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By mlq3 Posted in Daily Dose on February 12, 2008 279 Comments 6 min read
Every Citizen a Juror in the Political Arena Previous The Explainer: Let's do it Next


Nalito Atienza; Watchful nuns


“Hello, M’am?”; Romeo Macalintal settles in


Razon’s bravado; Razon’s pensiveness


The aggrieved Senate sergeant-at-arms; Razon seeks comfort from the lawyers


Madrigal schmoozes; Razon betrays lack of confidence


Lights, camera, action; Mascarinas the admin’s muscle


Mike Defensor does his job; Bautista the Hutt arrives


Actor Pen Medina; the admin lineup


Gloria’s Dragon arrives; Bautista the Hutt in admin huddle


Hutt ogles Loren; Loren pose part 2


“We swear to tell lies and only lies, so help us M’am”; La Salle brother


“Are we still on script?”; Bautista the Hutt naps


Bautista the Hutt; Gloria’s Dragon huddles with the Hutt


Mike D’s wife after bringing back the cash; Hutt and Gaite huddle: Mike D. reports to M’am?

The Palace was certainly between a rock and a hard place going into yesterday’s Senate hearing. If it stonewalled, it could deny its critics evidence and at least prevent its factotums from further incriminating the administration. But it would leave the public with no other story but Lozada’s. Or, the Palace could come out swinging in the hope that it would thereby fortify the determination of its allies to stand by the President, and possibly confuse things enough to prevent a total collapse in public confidence.

The Palace decided to come out swinging but got a beating. That’s because it has mastered situations it can totally control, but has never quite figured out how to handle situations where the advantages enjoyed by officials end up stripped away by public interest and some common sense questioning.

A former member of the cabinet, and as shrewd an observer of our politico-human condition as any I’ve ever met, once told me there is a very simple line that separates the haves from the have-nots in Philippine society. That line, he said, is transparent spontaneity.

The middle and upper classes instinctively wall themselves off from the rest of society, and have an innate sense of privacy that is impossible and even unimaginable for the majority of our population. The ordinary Filipino has little to no privacy, knows instantly what the rest of the family is doing, and what the neighbors are up to, from defecating to love making to quarreling and gossiping.

And so, they are keenly aware of anything that smacks of posturing when, for the walled-off minority, what is ingrained in them is a strong and unshakeable belief in certain things being for public consumption while other things are not. And so, when someone displays emotion, runs the whole gamut of emotions from terror to anger, it resonates; when someone confesses to a reality that most everyone is aware of (though posturing politicians pretend ignorance and then shock), it resonates and adds to credibility.

Maintaining a stiff upper lip in the face of pressure is an alien concept except to those who uphold the values of the upper class.

There is another line that separates the haves from the have nots, not in the sense of those who lack and have money but rather, political power (besides the other kinds of power that exist, such as economic power): and it is, having experienced intimidation.

I’m willing to bet that those who remain skeptical of Jun Lozada’s motives and statements have never experienced the full panoply of official and social intimidation that comprises life for most of our countrymen. This is because the skeptics have always been in the position of being immune to intimidation or who blithely take it for granted as a kind of necessity to keep uppity underlings in line. Or who have lived such insulated lives that it frankly amazes them when someone claims they didn’t have options to explore in their self-defense.

In other words, their inability to fully grasp what Lozada’s gone through is a failure of the imagination. Of empathy.

But it is a situation most Filipinos can appreciate, because they have encountered it on some level at some part of their lives. Whether a slum dweller at the mercy of urban gangs, predatory police, bodyguard-protected officials, or Chinese Filipinos subjected to the BIR, PNP indifference to kidnapping and extortion, the middle class person subjected to mulcting cops, bureaucrats on the take, judges for sale, the appreciation of official intimidation is something that crosses ethnic and economic lines.

But it can also be something that varies in degree and method, and so for some, being subjected to the combined squeeze of the executive and legislative branches as described by Lozada -and floundering in it- seems inconceivable and thus, unbelievable. But for the rest, they know first hand how official intimidation takes on many forms, not all of it overt, most of it calculated on the premise that a reminder of the resources officialdom can mobilize in its own interests and defense is enough -and much more than any one person or family can, or should, resist.

