Actually, I recall writing something about the resignation of Benjamin Abalos, an hour or two after I first saw the news on Inquirer.net, but the stupid hardware over at DENR Central screwed it up and it wasn’t saved.
We were discussing it over lunch with EPQ, and, veteran political operator that he is, my boss said the best move Abalos could make was what he did: to resign. An impeachment was the last thing he, and Malacañang, would want. Despite everything our supposed “solons” say, the impeachment will not necessarily be about the Truth, but the truths our dear Senators and civil society want to hear. Impeachment is political, and Gloria seems to be lacking much political capital these days (oh, you haven’t noticed? Shame…).
By resigning, Abalos shifts the battle to the Courts, where there is a clear set of rules. Although I have personal experience of even judicial rules being set aside – what else happened with the LP case, after all, where the SC became a trier of facts, not of laws – the person being litigated and the issue at stake will merit full media coverage, so the Courts will follow rules and procedure to the letter.
Of course, like I said in the previous entry, Sec. Neri’s testimony was the direct cause of this, and much movement besides. There is a shift in the political landscape, and before the movement is over, there will be more changes besides.
Yet, it wasn’t the change civil society was looking for. Perhaps you who read this now have read the other commentaries since Neri’s testimony. Nearly all have lambasted the poor man for doing a “half-half.” They jeer him now, the fate of all those who civil society raised up to be their martyrs yet didn’t play the role expected of them.
I was checking Ellen Tordesillias’ blog, since I saw a link from Sylvia Mayuga’s column in Inquirer.net, and frankly, I’m upset at the people who’ve taken Neri too much to task for what happened during his testimony.
It’s so easy, isn’t it, to heap such abuse on those who’ve failed to do what we expected them to, here in the Public Sphere? And if we ask these critics if they would do any better in the same circumstances, they would be so ready to answer yes. But could they have done differently, really?
It was something short of a miracle that Neri got to even talk as much as he did. Given everything the Palace did, his sitting there and giving everyone “half” of the picture was already quite an achievement. In fact, given the restrictions on him – both external and, I believe, internal – Neri told us so much. With everything he has said, and everything Jarius Bondoc has said, corroborated by statements from Joey de Venecia, what more do people need? A large blinking sign that clearly points out the trail?
I think Romulo Neri wasn’t afraid for his personal safety, or at least beyond the normal fear that comes with a threat to one’s life. It’s probably there, but if half of what the “hype” about him is true, then this is someone that, when it comes down to it, might be ready to shed his blood if it would be the cost of positive change.
And there is the problem here: perhaps Neri, in his analysis, thought we just weren’t worth it.
Look at the reaction of the punditocracy and civil society: the reviled him for doing a “half-half.” Yet, everything they needed was already there. And if only half was said, perhaps Neri was looking for an opportunity to tell us the other half, just that some stupid people missed all the chances to assure the good Secretary that he was not in dangerous ground anymore. Or that they were deserving of the information he had.
So many people wanted Neri to do something that would have entailed him taking the bullet. Perhaps it was a literal bullet, like what some people are saying, that prevented him from doing so. But maybe he just didn’t want to be the person to sing the death knell of the Republic.
If civil society took the time to stop screaming their hate of Gloria, perhaps they would hear what Neri was saying all those days before his testimony.
And Cayetano had to say something that proved to everyone that the Truth wasn’t the objective here, but to find a trail leading to Gloria. This shows that the intent of the good chairperson of the Senate’s Blue Ribbon Committee isn’t necessarily after the Truth; and if you automatically equate Truth with finding dirt on Gloria, then you have a big problem, too, because if the Truth happens to not link with Gloria, then where will you be?
Even worse, this suddenly reaffirms Neri’s fears: the Truth he is in possession of will not be used for the positive change he knows it can bring… but more of the same old things that we saw not one year after the Second People Power. Add to that what happened during the Senate’s so-called “Executive Session”, and what will Neri think, then?
Don’t blame Romulo Neri for not giving what you people wanted: you’ve proven to him nothing but the fact that you all need to grow up some more. You don’t want Truth; you want blood. He wants real change; you people want change that suits your narrow-minded views of the world.
Besides, if you people are too… slow to notice that enough has already been said to turn the molehill into a mountain, well… too bad for you then…
When a fulcrum causes something to move, no one said it would go the way you wanted to, especially if your hand wasn’t the one doing the moving.
PS: if you people can’t get what was meant by Neri’s statement that Joey de Venecia can afford to do what he can because he has a rich (and powerful) dad… then take a long, hard look at who suffers during political upheavals, the ones you CivSoc people and holier-than-thous are so easy to instigate.