Call his bluff Craig Vincent Tibon, Dennis Jay Paras, Nizle Caraballe

Call his bluff Featured

At one point during the hearings by the House of Representatives’ committee on justice on the impeachment case against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, Mindoro Oriental Rep. and committee chair Reynaldo Umali said a mouthful against Larry Gadon, the lawyer who had filed the complaint.

The committee had found that Gadon’s allegation of acts of favoritism and manipulation by Sereno were not supported by affidavits from the supposed resource persons he had mentioned in his complaint.

When asked if he had spoken directly with these people and if they could substantiate his claims, Gadon said they had not expressed willingness to cooperate but that they knew things, which was why he was suggesting that the committee invite them to testify: “Wala po silang pinarating sa akin na willing to cooperate pero meron po silang alam, kaya nga po sina-suggest ko po sa justice committee na sila ay imbitahin…”

Gadon’s allegations were, it thus appeared, mere hearsay, and he wanted the House to step in to do the job of buttressing his case against Sereno.

“Please do your homework,” a seemingly indignant Umali told him in response, adding that since he was the accuser, he should “do [his] job” and not, as some committee members had been complaining, make them do the investigation for him: “Ikaw kasi nag-aakusa kung kaya’t hinihingi nung pagkakataon na gawin mo naman yung trabaho mo. Yun yung inaangal ng kasamahan namin dito, na ginagawa mo kaming imbestigador mo, eh. Hindi kami yun.”

It was a moment of clarity in the proceedings, but one gone too soon.

As things stand now, it could have been a watershed point—the moment when sober-minded members of the House committee on justice came to their senses, saw through the lies and sham of Gadon’s complaint, and, rising beyond partisan interests, junked the impeachment complaint, thus sparing the republic the constitutional crisis now about to unfold with the administration’s full-on assault on the Chief Justice and an independent judiciary.

But then again, perhaps it was no more than a piece of theater — Umali et al. feigning anger at Gadon for the benefit of the cameras, but high-fiving him in private despite his comically flawed complaint. Because, incredibly, the hearings plodded on, and while more of Gadon’s deceits and misrepresentations came to light, in the end the House committee still vindicated him by voting to recommend Sereno’s impeachment.

Gadon’s capacity to survive one demonstrable act of public lying after another — even being rewarded by the House for his blatant untruths under oath in such a grave proceeding as attempting to unseat a chief magistrate — appears to be inexhaustible.

His extreme views on a number of national issues — on television, he advocated the mass killing of Muslims as a solution to the Mindanao strife; he also said the thousands of extrajudicial killings in the course of the government’s war on drugs were still not enough — should have long ago marked him out for the crackpot personality that he is, and disqualified him from being taken seriously.

Instead, shadowy forces have seemingly turned this lawyer’s profound aversion to norms of basic decent behavior into his chief qualification as the alpha attack dog in the game plan to cow the judiciary.

In the face of criticism of his unsubstantiated accusations and disreputable methods, Gadon can be counted on to try to outshout, curse, flail, and lash at his critics.

His recent reprehensible behavior in Baguio before a group of pro-Sereno protesters was vintage Gadon: flashing the dirty finger, yelling profanities, and shrieking “bobo” (dumb) at anyone but himself.

What is taking the Integrated Bar of the Philippines so long to disbar this outrageous excuse for a lawyer?

Gadon has declared that he didn’t care about being disbarred, claiming that he would still be able to eat lavishly even if he lost the right to practice law. His peers should quickly call his bluff.

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