Meddle of (dis)honor

Imagine this: Senators Robin Padilla and Raffy Tulfo, and Congressmen Dante Marcoleta and L-Ray Villafuerte travel to the United States to meet with officials of the State Department. In their spare time, they visit former US President Donald Trump and, emerging from his Mar-a-Lago resort, start issuing statements to the effect that the Federal Bureau of Investigation should stop its “political persecution” of Trump, that the raid on Trump’s property was “baseless and unjustified,” and that the Federal Court judge that issued the search warrant was “in error and grossly abused his judicial power.”

I am sure that the FBI, the US Justice Department, and the concerned judge would all scream bloody murder and, at the very least, ask the officious members of the Philippine Congress for an explanation as to why they would embarrass their host country by strongly implying publicly that there was something so seriously wrong with its justice system that it would use its courts and investigative agencies to harass an enemy of its present administration. After all, not only is the United States obsessive in protecting its image as a bastion of human rights, but it is exceedingly sensitive about foreigners trying to influence its domestic affairs. Recall the recent scandal that revolved around the investigation of Russia’s (and Vladimir Putin’s) alleged interference in trying to influence the 2020 US presidential elections in favor of Trump.

So, why were members of the US Congress allowed to saunter into our country and badmouth our courts and our Department of Justice, with nary a whimper from the so-called progressives who claim to hate American imperialism so much?

In the middle of August, a decrepit group of US lawmakers met with President Marcos, with such meeting ostensibly the reason for their presence in our country. The meet-and-greet was well and good, of course. What was unwell and bad was that those colonic sphincters from the Congress in Capitol Hill made an unscheduled (and unsanctioned) side trip to Camp Crame to visit its most notorious prisoner, former senator Leila de Lima, accused and indicted and undergoing trial for drug trafficking charges.

Having been rebuffed by the police when the said visitors strode into Crame as if they owned the place, they sought — and were given — court permission to see the senator. The two courts trying De Lima, however, imposed conditions for the visit, one of which was that the defeated reelectionist should not make any comments on the merits of her case. Of course, De Lima, showing the same supercilious contempt for our courts that she exhibited when she ignored a temporary restraining order coming from no less than our High Tribunal, couldn’t keep her mouth shut. It’s the same thing that got her into trouble with Ronnie Dayan in the first place.

True to form, the American legislators also couldn’t stop themselves from berating their former colony — meaning us — by calling on the courts and the Secretary of Justice to “Free Leila” on the basis of her detention being supposedly “unjustified.” By so doing, they have obliquely but roundly called our Justice Department (which found cause to indict De Lima), our trial courts (which have issued warrants for De Lima’s arrest), and our Supreme Court (which has upheld De Lima’s detention) ignorant and incompetent. Isn’t that rich coming from US officials who claim to have come to further relations between our country and theirs?

Verily, such interference in the domestic affairs of another country, if made somewhere else, would have merited the expulsion of such officious officials, if not their perpetual blacklisting. But in this country, some self-declared patriots even treated them as liberators, as they treated the GIs in 1945. When what the US lawmakers really did was insult us by trying to tell us how to do our jobs: A true meddle of (dis)honor.

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