Unacceptable Apology

Unacceptable Apology

After condemning the Lord Jesus to crucifixion, the Roman governor of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, washed his hands, saying he had nothing to do with the Savior’s condemnation by the Jewish crowd. (Photo courtesy of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints)

A stiff apology is a second insult . . . The injured party does not want to be compensated because he has been wronged; he wants to be healed because he has been hurt.

— ‘Prince of Paradox’ Gilbert Keith Chesterton

RIGHT after our weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz finally won an Olympic gold medal for the Philippines—the country’s first since joining the Olympic Games in 1924 in Paris–chief presidential legal counsel Atty. Salvador ‘Sal’ Panelo apologized for allegedly hurting the feeling of the airwoman from Zamboanga, but not without also insisting that the athlete’s pain over her inclusion in the alleged plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte was, according to Panelo, “misplaced.”

Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Hidilyn Diaz

He enthused that it was easy to apologize if one had done something wrong but he added that if there was no wrongdoing, one cannot apologize for something that was not committed.

In Panelo’s words: “What did I do? I just presented that matrix, which I don’t have anything to do with, upon the instructions of the President.”

Shades of Pontius Pilate! Here is another one of Duterte’s trusted felons washing his hands from guilt.

Netizens were quick to call out the chief presidential legal counsel on his supposed apology to our very first Olympic gold medalist

Twitter user @leisbeth_recto was blunt with her words in describing the Palace official: “Panelo is a perfect embodiment of this present govt — arrogantly stupid, deceiver and a pathological liar.

UP Professor Sylvia Claudio pointed out that Panelo should not have accused people of ‘using the power of government without basis’.”

Val Amiel, co-founder and executive director of the Association of Young Environmental Journalists, also called Panelo the “the perfect embodiment of a toxic person” who has wronged someone.

Twitter user @jownuss meanwhile mocked Panelo, saying the lawyer wins gold for supposedly playing ‘mental gymnastics’.

I actually met the presidential legal counsel 29 years ago when he ran for senator in 1992 under the banner of the Marcos-inspired Kilusang Bagong Lipunan (KBL) and we campaigned for him in Quezon City and Manila as well as in Kiangan, Ifugao. He was then well known in Philippine society, having been the defense lawyer of several prominent politicians such as Datu Unsay mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., who was implicated in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre, Calauan Mayor Antonio Sanchez, who was tried for the 1993 Eileen Sarmenta and Allan Gomez murder, and the family of former president Ferdinand Marcos in relation to recovering their ill-gotten wealth.

Panelo also lawyered for former Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos who was embroiled in the 2007 elections scandal, Philip Medel who was convicted in the murder of actress Nida Blanca and the family of slain racing champion Enzo Pastor. His other clients include celebrities such as Deniece Cornejo in her 2014 rape case against actor Vhong Navarro and Dennis Roldan, who was convicted of kidnapping a Filipino-Chinese boy in 2005.

But his popularity didn’t show in his dismal performance in the senatorial race—out of 163 qualified candidates, he landed 125th in the roster of those voted after the electoral exercise.
We were particularly unaffected by his loss since he didn’t even give a single sou (or coin) to campaign for him and after he lost, we never did receive a ‘thank you from him. That is what kind of an ‘ass’ he is—contrary to the claims of his friend, Cielo Buenaventura, who never knew what a sorry character this guy was.

And to emulate Panelo, President Duterte did not even attempt to apologize to Hidilyn and instead dismissed the issue by telling Diaz to “let bygones be bygones” during her courtesy call in Malacañang.

“You already have the gold. Gold is gold. It can be good for you to just let bygones be bygones and dwell solely on your victory together with your family and, of course, with the nation,” the former Davao City mayor and the prosecutor said without empathy and with unblinking eyes.

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