We are a story-telling culture, an aural and oral culture, sensitive to the nuances betrayed by one’s conversational style, constantly trying to situate people in our society’s landscape: we look for what a person’s accent betrays in terms of background, what one’s storytelling style tells about them, constantly forming and reforming a mental image of the story being told and whether it makes sense. Gut feel becomes a sort of scientific method. And in a society that profoundly distrusts all institutions, the arena in which contending forces clash, and public opinion is formed, and where the advantages of the powerful are blunted, is an instinctive form of checks-and-balances the public craves.

Even the best-honed script, by its very nature manufactured, can be torn to shred and wily lawyers, for example, foiled in the face of hammering away at testimony yet failing to get a witness to recant or contradict previous testimony. Which is why these hearings tend to take a tremendous amount of time and why appeals to leave things to the courts leaves the public cold.

Oh. And in case you missed it, Unseating of Panlilio as governor starts.

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  1. Palace: ‘Go Slow on Charter Change Move’

    Now you know that when it says, slow, what Malacanang really means is: we wish we could turn congress into parliament before this friday.

  2. Be sure someone’s reading your blog. – The CaT

    Oh, that’s low, even for you, Ca T. Ano ang pakialam mo kung gusto nila mag protest sa sarili nilang mga blog? You have to go and make a snide comment about it?

  3. @mang isko,

    among the tambays here you are one of the most amusing. siguro na-kick-out ka sa central committee ni joma noon ano? 😀

  4. @Manila Bay

    “BLOGSWARM! Excellent…”

    I’m sorry, but no one really reads blogs apart from one’s friends and one’s converts.

    The reach of blogs is overstated.

    Although, I’d like to be proven wrong.

  5. Today’s Gospel according to Jovito Salonga

    “The Senate inquiry into the national broadband network (NBN) deal has produced enough evidence to prosecute First Gentleman Jose Miguel Arroyo, former Commission on Elections chairman Benjamin Abalos Sr. and former economic planning chief Romulo Neri.

    This was the opinion of legal luminary and former Senate president Jovito Salonga.

    Salonga added that even President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo may be impeached in connection with the allegedly anomalous $329-million contract for going to Boao, China to witness the signing of the deal with private telecommunications firm ZTE Corp.

    Salonga said the transcripts of the Senate proceedings already formed part of the documentary evidence that may be presented in a court of law.

    “We are not basing our complaint on newspaper articles because that would be hearsay,” Salonga said. “We are basing our complaint on documentary evidence and transcripts because they are under oath.”

    Praise be upon him.

  6. ano kaya nash kung pangalan mo imention ni j-lo ngayong monday sa senado na humingi sya sa iyo ng pamasahe galing bahay nya hanggang airport. walang ebidensya.

    ano ang feelings mo?

  7. Oh, that’s low, even for you, Ca T.

    Why do you have to give malice to everything I write. Ask the SEO experts how they do the simultaneous or viral blogging to ensure that readers can reach your blog.

  8. Mike:

    bayaan mo na yan. ganun yan Ca T na yan talaga eh. she must wet herself every time she says something to put other people down.

    for all her claims of competence and intelligence, it’s the cheap shots that really gets her blood going.


    well, it’s up to the individual bloggers who read i suppose, but not everyone who reads manolo’s blog has one of their own.

  9. @mang isko,

    weaseling out are we not?

    analogies are good. sadly, i cannot say the same for yours but then again let me humor you.

    “nash kung pangalan mo imention ni j-lo ngayong monday sa senado na humingi sya sa iyo ng pamasahe galing bahay nya hanggang airport. walang ebidensya.”

    So? Is this mere act of asking pamasahe a crime? I can say Yes, I can say No to this. So?

  10. AdB,

    I’m now in Poipet near the border with Thailand, but I’ll be in Phnom Penh on Friday for the gathering of Pinoys calling for GMA RESIGNATION and early elections. Pinoys in Cambodia issued a call as early as last Sunday. Regards.

  11. I’m wondering what people will say if Lozada (and his kin?) gets convicted of fraud/estafa/bribery/whatever? Will that be OK? Wrong? Why?

