Bombshell backstory

LOOKING ASKANCE - Atty. Joseph Gonzales - The Freeman

Bombshells exploded in Justice Antonio Carpio’s column this week. With the death of President NoyNoy Aquino fresh in our minds, with everyone reminiscing about his legacy, including our nation’s victory against China in international arbitration over the West Philippine Sea, it was an opportune time for Carpio to reveal what was really going on behind the scenes.

Was it just because of the fresh attention to Aquino’s accomplishments that Carpio decided now was the time to offer these anecdotes? Or was it because Aquino would be unable to refute the details he offered?

Not that I don’t believe Carpio --or that Aquino would actually contradict him-- but I do think that if Aquino was alive, he might have been subject to the same maneuverings and manipulations Carpio wrote about. Some evil plotter could even offer Aquino a weasel explanation, a lame, face-saving middle ground that he could parrot, in order to muddle the story. And perhaps, buy some peace among the opposing factions.

No such peace in Carpio’s column though! And what juicy details!

First up, there was that mysteriously mangled memo of Secretary Albert del Rosario (ADR, as called by his team). Who would dare to alter the substance of an official memo of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs before it reached the president? Who would have the access, clout, and nerve, to revise and edit ADR’s recommendations?

Only someone in his innermost circle, with the ability to even screen his communications and correspondence, can perpetrate that deception.

And how was it perpetrated? Did someone ask for a soft copy, sit down in front of a computer, change a word here and there (someone with brains) and print the revised memo on official stationary? The audacity!

More importantly, is why? Was that person under the pay of China? Spying for China? What hold does China have on that official? Does that mean that even during those early days, China was seeking to infiltrate the inner circles of the presidency, influencing the workings of the government, and trying to thwart our country from reclaiming our unlawfully-occupied islands? (Naive me wants to believe otherwise).

Likewise interesting was naming then Solicitor General Florin Hilbay. Carpio said he sent an email to the arbitration team containing instructions that the advocates for the country disagreed with. I am taken aback --Hilbay ran on a platform of good governance and accountability in government. Of course, he lost, but his campaign signaled that he was willing to be attacked for his past performance. How to reconcile this departure from the interests of our country?

For Carpio to do this probably means he has a copy of that email, ready to be produced in case it is denied. How will Hilbay respond to this aspersion? That his instructions were meant only as a strategic tactic to assure ourselves of victory on the main points, no more, no less?

Or was he following instructions from his superiors, and he had no choice but to comply? Now, who would be more powerful than the solicitor general? Who would have access to the inner debates within the team, and knows which lever to pull, which puppet to play?

And such access! That person (or his faction) was even able to delete Carpio’s name from the list of official delegates of the Philippine government, such that ADR had to put his foot down.

Aquino is no longer here to appreciate Carpio’s final paragraph, where he says the nation is eternally grateful to the president for his bravery. Well, Justice Carpio, I’m going to be eternally curious if you don’t tell us more about the circus behind the scenes. We need more details! Here’s hoping you quench our thirst for gossip.

I mean, for historical context.


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