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Undressing Leila

TODAY’S (FAKE) SCOOP: Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV will attend the start of the House hearings on the alleged proliferation of illegal drugs at the New Bilibid Prison today but not, he said, as the representative of Senator Leila de Lima.

Trillanes, in a statement, said that he was only going to make sure that the microphones are all in working order and that no one speaks too long in the Batasang Pambansa during the justice committee investigation.

“I have decided that this is going to be my new advocacy,” Trillanes said. “I intend to file a bill that will make it mandatory for all legislative bodies, from the Senate to the barangay councils, to prohibit ‘unli’ questioning, whether or not they use microphones.”

Trillanes also denied reports that he intends to challenge another supporter of President Rodrigo Duterte in the Senate, neophyte Senator Manny Pacquiao, to “make porma” during the next hearing to be called by De Lima, the chairman of the justice committee, later this week.

Earlier, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano asked Pacquiao to attend the next hearing of the De Lima committee and to sit between him and Trillanes.

“If Trillanes makes any sudden moves to turn off my microphone, he will have to reach past Manny, who may think, because of his long training as a boxer, that Trillanes is throwing a jab,” Cayetano said.

“I will not be responsible for Senator Pacquiao’s retaliatory action, in that case,” Cayetano said. “I don’t even know if Pacquiao will write a letter of apology to Trillanes after he gives him a left hook to the face.”

* * *

I know it’s an unsettling mental image. But I want to know if Leila de Lima will finally be undressed in the House hearings on the proliferation of illegal drugs at the national penitentiary that will start today.

Of course, one of the best things about the investigation of the House committee on justice is that Senator Leila is not in any way involved in conducting it. If she were, all we can look forward to is a repeat of last week’s parody of a Senate probe, featuring a poorly coached witness who wasn’t even testifying on the matter at hand and a committee chairman who shamelessly prodded that witness when he stumbled.

De Lima should be ashamed of how she acted as the de facto lawyer of Edgar Matobato, the self-confessed hitman, during the hearing of her committee last Thursday. Her partner in parody, Trillanes, has at least had the good sense to apologize in writing to Cayetano­—although I do not accept that Trillanes was moved by “passion” when he bullied Cayetano and attempted to cut off his microphone.

De Lima has repeatedly said that she will not attend the proceedings, which will be presided over by her House counterpart, law-school fraternity brother and former fellow traveler on the daang matuwid, Rep. Rey Umali of Mindoro Oriental. Umali’s presence as head of the House justice committee has apparently not convinced De Lima that she will get a fair shake in the Batasan, even if the Mindoro lawmaker has protested loud and long that he will be almost Rotary-like in truth and in fairness to everyone concerned.

Perhaps De Lima, who has derided the House probe as a “kangaroo court,” is worried that Umali was very much involved in that bicameral conspiracy that she also had a small hand in, the conviction and removal of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona. Maybe De Lima is afraid that Umali has found another “small lady” who has in her possession damning documents and other evidence that the committee will use against her.

I can’t really blame De Lima if she now has developed a deathly fear of little women ­—after all, Gloria Arroyo has been released and remains a member of Congress. And everyone knows how De Lima, as Noynoy Aquino’s justice secretary, defied a Supreme Court restraining order that allowed Arroyo to leave the country for medical treatment using the flimsy, illegal grounds that she was still going to be charged for other, undeclared offenses.

But I think I understand where De Lima is coming from—how she can explain to herself that she is conducting an “impartial” hearing that everyone agrees is totally biased and how she can conclude that any investigation involving her is a kangaroo court even before the first hearing has begun. I call it Yellow Exceptionalism.

De Lima, Trillanes and Senator Frankin Drilon, to name just three orphans of the late, unlamented Aquino regime, continue to believe that everything Yellow is good and everything that is not is, well, the spawn of the devil. And they have vowed to bring down the foul-mouthed man from Davao who stymied their plan to continue on the straight path for another six years and for many more after that, using all means, fair or foul.

But of course, the problem with the Yellows is that they aren’t really as saintly as they want us (or themselves) to believe. Like De Lima (and Trillanes, Drilon and all politicians, really), they have skeletons to hide. And if these skeletons are unearthed from their shallow graves, there will be hell to pay.

So don’t be too disturbed by the thought of seeing De Lima naked in the literal sense. Tomorrow, when she is figuratively stripped of her hypocrisy and subterfuge, you may find the image that remains even more disgusting.

Topics: Jojo Robles , Undressing Leila , Senator Leila de Lima , Senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV , Senator Alan Peter Cayetano
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