School dropout Lito, wiser than well-schooled trio
Sen. Lito Lapid proved himself to be a lot wiser than Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Joker Arroyo and Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. combined! Wiser, not in the sense of being exceptionally brilliant but in being steeped deep in common sense.
Former Chief Justice Renato Corona was hoist with his own petard. The dramatic testimony he gave in his own defense panned out to be more fatal to him than to his accusers. No less than the presiding officer of the impeachment court cautioned him about the folly of what he was doing—to no avail. Thus, where the prosecution left so many gaps and blanks in its evidence, he virtually filled them up with minutiae—e.g., his foreign accounts ($2.4 million) and peso deposits (P80 million), all undeclared in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs)—that saw his accusers grinning from ear to ear.
Lost to the notorious three who, quite predictably, voted to acquit Corona was the gut reality that the defense was egregiously trying to have the Chief Justice exempted from the application of the same law that got a mere court interpreter blasted out of her job and deprived of all the benefits she earned from her years of employment. Her fault? Not disclosing in her SALN a market stall that was earning her a paltry P1,000 in extra income per month.
Deploying all kinds of gobbledygook, the three well-schooled senators virtually argued: tough luck for the lowlifes—because only “high crimes” could justify the removal of high officials. His heart obviously going out to the Delsa Floreses of this country, Lapid taught them an elementary lesson: no freakin’ way, Jose. The law applies to the low and the mighty equally. Clearly, the other 19 senators agreed.
—STEPHEN L. MONSANTO,
Monsanto Law Office,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City,
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