CHICAGO (jGLi) – Does work go on in Philippine Congress after Philippine Defense Secretary Angelo T. Reyes committed suicide?

No question.

One very public suicide of a U.S government official blamed the U.S. court system for convicting him, as a victim of “political persecution.” But it did not stop the court from dispensing justice after shooting himself in the mouth before horrified reporters attending his press conference.

On the other hand, a low-key suicide pulled by a White House official who could not stand the ribbing of the media did not cause the media clam up either after the suicide.

I agree with Sen. Merriam Defensor-Santiago that after the grieving period of the Reyes’ family, the family should pick up the pieces and face Congress and not stonewall the investigation.

After all, the Presidential Commission on Good Government did not take a holiday after the death of President Marcos.

If some senators, like Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, will spare the family of the late Defense chief from investigation, they might as well inhibit themselves from the investigation. Or they can relinquish their positions so new senatorial elections can be called for their replacement.

I’m sure Sen. Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos will cry his family is being singled out for investigation.

And this omission will certainly be a soothing relief for other military and civilian government families, who are now losing sleep, following the bombshell revelations of whistle-blowers Lt. Col. George Rabusa and auditor Heidi Mendoza.



How can these senators put a closure into the Reyes case in case the Reyes family benefited from the corruption that drove Reyes to end his life?

By carrying all his secrets to his grave, Reyes gave the Senate a challenge to get to the bottom of the truth. Sparing the family from inquest will make the family look like the cat that swallowed the canary.

If the Senate will be selective in their investigation, they will never be able to come up with the truth that could aid them in their legislation to end the systemic corruption in and out of the military.

Why turn their backs when the truth is now within their grasp?

Are they waiting for something to happen to these heaven-sent witnesses before the Senate will invite them back? Come on.

I can only sympathize with the Reyes family or other families that will later be involved in the investigation if they tell the truth by returning the loot and by repenting for covering everything up. State of denial will not win them pity nor sympathy.

Senators should remember that they would not be blamed for performing their duties – trabaho lang walang personalan (they are just doing their job; nothing personal) -- as my friend, Conrado De Quiros is wont to say.

It should be comforting for them to know that a member of a firing squad is given a blank cartridge without his knowledge to make him feel that his gun was not responsible for the death of the condemned prisoner.

Reyes’ death reminded me of Vincent Foster, a high-powered Arkansas corporate lawyer and former associate of former First Lady and now Sec. Hillary Rodham Clinton, who was invited by former President Bill Clinton to join the White House team as Deputy Counsel. Foster’s duty was to vet new presidential appointments during the transition period that caused him depression and anxiety when some of his recommendations failed in the nominations. He also handled several Whitewater-related tax returns.




In early May 1993, Foster gave the commencement address at his University of Arkansas Law School alma mater, and said:

“The reputation you develop for intellectual and ethical integrity will be your greatest asset or your worst enemy. You will be judged by your judgment. ... There is no victory, no advantage, no fee, no favor, which is worth even a blemish on your reputation for intellect and integrity. ... Dents to [your] reputation are irreparable."

A few days later, the White House travel office controversy broke out. Foster was blistered by the Wall Street Journal editorials for his role in the controversy. He was upset over the travel office matter and the prospect of a congressional hearing in which he might be called to testify.

Dodging the limelight, Foster wanted to resign but feared humiliation upon return to Arkansas. After taking a mild sleeping aide-anti-depressant medication, he was found dead with a gun in his hand and gunshot residue on that hand. Among others, a suicide note says, “The WSJ editors lie without consequence” and “I was not meant for the job or the spotlight of public life in Washington. Here ruining people is considered sport.”


Meanwhile, on Jan. 22, 1987, the day before his sentencing of 55 years in prison and a $300,000 fine for bribery, Robert "Budd" Dwyer, a member of the Pennsylvania State Senate and the 30th Treasurer of Pennsylvania, called a press conference. Appearing agitated and nervous, he professed his innocence and declared that he would not resign as state treasurer.

He thanked God and his family, asked his friends to pray for his family and to work for a “true justice system” that will vindicate him before pulling a gun and turning the gun toward his body. He opened his mouth wide, and pulled the trigger. The bullet exited out of the back of Dwyer's skull and he collapsed against a nearby wall, with blood pouring out of his nose. Witnesses screamed and cursed as five news cameras broadcast the events live. (lariosa_jos@sbcglobal.net)

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