My 4-year old politically aware son asks why Erap is being impeached...

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Your Honor, Our Honor
By Angelica Bautista Viloria
December 26, 2000

"Why is Erap being impeached?" my 4-year old, politically aware (he even knows the name Joker Arroyo now) son asks. Ask any informed (and gossip-loving) Filipino that question, and chances are he will be able to rattle off the four charges stated in the articles of impeachment as if he were rattling off the names of beloved parents or siblings.

The impeachment show has really taken the whole nation by storm and with good reason. Never before has any Philippine president taken this bad a beating this early in the game till today.

It is great to be alive at this point of Philippine history. Listening to the radio or watching television as the trial proceeds beat sitting in during any law class. Yes, our grammar or diction may be shot but the ordinary man's understanding of legal terms and proceedings has undoubtedly improved by leaps and bounds. We have "Your honor" coming out of our ears. We learn about hostile witnesses, rehabilitating the witness, and subpoenas. At a Christmas reunion, a cousin-in-law was relating how vendors at Kamuning market even have televisions to be able to follow the trial. One particular vendor missed out on a certain portion and upon coming back, she asked: "Ano to? Cross or redirect?" (Translation: "What's this? Cross or redirect?"). Imagine that? Never mind if she's not that familiar with the defense or prosecution counsels' faces but at least, now she knows those terms, as millions of other Filipinos do too.

Everyone is indeed watching and listening. Particularly on that fateful December 22 afternoon when Clarissa Ocampo of Equitable PCI Bank testified that she was a foot away from the president when he signed some bank papers as Jose Velarde. That testimony takes the cake and it showed. Watching the trial last Friday, everyone waited patiently (though irritatingly) when so much a sigh from the prosecutor or the witness already merited an objection from the defense. It was likewise entertaining to see the senators earlier in the day moving for a vote, then a suspension, then objecting to the suspension as they were trying to decide whether to listen to the "surprise witness" at all.

After awhile, all the objections and legalistic talk became tiring. Hours of arguing about materiality and talking about where the burden of proof lies left a bad taste in the mouth. Your honor this is about our honor as a nation. If there is anything to object to, it is public or elected officials who take the responsibilities and duties of their office lightly. Not serving your people well should be a crime. Bank accounts under fictitious names, whether the funds were legally or illegally sourced do bring up questions which should be answered by the person concerned. That is material to me by any measure. By the way, does anyone remember any Jose Velarde running for president?

After the testimony, I engage in wishful thinking of the President resigning or his defense counsel resigning or all of the remaining cabinet members resigning and no one wanting to get appointed thereafter. I am a Filipino and a non-lawyer. I don't care about articles 1, 2, 3, or 4 of the articles of impeachment anymore. I just want the truth. I submit.

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Your Honor, Our Honor
Written on December 26, 2000
Copyright © 2000 by Angelica Bautista Viloria of

Angelica Viloria is a Filipina mom, living in the Philippines, who works in a credit rating company, and occasionally posts articles in her family homepage at