Upside down

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

Now that the tables have turned and she is on the receiving end of every conceivable brickbat anyone can hurl against her, it might do well for senator Leila De Lima to realize that it is never good to treat people the way you do not want them to treat you. All her bitching about how she is the victim of a conspiracy led by no less than the president are exactly the same things her own victims accused her of doing when she still held the giving end.

Remember how De Lima once defied no less than the Supreme Court to deny no less than a former president her right to travel abroad. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo had wanted to seek medical treatment abroad but De Lima stopped her at the airport and had her detained for no other reason than that she was of the opinion that Arroyo would not return.

De Lima saw her opinion to be superior than even the Supreme Court ruling that said Arroyo was free to go. And so what if she thought Arroyo would not return? At the time Arroyo intended to leave, there was no legal impediment to her leaving. She faced no charges. It was only after De Lima had Arroyo stopped at the airport and detained that she managed to find an obscure judge before whom she belatedly filed charges, and who promptly issued a warrant for Arroyo's arrest after the fact.

Now, do you really believe De Lima could have done what she did if she did not have the backing of somebody who was far more superior that she was? De Lima now cries of a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top. But so what if there is? De Lima should be the last person to find that strange. Wasn't she herself the chief executor of a conspiracy that went all the way to the top when it was Arroyo that was still being persecuted?

There is a Cebuano word to describe De Lima's sudden persecution complex - hilas. The number one persecutor is now the one crying persecution. Pagka-hilas paminawon. Where were her feelings when she was the one persecuting Arroyo? She cannot claim she was prosecuting Arroyo and not persecuting her because she really had nothing against the former president.

All the cases De Lima had used to persecute Arroyo have one by one been thrown out by the courts. In fact, as De Lima now squirms in abundant shame, Arroyo is in Germany for her long-delayed medical treatment, courtesy of De Lima's inhumane pursuit of the wishes of her principal. It never occurred to De Lima and her boss that there is such a thing as humanitarian reasons for allowing certain things that are against one's wishes.

The life-threatening condition of Arroyo did not stand a chance against the political imperative of having her locked up. De Lima's boss could not stand Arroyo for her roll in allowing his family's vast land holdings carved up for distribution to the poor. She had to be punished at all cost. And De Lima was the chief executor of that imperative.

Now it is De Lima's turn to squirm in the wind. In other countries, a public official in such a situation would promptly resign. That if never going to happen here, especially with De Lima. De Lima is not the resigning kind. Had she been, she would have resigned long ago, in the early days of her boss's administration, on the heels of that globally embarrassing Luneta bus hostage fiasco.

De Lima would have been well within her right not to resign if she initiated a probe into that incident on her own and her findings were rejected by her boss. But it was her boss who asked her to investigate and submit to him her recommendations. But when she did, he promptly threw them into the waste basket. Others similarly situated would have promptly resigned. De Lima did not. Now she is again toughing it out. That is her choice. But she should not blame others for her mess.

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