If there is one clear winner this early into the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, it is the tobacco industry.
There was a gray pall over the smoking area in front of the Senate all of last week, with the line of smokers stretching from the wheelchair ramp by the door to the gate that leads to the part of the complex occupied by the Government Service Insurance System. With all attention turned to the lawyers tussling at the Senate session hall, staff and reporters who had partners to cover for them snuck out for a quick smoke as often as we could.
It would be more than we could handle, otherwise. Too much history unfolding before our eyes, too many legal phrases to absorb, understand, and try to explain, too much drama both in and out of the ad hoc court room. Even defense lawyer Dennis Manalo snuck out once, avoiding ambush interviews with the simple expedient of swapping his official pass with one given out to guests.
Otherwise, though, it was a madhouse, with press briefings called with little advance notice and people scrambling around for chance interviews as lawyers walked the short distance between their ready rooms and the session hall, and the even shorter distance to the makeshift TV studios crammed together in one of the Senate’s function rooms.
You learn to drop that spoonful of lunch-break rice and run, while chewing, from the Senate press office to the room where reporters from other beats work, and where the press briefings are held. You learn to accept that you will likely not finish the cup of coffee you just made and that there is little point to making coffee at all because you will get by on adrenaline alone. You learn what is like, for the first time in months, to be dry on weeknights and fall asleep from fatigue alone.
You learn humility from the pros who have been doing this sort of thing for years and who can still somehow go on without resorting to the numerous, frivolous breaks you allow yourself. You learn, or are reminded, of the weight of what you are doing and of the consequences of doing it wrong.
And the weight of it is enough to have you reaching into your pocket for just one more stick.
Hangout hangout lang with History
Please excuse the navel gazing. Better content this week as I struggle to get over my awe of things that have been happening