At this point in time, Filipino politicians should listen to just one Beatles song — “Dear Prudence.” The Beatles sing it this way: “Dear Prudence won’t you come out to play.” While the song was originally written for Mia Farrow’s sister, in this country’s case, we should sing and call out this virtue to take active participation in our daily lives. More importantly, Filipino politikos should call it out more often than reciting an entire rosary.
What is prudence, anyway? WikiPedia defines it as:
Prudence is the characteristic of exercising sound judgment in practical affairs.
Before going any further, I’ll narrow the discussion and twist that WikiPedia definition into “exercising sound judgment in political affairs.” Prudence hasn’t been around Philippine politics in ages. From choosing candidates in elections to exercising job functions of elected officials, we’re pretty much screwed. Truth of the matter is, we keep putting the same kind of people in power and expect different results. That’s just batshit Einstein-insane. It’s funny why the people still vote for the same kind of people come election time. Call it a state of apathy or a weird exaggerated state of “puwede na” behavior.
Politics is a balancing act between altruism and selfish ambition. The common Filipino perception of the Pinoy politician has always been that selfish ambition is on the heavier end of that balancing act. In a way, a politician constantly entertains a perversion of the “I want to be a rockstar” kiddie fantasy. That is why they love the media attention coming from the recent hearings. They are so easily drawn out by vanity. If Al Pacino’s devilish John Milton was real, he’ll probably say this to our politicians everyday — “Vanity, definitely my favorite sin.”
Like an ABS-CBN telenovela on its closing week that people watch even if they are already aware of how the story will end, a number of Filipinos are similarly engrossed with the Ombudsman impeachment drama going on in the Senate and the House of Representatives. The carnival of opportunistic politicians found another “worthy cause” in an attempt to add gloss to their not-so-polished images. Personally, I won’t blame the politicians for jumping on the bandwagon. If I was in congress, I won’t miss something as historic as the Ombudsman’s impeachment. It’s a bit like trying to show off your dancing skills to a hot-looking lady looking to get laid.
Anyway, prudence dictates that you shouldn’t jump at all opportunities without weighing all the options. Just because the gang leader says “Let’s go for it,” it doesn’t mean you should, without thinking. PNoy’s call to the LP to nail Merci can be likened to a pila balde situation or calling all gangmates for a sure lay — regardless of whether you’re protected or not. While I support the impeachment move as part of due process, our lawmakers (specially the senators) shouldn’t jeopardize their position of impartiality. After all, how can you be objective once you’ve already made a guilty verdict even before the case has been heard?
As I have read in the Babe Romualdez column in the Philippine Star:
The big question this coming May is: Will the Senators particularly those from the Liberal Party be fair and objective, especially in light of the revelation that President Noynoy Aquino has given his party mates marching orders to “get” Gutierrez? And what if the Ombudsman asks them to inhibit themselves from the proceedings because their objectivity could have been clouded since it has apparently become a Liberal Party imperative to get rid of her?
So, has the government already come to a verdict on Merci? I say that it has. What’s really alarming is that PNoy even alluded to that on his recent CNBC interview as getting rid of “land mines.” He does not bother to hide his disgust of the Ombudsman (who hides it ba?). Since he is president of the country, maybe it will be wise for him to act a bit like Solomon and keep his mouth shut about this. He also has to shield himself from other issues. After all, there will still be an impeachment trial this may and it CAN GO EITHER WAY. What if the prosecution team bungles it and Merci is acquitted of all charges, then who will be the biggest dodo bird in this country? It certainly won’t be the congressmen or the LP. It’ll be the top executive who goaded everyone in his party to go after Merci.
In another case of being too talkative for his own good, Sen. TG Guingona should not have called for the Ombudsman’s resignation. From a bystander’s point of view, it can be seen as both an offer of “peaceful” resolution or even a sign that he “blinked.” Who knows? There could be an actual weakness in those cases that the House of Representatives are preparing. Sun Tzu prescribes that the general should always mask his strength to ensure victory over his opponent. If that is the case, then why force a way out of the confrontation? If total obliteration of the guardian of the Arroyos is needed, then let it happen. Do they just have a noisy but weak gun pointed at Merci? I certainly hope not.
The trouble with a weak case sent against the Ombudsman’s way is the danger of falling into another Erap-impeachment type of ending. In Erap’s case, the impeachment didn’t really come to a real conclusion. If that happens, what are the “people” going to do? Form a mob armed with torches and pitchforks? Another scenario is that the Senate encounter might really be more favorable to Merci, as she only needs 7 senators to quash the proceedings. If that happens, then it will appear that the LP actually helped the Ombudsman get away.
I also have to cite what Senator Escudero felt about the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee report that recommends impeachment of Ombudsman Merci (as shown in a report in Inquirer.net):
Escudero said he signed the document because at that time it was given to him, he didn’t know that there would be a number of senators who would also express reservations to a portion of the report, recommending the impeachment of the Ombudsman
“Ang intindi ko [From what I understood] we took no part, we expressed reservations about it and took exception to it,” he said.
Asked if there was a need to delete that part in the committee report, Escudero said it could either be clarified or there might not be a need at all to make that clarification since it was clear that the majority “took exception” to that impeachment portion.
“So hindi ito kasama sa [this isn’t part of the] overall approved ng [of the] blue ribbon committee,” Escudero further said.
I remember my old boss. During the time that he was still around on this earth, he used to always tell me that “the devil is in the details.” In the case of the blue ribbon report, I hope someone did not just try to pull a fast one on other senators or at least force a quick agreement to all that it had to say. Well, maybe someone did just that. It could be that some senators saw it right away, some didn’t. It could be that they’re just being subtle about it. But hey, that’s just me and my overactive imagination at work. 😛
Prudence dictates that we should pause and realize that, despite its perceived flaws, the Philippines actually has a system of doing things. We are still in a democracy, right? If we’re all convinced that the Ombudsman is guilty even before the trial, then let’s just skip the drama. If we are all so hot to do it, there’s a cheaper non-televised way to send the Ombudsman to hell, imho. Even the president should cool his heels and let the process take over. They have the numbers in the House of Representatives. Let the numbers do their work.
If you can’t think straight, just listen to the Beatles muna. All you need is love. Peace. 😀