Published in Manila Standard Today on 18 Feburary 2012
By Elizabeth Angsioco
MYSTERIES are only acceptable when praying the rosary.
Mysteries in relation with the ongoing impeachment trial are not.
The way this trial is going, I reached the point of wishing that Perry Mason and Paul Drake, the excellent lawyer and his partner detective, both fictional characters created by author Erle Stanley Gardner, were real. Hindi makakalusot sa kanila ang prosecution.
The mysteries of the “small lady” and “magic documents” care of Representatives Reynaldo Umali and Bolet Banal, both of the prosecution panel, are making a lot of people angry.
It is amazing that they think people would just accept incredible stories to justify how they acquired papers they used to “force” the Senate impeachment court to issue subpoenas to Philippine Savings Bank.
Rep. Umali insists that an unidentified “small lady” handed him an envelope containing the documents while he was in the Senate. This even as he was confronted with the Senate’s CCTV footages revealing that no “small lady” approached him and that he was NOT carrying any envelope when he left the premises.
Amazing too, that when first interviewed on this, Umali could hardly trace his movements on the day in question saying he could no longer remember the specific places in the Senate where he went.
But miracles happen. The following day obviously after watching the footages, Umali told the media specific places in the Senate where he allegedly went. Of course stressing that some of those were not covered by the cameras.
Umali was so brazen to the point of saying he does not believe that the end cannot justify the means! He virtually publicly admitted to not care whether their evidence was illegally acquired for as long as they get the results they want.
The honorable representative even had the gall to invoke inter-parliamentary courtesy from the impeachment court. After all, he is a congressman, in the same league as Senators. Some senator-judges were ready to leave the issue behind, saying that the CCTV footages were enough. Lusot na sana!
Then came the second mystery. PSBank’s Annabelle Tiongson, while testifying, said that Rep. Bolet Banal went to her bank asking for help with a “document” that she saw as similar to a bank form with the name of Corona on it. This happened about two days before the appearance of Umali’s “small lady”.
In fairness to Rep. Banal, he chose to immediately face and explain to impeachment court—but only to leave people wide-eyed with the incredulity of his story. He confirmed Tiongson’s testimony but added that he found the “magic document” with Corona’s name and “700k” written on it on the floor of his house’s gate!
Banal profusely apologized to his colleagues for not telling them about this matter repeatedly saying he told no one. He only wanted to help by verifying the document.
His home does not have CCTV so there is no chance for footages. Lusot na ba?
No, because people were quick to point loopholes.
Banal said he told nobody. But his brother, a columnist in another paper was said to have written about the alleged CJ dollar account the day after the congressman visited Tiongson. Assuming that the brother was not the source, how did he know?
Those who have scrutinized the “magic document” said it does not indicate any bank branch. How did Banal determine the correct branch to go for “verification”?
Some say the place where Banal lives is not easy to enter. Visitors must first be approved by homeowners. Assuming that the source is from the outside, can the village security help identify the mysterious “visitor”?
This goes beyond Umali and Banal. People are getting convinced that the prosecution peddles untruths. The brazenness by which they disrespect the impeachment court and try to pull a fast one on the Filipino people is one for the books.
Many are angry not because they are pro- or anti-anybody but because the prosecution continuously fumbles and makes a mockery of this crucial Constitutional process.
The impeachment court, with all its powers must get to the bottom of these impeachment mysteries. No matter what the verdict on Corona is, the prosecution must not get away with perjury. No matter what the verdict on Corona is, if the prosecution committed perjury, hindi sila dapat makalusot! Amen.
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