February 13, 2011


As a nation, we just can't focus on one thing at a time and finish what we're doing.

All this controversy that arose out of Angelo Reyes's death and the "taming" of the Senate is just another manifestation of the ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) we have as a nation. We swing from one end to the other, as our mood pleases, and lose track of what needs to be started, done and finished before we
move on.

This whole AFP pabaon mess isn't new. Mr. Rabusa had already been summoned before, and he told a different tale. Sordid stories of large-scale graft and corruption that would make even the Banana Republic dictators blanch had been told even then. And the Senate and the House had gotten into the action already. But what happened? After the klieg
lights went off and the cameras stopped rolling, suddenly the investigations stopped. What is more, no reports were submitted, no laws were amended, no indictments were recommended. No closure. All start, no finish. In the meantime, shift to another topic that's more controversial.

We've had a trail of state witnesses (legit ones like Ed Delos Reyes, Cory Dela Cruz, Jane Gomez, Mandy Capili and Mario Enad) and some stool pigeons (like Chavit Singson and Rosebud Ong) and some repentant accomplices (like Jun Lozada and yes Rabusa) in our checkered history as a nation.

And then we get someone like Heidi Mendoza, who, from all angles, looks like the real thing.

And what does Congress do? Treat her testimony like so much free political mileage instead of ensuring that her testimony, taken together with others, would finally allow us to cast our net and catch us the biggest fish in the ocean. Instead of quiet case build up and careful evaluation of her testimony, she is paraded like a celebrity, to be vetted by a public that cannot have enough of her. The net effect? Even before she steps foot in court to testify, her warts and all (if there are any) would be in full view of all and all her statements under oath would already have been judged not by a court of law but by a public so desperate for a hero.

IF Jinggoy Estrada has the goods, he did not need to taunt Angelo Reyes in the Senate hearing; he did not need to lead Rabusa through the script. He could have simply put all the goods together, put a nice ribbon on it and sent it with his compliments to an appreciative Secretary of Justice. After all, the Secretary of Justice is the one who can decide who to prosecute (I am pretending, for the moment, that we do not have an Ombudsman, because for all intents and purposes, while Gutierrez sits, we don't).

IF Sonny Trillanes has the goods, he did not need to publicly humiliate Angelo Reyes. He could have simply executed an affidavit and specified what he knew UNDER OATH. The vindication of their two-hotel caper would have been the best motivation for ensuring that all these pieces of evidence are not wasted because they would secure convictions for the people.

But, forgetting that the actual focus of the investigation that led to the taunting of Reyes and his eventual suicide was actually this felon Carlos Garcia and the toxic deal he made with a consenting Merci Gutierrez and her subalterns, the Honorable Congress of the Republic switched focus--from Garcia and Merci to Reyes and the whole parade of former Chiefs of Staff. And suddenly, no one's talking about Garcia, Gutierrez and the toxic deal.

And everyone else, riveted to the drama that was a 4-Star General taking his life, also forgot what we were talking about, as a nation.

Yes, the pabaon issue is important. But its more important that this gets ventilated in a venue where it will do the most good--in court, where we can convict these people and set an example; not in Congress where laws are never amended as a result of congressional investigations in aid of legislation (I wonder which laws Bong Revilla and Jinggoy Estrada amended as a result of their Katrina Halili investigation).

Jinggoy Estrada could do the nation a huge favor by simply documenting everything and sending the evidence to the one department that can make a difference--the Department of Justice (Of course, I know the biggest favor he can do to the nation, but I am being kind here).

We never achieved closure with Marcos, with Cory, with Ramos, with Estrada and certainly not with Gloria. Its about time we decide to focus and finish what we're doing. Then, we can truly move on to other things that are equally important.

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