The man just wanted to talk.
He did not care about Miranda, the caution from the Presiding Officer his words could and would be used against him.
He did not care that, as pointed by the Prosecution, much of his story was irrelevant and immaterial.
He did not care the nation might be uninterested in the full glory of his wife’s family feud.
He did not care his narration violated the normal presentation of evidence.
Corona just wanted to talk – and he did so for three hours, uninterrupted and unexamined.
He accused the President, a “haciendero”, of revenge for Luisita, of hatred for him, of a leftist plot to take over Government (Is that an oxymoron, a left-wing landowner?).
He accused Ronaldo Llamas of being a pinko (Do Marxist/Leninists buy pirated DVDs?).
He accused the Ombudsman of “deception, exaggeration and misrepresentation”. “Maybe she has 82, but I only have 4 dollar accounts,” he said.
He accused the Prosecution of lies and black propaganda.
He talked about the AMLAC report not being authenticated, yet never has his team questioned its veracity.
He accused Jose M. Basa III of being a spoiled brat who defrauded his mother-in-law of her rightful share of a P2.5 billion Libis property. Did he imply BGEI was their come-uppance? Mr. Basa III, long dead, had nothing to say.
He talked about himself, his values, frugality, work ethic and family. He has part time help, limited aircon and no cars. One can sense the love of those around him.
He talked about his investment philosophy: Save, underweight property and overweight cash, especially U.S. dollars. Yet in his declared SALN, he is overweight properties, underweight cash, and no dollars.
He talked about the investment acumen of his daughter who, despite the risks, aggressively bid P 28,000 to acquire 90% of BGEI, a family company with P34.7 million in cash.
He talked repeatedly about “never having stolen from the Government”. He should have said he has simply never stolen and left it at that.
He talked about the “absolute rule”, that dollar deposits are not to be included in officials’ SALNs.
He talked about being a lot of things but not of being a fool.
Finally, he talked, in the third person like Caesar, about “the Chief Justice of the Philippines wishing to excuse himself” and left the stand. Was this high drama, the histrionics of a diva; or was this the outcome of diabetes, 5 months of bottled-up emotions, scrutiny, public mistrust and the toils of his defense?
The man just wanted to talk, but not quite of everything.
He did not want to talk about how his wife, Cristina, was able to secure a writ of execution on the assets of her uncle, a dead man.
He did not want to talk about how much money he had in the bank. He instead offered a waiver to investigate his accounts, conditional upon 188 Congressmen and Sen. Frank Drilon doing the same. The latter have unanimously declined to sign, stating the waiver in their SALNs is sufficient.
He did not want to talk about controversial SC decisions and his relations with then President Arroyo.
He did not want to talk to the Prosecution, at least not yet.
He did not present any evidence to support his narrative nor, according to his team, will he. We are told we simply have to believe him.
The picture we have is of a man, laudable in some ways, troubled in others, mindful of the public eye.
He is a good father and supportive husband.
He is thrifty, a hard worker, disciplined and simple. The Filipino can learn from these qualities.
He believes he has not acted more inappropriately than other civil servants.
He appears to be a man overly aware of his persona. His reference to himself in the third person not by name but by position, his conditional waiver of bank disclosure, his derogatory aspersions on people alive and dead, his reported unwillingness to evidentially support his testimony, and his “walk-out” give the impression of a man almost beyond the reach of scrutiny and the Impeachment Court.
The question to the Senate and the country is whether his testimony will acquit him.
The CJ has taken his case to the public. He is seeking the empathy of the nation.
In fact the man may have gone past the point of no return. For the country he professes to love, the family he dearly loves, his supporters, and for himself, the wise and noble thing to do would be to step down, preferably before the final outcome.
Sir, let the Almighty be your ultimate judge, not the Senate Court.