Sunday, January 4, 2009


Our paper last Thursday reported that the Philippine ambassador to Spain, Joseph Delano Bernardo, otherwise known in Makati circles as "Lani" before he appended the salutation "His Excellency" by appointment of Doña Gloria, has applied to become a Spanish citizen, a subject of its sovereign Crown.

Immediately, former congressman and career diplomat Jun Lozada of Negros Occidental labeled Bernardo’s trying to seek foreign citizenship while still an ambassador as "treason," and rightly so. Bernardo ought to resign forthwith, renounce his Philippine citizenship, and embrace the country of his stated forebears. And live in the land he now loves, España, happily ever after.

But did you know that someone else is thinking of living in Spain after June 30, 2010?

While in the presence of los reales de España, someone expressed the desire to reside after retirement in the country whose language the family is quite conversant with. This statement pleased los reales no end, and one of them expressed a warm abrazo. We could even confer honorary title upon you, thus making you one of us, one of the royals reportedly exclaimed.

What would that be – duquesa, marquesa, condesa?

This story came from a Filipino who is well connected in Spain, and because of such associations, himself speaks la lengua castellana, even if he does not look as mestizo as Lani Bernardo the ambassador, or Jose Miguel the husband of Senora Doña Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

As far as this writer knows, Spain extends dual citizenship to many who buy real estate and reside in this lively and lovely country bordered by the Atlantic in its northwest and the warm Mediterranean in its eastern and southern coastlines. But perhaps being extended honorary title as duque or duquesa, or whatever, entitles the person more than just citizenship or rights of residence. Does it mean the Royal Crown and the government of Spain will extend protection from whatever prosecution the government of the person’s previous citizenship would in the future make?

Maybe we should ask the Fil-Hispanic ambassador to Spain of Doña Gloria, not necessarily the country’s.

Or maybe we should ask Adnan Kashoggi, that Middle Eastern businessman who made billions selling European and American arms and munitions to countries all over the world, and who jets in and out of Europe, and in the 70’s and 80’s, in the US of A likewise. This column’s informant said that someone who recently went to Spain from pobrecita Filipinas met this very wealthy and very well-connected international businessman. To talk about purchases of arms by poor Filipinas, or to discuss possible investment partnerships, our informant would not say. Neither who was going to invest where. Perhaps the conversations were most private.

But Mr. Kashoggi had been very helpful. It was he who convinced the Emir of Kuwait to grant royal audience to Doña Gloria and the pre-arranged leniency to OFW Ranario, the lady au pair convicted for murder. No, it was not the King of Spain, as some other columnist in another paper wrote. My informant insists it was Mr. Kashoggi, who used to be very friendly with Madam Imelda Romualdez Marcos a generation ago.

Shouldn’t we be proud of the persons who lead us, who represent us? Thinking global, thinking like royalty even.


Someone else would rather flaunt it right here. At the marina of the Manila Yacht Club these days is berthed a gleaming new yacht, an eighty-footer minimum, its old-time members claim.

It was delivered from Hong Kong just last Monday, where it was refitted, reconditioned and remodeled with the most modern and powerful engine, state-of-the-art instrumentation, and sleek interiors. My friend who has seen the yacht estimates something like that should cost no less than 200 million. Whose is it?

A member of Doña Gloria’s cabinet, one of its most controversial. One of its most powerful too.


Is anybody surprised that after Pulse Asia announced that Filipinos consider Doña Gloria the most corrupt of our five recent presidents, SWS next says her satisfaction rating has sunk even further, from negative 11 in the previous quarter to negative 16 in the present quarter? So what else is new?

As far as the reigning queen of the stinking palace by the stinking river is concerned, so what? May magagawa ba kayo?

What we predicted in this space when she gave her predecessor instant pardon after his Sandigan-bayan conviction was validated by the survey of SWS. We said then that the masa who adore Erap will not be disposed kindly to her even if she gave their idol his freedom.

True enough, SWS reports that more people who approve of the Erap pardon are dissatisfied with La Gloria than those who disapprove of the pardon. In short, she may have thought the Erap pardon would endear her to his masa following. It did not.

"Mana walan utan na loob!", the Dona must have muttered in disappointment. "Sin gratitud…sin verguenza".


But it’s not only the masa who are fed up. No less than that elite army of legal practitioners, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines led by its national president, Atty. Feliciano Bautista, took out a half-page newspaper advertisement to voice their feelings about an administration "whose moral fiber has worn thin and whose conscience has vanished". Ouch! Is Gauden-cio Cardinal Rosales able to read that statement?

The lawyers strongly condemned "the culture of corruption, dishonesty and deceit that pervades our government" as "abominable."

Strong words from the nation’s legal advocates. What then would the nation’s moral advocates say? Or do they listen only to the likes of Medy Poblador?


We shall take a brief respite from the chores of writing this thrice-a-week column, to rest weary soul from the disappointments of life in this benighted land.

Till next year, to one and all – a Blessed Christmas, and may our people find deliverance in the coming year! From what, from whom, is for us all to meditate upon in this season of grace.