Dispatch from Crame No. 212: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on PNoy’s appearance before the Senate on the Dengvaxia probe


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Former President Aquino’s appearance at the Senate the other day was a welcome respite from the alarmist atmosphere that has characterized the Dengvaxia issue in the past several days.

PNoy faced the public to clarify and explain the decision of his past administration to implement the dengue vaccination program during a critical period in the nation’s public health. He confronted the accusations of negligence and corruption head-on, without equivocation, as only a person telling the truth can.

Even as a private citizen, PNoy continues to uphold standards of transparency and accountability in public service. His sober and straightforward answers to questions propounded by Senate Committee chairs Richard Gordon and JV Ejercito left the two senators groping for ways to pin him down, as was of course the original intent in the two committee chairs’ decision to invite the former president to the Dengvaxia hearings.

Instead of confronting him head-on, the two chairs instead utilized VACC clown Ferdinand Topacio to hit PNoy pointblank with lame allegations of corruption sourced from his fishing expedition, and just reserving the innuendos for the two committee chairs.

PNoy was entitled to two courtesies in the Senate hearing. First, as a former President and, second, as a former member of the Senate. Instead, PNoy appeared in the hearing without expecting any special treatment, and rightly so, as he was treated like any other resource person by Senators Gordon and Ejercito. Paolo Duterte and Mans Carpio got better VIP treatment from Senator Gordon during the 6.4 billion-peso shabu smuggling hearing.

That Duterte relatives were given more VIP treatment than a former President by Gordon says a lot about the fairness of hearings conducted by the Senator. Grandstanding, ego self-gratification, and microphone-hogging can be excused, but not contrived set-ups, innuendos, and dramatizations that indicate partiality, or worse, pre-judgment.

In the end, Gordon’s apparent strategy to set-up the former president, whether to embarrass him or make him look guilty, all but fizzled out. Not even this administration’s attack dog Topacio can get it done for them.

There is only one lesson in this. You cannot put a good man down. And the former president is as good as they come. We did not expect anything less from him. He made us proud.

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