[Bodymind] Estrada’s hubris

'It beggars belief that these three alleged thieves pretend to ignore the mounting evidence against them'

I once asked a massage therapist if she could tell in advance whether a client would tip her well or not. She said: “Yung sobrang puri po. Hindi ‘yun nagbibigay ng tip; o kung magbigay, konti lang“. (The ones who praise you excessively while you massage them. For sure their tips will be minimal – or non existent).

To me, this is to-be-expected behavior from those who seem to think merely recognizing and maybe even praising a masseuse’s skills will mean as much to them as a good tip does. To actually think there is no difference to a masseuse between words of appreciation and cold hard cash that the masseuse can use to buy milk for her baby is arrogance beyond belief. It would be laughable if it were not so cruel. And the ironic thing about it is that ( at least in this case) it is unconscious, completely unintended. This is a sign of excessive and unwarranted self confidence, also known as hubris.

Those accused of hubris often come from higher social backgrounds, such as politicians or wealthy celebrities, but they need not. Indeed, the only common characteristic they possess is that each believes so much in his charisma that he presumes everybody else does too. Thus, he makes no effort to be consistent, logical or fair. He is so sure everyone will be taken in by his charm no one will notice.

Filipino politicians are so full of hubris that I don’t know where to start!

Perhaps best with Sen Jinggoy Estrada – and this first example has nothing to do with his convoluted attempts at damage control after Ruby Tuason’s testimony.

It seems so long ago that Sen Estrada commented on the Deniece-Vhong alleged attempted rape incident, but it has actually been less than a month since he spoke of Vhong’s innocence (Jan 27).

Perhaps, in and of itself, this might not be a big deal. Actors support fellow actors all the time. But elected officials of the country protesting a person’s innocence even before hearing the facts and simply on the strength of their friendship?

Hubris #1 has reared its ugly head: By backing up Vhong, he has, in effect, proclaimed Deniece guilty. Again, sometimes, some people might do this in the heat of passion. But to have a lawmaker flout the very principle of a woman (Deniece) being innocent until proven guilty is, well, off putting, to say the very least.

But what is really disgraceful is if you juxtapose the above behavior with the (perhaps) most famous line in his Sept 25 privilege speech: “…and selective justice is no justice at all.”

On Sept 25, 2013, he wrongly accused the COA, the DOJ and the Ombusman’s Office of “selective justice.” 

A mere 4 months and 2 days later, “Walang attempted rape. Walang nangyari,” Estrada told reporters Monday, January 27. (There was no attempted rape. Nothing happened.)

The senator continued, saying Navarro has been his friend and he knows him to be a good man. “Unang-una kilala ko si Vhong matagal na. Actually, ang tawagan namin ‘best friend.’ Hindi ganun ang ugali ng tao. Mabait siyang tao. At akoy naniniwala wala [siyang kasalanan]. Hindi nagda-drugs iyon, hindi nagsi-sigarilyo iyon.

(First, I‘ve known Vhong for a long time. We even call each other ‘best friend.’ He’s not that sort of person. He’s a good man. I believe he’s done no wrong. He does not do drugs. He does not even smoke.) 

Is this Sen Jinggoy’s notion of objectivity and impartiality then?

Indignantly, he decries his being named one of the three greediest PDAF abusers (despite a paper trail) as selective justice during his privilege speech. And yet, he has no compunction saying Vhong is innocent because he knows the man?!!?

As he has known his own mother for an even longer time than he has known Vhong, is he going to declare her innocent too, despite evidence to the contrary?

More examples

I could cite even more examples of not only Senator Estrada’s countless statements underlining his sense of hubris, but also those of Senators Enrile and Revilla ad nauseum. The latest, perhaps, is Enrile’s birthday wish for Jinggoy which is to be president. 

It beggars belief that these three alleged thieves (four if you include former President Estrada) pretend to ignorethe mounting evidence against them, mock our anger by implying that, come 2016, all we can do is watch whoever is president pardon all his fellow alleged thieves.

If that isn’t hubris, I don’t know what is.

Unfortunately the modern usage of hubris merely focuses on the transgressors’ over-weaning pride including a belief that in the end “not only will we get away with it, we’ll make sure you get your comeuppance!” And you doesn’t mean merely Justice Secretary Leila De Lima, Commission on Audit Chairperson Grace Pulido Tan and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales either, but all you silly billy optimists who think justice and righteousness will prevail.

Have you forgotten Martial Law? We still have its architect with us, old though he may be. Like a vampire that sucks the life blood out of its victims, I am aware that Sen Enrile’s desire for revenge will wake him up from his stupor. I know he cannot have people shot the way he allegedly did then, but I’ve no doubt he has ways to make people suffer. I mean, what if he sics his son Jackie on us?

What keeps me going is the ancient Greek definition of hubris where trangression is followed by punishment, similar to the occasional pairing of hubris and nemesis in Greek philosophy.

We have yet to see whether such a downfall will occur where the alleged PDAF thieves are concerned, but I believe the day will come and will do all I can to make it happen. Mabuhay po kayo. Mabuhay tayong lahat.Rappler.com

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