‘Circuses of the Surreal’

What is wrong with Patricia Evangelista? Many people consider her a brilliant writer. The brilliance shows in her latest op-ed.

Yet, still, somehow, I’m not a vendee. Evangelista concludes that a respondent in a court proceeding betrays the public trust by asking for presumption of innocence and seeking judicial review on the belief that the court has over-reached. I submit however that legal parries and the accompanying PR spin do not amount to betrayal of public trust. The man is simply trying to survive.

The respondent may well be guilty, but still the pro reo principle holds. You still have to give him his day in court – there is a due process requirement albeit limited because life, liberty, or property is not at stake.

And if he’s innocent, all the more does he deserve to ask for his constitutional rights.

What is probably more correct than Evangelista’s colorful pushes on English is simply this: That if you protest too much, you lose.

The real damage to Chief Justice Corona’s position is not from the ‘let-me-join-the-bandwagon’-while-being-cute style of Evangelista. Nor even from the more general sense that the impunity show should come to an end.

The damage comes from the abundant sneer emanating from his counsels. If a somewhat distracted observer can sense that they think the rest of us, including the judges, are hicks because we don’t know the basket-weaving of remedial law, then the political kick does kick in. The Senate may well convict if only because it has been insulted. That’s the tragedy of the case if the respondent deserves an acquittal; it’s karma otherwise.

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