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Bilibid or not

RIVETING, even entertaining, but whom to believe?

Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre or his predecessor, Senator Leila de Lima?

Hitman Matobato, who has killed 50 people, or two convicts serving life sentences in the maximum-security compound of Bilibid?

Senator Cayetano, for “annoying” Senator Trillanes, or Senator Trillanes, for being so annoyed he switched off the former’s mic?

What hectic news! A hearing in the House of Representatives. Senator De Lima’s privilege speech deriding her tormentors. A Saudi jet sequestered at NAIA for setting off a false alarm. Best of all, perhaps a silver lining for the lady senator, President Duterte telling Army soldiers it was probably “unfair to implicate De Lima in drug trafficking,” as her role was only “implied,” as employer of the driver accused of collecting millions from drug lords inside Bilibid.

Believe it or not, the jailbirds Rodolfo Magleo and Herbert Colangco sang like nightingales last Tuesday before an SRO audience of congresspersons. But while they were granted immunity, where’s first tenor Matobato now hiding, after senators denied him sanctuary? Would he care for the other Bato to protect him? On second thought, maybe not.

Secretary Aguirre promised more witnesses, and if each of the 30 lined up could tell more headline-grabbing stories, Congress will need to take a break. In the meantime, the 430-man Special Action Forces should be commended for cleaning up the maximum-security wing of Bilibid, teaching inmates how to wear a proper uniform with ID and do calisthenics twice a day. Maximum security meant maximum luxuries for the prisoners, which was why they paid H. Colanggo P500,000 per head for the pleasure of maximizing their stay there. Privileges were so de rigueur that he likened his turf to Las Vegas and his office to a senator’s and congressman’s.

What, whom to believe? Bilibid or not, there’s a saying, “Se non é vero, é ben trovato”: If it’s not true, it’s at least a good story. (Jullie Y. Daza)