A huge debacle

By Alex P. Vidal

“There is nothing more frightening than a bustling ignorance.” —Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

WHERE are the good and knowledgeable senators? In the first place, there seems to be none, save for two or three.

It appears the Philippines is condemned to suffer from having a set of mediocre senators as a result of the voters’ apathy and propensity to choose the popular but dumbass over quality during the elections.

For instance, the antics of Senator Jinggoy Estrada in the recent Senate committee on law and order investigation in the Negros Oriental killings was clearly a huge debacle for the Senate.

It exposed the grim reality that many if not most of the elected senators are ignorant and ill-prepared to participate in the pivotal Q and A area; and they always have the penchant to grandstand and use the committee hearings to publicize their idiocy and ineptitude. And some of them, like Bong Revilla and Robin Padilla, think it is alright.

In that committee investigation, we noticed three instances where Estrada went overboard and unceremoniously badgered with irrelevant and off tangent questions at least two resource persons and a lady lawyer representing a police sergeant.

His gung-ho approach and treatment of the civilian complainant in a foiled assassination attempt involving a cop as the alleged hitman was out of tune.

Instead of helping ferret out the truth whether the suspected hitman cop was the Real McCoy (after committee chair Senator Ronaldo “Bato” dela Rosa couldn’t compel the cop to admit his true identity), Estrada wasted precious time by impeaching the civilian complainant’s credibility by digging into his background as a “drug addict” when he was working in Dubai many years back.


The senator from San Juan forgot the Senate hearing was about the killings in Negros, not whether someone is a drug user when he was OFW 10 years ago.

Also, Estrada sank himself deeper when he tried to attack the credibility of the lady lawyer who had earlier admitted several times she was there to assist the suspected hitman cop only as a substitute for the cop’s original counsel who was in Iloilo for a separate court hearing.

Estrada blasted the lady lawyer “for not knowing” the full details of the cop’s case. He also dug on her background and asked other irrelevant questions that only exposed his ignorance and lack of preparation to take part in such celebrated Senate inquiry.

Estrada must have mistaken the Senate committee hearing for a formal court trial where the counsel must argue the case for a client before a sitting judge.

In the Senate hearing, the counsel can only sit in the background and ensure that the client’s basic rights are protected. It’s the client, in this case the cop as the invited resource person, who shall do the talking about his case and other circumstances.

Estrada was clearly disgusting and his performance was a huge embarrassment. He only succeeded in exposing himself.

The voters should keep the ignoramuses out of the senate after bringing them there.


People who intentionally commit shameful activities like criminals and grafters in government have already accepted the fact that they can never wear the hat called “honorable” even if they have all the riches in the world courtesy of their shenanigans and hooliganism.

IRRATIONAL FEAR. It is the fear of the unknown, the irrational fear that chokes and puts a monkey wrench on our capacity to desire for splendid things in life.

BEWARE THE DEADLIEST NATURAL TOXIN. Botulinal toxin, produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum, is the most potent poison for humans. It has an estimated lethal dose in the bloodstream of 10-9 milligrams per kilogram. Death occurs when the respiratory muscles are paralyzed.

TO ALL CIGARETTE LOVERS. Cigarette smoke contains about 4,000 chemicals. Carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, and nicotine are some of the major components, with lesser amounts of acetone, acetylene, formaldehyde, propane, hydrogen cyanide, toluene, and many others.

PEDESTRIANS. Women drive and cross the street more safely than men. Men account for 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities since 1980. Between the ages 18 and 45, males outnumber females as fatal crash victims by almost three to one according to the Nat’l Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)