On 2013 another set of Senators will be elected to serve for 3 years prior to the Presidential Elections and just last week the nation saw how the Philippine Senate and its members bare themselves and acted as judges in an impeachment court. At a local coffee shop in Libertad people from all walks of life gathered as if a boxing match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. is about to start or the NBA Championships Game 1 is about to begin.
People gathered and took time to be in front of the television. Distant murmurs of what Senator Lito Lapid will say to back his decision as a Senator Judge while on the other hand Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago is expected to say a lot of things. The decision on whether it is of importance that Chief Justice Renato Corona should be acquitted or to be impeached came second to the thrill of having to see these senators deliver their statements.
For those who saw the brilliance and legal sharpness of Senator Santiago, a lot of people were struck with the delivery of her statement but later on decided to acquit the Chief Justice which sent mixed reactions to the nationwide spectators. “Kaalam man sa iya nga-a wala cya nag pati nga dapat guilty si Corona”, an ice cream vendor lamented. Basing on the initial reaction, it was a popular call to impeach the Chief Justice but still the people in the coffee shop hanged on until other senator judges do their stance.
The turn of Senator Lito Lapid came and right after a few words in front of the podium people in the halls of senate were given a “Silence Please” sign while the crowd watching at the coffee shop cheered, laughed and clapped their hands as if Pacquiao delivered a killer punch in the first round of his boxing match. It did not take long until Senator Lapid was able to deliver his speech and ruled out that he found the Chief Justice guilty. The crowd went rowdy and the noise was way off the volume levels. “Hambal nila indi man gid ni maalam si Lito Lapid, indi gani kabalo mag ingles nga-a husto man ya ang iya nga desisyon..." said the man on the other table who is a sidewalk vendor at the Libertad Market.
Basing on the crowd reaction – there was a popular call to oust the chief justice. Political tacticians say that it is because of the political alignment of Chief Justice Corona to then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. But on the other hand, I am looking on another angle – the representation that the people's choice clearly showed how we picked our leaders when they were running for these positions. The people elected either a brainy candidate or one who does not have any.
The elections are supposed to be the chance of the people to put somebody into power while serving their interest, but with the present electoral system where those who have the money that can fuel a campaign will obviously win – where is the freedom of choice? Candidates equipped with adequate machinery and are popular are most likely to win a government post.
The performance of the Senators as senator judges for the impeachment court is a lesson to ponder on by the voting public – were they able to choose quality leaders? As a nation, did the Philippines mature by using their freedom of suffrage? #osb