“Truth Hurts” (What Filipinos Should Hear About Aguirre)
During the 26th day of impeachment trial for Chief Justice Corona, another spectacle left many of us flabbergasted. When private prosecutor Vitaliano Aguirre covered his ears to shield it from the “shrill voice” coming from Senator Miriam-Defensor Santiago, television viewers and the senator-judges alike wondered if they were looking at a serious member of the prosecution panel or to an ageing lawyer doing some childish acts. Senator Estrada finally stood up and publicly criticized Aguirre’s unprofessional act, pushing Santiago’s irritation to the prosecution a little bit further. The rest, as they say, was history.
Now that he is finally cited in contempt and not allowed to participate in the impeachment trial anymore, it seems that Aguirre firmly stands in his belief that Santiago’s mentioning of the word G*G* which was hurled towards the prosecution team was far worse than what he did to disrespect the lady Senator judge. Some admire him for stepping up and courageously fighting for what he think was right but more people were merely disappointed for his immature act that was done at the wrong place and at the wrong time. He mentioned about the “shrill voice” of the Ilonggo senator but no matter how we cover up the facts, it seems that Aguirre just used this statement as a euphemism for something more serious. Come on people! Aguirre is a lawyer so he must have known beforehand how an act like that can jeopardize his reputation as a private prosecution. Seriously, you don’t just cover your ears in front of national television or in front of respectable senator judges unless, of course, if you’re totally out of your mind or doesn’t have the courage to listen to the truth. So what does the incident says about us Filipinos?
You might think I’m being exaggerated but Aguirre, for me, is but a perfect representation of some of our flaws as Filipino people. First, most of us open our ears ONLY to those that make us proud as Filipinos. There’s Charice, Pacquiao and all sorts of things that will definitely attest to DOT’s slogan, “It’s more fun in the Philippines”. But what if something or someone blocks our path towards achieving national pride? That’s when “onion-skinned” Filipinos start to throw hurtful blows to those who allegedly hurt our national ego. Remember the actress Claire Danes, the Miss Earth candidate and those who committed the same acts against our country? Well, they all became victims of Filipinos’ fast judgments and bloated egos. Instead of trying to listen to their real statements and verifying the little truths that can be found within, we were fast to “cite them in contempt” and forever remove them from our vocabulary of national pride and honor. The same happens to blog posts or web articles that open our eyes to the flaws and imperfections of the ordinary Filipinos. A lot of “passionate people” will easily categorize it as anti-Filipinos without even getting the real essence of the opinion piece or worse, without even reading it. Yes, most of us are just like Aguirre, we become onion-skinned most of the time and prefer to listen more to those that favor us than to those that hurt us, more to lavish praises than constructive criticisms, more to lies than the truth itself. No wonder, progress in the Philippines has taken a back seat because we only choose who, what, and which to listen to.
Private prosecutor Vitaliano Aguirre teaches us lessons that we must imbibe to ourselves if we really want real progress to take place. As for the prosecution panel, let’s just wish them good luck for as long as there are Aguirres who have the bravado to disrespect the truth in the form of Senator Santiago’s honest opinions, winning the case will always be hard to reach.
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