    Regardless of what happens with Abalos, Neri, Joey, JDV…and/or the FG and GMA…should Lozada, if proven guilty, walk free? Or should he pay a price?

  12. Two good examples where Circumstantial evidence led to first degree murder convictions. No physical evidence, no eyewitness, no forensic evidence, just testimonies and enough reason to believe that the person was the one who committed Murder.. Colin Thatcher, Alberta Provincial MP, convicted of first degree murder of his wife in summary> Joan Wilson and Thatcher were divorced and Thatcher remarried after one year..both have contentious children custody battles..Wilson was found shot in the shoulder and beaten to death..took the cops 16 months to file charges due to absence of evidence linking Thatcher directly to the Murder except testimonies, which were all dismissed by the accused defense as “hearsay”..the jury believed otherwise, Life without parole for 25 years..

    Robert Baltovich , First Degree Murder of his Filipino girlfriend Elizabeth Bain, Body not found. Testimonies from friends and acquaintances that Baltovich was Mad at Bain for Breaking up the Relationship and several people observed them having heated arguments..happened in l990, 2 years later Baltovich was convicted, but in l998 a book revealed that Bain who’s body was never found until today may have been murdered by notorious sex murderer Paul Bernardo, Baltovich out on bail after 8 years in jail pending appeal and the court order a retrial. Chances is that he maybe declared innocent after all and will get just compensation..

    My point, even in cases of capital crimes, circumstancial evidence enough to secure conviction without reasonable doubts in the mind of 12 members of the Jury, what kind of evidence we are looking from Lozada, the ZTE agreement that Disappeared after it was signed???

  13. “instead of rule of law, we have legalism.” mlq3

    and what is wrong with “legalism”? i’m not sure what you mean by the term but to me, legalism is nothing more than strict obedience and adherence to the “rule of law” and its due processes. when the law demands the exact quantum of evidence required to condemn or convict, and the process by which such evidence could be produced, presented, and weighed, that is part of the rule of law. observance of that principle is what legalism is all about. when a claimant fails to make his case and the respondent prevails, or conversely, the claimant wins after hearing his evidence, that is part of the rule of law. like it or not, the system is adversarial. one has to be “legalistic” to win, otherwise he should be prepared to lose.

    a civilized constitution, and the laws promulgated under it, are a body of rules devised to govern the conduct of men/women in a civilized society. as described by montesquieu, an enlightened constitution is a device to end men’s dominance over other men.

    everybody ought to obey the law. even JesusChrist obeyed the law of his times, and did not countenance its
    violation . He did not directly question the law, instead He had to speak in parables to criticize the prevailing legalities.

    you’re right. “delicadeza” is a thing of the past. it was beautiful while it lasted but in this day and age of changing mores or morality, e.g. open homosexuality, same-sex marriage, cohabitation without marriage, single parenthood, political activism of the clergy and the military, etc., delicadeza is as anachronistic as the stone wheel.

  14. Supremo, the senate blue ribbon committee members, could be jurors in its inquiry. Members could deliberate and come up with unanimous decisions or could have a hung jury, which means no verdict..could be not binding but it could influence the government into reform as a whole or the people may finally take the law into their hands. Thinks about if the American or the Canadian Justice don’t have such the impartiality of the system, the law may have been taken by the people long long time the right to bear arms may give them that ultimate power…

  15. In the middle of all of this, here comes the baseball/steroids congressional investigations on CNN.

    Might be interesting to see the parallels and the contrasts…..

    Though the topic is trivial compared to what Lozada has alleged, how the “game” is played, how the players conduct themselves, what tactics are used…this might be instructive.

    There is a lotta hearsay in all of this…and the Senate is leading the inquiry…..

  16. bayaan mo na yan. ganun yan Ca T na yan talaga eh. she must wet herself every time she says something to put other people down.

    A spoonful of vinegar will cleanse your system.

  17. Vic, supremo,

    The lawyers know what are those evidences. They also know that there have been many attempts to destroy them, or cover them with other evidences (e.g., the affidavit that Lozada signed). For other witnesses, it’s very easy to hide, intimidate or buy them. (Where’s this guy Valeroso who “secured” Lozada’s protection? Where are those other escorts? They are the guys who can best refute the abduction or kidnap.)

