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I write better when I smoke. Don’t ask me to reduce it to a science.

Who’s telling the truth?

When the big news about Sabio’s accusation broke, I was dumbfounded. Seriously. Why would an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeals wreck the reputations of his peers and his peerage? I understand the need for whistleblowers, but to my mind, the benefits of blowing the whistle in this particular instance are friggin de minimis.

Think about it. Suppose Sabio’s revelation does expose shennanigans in the Meralco case – is that case so important that it justifies destroying the credibility of the entire institution? The CA handles thousands and thousands of other cases of varying degrees of public interest – some even more significant than the Meralco controversy. By accusing fellow AJs of corruption, Sabio has done nothing less than throw into question the integrity of ALL Justices and the validity of ALL CA decisions. Is the Meralco case worth it?

I think this dust up between Sabio and de Borja amply illustrates Filipino society’s current infatuation with scandalous revelations and its inability to see the forest for the trees. We as a nation have become too obsessed with the idea of ‘personal crusades’ that we ignore the damage caused by loose cannons riding roughshod over our institutions.

Believe it or not, those institutions do have mechanisms for dealing with corruption; believe it or not, not everyone is corrupt; and believe it or not, taking every thing to the bar of public opinion often does more harm than good.

Especially when, as in this case, the whistleblowing seems not to have been because of a patently wrong decision, but more the result of pique.

But Sabio said in a previous interview with abs-cbnnews.com that his complaint focuses on the process by which the decision came about. He and another colleague in the 9th division previously issued a TRO that favored the Lopez-led board in May and heard the oral arguments in June.

Both justices, however, were eased out when the case’s ponente, or the designated writer of the decision, was transferred to the 8th division, which eventually issued a decision that favored the Lopez-led board.

Simeon Marcelo, the lawyer of Meralco’s Lopez-led board, earlier said there is nothing irregular about the transfer of the case to the 8th division since it was in accordance to the internal rules of the appellate court.

Sabio, however, said something was “fishy” since he was offered a P10-million bribe to let go of the case.

For the sake of exorcising the smell of fish, Sabio was willing to tear down the credibility of the second highest court in the land? Would it have been too much to ask him to have something more substantial than something that wafted up his nose? Or if the smell of hengeyokai were truly unbearable, couldn’t he have had recourse to whatever internal mechanisms the Court may have? Kinda makes you think that the closest thing to his nose is his own mouth.

Oh well. Of course, now that the whistle has been blown, the question is who is telling the truth?

Mesself, I think both Sabio and de Borja have in their possession different parts of the same truth. Which means, I suppose, that the best either be capable of are telling half-truths. Which everyone understands to be nothing less than whole lies.

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Filed under: judiciary, law and order, musings, Quick Posts, , , , , ,

3 Responses

  1. Bencard says:

    great post, rom. but what else is new in the philippines? nbn-ntz, fertilizer scam, northrail, garci wiretap, port irene, jamby’s current swine expose, lacson’s “earth=shaking” revelations of corruption, etc., etc., – all ALLEGATIONS.

    here in the u.s., almost every hint of scandal, every smell of rat or fish, in the country’s officialdom get investigated automatically by the fbi. whoever is involved, from the president down to the lowliest janitor, is fair game. lying to the fbi, like lying to a grand jury, is a federal crime in itself. and the fbi almost always gets its man/woman. when it submits the evidence to the prosecutor, it usually is sufficient for conviction.

    in the philippines, the first trial is in the media, wherein no accused ever escapes unscathed.

  2. BrianB says:

    de minimis? I hope you’re simply misusing the phrase.

  3. Bencard says:

    brianb, the benefits of whistle-blowing, if capable of substantiation, may not be de minimis. but why can’t we have a system where every allegation of criminal conduct be first subjected to secret inquiry – a confidential proceeding similar to a grand jury investigation before being blown into a national scandal, and thrown to the media sharks for a feeding frenzy.

    in our current system, the laws against perjury, defamation and false reporting of crime must be strengthened and vigorously enforced against everyone – including scandal-mongering politician.

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