In an August 30 article in Rappler, Ateneo School of Governance Dean and former DENR undersecretary Tony Laviña asserted that, even with his limited knowledge about Senator Leila de Lima, she is a “good public servant,” even calling her a present-day “St. Thomas More.”
This article and his failed comparison raised a few eyebrows and drove many to question the former Grace Poe consultant (was he her debate coach?) on his motives for coming out with a “praise release” in favor of the embattled senator.
As we try to look into Dean Lavina’s assertions let’s look into the icky comparison:
- St. Thomas More was a lawyer who wrote the important social commentary Utopia, outlining the ideals of a nation and its state. De Lima is a lawyer, yes, who has not written anything of that sort and I’ll be damned if I ever had to read anything she wrote.
- Unlike de Lima, St. Thomas More married twice and did so properly.
- Unlike de Lima, St. Thomas More would never have the gall to stand for election. De Lima helmed a justice department that harbored the illegal drug trade inside the national penitentiary, sanctioned a hold departure order without a court order, and publicly defended a naming and shaming tirade of her superior while deriding the same of her adversary. Sounds like selective justice ”for all seasons” and “all flavors and favors.”
- St. Thomas more is a saint, canonized for his defense of the Catholic Church and his unwavering fealty to it in light of his boss King Henry VIII’s desires. De Lima, well, is NOT. It won’t be a stretch to go figure out why.
Having limited personal contact with her myself, my reading of de Lima’s track record shows that it speaks for itself: an indictment of a person who gamed justice for years, starting with her representation of clients in election-related cases. How many of them were actual election cheats? Remember, her father Vicente de Lima then was Comelec chief. Don’t you smell something here?
Secondly, her ability to politically survive being GMA’s Human Rights Chair and then quickly transition to PNoy’s justice secretary leaves a bad taste in the mouth when you consider that Aquino made “kung walang corrupt walang mahirap” his campaign slogan. Did she have enough power friends in high places to secure her position and eventually bankroll an expensive senatorial campaign? If that’s not odd to you I don’t know what is. Readers, what do you think?
Looking at her DOJ stint raises even more questions. How many of the “corrupt” were spared the Justice Department’s investigation or prosecution? How many extrajudicial killings did she bother to investigate?
Rather than defend de Lima, Laviña opened the door for many, like me, to revisit her actual background if indeed there is some whiff of Thomas more in there. Found none…
It’s just funny that Rappler seemed to have emphasized its disclaimer quite strongly at the end of his thought leaders article, saying, in effect, that their views do not necessarily agree with his.