Woman destroying a woman | Inquirer Opinion
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Woman destroying a woman

/ 05:11 AM January 27, 2023

Condemning a penitent or nonpenitent to hellfire is a no-no, with or without biblical admonitions from the sanctimonious and the pure of heart, but verily it is right and just to condemn the evil deed itself for which a penitent is asking for forgiveness.


More than relief (because what else is new after a series of recantations by witnesses?), it was disgust. It was my reaction upon learning of the acquittal for a murder case of self-styled whistleblower Sandra Cam and, more importantly, her admission that she had wrongly implicated former justice secretary and former senator Leila de Lima in drug and corruption cases. Cam’s admission and recantation, though too late in the series, was the breaking news of the day, not so much her acquittal, if you ask me. She had wronged someone.

How I wish I could say, another one bites the dust. With Cam’s acquittal came her penitential confession of having added to the weight of the case against De Lima, that is, adding manufactured tales to the bombshell that belongs to the “sex, lies, and videotapes” movie genre.


A couple of weeks from now, Feb. 24 to be exact, De Lima would have been six years in detention. Well, unless in the coming days some miracle happens in the legal conundrum that set her up to be behind bars for crimes she has belied in court. These were crimes she had allegedly committed as secretary of justice during the Aquino administration, trumped-up charges the succeeding president Duterte and his minions pinned on her to make her suffer.

As a senator during the Duterte reign, De Lima had exposed what she thought needed to be exposed, namely what was wrong with the so-called Duterte drug war and whatever else she had perceived to be a travesty of justice. Could Cam’s admission of having lied (or to have been forcibly made to lie, as she said she was) be the last nail to be removed from the door of De Lima’s prison cell? After all, Cam had also driven a nail herself.

De Lima has become a poster girl for those deprived of liberty for a considerable stretch of time, even while witnesses against her were recanting one by one. With the release on bail of Gigi Reyes, chief of staff of former senate president Juan Ponce Enrile, after nine years in detention for a plunder case, comes a sliver of hope for De Lima. No similarities whatsoever in their cases, except for their prolonged detention while their cases drag on. Justice delayed is justice denied. But that is another story.

The case of De Lima is one where so-called macho men ganged up on her, from the past president, to his underlings in the justice system, to the inmates of the national penitentiary, drug traffickers in their own right, who implicated De Lima for whatever promise they might have been offered. The last group of men are euphemized as PDLs or persons deprived of liberty, but who ain’t deprived at all. Again, that is another story.

Added to this bunch of men is one controversial woman (on and off the media limelight) named Sandra Cam, who also wanted to see De Lima in irons. She was forced to, is her story now. Whatever and whoever pushed her is the story we need to know. I have always thought that women should stand up for fellow women who are oppressed, unjustly accused, with added sexist and sexual ingredients to titillate the public and the fornicators in suits.

Publicly admitting guilt and repentance are not enough; it should not free the penitent from responsibilities to help restore justice. True, Cam said she has asked De Lima for forgiveness that the latter freely gave. Should it stop there? The penitent evildoer has to make some kind of atonement, which can take many forms. I leave it to Cam to be creative, but not to exclude standing with a megaphone on a busy sidewalk. Walking on one’s knees in Baclaran Church is forbidden. Seriously, Ms. Cam, sign a sworn statement before a lawyer, that way, your traitorous act of perfidy against a fellow woman—done under threat perhaps?—is on record. I would appreciate a copy.

I had a barrage of invectives held back inside me for the likes of Cam, who had stepped out of the line to join a cabal of men to unjustly persecute a fellow woman. Dare me and say that this is not a woman issue. It is, too, and shouldn’t we want to know from the penitent how this came to be? I am eager to know.



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TAGS: Leila de Lima, Sandra Cam
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