“Train To Busan” is an entertaining Korean film about zombies on a train who eat human brains. The passengers do not know who is normal and who is not. In the ensuing panic they do anything to survive.
Sounds like the Senate and House hearings on extra-judicial killings and drugs.
The Senate proceedings on EJK has a new chair in Dick Gordon vice De Lima. When last seen, Alan Cayetano was frantically escaping the tentacles of De Lima and Trillanes as he vainly tried to interrogate one Edgar Matobato, the Grade I (or is it Grade III?) self-confessed Davao Death Squad killer. Edgar reportedly witnessed then Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte expel 200 rounds of Uzi on a dying “agent” who had parked his car in the wrong place. With Dick in charge, Cayetano is now free to intellectually unload his Ateneo law degree on the illiterate Matobato.
The House proceedings have been festive but staid as a parade of low-lifers testified how they paid millions to then DOJ Sec. De Lima to allow them to live in peace and prosperity in their beloved Bilibid. Committee Chair Rey Umali has done a good job at restraining his members many of whom were chomping at the bit to hang the lady on national TV. Lynch mobs can be so much fun.
DOJ Sec. Vitaliano Aguirre who conducted the House examination has been sober and efficient. He believes he has enough to charge De Lima with abetting the drug trade in exchange for campaign contributions. He also dropped the bombshell that a Government official “higher than De Lima” and a Liberal Party Senator were recipients of millions in drug money. Talk about a teaser.
Sen. De Lima denied the accusations. She also claims the only person higher than her was ex-President Noy to whom she directly reported and who would never do such a thing. She is probably correct. PNoy was not running for re-election, is independently wealthy and lives a simple life. If he wished there were easier and more honorable ways to enrich himself in his six years in office. He was never tainted.
But Leila is wrong in claiming there was nobody between her and the President.
Looking at the organizational chart, there are two persons higher than a Cabinet Secretary. There is the Vice-President and there is the Executive Secretary. The former is constitutionally above a Cabinet officer even though organizationally he may not be. He cannot order a Cabinet Secretary to do his bidding.
The Executive Secretary is universally accepted as the “primus inter pares”, the first among equals in the Cabinet. Figuratively if not literally he could be said “to be higher” than the DOJ Secretary.
So, assuming it is not PNoy, which of the two Jojos is Sec. Aguirre referring to, VP Jojo Binay or Exec. Sec. Jojo Ochoa? A couple of hints: Who of the two would have the administrative power to help out the drug lords? Who has a new lifestyle like say a supposedly newly acquired home in a plush Makati village?
As for the mystery LP Senator that Aguirre alluded to let us do the math. Barring further defections, the LP presently has 5 Senators: Bam Aquino, Frank Drilon, Leila de Lima, Kiko Pangilinan and Ralph Recto. Leila has already been accused so that leaves four. Bam has not wielded any extraordinary power, was relatively new, was not up for re-election in 2016 and therefore did not need the money; so that arguably leaves three. Pangilinan was not a Senator so had limited influence in the last three years. That, speculatively, leaves two, Drilon and Recto. Who between the latter would the current Administration have an ax to grind? That, arithmetically, leaves one.
One can sense the lines have been drawn between the power players in the country, between the new dispensation and the old, between those running over and those being run over. Central to the fight is -or has been- drug money but it is just one of the grounds in which the battle will be fought. At stake are businesses, political lives, judicial reach and the future of the nation. We are just seeing the start of the engagement. There may be little room for compromise.
As for Sec. Aguirre’s riddle, I think I know the answers. I could reveal them but that would deprive you of the fun. Go figure it out for yourselves.