Just watched Day 2 of Senate hearing. Tables were turned once again on De Lima, without any effort it seems from the PNP or Duterte's senate allies. This must really be karma at work, or Duterte's magic is really strong.
De Lima opened the session by saying she had asked ABS-CBN, Inquirer, and GMA 7 to submit their "kill list" databases and methodology for compiling the lists. However, only GMA 7 submitted. Strange. If those lists were being prepared properly, shouldn't these media groups have their databases and methodology on hand at any time? Or were those lists haphazardly done?
Sandra Cam showed up in the middle of the hearing and sat directly behind De Lima. But Cam disappeared after a while, so viewers were not treated to scratching and hair-pulling.
A group of women wearing dark glasses, masks, and headscarfs sat in a row on one area–I don't know why De Lima made them dress like jihadist terrorists, but they were her witnesses.
(No offense meant to the witnesses. I sympathize with their plight. But one senator also commented that medyo O.A. ang level ng disguise. Parang ginawa for dramatic effect.)
So, how did the senators fare on Day 2? The behavior of each was quite revealing.
Drilon, for example, has been lying low since his relative in Iloilo (Mabilog) landed on Duterte's narco-list. But this time, he went on the offensive and tried to trip PNP General Bato when Bato presented the breakdown of unexplained deaths. Drilon was smirking when he pointed out that the figure Bato showed yesterday was about 200+ lower than the number he showed today. But Bato just explained that the number has gone up because the data was updated and operations are continuing even while the senate hearings are going on. The yellow media are now feasting on this tidbit ("200+ deaths in 24 hours!"), but from the comments on the livestream, most viewers think Drilon has inadvertently outed himself because of what he did.
De Lima's composure–sorry, compozzzure–was rattled several times. First, when Sandra Cam turned up on the seat right behind her. De Lima looked startled, then tried to carry on with questioning Bato, but her questions got really nonsensical, like: "Are your Operation Tokhang activities covered by search warrants?" (Kakasabi lang ni Bato just minutes before that Tokhang only involves knocking on the door and pleading with suspects to change their ways, not entering their homes)
She also asked, "Kapag kusa na sumuko at pumunta sa pulis, yan ba ay surrenderees?" To Bato's credit, he remained cool and accommodating no matter how moronic De Lima's questions got. Our housekeeper was yelling "Gaga!" a la Duterte at the laptop screen.
After a while, pinaglaruan na rin ni Bato si De Lima. De Lima: "Paano kung hindi kayo papasukin (sa bahay)?" Bato: "Uuwi kami ng luhaan."
De Lima also continued to stonewall whenever someone was about to say something juicy. For example, when Manny Pacquiao was questioning the two police officers accused of killing the live-in partner of De Lima's Witness 1 from yesterday. The accused cops said they found drugs on the live-in partner, contrary to what Witness 1 claimed yesterday (the cops were not around yesterday to give their side). De Lima butted in several times to ask if the two police officers (who have been charged with murder by the PNP) were waiving their right to have a lawyer present. The men had already said several times that yes, they were waiving their right to have a lawyer present, but De Lima kept interrupting and asking "Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure? Are you sure?" until Pacquiao's question trailed off without a response from Witness 1.
(By the way, Bato said during the hearing that Pacquiao lent one of his lots in Region 12 to the PNP to be used as a site for rehab and livelihood programs for drug surrenderees. See, "disente" crowd? This is why someone like Pacquiao, despite his lack of pedigree and crooked English, can be greater than someone like Bam Aquino or Mar Roxas.)
Grace Poe was rather odd today. She kept grilling Bato about the reward money for informants that Duterte talked about in the past. Almost like she was trying to get him to say something incriminating. Grace, as we know, is the protégé of Chiz Escudero, who is like a son to Roberto Ongpin, whose online gaming company Philweb has crashed since Duterte singled him out as an oligarch. Are we jumping to conclusions here? Maybe. But I really did not like the way Poe was behaving today.
Ralph Recto was a pleasant surprise, asking very sensible questions about additional equipment needed by the PNP. He treated the police with courtesy and respect, did not patronize them, and asked real, constructive questions, not questions meant for grandstanding and power-tripping. Recto today conducted himself like a representative of the people, not a representative of the yellow party. Bravo.
Ping Lacson, as always, was credible and sensible, tough but fair. He brought up the wiretapping law to aid intelligence gathering for Duterte's anti-drugs campaign. This was another awkward moment for De Lima, since Duterte has mentioned he has heard a recording that can implicate De Lima's driver.
Towards the end, Dick Gordon said the things that the public was waiting for one of the senators to say. He reminded everyone in the room that the problem with drugs and killings has been going on for many years and previous administrations did not do anything about it. He asked the CHR head Chito Gascon, a dyed-in-the-wool yellow, "Why haven't I heard anything from you about the people killed by riding-in-tandem etc, which has been going on for years? . . . The silence is deafening . . ." Gordon went on to talk about the Bilibid drug lords lording it at the national penitentiary, and Bato and Lacson jumped in, asking why the previous administration did not deploy the SAF to clean up Bilibid during its time, basically exposing the incompetence that created the enormous mess the PNP now has to clean up, until De Lima finally cut them off to wrap up the hearing, voice and jowls shaking.
So ended the two-day hearing, and if De Lima's plan was to stage all this to make herself look good and the police look bad, her strategy totally backfired. Because in the eyes of the public, the real winners of this two-day joust are General Bato de la Rosa and the PNP. General Bato, who kept calm, cool, and centered in round after round after round of moronic and repetitive questioning, by clueless, cosseted people who know nothing about the harsh realities that he and his men face everyday, who was probably exhausted from leading the war on drugs almost 24/7 for the last 2 months, but remained consistently gracious, polite, alert, and unshakeable while being grilled by idiots and hypocrites for five hours straight–my God, all I can say is, from now on, whenever you see a PNP officer on the streets or in the malls or wherever, go up to them and say Thank You. The yellow media can go on spinning their black propaganda, but let the police know that the yellow media do not speak for the Filipino people. The real Filipino people, flesh and blood standing right before them, appreciate the sacrifices that they are making, and thank them from the bottom of our hearts.
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