As the Justice Secretary, Leila de Lima appeared as the hitman of the Liberal Party – her targets were LP targets; sanctioned from the top. As a member of the Philippine Senate, Leila de Lima appears again to be the hitman of the Liberal Party – her targets are those of the LP; the contracts again would seem to come from the top. Today, she doesn’t impartially represent the people she was elected to serve any more than in her previous role she impartially represented justice – blind justice, the type that refuses to be influenced by powerful political elites. And the latest badly scripted TV soap opera from LP Productions Inc. in which she stars and directs looks like more of the same.
The Volatilian™ has read the transcripts of the Senate hearing – a gathering that looked more like the Court of Star Chamber under Charles I than the upper house of the Philippine Congress in a 21st century democracy. It finds it difficult to comprehend that such a bizarre and unsubstantiated litany of allegations concerning the Davao Death Squad (DDS), made against the elected president of that democracy, Rodrigo Duterte, are being treated as if de Lima was handed them by Moses. She wasn’t. At best they came from the mouth of a self-confessed killer.
What is equally mind-boggling is that this “witness”, Edgar Matabato, it’s claimed, had been under the protection of the Justice Department (DOJ) for the best part of three years. De Lima, apparently, knew of his testimony back then, when she was Secretary of the DOJ. Seems odd, therefore, that neither she nor her department felt it incumbent on them to alert the country to any of this before Duterte made his run for he presidency. After all, the first president from Mindanao is one thing, the first successful DDS party candidate to make president is quite another.
Now, it seems they need a sworn affidavit from their star witness regarding his allegations. Three years later they need an affidavit?
And that begs another question. How could Matabato have been placed in a Witness Protection Programme – de Lima claims he entered the programme in 2013 – without first providing an affidavit, an essential and non-negotiable requirement for witness protection? And yet it seems he didn’t: the DOJ has no record of one. In fact, they don’t seem to have any record of Matabato at all. So, three years under witness protection, no affidavit, no file, no notes of interviews, no records of him being there? What was this, a three-year-long Facebook chat under assumed names?
Then it’s claimed Matabato “voluntarily left” the protection programme; and he did that, apparently, when Duterte was sworn into office. So we’re lead to believe that he needed witness protection when Duterte was Mayor of Davao, but not so much once he’d become president? That kind of logic doesn’t even belong on this planet let along in a Senate hearing.
Furthermore, on the one hand de Lima hints that other witnesses will be forthcoming – presumably, the cast of Episode 2 – and on the other she states that investigating the case has been made difficult because of a lack of witnesses. “Some of the witnesses we were able to access narrated a similar story as that one we heard from Mr Matabato”. But, “They refused to execute affidavits”. Oh!
Don’t worry about that Madam Senator, affidavits seem to be an optional extra anyway. It’s obviously case proven. No need to waste time on producing credible witnesses, go with what you’ve got.
What’s even more baffling is that Matabato’s testimony which seems to have more holes in it than a colander, is being offered to a room of people with law degrees; some of them quite impressive ones. What does that say? Surely they know a credible witness when they see one.
The Volatilian™ is not going to be drawn into the allegations themselves. We don’t have any more information on their veracity than Princess Leila and her Jedi knight, Antonio Trillanes IV. Right now, and until any real corroborative facts are produced, this exposé belongs in the same tray as “Monster Came Down From Outer Space And Ate My Face” and “Hitler Was A Secret Jew”.
But the Senate hearings will continue to play to packed audiences. TV ratings will go through the roof. Facts won’t be important, of course. They’ll pack the advertisers in and up the rates. This is about theatre. In upcoming episodes there will be even starker revelations. Look out for President Uses Kryptonite Soap and Duterte Ate My Baby. Sounds ridiculous, we know, but look at what we’re being asked to swallow so far – and by whom.
This has all the hallmarks of a political trial but The Volatilian™ believes it is more than that; it is being stage managed to distract the public’s attention from some very inconvenient probes into the probity of the Liberal Party itself – not least what may have gone on during the vote counting for the last election. More specifically, how Leni Robredo ended up as Vice President and the successor to Duterte should he be driven from office in some way – impeached by the Senate, for example; how Liberal Party standard bearer, Mar Roxas – the last administration’s heir apparent to Malacañang – soaked up votes intended for other candidates. They’re facts and they are verifiable. All this, however, seems to have been magically eclipsed.
And as the public is told to believe that any discrepancies in that voting was nothing more than some mechanical malfunction of the count machines – nothing to see here, people – they’re now being told to believe the word of a self-confessed assassin, to depose the most popular president in Philippine history. Really? Does de Lima & Co believe that the people are that gullible – the ones, that is, who are not died-in-the-wool Liberal Party members and supporters? Is that what this lawmaker thinks of the Filipino nation? It is not them with an IQ deficit.
There is a saying, “Throw enough mud and some of it will stick”; in other words make enough accusations about someone and some of them will be believed. So ask yourself this question: whose hands, right now, are covered in mud?