During the Marcos Regime, it was said that whenever political unrest was being quelled or a corruption scandal was about to break out, former President Ferdinand Marcos would cause to production and release of 'bomba' films in order to distract the population.
The next President who was said to deploy such measures was former President Fidel Ramos -- who, when Marcos was still President, served as the chief tactician of the regime.
On the day that the Philippine Senate was set to vote on the ethics complaint against one of its members, Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla delivered a privilege speech on the circulation of sex videos involving a prominent plastic surgeon and a sexy starlet.
In the morning of May 21, 12 senators had gathered to vote on whether or not to go into trial over the ethics complaint filed by Senator Jamby Madrigal against Senator Manny Villar over the irregularities found in the construction of the C-5 highway extension project.
Allegations were that Villar had used his influence to divert the construction of the highway construction project to go through his properties in Las Pinas -- a part of Metro Manila which is largely known to be his bailiwick -- thereby increasing the values of his property and earning from the sale of the portions of his property that the government needed for the project.
For a better background on this issue, you can go here.
Hanging in the balance is the future of Villar's political career. A known presidential candidate in the 2010 elections, Villar had already spent hundreds of millions in print and broadcast advertisements showing that he was a champion of OFW interests as well as a benefactor of the masses.
The impact of 12 senators voting for his trial on the strength of Madrigal's ethics complaint would shake the foundations of his 'presidential campaign'.
In the milieu of countless protests against the current President's alleged corruption, the implication of the 12 yes votes for his trial would mean he would face what would amount to a trial for corruption.
Whether the allegations would be proven or not in the end, charges against Villar would receive a very public exposition for weeks and media's attention would magnify it even further.
The sum effect would be that Villar would be branded as a corrupt politician who earned billions from a road project. This would be something that the hundreds of millions he had already spent in advertising and would need to spend in advertising will not be able to erase.
This is similar to the ploy foisted on once Presidential candidate Alfredo Lim, when a certain Manapat revealed a document showing that Lim was not a natural born citizen and therefore, ineligible to run as President. This came out when Lim was already in the midst of campaigning for President and the doubts on his eligibility costed him greatly as funders as well as political backers withheld their support 'temporarily' while Lim wrangled with having to prove that he was a natural born Filipino.
In any case, Revilla revealed in his speech that Hayden Kho, the former lover of Vicky Belo and fellow doctor at the Belo Medical Group, had taken video of his sexual encounters with sexy starlet Katrina Halili as well as other women. The videos, he said, were somehow uploaded on the internet and were circulating in various websites.
No one expected this 'expose' against a sex video to be so dramatically unveiled at the floor of the Philippine Senate. The outrage in Senator Revilla's voice seemed so palpable as he boomed out loud that the contents of the video made his flesh quiver, or as he said it in Tagalog, "nanginig ang laman ko nung nakita ko iyong video".
One odd passage in his speech that stuck out was when he repeated several times that the video was so shocking and so reviling that he it made him feel afraid for his children,other female relations, and friends.
In the minutes after Revilla's speech, curiosity got the better of me and I actually hunted the internet for the video which he said was spreading.
In the first search I made using google, I was able to find youtube uploads and most of them were just days or up to a week old. They were videos of the first part of Hayden and Katrina singing and dancing to Careless Whisper by George Michael. In the middle of the screen of these videos there appeared a URL for a website, apparently the one where it was originally uploaded from. If I am not mistake, it is everythingscandalous.org and another one was fleshasiadaily.com.
The fact is, rumors that the Hayden Katrina videos were making its rounds in the internet were already cold as Hayden already denied the existence of the videos in showbiz talk shows. It was already a dying issue by the time Senator Revilla made his expose.
Blogs had already posted entries about it as early as two weeks ago.
Before Senator Revilla's privilege speech, everybody had already guessed that the next day's headline would be the 12 yes votes cast by senators to continue with the trial of the ethics complaint against Senator Manuel 'Manny' Villar.
It was already past 3:00 PM and probably just around the time when newspapers were already dummying up or closing their front pages.
When Revilla's sex tape expose came out, newspapers probably had to scrap their frontpages and make a new one carrying the Hayden-Katrina sex video story.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer had actually run a second revision of its frontpage, marked with two stars, on May 22 -- the day after the Revilla expose. The revision had the ethics complaint story above the Hayden-Katrina sex tape story but with smaller type for its title and the Hayden-Katrina sex tape story's title was printed in screamingly large fonts.
