I should be honest. I wanted to be an intern at the Senate, not to apply what I have learned from all my law subjects, but to observe first-hand the historic impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. I wanted to know how it felt like sitting inside a “heated” room with the senators as they threw questions at the prosecution and the defense. Well, arguably, no one would turn down such an opportunity, so I traveled to Manila from my province in the North.
On the first day of my work, my mind dwelled on the adventure of being in the Senate with 10 other students from well-known universities, equally qualified and equally competitive. All of them said they were there for the internship but that the “side dish” was watching the impeachment trial. But the trial was then on a break, to resume in May. Still, there was no change in the level of excitement.
Before I went to sleep, I surfed the Internet for updates on the proceedings, and did the same thing upon waking up. That was my routine for a week, and I became more knowledgeable of the facts of the trial. I also exchanged views with other people in some social networks, but of course I could not say who I favored between the prosecution and the defense.
My second week as an intern changed my view, and I simply have to say that I was no longer merely excited about the impeachment trial and watching the senators in their red robes in action. I was bent on learning something from the proceedings—the perspectives of the senators, the rage of the public, the points of view of the Senate employees.
I realized that the impeachment trial was not just a shaggy-dog story, or a game show that would key me up to win big things. More so, it was not a premier movie that I should watch and be amazed at because my pleasure in watching would, in no way, equate with the dashed hopes of some Filipinos who, from the very start of the trial, sacrificed something to fight for what they believe is right.
I discovered that the trial was not just about the prosecution presenting pieces of evidence, or the defense denying the charges. It was not wholly about the journalists trying to get an exclusive to fulfill their mandate as a bearer of truth. I realized that it was not about feeling the “immediate tension” in the Senate impeachment court but in giving respect to our country and its justice system.
I found that the impeachment trial was about us, and about giving our share in this time of crisis.
Let us not forget the true essence of being a member of the community. Let us make sure that the proceedings would benefit not only a few and would bring about a better place for Filipinos.
Domingo Tappa Lacambra, 19, is a legal management student at Cagayan State University in Tuguegarao City.
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