Induced stupor | Inquirer Opinion

Induced stupor

/ 09:13 PM February 03, 2012

“Will the ‘Pinocchio Virus’ spread in Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment?” asks engineer Leonor Lagsca of Iloilo City.

In the 1883 children’s tale, Pinocchio was a puppet, carved from cherry wood, who dreamed of becoming a real boy. He fired the imagination of people when Walt Disney spun it into a feature-length animated film in 1940. Pinocchio’s stubby nose stretched with every lie he spun. The word today has come to mean a liar or a fibber.

Former Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas did a “Pinocchio” when he denied an Inquirer interview where he said that Malacañang dangled a swap: Quit as Corona’s defender and the criminal raps against fired NBI chief Magtanggol Gatdula would wither.


“Inquirer did right by publishing the transcript of the Cuevas interview,” Lagsca wrote. “It showed the factual basis for reporter Christian Esguerra’s standing pat on his report.”


“Man does not live by words alone, despite the fact that sometimes he has to eat them,” the late Ambassador Adlai Stevenson once said. Cuevas chose to ignore his “Pinoccohio moment” by doing what he does very well: Pile on more technicalities that induce stupor to protect his client in this impeachment. But it strangles the truth.

Other “Pinocchio incidents” already mar this two-week-old troubled trial—from a firm, already shut down by the Securities and Exchange Commission, extending an P11-million loan, to gaps in statements of assets and liabilities, to hefty condo discounts.


No! Call them “reductions in price,” protest Megaworld executives without blinking. They didn’t know it was the Chief Justice who was shopping. Nor would that have mattered. Pinocchio would agree.

Corona “got, not only an arguably discounted doctorate, but also a discounted Bellagio condo from Megaworld,” former Sen. Rene Saguisag correctly says. “A judge or any immediate member of the family [such as a daughter] shall not accept a gift [or] favor . . . from anyone, the Code of Judicial Conduct says.

“More ‘Pinocchio moments’ are ahead. But citizens, like us, already reached our decision whether this Chief Justice lived up to the integrity standards expected,” Lagsca said. Our concern has moved on to whether the impeachment court’s formal decision will reflect the citizen’s conclusions.

“Men are not hanged for stealing horses but that horses may not be stolen.” For my children, the ultimate issue is:  Will the Senate’s decision hand to them a Court restored to lofty standards. Or one studded by Pinocchios in judicial togas?

There’s a gap in the overview of the forestry crisis depicted by Viewpoint’s “Peak—what?” (Inquirer, 1/31/12) “The oldest forestry school in the Philippines produced our most prolific loggers,” Aspirin 200 e-mailed. “Most of its graduates are responsible for the loss of most of the country’s forest cover through irresponsible commercial logging.”

He referred to the University of the Philippines Los Baños College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR) which started as the Forest School, under the UP College of Agriculture, in 1910. As the oldest forestry school here, it served one of the five founding units of UPLB upon its establishment in 1972.

“Many of its graduates were employed by big foreign logging companies such as Findlay and Millar, Weyerhauser, Nasipit Lumber, Anakan Timber Co., Zambowood, Menzi, among others.

Some took management positions in large local logging companies, including those owned by  families like the Magsaysays, Aguinaldos, Valderamas, Lobregats, Roas, Plazas, Amantes, Enriles, etc.

“After years of exploitation, logging concession areas operated by the above-named companies, headed by Filipino logging executives—most of  whom graduated from UP—the country has less than 10 percent remaining natural forest reserves.

“The High Lead Logging System these logging professionals employ created irreparable destruction. Reforestation or replanting, as mandated by law, were skirted. (These measures) are not only expensive. It takes centuries for dipterocarp species to mature, and they (reforestation and replanting) will not add to revenue of the companies.

“UP forestry graduates employed by logging companies during the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s and early  ’80s hardly implemented sustainability programs. (Were many) motivated by profit and large bonuses?

“About 90 percent of the country’s Logging Superintendents and Logging Operations Managers hail from UP. DENR and its predecessor, the Bureau of Forest Development (BFD) are also peopled by UP Forestry graduates. Both loggers and regulators are from UP. So what can you expect?

“Our  UP professors, who taught  logging planning and operations, tutored  students:  High Lead Logging System is most destructive, but also a  most effective and low cost harvesting  method.

“Our national scholars from UP, helped rape our environment. They aided scions of our early irresponsible loggers to exalted position in the government and are revered today by a history-ignorant society.”

“There are issues other than a less-than-inspiring Chief Justice that pester ordinary Filipinos like me,” e-mails lawyer Carmen Montemayor from Danao City. “Like what? Like reading Christmas cards in February.

“Before me are seven Christmas cards posted by friends in Sta Rosa, Laguna, Bangkok, Thailand, Zamboanga City, Perth, Australia, Davao, Tarlac. etc. Bulk were posted Dec. 13. They were received at the Cebu City central office on Jan. 18. And they were delivered at my house Feb. 2.

“In the cyberspace age, the post office will go the way of dinosaur, we’re told. Until then, can they deliver Christmas cards in Christmas?”

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TAGS: corona impeachment, featured column, illegal logging, opinion, truth, UPLB

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