Friday, January 23, 2009

No thoughts of redemption

I once heard Senator Ping Lacson in a tele-radyo interview anchored by Henry Omaga-Diaz and Nina Corpuz. Actually I only caught the last 30 minutes of a lengthy one-on-one interview on an early week-end this January.

Asked if he thought GMA could yet salvage her place in history, Ping optimistically said: "Why not? If she would only do good from here on, and act only for the best interests of the people and stop all the corruption around her (or words to that effect) "mapapatawad pa ng taong-bayan ang mga nagawa niyang kasalanan.".

That evening, I had dinner with Ping and a few friends in the advertising industry whom I introduced to him. I chided him for the remark, saying "Naniniwala ka pa bang magbabago si GMA?" To which he said, "Hindi sa ganoon. Pero aminin nating madaling magpatawad ang Pilipino, lalo na kung makikitang nagbabago." I shrugged my shoulders and said, "Asa ka pa?"

I recall this in the light of the Wednesday rigodon in her cabinet. When a friend texted me about the report, I sent it to some of my friends, and one of them immediately shot back – "talagang walang intention of legacy." Exactamente.


Esperon as presidential management staff chief? Well, as a former chief of staff in "her" armed forces, he ought to be an improvement over Cerge Remonde, who took over from how many others, I cannot even recall. And Remonde as press secretary, why ever not? Anybody should be better than the "prayerful" Jess Dureza. But move Dureza to presidential legal counsel? That limits her legal advisers to the likes of Raul Gonzales, Agnes Devanadera and now Jesus Dureza. Further we shall comment not. As we write this, we snicker.

Pathetic is the reason for shafting Dureza from communications into legalese. Ed Ermita said that Dureza requested a less demanding job so he could attend to his ailing wife. How nice. Tutal nga naman, her government couldn’t care less about legalities; little respect they have for the rule of law. The president’s lawyer would rather be a nurse. What a country!

I grieve for my friend Sonny Razon. Now that he is a full-fledged cabinet member, as presidential adviser on the peace process, he could kiss his dream of becoming mayor of Manila goodbye. Not only will the demands of the Moro problem cum NPA deprive him of the time to move around Manila, he surely realizes that getting closer to his president means getting the disaffection of city residents. Never mind Lito Atienza, the DENR secretary who is aching for a comeback. He will be judged by Manilenos in terms of his previous record as mayor, and be compared to the woeful record of Mayor Alfredo Lim, Part Two. Atienza’s closeness to the Palace is a given already factored into the political equation, and from what I hear, even Erap will raise Lito’s hand if only to spite the Fred Lim he once treasured. After all, in the dark days of Edsa Dos, Lito never deserted Erap.

It must be sad when a president finds that no one else wants to be drafted into serving government, and she has to make do with nothing else but play musical chairs, with the "disabled" shuffling pathetically to the tunes of a dirge. But then again, who says she cares?


Let me quote that part of President Obama’s inaugural address that has reference to these benighted parts: "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are in the wrong side of history..."

"There is no doubt in my mind that any right thinking patriotic Filipino would agree that Gloria Macapagal Arroyo fits exactly that description and therefore should take heed," reader Narciso Ner writes from California.

Ikaw naman, Boy. You think she cares? Note how Ed Ermita riposted to media when asked about whether they were taken aback by Obama’s reference: "There is corruption in every government." And then again, "President Obama should learn from our president."

Recall again when there was this call on the part of Chief Justice Reynato S. Puno (not, never to be confused for Ronaldo Puno, which is why pollsters say the Chief Justice gets low ratings from the lumpen, to whom one Puno is another Puno in a country where the punos are almost extinct) about the need for "moral revolution" (again not to be confused with Joe de Venecia’s hilarious attempt), Palace apologists with cloying shamelessness said their president is "very moral". Ha, ha, ha. What a country, indeed!


Now juxtapose this report about the whistle-blower in the Alabang Boys’ brouhaha. It is said that Maj. Ferdinand Marcelino, still a Marine officer, has been placed under a "gag order." Marcelino admitted that he was told by no less than Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro that as a member of the military establishment, he had to seek clearance from the "commander-in-chief," President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, before appearing again at any congressional inquiry.

That same commander-in-chief has of course arrogated unto herself the title of anti-drug czarina. I did not know that part of a "czarina’s" job is to sweep the dirt under the rug. And Teodoro wants to be the broom.

Marcelino was given a "pep talk" by Teodoro, where he was told to guard against being "used" by people planning destabilization. Oh, that same yarn. The insecurity of the guilty.

They covered up in Hello Garci. They covered up in the ZTE-NBN deal, invoking executive privilege, and got the Supreme Court to say "amen." Now they will cover up for drugs. Truly, what a country!


Now the "honorable" congressmen of this benighted Republic circle the wagons around contractor Eduardo de Luna, in a congressional hearing orchestrated precisely to clear De Luna from the "assaults on his integrity" by these foreign "devils" in the World Bank, who blacklisted him and his firm forever from participation in World Bank-funded projects.

"The allegations of the World Bank against my firm and my person are not only blatantly unjust, they are also bordering on the comic and the insane." Wow! Them fighting words, likely written by a congressman … and the legislators of the Republic, our representa-thieves – wrap the Philippine flag around the country’s "most favored, most special" contractor.

I’m no foreign lover, but hey, "morality" and "uprightness" is a global concern. Even the Bible says so. Why wave the flag on an issue of corruption?

But then again, I am reminded – did I not write yesterday that the little president "presides over a nation whose second name is corruption, whose dignity and honour has been stolen"?

Once again, what a country!


A reader, who happens to be a semi-retired publicist, wrote (at hindi ko iinglisin):

"Bago nagtalumpati si Obama, sabik na sabik ang mga Amerikano sa kanyang mga sasabihin, habang sumisigaw sila na "O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!"

"Bago naman magsalita si Gloria Arroyo, duda na ang mga Pilipino. At sigaw nila: Baba na! Baba na!"


We will resume our series on the presidential moist-eyes this Tuesday. We’ve written about Erap’s "Hamlet Act", followed by "What the difference a Dick (Gordon) makes". Then we segued into "Loren’s sinta for 2010,", followed by a "misunderstood Bayani (Fernando)" and "Jobama (Binay)". We started this week with "say Chiz (Escudero) and what do you get?" Our next column, still to be written, will be about Loren Legarda’s bĂȘte noire – "Et tu, Noli?"