    The worst that can happen is, if Geo’s query (10:15m) reaches its end, the axe may fall on the victim. Look at the recent developments now: The NBI “raid” on Lozada’s office to get documents that may incriminate him; this lady Devanadera about the possibility of perjuring him. And many more evidences of how the forces of state pin down a hapless citizen. The accuser may now become the accused. Poor guy!

  18. vic, i don’t care what your laws are in canada. no jury can render a verdict of conviction without evidence. a jury is not a “super judge” in any jurisdiction. it can only act according to law, as instructed by the trial judge. check your facts and study the case thoroughly before you mislead unsophisticated minds in this blog.

  19. Bencard, I gave the name of the parties concern in my post, they are all in archives why don’t you check them yourself and come back and refute them before firing your blanks…

  20. @supremo

    “We don’t have the jury system in the Philippines unfortunately.”

    You sure you don’t mean “Fortunately”? 😀

    With a jury system, in our culture, it’s easy to win via appeal to pity. Instead of good lawyers, we can hire actors and orators to represent us…:D

  21. @Manong bencard

    “..before you mislead unsophisticated minds in this blog.”

    And I suppose you are the light that will lead us to a great and grand place…


  22. so, mr. canadian expert, your “circumstantial evidence” (testimonies of non-eyewitnesses) and other “reasons” were sufficient to convict beyond reasonable doubt? either you are omitting something essential or you are lowering canada’s threshold for convicting an accused felon.

  23. titanium, the details may fill of hearings may fill up thousands of pages, but in the second case, the body was not even found..first time in criminal case that a conviction was secured without a body. and i do not present myself as canadian expert, just an observant citizen of this i said the names of the parties right there, you can be an expert yourself if you do some researh instead of calling others you don’t even know..and thank you…

  24. This baseball steroid scandal is indeed instructive.

    The witness is an admitted liar and cheater…he admits to the wrongdoing that he accuses others of doing. But this admission might make him believable.

    The accused is rich and famous…and a player in a multi-million, multi-billion world. But greed and pride might have corrupted him.

    The legislators include the “trial via media is wrong!” status quo defenders and the narcissistic “where is the camera?” types.

    There is still the question about having a proper forum; of legalese vs insinuation. There is still a question of just “moving on” vs “fix it now”.

    Lotsa parallels.

  25. thanks but no thanks, vic. i have enough to “research” about philippine law and jurisprudence. i have no time nor interest about what’s going on in canada unless it concerns me, personally.

  26. well then, for me i just observe them as they happened..since the beginning i made every one’s aware that I’m just a layman expressing my opinion about my observations and experiences as a Canadian, and those that refute them are most welcome, but not just blanket dismissal without offering any kind of argument except that they are better knowledgeable in the field that the rest..that’s just simply unacceptable, even our Host doesn’t mind all missiles coming from all directions and he respectfully either reply to them or just plainly ignore’s our choice…

  27. vic, understimate who? ah, the unsophisticated minds in this blog, and that includes me, at least, about canada. the others – they know who they are. research canadian decisions? not now, maybe when i write a thesis about jurisprudence of other jurisdictions. but since you love discussing about canada, why don’t you do the researching. afterall, you were the one who brought it up.

  28. nash,

    ‘You sure you don’t mean “Fortunately”?’

    Once in a while you need something different to shake up the system. Some cases in the Philippines should be tried by jury. Sandiganbayan corruption cases are good examples. Having a jury might speed up the trials because you cannot hold the members of the jury for a long time like 10 years.

  29. bencard, check my post directly above yours, and read it. but for your benefit, i said I OBSERVED THESE CASES as they happened..they were all public trials as you know all cases are done in public..but i also observed that you must have done an enormous researh of Philippines Jurisprudence and rulings at the same time since you can put up every arguments against anyone in the country. and of course i love discussing about Canada, it’s my country.

