To Correct History?

by jun asuncion

Brain drain is a fact.  That we still have brilliant brains  in the Philippines is also a fact.  Among such brains I have considered are Senator Escudero and Senator Legarda. But it seems that intelligence is something and motivation is another thing. That a personal motive – especially a political one – sometimes could override intelligence which results to a nearly stupid kind of logic coming out from such brilliant brains.

A case in point is Escuderos statement today in Philstar’s headlines  “DOJ ready to probe 2004, 2007 poll fraud ”
where he talked of correcting history:

“To correct history”

Escudero said he would file a joint resolution for the purpose of gathering representatives of the DOJ and the Comelec once the second regular session of the 15th Congress starts next week.

Escudero recommended a retired justice to head the fact-finding committee.

“The objective is not to establish that ex-President Arroyo indeed cheated in the past elections and not to jail her. The objective here is to establish who really won in the 2004 elections and give the person proper place in history,” Escudero said.

Escudero said the purpose of the committee is not to render void Arroyo’s term.

“This (proposed committee) is not to invalidate President Arroyo’s term. This is a rare opportunity for our country to correct history,” he said.

 So far, so good. But if you would look at it closer, something is wrong with his thinking. Hence, so near, so bad. And this prompted me to ask to myself this morning as I read these lines, for heaven’s sake, “what happened to this mind?”, “What is his motive that twisted his logic?” And where is his legislative and/or judicial  impartiality?

First, look at the term Fact-finding. To find a fact is to find all facts related to the case in point. The real case in point is the electoral fraud of 2004 and 2007 which involved Arroyo.

Therefore, what’s the use of creating  a fact-finding committee when at the onset you already exclude possible facts that might point to Arroyo having cheated in the past elections? You don’t need to read between the lines when he says that “The objective is not to establish that ex- President Arroyo indeed cheated in the past elections and not to jail her…” And how can a lawyer-senator utter such comforting words to a suspect before the trial and weighing of factual evidences before a legal court? Where is impartiality and professionalism here? What does he want to achieve by sweet-talking Arroyo?

Sweet talking continues: ” The objective here is to establish who really won in the 2004 elections and give the person proper place in history,” Escudero said.

Well, it’s proper to give credit to whom it is due – in this case either to Arroyo or Poe. But supposing Poe really won the election by votes, wouldn’t this fact automatically establish Arroyo as the cheater? The simple Bulaneño logic would say  “yes, it would”.

Correcting history or giving a person proper place in history includes both sides of the coin, the victim and the crime perpetrator. When we think for instance of the holocaust, we give honor to the victimized Jews and dishonor to Hitler. In our case, why emphasize Poe, the victim and let go the cheater Arroyo? Would this serve as a good example of criminal jurisprudence? Is election cheating on the presidential level  not covered by law?

Before the court has spoken its verdict, Arroy0  naturally still enjoy  her legal  right to presumption of innocence though the public knowledge speaks of Arroyo as the cheater. For Senator Legarda, it’s already clear that Arroyo was the cheater and Poe the cheated when, “reacting to Escudero’s proposal, Legarda suggested placing Poe’s photograph in Malacañang, which she said, would be an “unprecedented way of correcting history.” 

Is electoral fraud not a crime in the Philippines but just a matter of media entertainment and gossips? In the US it is a crime. Remember Watergate?

For us, It seems that it is not when we listen to Senator Legarda: ” There is the need to go after the people involved in the electoral fraud. It is also important to know what happened… but there is no longer a legal way to address the entire process. Will you invalidate the services of GMA (Arroyo) and (former Vice President) Noli (de Castro)? Can you declare FPJ (Poe), who died because of ill-feelings on this?” she asked.

This is another example of derailed logic. What happened to our brilliant brains in the Philippines? Why sound suddenly so forgiving and idiotic at the same time? Yes, no one can invalidate Arroyo’s services in the past but a crime done in the past (and even when proven of planning to do it sometime  in the future) is  punishable by law. A crime such as electoral fraud is not a public service but an insult to the public. It  is a crime against the people, the electorate and against the rules of the Comelec.

Correcting history is a  blurred concept. Correcting the criminals with appropriate punishment is much clearer. Today’s government officials like Escudero and Legarda should rather face their responsiblities.

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Filed under Commentary, Over a Cup of Coffee

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