MANY people naively look at the over-stretched soap opera in the Senate as a battle between two adversaries: President Aquino and Chief Justice Corona. It is actually a proxy war waged by President Aquino (who thinks he embodies the values of good governance) against former President Arroyo (whom he thinks represents the disvalues he wants to eradicate). The Senate voted for a resounding victory for the President.
His proxies have issued a press statement that they will now concentrate on their government work. Actually, they are returning to their usual preoccupation: To seek for another proxy war. The vicarious experience of victory is so intoxicating and addicting that proxies never get tired of venturing into, or creating, another war.
Meanwhile, GMA's proxy, the Chief Justice, is now harvesting the wages of defeat. This is the trouble with proxy wars: The damage is meant to symbolically hurt an enemy and force him to capitulate. The sad thing is, the enemy might not even be affected by the symbolic defeat and might not even give a hoot for the collateral damage suffered by the proxy.
So, today, Chief Justice Corona bears alone the consequences of losing. The public no longer remembers his good deeds as a lawyer, judge, and educator for many years. Self-proclaimed media and political gurus show no pity in reducing his life into a few crumbs of anecdotes related to his impeachment. Only Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago showed a modicum of mercy when she refused to convict Corona because "removal by impeachment is a stunning penalty, the ruin of a life."
Her words fell on deaf ears. Like vultures smelling blood, the President's proxies swooped down on their prey, rollicking in a media-fueled feeding frenzy. I am reminded of the poem that goes:
"When somebody yields to temptation?
and breaks one of our laws,
We look for no good in his make-up,?
We only look for his flaws!?
"He is guilty!" we shout from the rooftops,?
We forget the good deeds he has done,?
We focus on one lost battle,?
And forget the times he has won.
No one cares about how he was tempted,?
Nor praises the battles he's fought;?
His name becomes food for the jackals
-?For us who have never been caught.
Chief Justice Renato Corona might have lost the proxy war. But he can serve as an affront to the opulent phoniness of government officials who "have never been caught."
The public might consider him a failure. But failure has a redeeming social value. Lest we forget, martyrs win by losing. A loser can inspire a network of sympathy and compassion, involving people who believe in him or who identify with him. He can become the proxy of the "outsiders," people who are shut out socially, economically, and politically. He can wage his own battle against the proxies of those who have a stranglehold on the media, business, and politics.