Beyond the Tweet: On the Embattled Chief Justice Corona

Let me begin with a tweet I sent out not too long after I read fragments of his speech this afternoon.

I heard what I wanted to hear: he will not give in. He will fight. That’s enough for me for now. Now, process is king and I hope truth wins.

Alongside that ran other thoughts that remain untweeted. Things were moving too fast and I needed time to process. Listening to AM radio actually helped this time around as it gave me a better sense of how wide this debate is becoming. I wasn’t alone as I felt when I first called this the onset of tyranny over in Facebook.

The following is not an essay but a series of thoughts throughout the day. Let’s see if anything coherent comes out of it.

I

Though I didn’t vote for Noynoy, I’m not automatically for Corona. I just maintain my skepticism of the President and his politics. Suffice to say, he’s still not winning me over.

II

(From my Facebook comments) I have two concerns.

One, the long game. Aquino is expending A LOT of political capital in the short term to sell his crusade to the public. If it falls flat on his face — and I’m sure the LP’s calculations look like it won’t — the political fallout will be immense. I rather that we go through due process. Then if Corona is visibly seen as someone obstructing justice, then the case is clear. Less exposure to Noynoy. So yes, my first concern is largely political. But the means reflect your ends.

Second, the social agenda. So much is falling by the wayside. I can only speak of one example of a national initiative closest to our experience that is being badly mishandled as the administration’s priorities are elsewhere — K+12 reform. And education is just one part of a wider agenda that needs to get moving. Sure, making a firm stand against corruption will do wonders for his future agenda.

In the end, politics is process. It’s about making choices. And if all criticism is “That’s how I wouldn’t do it” then yes, this isn’t how I would do it and these aren’t what I’d choose.

To summarize: I am uneasy with the political calculus as it seems to signal that the current administration is prioritizing a political vendetta that in no way invests in a social agenda that the President has yet to even articulate. If only he showed more fervor in that, perhaps I’ll be inclined to call him less of a tyrant-in-the-making and more of a statesman-to-be.

III

(From actual tweets) An omission in the Pulse Asia survey: 17% have no opinion of Binay, 19% no opinion of Noynoy, 38% no opinion of Corona. What does that mean? If the Pulse Asia survey is anything to go by, people know Corona the least to make an opinion. So if we declare him the least trusted official relative to how popular Binay and Noynoy are, is that fair?

IV

Though it can be argued that Corona was put into power through extra-constitutional means, I prefer that he is not taken out through extra-constitutional means.

Though it can be argued that he was put into place because of the hubris of one executive, I rather that he be ousted through the humility of the other.

An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind.

V

Just because it is popular, doesn’t make it right. What is legal isn’t always what is right.

VI

Impeachment, like all weapons, is amoral. What matters is who wields it and how. Though impeachment is provided for by the constitution, what must also be weighed is the quality in which it was carried out.

Did every single signatory to the complaint exercise the proper discernment before they supported the motion? Did every single one of them carry out their due diligence? To what degree did politics — and not justice — curry the support?

VII

Every dictator in the history of mankind claimed to do what he did for the benefit of the people. They also amassed incredible popularity in the beginning which they harnessed to eliminate their political opponents.

VIII

The past days pretty much had a Star Wars Episode III The Revenge of the Sith vibe.

IX

(The introduction of an unfinished blog post) I tell my students that we are all inherently political creatures. Aristotle said that. Ibn Khaldun, channeling Aristotle, said that. Confucius thought it, though he never really said it. And that’s what poet John Donne meant in writing that “No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.” That every choice we make and position we take — even if, especially if, it is to choose to be indifferent or not to act — is a statement of our politics.

X

To paraphrase Fr. Joaquin Bernas: Impeachment is an inherently partisan exercise.

XI

Edwin Lacierda must be smoking something.

But Midas is still gay.

XII

(The conclusion of an imaginary blogpost) It is my hope that in the same way the RH Bill debate elevated our understanding of the role of religious institutions in our modern polis, I hope that the coming impeachment trial will elevate what we know about the role of government in our lives. May our exercise of democracy grow in sophistication as we realize that what is popular, isn’t always what is right. Politics is premised on the very negotiation of what is ‘good’ and ‘right’ for society, not on silent acquiescence or blind obedience to whatever is perceived as the overpowering majority.

XIII

Blaming GMA will take Noynoy Aquino only so far. There will come a time in his presidency when he will have to own up to the problems on his table and what will matter is not what has been done before but what he will do in the moment.

Obama, who blamed Bush, is learning that the hard way.

XIV

Many question the odd timing of the administration. Why so close to Christmas? I have a theory. They obviously knew that any trial in the Senate won’t begin until January 16. Depending on how things go, the administration will have the ultimate trump card to play.

February, the season of People Power, is just a few days away.

He better not.

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2 Comments

  1. What a breath of fresh air it is to be able to read the thoughts of an unbiased individual who has obviously given a lot of thought to the current political issues, who is critical of what is “fed” to us by mass media, who exercised due diligence in going beyond what media “chooses” to print (Pulse Asia survey), and who has the desire and the means to educate the youth. Thank you.

    Fellow Filipinos, we are an inherently intelligent race. Let us continue to think for ourselves and demand the best from our leaders!!

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