All radio and TV news for that day, as well as commentaries leading to the news hour, featured the Hayden-Katrina story. Senator Revilla was in all interviews on radio commentary.
This effectively blunted and refocused attention away from the more substantial story, which was the ethics complaint against Villar.
In anycase, here's another plausible analysis from Lito Banayo, a columnist of Malaya, of what was happening in the Senate on May 21 -- the day that 12 senators voted to go into trial over the ethics complaint against Villar and the day that Senator Revilla exposed the Hayden-Katrina sex tapes.
This incident centers around the voting for a preliminary hearing of the ethics complaint against Villar, prior to the hearing on whether to go into trial or not.
Villar's allies, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano and Senator Aquilino Pimentel had filibustered the proceedings. In this snippet of Banayo's column, he hints at another senator who would have also joined in Filibustering the proceedings.
Eventually, Villar will run out of media, paid or free, to cry his woes about. As it is, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile lashed back at him for denigrating the very institution to which he belongs. “My God, what does he think of us who are not presidential aspirants, that we are robots? That we are paid hacks of these presidentiables?”
Now let me tell you a story. One senator who “belongs” to the majority who is always absent in every hearing of consequence surprised everyone by his presence. He had a role to play, and that was, to suggest to the Whole, after listening to the accusations of Madrigal’s lawyer, to “just bring the case to the Ombudsman.” But something went awry with his “script.” When Pimentel and Cayetano left the hall, all of Villar’s staff also left the hall, and left the lone senator (their double-agent) to his own mental devices (which are not prodigious), as to when and how to spring his suggestion. Natahimik tuloy.
Even the Tribune could not get Villar’s “style of defense,” which is “no different from Gloria and her Malacañang, whenever a Senate probe is focused on her and her husband’s alleged criminal acts. They refuse to heed the Senate summons and refuse to attend hearings (or allow cabinet members to attend), but they hold press conferences to answer the charges. But everyone knows that answering charges via the media sorely lacks one thing: the person, in this case Villar, cannot be challenged on what he says by the panel, or in this case, the Senate.”
Who was the senator who had a script to play out? Could it be Revilla?
In any case, right after the senators voted for a preliminary hearing on the ethics case against Villar, a known ally of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the person of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago came out of her convalescent state from chronic fatigue syndrome to say that other aspiring presidential candidates should inhibit themselves from the trial of the ethics complaint against Villar.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago Friday called on all the presidential aspirants to voluntarily inhibit themselves from the case “to avoid public suspicion that the case is driven, not by ethics, but by politics.”
One of the 17-member majority, Santiago has refrained from commenting on the merits of the ethics complaint lodged by Sen. Ana Consuelo “Jamby” Madrigal against Villar for his alleged culpability in the C-5 extension project, a road link which, when completed, will run from Sucat, Parañaque City up to the Coastal Road in Las Piñas City.
Asked what was the gameplan of the majority, Santiago said: “The signs toward expulsion are manifest. The normal procedure for the ethics committee is to allow complaints against senators to languish. As a rule, senators are averse to judging their own colleagues.”
By contrast, she said that in the Villar case, the Senate turned itself into a committee of the whole.
The Senate can suspend or dismiss any of its members by a two-thirds vote, so the majority needs only 16 senators.
This virtually signaled Malacanang's position on the Villar ethics complaint and Malacanang itself sounded out its position directly.
Madrigal, in days prior to the preliminary hearing, made a fuss about President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo meeting with Senator Manny Villar -- not in Spain as one had previously guessed but somewhere in the Middle East, where in another story President Gloria was said to have gone to recoup lost investments.
How will all of this figure in the numbers game at the termination of the ethics complaint hearing? A two thirds vote of all senators who can participate in the hearing will be necessary to suspend or expel Villar.
A two thirds vote would normally mean the 16 senators voting for any particular position.
Of the 24 seats in the Senate, 23 are occupied. Of the 23, one belongs to Senator Antonio Trillanes who cannot vote on the proceedings because he is still in jail.
This leaves 22 senators and of this number, 6 members of the minority and therefore are Villar's allies will not vote for Villar's suspension or expulsion. That leaves 16 senators.
If Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago sides with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's position along with Senator Bong Revilla, Senator Lito Lapid, and Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri against voting for Villar's suspension or expulsion, that would leave us with 12 senator who may still vote against Villar.
And here, you can see, that no motion can be carried to suspend or expel Villar.
What is merely happening here is a massively orchestrated move to blunt the impact of the ethics trial proceedings against Villar.