  30. Vic: “And never underestimate others in this blog, please…”

    Nash: “And I suppose you are the light that will lead us to a great and grand place…”

    Let me react to these, and maybe indirectly to Titanium’s.

    There’s a presumption that bloggers are generally unthinking, irrational, unable to discern, emotional. Especially if their posts are opposed to the way ideal norms are observed by those in power, and point out the wide gap between norms and wayward practices.

    Only the “I” is an exception. It is superior.

  31. @supremo,

    true, it gets expensive to sequester a jury.

    i was just reminded of miss platitudes loren legarda during the impeachment trial when she let loose those tears. an opposing lawyer could have easily zoomed in on her (ie as emotional and vulnerable). (and who could forget that this impeachment jury saw it fit to sing the Jubilee song, an overtly catholic song of no bearing to the task at hand, prior the start of session!).

  32. Vic: “… those that refute them are most welcome, but not just blanket dismissal without offering any kind of argument except that they are better knowledgeable in the field that the rest..that’s just simply unacceptable…”

    I agree. I’ve also experienced the same thing from some people. If we don’t like someone’s post, we’d better ignore it. Or, if we want discussion, let’s offer our side.

    Insulting and flaming others don’t work, except for those who love insults and flames for their own sake.

  33. Well, “blog comments” is a TEXTUAL medium. Who knows in what state of mind or emotion the writer is in when posting? (Unless they are really eloquent.) It’s a virtual ‘inuman sa kanto’ that lacks that face to face element.

    (we can only assume that bencard is not nangigigil sa galit when composing those sentences….i certainly hope not.)

  34. palagay ko, hindi ako yung “nangigigil sa galit”. sa tingin ko si vic dahil pinuna ko yong hilig niyang magreport tungkol sa canada – e sa wala naman yatang kinalaman ang canada hinggil sa nagyayari sa pilipinas. isa pa e hindi ko naman nire-refute yong canadian decision na ikinekuento niya. nagtatanong lang ako bilang isang “unspohisticated mind” sa mga bagay tungkol sa canada na binanggit niya. e ewan ko ba!

  35. Nash,

    “Well, “blog comments” is a TEXTUAL medium. Who knows in what state of mind or emotion the writer is in when posting? (Unless they are really eloquent.) It’s a virtual ‘inuman sa kanto’ that lacks that face to face element.”

    I know what you mean, I also said something to that effect earlier. In a way, we are all TEXTS on a screen here. But sometimes people can’t hold their fiery texts after receiving one, esp a demeaning or insulting line that presumes or even states (consciously or unconsciously) the ignorance of a poster – the “You,” not the “I.” Thus, humanity and its binary is summoned, as if people are actually seeing each other face to face when, actually they don’t. They blog from different corners of the world and are virtually clueless who they are sparring with. Some even call them “ghosts,” literally they are.

    Despite the anonymity and facelessness that most of us have as bloggers, we feel hurt by insinuations, direct assaults, throwing craps, flamings, etc. hurled to us by those who don’t subscribe to our position. Don’t we?

  36. This is a general commentary not meant for anyone here in particular.

    I’d like to believe that there could be “real” trolls out there, or another kind of “Filipino monkey” floating in cyberspace. Paid hacks could also, and actually, troll. Isn’t there a Luli Internet Brigade?

    Behind those cyber-identities, they are real persons who have truly mastered dissociating themselves from a purely fictitious, unknown handle (quite likely several), and so would delight at an instance when someone takes the bait and indulges in endless flaming, insulting, shit-throwing.

    They have a defined agenda – to sow confusion, divert attention away from an issue, conquer by divide-and-rule tactic, make them feel stupid, weaken others.

    Intelligent texters? If they aren’t trolls, paid hacks or Filipino monkeys, and would discuss matters dispassionately and rationally.

    Lest I forget, the “I” could also conveniently accuse others of trolling, hacking or monkeying, or some other derogatory texts once a nerve is struck. (That includes me, of course, esp if I have no basis.)

    But we may have missed something here, moderating (not the “greed” of Abalos, FG or Joey) those textual “excesses” we now find here.

    Or, shall our host leave them there, as we are all global posters anyway, not governed by, nor subscribing to, some set of norms whatsoever?