Joker Arroyo and the Impeachment Trial

"We cannot have our country run by a thief like him."

Thus JOKER ARROYO, prosecutor for the Republic of the Philippines, ended his opening statements in the impeachment trial of President Joseph Estrada.

Those 38 days that followed, of contrasting drama and humor, of surprises and duds, of heightened emotions and ultimately of triumph, perhaps one figure among many whose actions were indelibly marked in our minds was Joker Arroyo.

We who were glued to our TV sets, agree that Joker was the de-facto leader of the pack. It was he who threw the most damaging accusations at the President, and accused him of a presidency mired in profligacy and stupidity, and of crimes committed in bad taste. Joker seemed to have taken the task of asking questions we the public wanted to ask, of statements we wanted to make, and at times, of frustration we wanted to express.

Who can forget his trademark "anguished" plea to the Senators during the vote on the first envelope, his verbal exchanges with Estelito Mendoza, his opening statement, and his final arguments that culminated in the infamous 11-10 vote on the second envelope. Perhaps we remember him best for his silver mane and off-colored barongs, juxtaposed against the minted Armanis and coiffed hairdos of the others.

Unarguably, Joker was, and is one of the Impeachment Trial heroes. With Clarissa, Emma, Menchu, Ed, the other prosecutors -- we somehow know them by their first names - Joker has become a friend, one of us. For they have contributed to the spectacle of the Impeachment Trial that culminated in our EDSA dos, that ended the praetorian reign of Mr. Estrada.

Follow the links, and relive the travails of Joker Arroyo during those days.


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