Kicking a horse when it is down. It’s an idiom for what a person does to his opponent. The Urban Dictionary describes it as when someone breaks up with their girl/boyfriend and continues to bitch about them with their friends weeks later. It’s the same as when someone beats his opponent to a pulp even when the latter had already been trampled to the bone. That was exactly what the prosecution team was doing to Chief Justice Renato Corona during their press conference after the closing arguments of the impeachment trial. It could also be said that this is what most Filipinos want to see them do because the prosecution is comprised of members of the House of Representatives – public servants who represent the Filipino people.
It seems the prosecution were not satisfied with all the violations they committed against Corona’s right to due process and his right to privacy before and during the course of the entire trial so much so that they just had to continue badmouthing him outside the courtroom. It’s as if the prosecution wanted to satisfy the bloodthirsty watching crowd who couldn’t get enough of the gory stuff inside the arena so they had to bring the fight outside.
The prosecution’s behaviour in the press conference proved that they wanted to destroy what little dignity Corona had after his humbling experience during his testimony. In their attempts to demonize Corona though, the prosecution team only proved that they were foul-mouthed, ungentlemanly and unsportsmanlike, indeed. Leading the charge was Congressman Rodolfo Fariñas who acted like the leader of a pack of wolves. He got high-fives from his supporters who thought he was “the man” for his use of the word “palusot” in describing Corona’s testimonies.
The prosecution were feeling proud of themselves and didn’t bother hiding the feeling of pleasure derived from the misfortunes that they have bestowed on Corona. A lack of quiet magnanimity spells an indictment of their character. The braggarts and show-offs were too full of themselves and totally oblivious of the fact that contrary to what they think, those who enjoy someone else’s misfortune actually have very low self-esteem. As pointed out before, according to a recent study by scientists in Leiden University, the Netherlands, “when you have low self-esteem, you will do almost anything to feel better, and when you’re confronted with the misfortune of others, you’ll feel schandenfreude.”
The English word for schandenfreude is gloating and it means “to observe or think about something with triumphant and often malicious satisfaction, gratification, or delight”.
One can be forgiven for thinking that the rest of the prosecution team must have low self-esteem because it seems like they feel a strong sense of schandenfreude or pleasure at seeing Corona and his family suffer.
I can understand why prosecution members are boasting about getting the result they wanted. From Day One of the trial they have been outclassed by the defense team and been berated by some of the more rational Senator Judges for their incompetence and defiance of the court rules in the last five months. It is quite unfortunate that the majority of the Senators apply excessive “liberality” to regarding the prosecution’s violations even when the proceedings have become a joke.
The defense team and Corona’s mistake was in trusting that the prosecution and the impeachment court would eventually realise that they had to do the right thing and grant Corona due process. The defense didn’t realise that they were dealing with a bunch of lawbreakers not lawmakers. For the prosecutors never planned on upholding the law from the very beginning. They had a single purpose and that was to get rid of Corona by all means even to the extent of betraying the Constitution.
In retrospect, it seems that the prosecution just wanted to humiliate Corona in front of the public when they compelled him to testify against himself. Once at the witness stand however, the prosecution wasn’t even interested in clarifying any of the allegations they forwarded to the court. They didn’t want to give Corona an opportunity to clear his name because they wanted the public to continue thinking that he stole money. It was too late when defense lawyer Dennis Manalo finally highlighted this during his closing arguments. It was futile to ask the prosecution to explain why they didn’t ask Corona all the questions they needed to ask while he was on the witness stand. By then, the public couldn’t have cared less about what Corona had to say anyway. They already wanted to crucify him.
If anyone ever thought that the Philippines is already run like hell, they haven’t seen the consequence of all the branches of government bowing down to the executive branch yet. Yes, the mighty members of Congress are patting themselves on the back for a job well done and thinking about putting their feet up now that the destruction of our institutions’ system of checks and balances is complete. They just want to land one last punch on Corona’s face before going back to their “House”.