There’s the Rub

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Miriam Defensor-Santiago summoned Rico Puno to a Senate hearing and took on the roles of judge, jury and executioner. Quite apart from prosecutor, haranguer and clown.

Listen to her. On Puno being at Jesse Robredo’s house: “It’s pointless (to question him). As a former judge, I know he’ll only insist on his answer that since he was asked to secure documents, he’d go and secure documents whether they are in the office or in the residence.” On Puno’s involvement in  jueteng: “We no longer discussed it because he’d insist on what he said and I would insist on what I said. It would have been pointless.”

On Puno in the Department of the Interior and Local Government: “How can a creature flourish without its creator and its protector? It’s difficult to exterminate (jueteng) until Malacañang makes it a national priority.” On Puno’s creator and protector: “That will die with me if they shoot me today. But maybe some other day, we’ll reveal.” On when that day would be: (During the height of Renato Corona’s trial, she said, Malacañang hired a “character assassin” to do a number on her.) “Now if that will happen again because of this, I will already identify the person (Puno’s creator and protector) because they would by then be directly challenging me.”

On Puno’s demeanor: “If he made me angry, I could have gone ballistic.” On Puno’s argument: “I don’t get the logic of what he was trying to say.”

Now, let’s see: What part of Puno’s testimony is particularly hard to grasp?

Puno’s answer to the “raid” on Robredo’s house: “(My visit to Robredo’s house) was witnessed by representatives of the late secretary, elements of the Quezon City police, representatives of the office of internal security of the secretary, regular guards of the building and my staff.” In fact, that visit was proposed by Robredo’s security aide himself, Oliver Tanseco, after remembering that his boss kept other sensitive documents in his residence. The party did not enter the empty unit. They just took pictures of it from the outside.

Of course Ricky Carandang, Edwin Lacierda, and Abigail Valte had much to do with reinforcing the notion that Puno acted suspiciously by repeatedly saying P-Noy ordered him to secure only Robredo’s office and not his house. But that has been rectified. You want to conduct a hearing, do your homework. All Miriam had to do if she wanted to keep an open mind was ask Leni Robredo or P-Noy himself. But that only raises questions about whether Miriam has an open mind. Or a mind to open.

She says Puno “insists on his answer,” as though there’s something wrong with that. Why in hell shouldn’t he? That was what happened.

Puno’s answer to the charge that he has  jueteng  ties is this: Since he was put in charge of the police, he has been the object of rumors. “For the record, I would like to state that two years after, not a single case has been filed against me by my accusers.”

That’s the astonishing thing: If he were guilty, surely it would not be the hardest thing to find some shred, scrap, iota of hard evidence against him? There’s none. Why in hell shouldn’t he insist on his answer? It’s true: Not a single case has been filed against him by his accusers.

Which brings us to the idea that Puno is untouchable because he has a creator or protector. Earlier, Miriam went to town with the proposition that a powerful person had pressured P-Noy into appointing Puno to the DILG and keeping him there.

At the very least, what’s wrong with it is that surely Miriam must know directly from the impeachment trial and indirectly from P-Noy’s choice of chief justice that when people try to pressure him into doing something, he does exactly the opposite?

At the very most, what’s wrong with it is this: If Puno has a creator and protector, and if Miriam knows him, why on earth does she not expose him? She called for the hearing, she said, in aid of legislation. Surely it would aid legislation, not to speak of national interest, not to speak of fighting corruption, not to speak of common sense, for her to reveal the manipulative hand, the malignant shadow, the evil that doesn’t sleep behind this, well, creature? Why wait to be directly challenged by a character assassin to do so?

That is not a senatorial prerogative, that is a civic duty. It is Miriam’s obligation as a citizen to do so. Frankly, I don’t know why a senator or congressman doesn’t call for a hearing and summon her to shed light on Puno’s maker. In aid of entertainment, if not sanity.

In fact, if Puno has a creator and protector, it is only P-Noy. It was P-Noy who appointed him despite opposition from Puno’s detractors, which include the Liberal Party, it is P-Noy who continues to defend him despite opposition from Puno’s detractors, which include the Liberal Party. Now, either P-Noy is a coddler of a corrupt official from ignorance or toleration, neither of which can be good for his  daang  matuwid, or he knows something his detractors do not, which is that Puno is innocent of the charges. Why doesn’t Miriam just name P-Noy if she believes in a creator and protector of this creature? Is she afraid?

Miriam says proof that Puno has links to  jueteng  is that  jueteng  hasn’t waned. That is her contention, based on the kind of research that produced her claim that Puno raided Robredo’s house. Government has its own, which is that  jueteng  has been curbed and has the figures to prove it. Quite apart from that,  jueteng  rioted like starved inmates in dank jails during the regimes of her two favorite presidents, Erap and Gloria. How come she never summoned anyone to a hearing, much less created one? How come she never spoke of the creators and protectors of unsavory creatures?

Finally, she says if Puno had made her angry, she would have gone ballistic.

She does look a little like the Incredible Hulk now.

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