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

When do you know if someone is lying?

Prowling through the OpEd section of the PDI, I came across this gem from Neal Cruz:

The senators called Joc-Joc’s testimony “unbelievable,” but they could not prosecute him for perjury because our laws require proof beyond reasonable doubt. Yet common sense proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the two witnesses were not telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

He then goes on to whine:

What am I saying? I am saying we should strengthen our laws against perjury, make it difficult to lie and make it easier to prosecute and convict liars.


Seriously. While I also believe that Bolante lied, the real problem is not that “our laws require proof beyond reasonable doubt,” it’s that our Senators – and apparently our esteemed OpEd writers as well – put too much stock in common sense that they forget this is still a civil law country. They end up sounding like street-corner philosophers who hang around barangay halls where they are revered as ersatz lawyers. 

Now if they had gone into that session prepared, rather than pre-occupied with milking what they thought was an open-and-shut case for all the media mileage it promised, then Bolante would not have been able to deliver such a decisive smack-down. I mean, don’t these guys get millions in discretionary funds? Couldn’t they have used that money to dig up some real evidence? Or maybe they should have just outsourced the formulation of their lists of questions to bloggers who, for a pittance, are able to come up with more sense.

And how, pray tell, are we supposed to ‘make it difficult to lie?’ More to the point, when is it obvious that someone is lying? When everything he says goes against his interrogators’ preconceived notions? That’s what the laws are there for, Neal, to make sure that people are protected from jaundiced judges like yerself; people who think that because they know some things then they must know all things. Puh-leeze.


Filed under: law and order, , , , ,

8 Responses

  1. Marocharim says:

    Outsourced for a pittance, Rom?

    Haha, story of my life. (boo-yaka)

  2. Jeg says:

    They end up sounding like street-corner philosophers who hang around barangay halls where they are revered as ersatz lawyers.

    Hey dont knock those barangay hall philosophers. They make street inumans interesting (along with that Visayan guy with the guitar who knows the entire Yoyoy Villame repertoire).

    (Congratch on the new job, btw.)

  3. baycas says:

    More to the point, when is it obvious that someone is lying? When everything he says goes against his interrogators’ preconceived notions?

    yes, first thing that comes to mind is prejudgment.

    even a Gregory House, whose motto is “everbody lies,” could make mistakes if a diagnosis is already given without first doing history-taking and, of course, doing a physical examination and then lab tests.

    the symptoms of lying may appear to be present because of these preconceived notions/prejudice (the subjective part of assessment) but the symptoms must be checked or verified through the signs of lying – concrete evidence such as a paper trail (the objective part of assessment).


    short of doing a polygraph test, there are ways to detect if you’re being lied to. but a seasoned liar is hard to catch. is bolante a seasoned one?

    probably…i guess he went a long way selling insurance, from loyola to prudential. he could have been seasoned in putting someone on and made multi-millions in the process. he’s not a bolante for nothing, you know…

    please note that he had a credible testimony (subjective part) facing the unbiased Immigration Judge in the States even though we all know his asylum-bid baloney (see Bolante v Mukasey ). however, objectively he failed. hence, his deportation.


    effective laws against perjury? no longer necessary, i believe. a nose-ruler will do. 🙂

  4. rom says:

    marocharim: haha, marck. I guess that didn’t sound quite right. but the fact is, guys like you don’t even get paid to blog, but you’re able to churn out better lines of questioning than these overpaid senators. that’s what I meant. peace. 😀

  5. UP n grad says:

    It still makes sense that laws require proof beyond reasonable doubt. And please don’t tell me that media folks be he Randy David nor Tulfo can tell who is lying or not. [Mon Tulfo does not even know if his wife is having an affair or not!!!!] This is among the reasons a country should really avoid having bishops and popes and mullahs be judge-and-jury (don’t get them to become presidents nor governors, either). The carnage that has been brought by people who had a direct line to heavens — history-making.

  6. BrianB says:

    Common sense is like religion, you believe it’s common sense when you believe it’s common sense.

  7. BrianB says:

    Hi ROM, did you apply for the Wong fellowship by any chance?

  8. rom says:

    brianb: no. it was the wong thing for me. hahaha

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