Jojo A. Robles

Lies upon lies

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It’s no big deal, President Noynoy Aquino said yesterday. After all, he said he met not only with Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, but with “at least three more senators” who were trying Corona’s case in the Senate at the time.


Instead of pressuring the senators he talked to so that they would agree to convict Corona, as Aquino wished, the President said he was actually trying “to ease the pressure” that was being exerted on the Senate by groups that apparently wanted to acquit the chief justice. (What Aquino offered to the senators to ease the pressure of convicting Corona, the President did not say.)

I guess that by now, Aquino has already convinced himself that there is nothing wrong with meeting senators who were deciding Corona’s fate. But the lengths he and his appropriately designated Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas – who “transported” Revilla and other senators to a private audience with the President – went to, like driving them to the palace in plateless SUVs and hiding from presidential guards, meant that Aquino was not really sure at the time he did the deed.

Aquino must have known that he was doing something that was, at the very least, improper and, at worst, illegal and impeachable. After all, as one law school dean has pointed out, if Corona had met clandestinely with some senators while he was being tried, imagine the uproar that would have caused.

Also, like Revilla himself during his Senate speech, Aquino said nothing about what enticements were offered to the senators who met with him, Roxas and Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. Like Revilla, who said that he told the President that he would do what’s best for the country in response to a presidential request to convict, Aquino said that he only met the senators to ask them to decide the case on its merits.

The lying on both sides is so bad, it can make your head spin. Really.

Why would Aquino need hush-hush meetings with the senator-judges, if he was only going to ask them to decide the Corona case on its merits? And why would Revilla and the other senators agree to meet with Aquino, if they were only going to tell him that they intended to do what’s right, anyway?

Couldn’t they have just texted each other? Or, if they all really wanted to pretend to be objective and righteous, not have met at all?

But that, as Winston Churchill once said, is the riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. I suspect that everyone involved has an interest in keeping us from knowing what really went down – even as they simultaneously seek to destroy each other.

* * *

Long after Corona was removed and the disclosure of the pork barrel scam, lying is still the order of the day. On both sides.

And yes, the conspiracy to hide the truth from the public is still in effect – despite the best efforts of the major players to rip each other apart. It’s as if the people are being asked to believe that everyone involved acted in the people’s best interests and that no one got anything out of the Corona trial or misused Congress’ pork.

Of course, if you believe that, you’ll probably believe anything and not ask any more uncomfortable questions. And that would probably make you an upstanding citizen, under a government that seems pathologically unable to tell the truth about anything.

Ultimately, this is my disappointment with the latest wrinkle in the long-running pork barrel scandal provided by Revilla: he not only spoke up so late, he also did not disclose everything that would help the public decide if he was indeed guilty or not.

While Revilla gladly provided details about “Boy Pickup” and his secret meeting with Aquino at Bahay Pangarap, the senator opted to take the position that he voted to convict Corona because that was what he thought was best as an impartial senator-judge. And Aquino, in response to Revilla’s taking the high moral ground, decided to one-up the senator in self-righteousness, by declaring that he only met with some senators because he wanted them to decide the case on its merits.

Neither Revilla nor Aquino, it seems, are interested in telling the whole truth, because lying about the whole sordid mess is what is really in their best interest. And if things can just go back to the way they were before Malacañang decided to remove Corona with the willing participation of a Congress fully lubricated with palace-provided pork, I’m sure that that’s what everyone involved wants.

But I believe that the whole truth will eventually be divulged, regardless of how hard Malacañang and Congress try to hide it. And only when the complete story is revealed will we discover who was really working in our interest.

Of course, if it turns out that none of them actually were, I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. But all this dancing around the truth while attempting to bury each other is getting to be really tiring.

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