Viloria.com > Angel >
Eleven Senators who voted 'No'
No Honor, The Envelope (dis)Please
By Angelica Bautista Viloria
January 17, 2001
I want a refund. As a taxpayer who works day in, day out, and who does not have P6 million in a knapsack to be smuggled off to Hong Kong, I demand my money back from those eleven salaried senators who voted not to open Envelope Number 2.
Yesterday was a really sad and anger-filled day for me. My family starved itself till 10pm, as we watched in disgust as 11 out of 21 senators refused to open Envelope Number 2.
Is anything lost by opening Envelope Number 2? If what President Estrada is saying is true, that he is not Jose Velarde, then the contents of the said envelope should not matter. If it is opened and the contents are not relevant, then it will be ignored and forgotten. By opening it, the defense counters, it will again be trial by publicity. That the president's reputation will be damaged and this is not fair play or according to the rule of law. But I ask, can his reputation be damaged further? Hasn't it been damaged enough? Do we damage even the reputation of the Senate by not opening that envelope? Can we ignore and forget that the contents of that envelope have been put aside?
Senator Kit Tatad's moving for a vote on the issue, even before Chief Justice Davide as presiding officer could rule, and Senator Enrile's seconding Tatad's motion right away really smells fishy. Somehow, I get the strange feeling that all of this was premeditated. Even after the other senators pointed out that the Chief Justice should rule first and even when the Chief Justice himself said twice, that the motion for a vote should first be withdrawn before he could make a ruling, the eleven would not be denied. It was obvious they did not want the Chief Justice to even speak. The eleven could not risk Davide possibly ruling to open Envelope Number 2 for how could Senators Jaworski, Sotto, Revilla, or any of the eight remaining ones justify their vote of "No," subsequently?
People say that the vote of the eleven senators not to open the envelope is akin to a vote of acquittal. I beg to disagree. Those were not votes of acquittal. How can anyone be acquitted when the process has not been completed? How can anyone be acquitted when there is evidence which has not been presented? A vote of no was a vote of "no trial" at all, plain and simple. What a waste of taxpayers' money. What an insult to all the witnesses who have come forward to risk life and limb to reveal everything they know. What a disgrace to our nation. In the end, we now know, it was really just a show.
In all this, I am comforted by the thought that eventually, the whole truth will come out. If not through the trial, then in some other way. Do the eleven senators honestly think they have heard the last of the contents of Envelope Number 2? I hate to be a party pooper and I address this particularly to the Senator-Judge who was caught by the TV cameras dancing, gloating, and cheering like a pep squad girl, but this is only the beginning. In refusing to open Envelope Number 2, the fate of those eleven senators as public servants has been sealed.
Before the senators started the actual voting last night, Senator Kit Tatad stood up again and said and I quote, in part: "We have gone too far." I cannot help but agree, for once. Yes, indeed you have and the people will remember.
Just for the record:
Yes (open the envelope and know the whole truth): Biazon, Flavier, Legarda-Leviste, Osmena, Sergio (careful with the first name), Roco, Drilon, Magsaysay, Pimentel, Cayetano
No: Jaworski, Tatad, Ople, Oreta, Coseteng, Defensor-Santiago, Honasan, Enrile, Sotto, Osmena, John (careful with the first name), Revilla
Top of Page
No Honor, The Envelope (dis)Please
Written January 17, 2001
Copyright © 2001 by Angelica Bautista Viloria of http://www.viloria.com