Hurray for lawyer Vitaliano Aguirre III! His was one dissenting opinion that deserved to be heard. And applauded, if I might add.
I know that the court and judges must be respected. But perhaps not at all costs. We all know that respect is also earned. Do you honestly believe Mad Miriam’s (Defensor Santiago) performances during the impeachment trial earned the respect of her peers, let alone her countrymen? I think not, and I am quite sure a lot of people share my views, but lack the courage of a Vitaliano Aguirre III to say so. So hurray for him! He deserves our support, not condemnation.
Why should those senator judges who closed ranks feel alluded to, or disrespected? Is Santiago the Senate or the Impeachment Court, in the same way that Chief Justice Renato Corona seems to think he is the Supreme Court? Are they all as abusive as she is, or cut of the same cloth? Despite his change of color Sen. Joker Arroyo maintains a quiet, dignified demeanor! People may disagree with him, but I doubt anyone will dare to disrespect him!
No doubt many of the same “senator judges” must sometimes feel like covering their ears, too, during one of Miriam’s increasingly savage and outrageous ranting. I know I shift TV channels, just to get past that aggravating display of intemperate histrionics and the parroting of her superior knowledge of the law.
Sure, she has made some good points, but they were/are obscured by her obnoxious delivery and behavior, not to mention her blind service to procedural matters over and above the content and spirit of the law. Somebody remarked that instead of being cited for contempt and paying the fine, Aguirre should have been made to sit there and listen to her for another hour! Poetic justice?
I totally agree with Aguirre. Respect is a two-way street, and Santiago’s failure to accord respect—one would think, not just to the prosecutors, but to the whole court—gave courage to the private lawyer to manifest his displeasure in less astringent, but most articulate way.
The Brits have a Maid Miriam. We have Mad Miriam with a penchant for murdering the English tongue. How unfortunate. Heaven help the World Court when she gets there!
The author was a journalist and magazine editor who was based in Hong Kong in the ’70s and ’80s. She has since retired.