Biblical | Inquirer Opinion
There’s The Rub


“Let lightning strike us if we are telling a lie,” said Ramon Esguerra when the defense held its press conference last month. In that press conference, they accused P-Noy of trying to bribe the senator-judges into rejecting the Supreme Court’s TRO on the opening of Renato Corona’s dollar accounts.

Lightning just did.


That is in the persons of Ana Basa and her aunt, Sister Flory. It left in its wake a blackened stump in the person of Corona. That was how Corona looked last week despite his efforts to create some thunder of his own, forum-shopping to air his side. He looked like someone heaven had squarely aimed a lightning bolt at.

I doubt even the prosecution was prepared for it. Certainly it would have been a bolt from the blue for the defense which had just hunkered down to organize what it probably thought was going to be a dazzling display of legal fireworks. Talk of the best laid plots of mice and men, crowns and clowns, oft going astray. Nothing the prosecution has produced in the trial itself has been as damning as the Basa revelations.


And they came completely spontaneously. And they came completely serendipitously. Corona of course would say that wasn’t so at all, the Basas had been sprung on an unsuspecting world by Antonio Carpio. A ploy not just to smear the credibility of the testifiers but to stoke from-the-frying-pan-to-the-fire fears among the legal community—“take me out and you get Carpio for chief justice”—which Corona has been using for some time now but which has gotten him nowhere. In fact, it’s just a lie, one of many Corona has heaped upon a very suspecting world.

The Basas themselves say they came out with their statement after learning of the fate of their company straight from the horse’s mouth. The Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc. had been a family company from the start, but had been appropriated unto herself by one family member, Cristina, who only had one-tenth share in it. The Basas believe the appropriation began with a new entrant into the family, Cristina’s husband, Renato Corona.

One fine day, the rest of the incorporators found themselves shut out from their inheritance. They got no dividends, they got no share in the sale of assets, they got no information about what was happening to the company. Repeated requests, pleas and importuning failed to produce a response from Cristina-Renato who had taken over the company. Over time, the Basas simply gave up. Though smarting from the humongous iniquity of it, they had seen the futility of fighting someone who was highly placed in the legal system and had the power to make black white and white black. They decided to leave the Coronas to God’s justice.

God’s justice came in the form of Corona’s SALN, where he claimed that he got the money to buy his plush houses and condo units from BGEI. Corona made that disclosure to try to rebuff accusations that he could not possibly afford those things based on his tax declaration which said he earned less than us journalists who earn a pittance. His income might have been small, Corona argued, but it should be noted that he and his wife did not come from “ordinary families.”

Miraculously, the Basas’ prayers were answered, and as miracles go when they least expected it. There was the answer to what they had been asking for a long time. What had happened to the company? What had happened to its assets? What had happened to its money? All of it had gone to one Renato Corona.

There was something sublimely poetic, or biblical, about it. True enough, when you strew your path with lies, you’re bound to trip on them. No, more than that, when you cover up a lie with a new lie, the new lie digs deeper holes than the first. No, still more than that, sometimes when you commit a wrong that cries out to the heaven for retribution, heaven tends to send a lightning bolt your way.

Of course Corona has his own explanations for all this. But which reduces the problem in the end to one of credibility. Who in God’s name—and never has that phrase “in God’s name” held more wealth of meaning—are you going to believe, Corona or Sister Flory, the crown or the flower?


Corona accepted a midnight appointment from Gloria. For most of his life, he has shown a canine devotion to her, serving her well before she usurped power and well after. His admiration of her has been such that he has imbibed her predilections, including clinging to power at all costs, without compunction, without shame, without concern for the public weal. Sister Flory volunteered herself for the greater glory of God. For most of her life, 65 years out of 90, she has been a nun, shunning the things of this world, the illusions of this world, in favor of a spiritual life. Her devotion to Christ has been such that she has imbibed his teachings to the core, including forgiving the unforgivable.

Corona does not come from an ordinary family. Ordinary families do not naturally screw one another, steal from one another, grab one another’s properties. Ordinary families can ordinarily distinguish right from wrong; ordinary families have a sense of justice, supreme or not. Sister Flory does not come from an ordinary family either. Ordinary families do not naturally produce members who are so utterly selfless and self-sacrificing they embrace a life whose material bereft-ness is made up for only with spiritual fullness. Sister Flory’s extraordinariness is the sort that makes you say, “natatangi.” Corona’s extraordinariness is the sort that makes you say, “ibang klase talaga.”

Corona is the crown of thorns, Sister Flory is the flower of the resurrection. You look at them and you remember that someone once said the exalted shall be humbled and the humble exalted.

It’s sublimely poetic, or profoundly biblical.

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TAGS: Benigno Aquino III, corona impeachment, judiciary, politics, Renato corona, Senate, Supreme Court
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