insult to injury by these insipid soap operas? You guys are no longer earning your keep. Once I see those excuses, I am immediately convinced your client is guilty.

Enrile, Revilla, Estrada, and Binay are paying their publicists and lawyers with money taken from government coffers. Don’t they at least have the responsibility to come up with something less trite and more entertaining? After all we are paying for these productions.

As a first step, I suggest they emblazon this motto in their office wall, “We need to stop shovelling crap at the Filipino people.”

Guilty, really

The insistence that we suspend judgment of them until they are acquitted or found guilty by the court is added insult to our intelligence. It is our civic duty to use our logic and reasoning to decide for ourselves whether we find them guilty or not. “Innocent until proven guilty,” is a principle that applies to the courts that have the power to send them to jail. It is not an argument that should stop ordinary citizens from evaluating their public officials and taking a moral stand on the scandals that beset them.

So let me make my judgment so far: Gentlemen, you are guilty.

You have admitted to gross incompetence and therefore should be disqualified from public office. You have gone back on your words repeatedly. In other words, you lied. And your arguments point more to guilt and cover-up rather than innocence. You are so cynical and have such a bad opinion of Filipinos that you think we don’t see through this ordure you have been shovelling at us. But we do see it for the stinking pile that it is.

Against your belief and hopes, many of us know the products of defecation when we see it. —

Updated: 2014-10-04 — 19:05:49