Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Straws in the political wind

So many stories to tell. So much political “trivia” has been coming in from reliable sources and old friends. So let me use this Tuesday space for these straws in the political wind, just before we enter the “ghost month” of the lunar calendar.

Manny Villar has once again foiled the attempts of Jamby Madrigal to conclusively tar him with the ghosts of C-5 and his real estate dealings with government and the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas. He has been adept at parrying her evidence, so far, with “paid” media burying her documentaries, and his spokesmen, the trio of Adel, Gilbert and Alan (three in all, wow!) coming up with the lame excuse that whatever transactions Jamby exposed happened when he was “not yet a senator”.

Well, Villar wants to be president, and everything must be bared for public consumption and judgment --- when he was senator, congressman, real estate magnate, gravel and sand supplier, shrimp vendor, anything and everything.

As Erap would say, “walang tinatago”. Dapat.

* * *

But how far can the obfuscations of A, G and A go? How many land deals will their principal need to paper over through glitzy “cono-cono” ads, which reminds me of that Ilokano delicacy that they serve at La Preciosa on Rizal St. in downtown Laoag ( a must visit if you’re in Amianan country), a melange of chopped shallots, eggplant, native tomatoes, folded over and easy with scrambled eggs, called poqui-poqui. It’s like the Pampango’s “sarciadong ebun” with ripe native tomatoes, except that the Ilokano version has the added semi-bitter twist of inihaw na talong. Poqui-poqui is how cono-cono (or per Villar, conyo-conyo) translates in Ilokano, though not in Tagalog. Baka ipatanggal ni Bishop Yniguez ang TV ad ni Villar.

No wonder my friend Greg Garcia gave up on the guy. I’m not sure if it’s because being a Dominican-bred guy, he understood what cono-cono meant, or he was shocked to learn the origins of Manny Villar’s billions upon billions. In any case folks, those ads, and the yarn about the Moriones, Tondo house with Boy Abunda and Villar in situ, are not Greg’s creations. Those were an insult to my friend’s prodigious talents.

* * *

Speaking of food --- glorious food --- that dinner at Le Cirque and pig-out at Bobby Van’s cannot seem to get out of the public mind. Reports about those fabulous dinners, and the Palace reaction to them would make an excellent case study for mass communications students. Case title? Choose one: (a) When lying does not fly; (b) How to put your foot in your mouth after an expensive dinner; (c) Don’t invite low-life to haute cuisine; (d) Get your facts straight before you invent a lie; and (e) all of the above.

* * *

Danny Suarez loves to lie, but he does not convince. First he says Martin Romualdez, who is dumb-struck, beat him to the draw at Le Cirque. Then he says he asked someone in the Malacanang staff (Medy Poblador or someone else?) to advance the payment in cash, because he was not sure his credit card limit could answer the humongous tab (“baka ako mapahiya”, Danny told media) for a dinner that happened on July 30 at Bobby Van’s, when Le Cirque was on August 2. He, he, he. Reimbursement of wads of cash at Bobby Van’s, and a credit card at Le Cirque? That’s what I mean by getting one’s recollection of facts right before one lies. Sa dami ng kasinungalingan, nagkakandabuhul-buhol.

But was it not the first gentleman’s buddy-buddy, a Rotarian who once headed a scandal-wracked agency, who gave the cash to a Malacanang lady official, who then paid the cashier of Bobby Van’s, who was awed at handling so much cash, because most all of their clients paid by card? He, he, he --- in a party of 65 or more, someone will always “sing”.

* * *

Oh, and speaking of Madam Remedios Poblador Dia, otherwise known as Medy Poblador, La Dona’s most intimate and most trusted official, what official business did she accomplish in Damascus and Tripoli? Like a faithful marine, she waded into the “shores of Tripoli” after a visit to Damascus. She wanted to be home and pay her final respects to the Tita she once served in Malacanang as an assistant in the Protocol Office, but her Dona ordered her to proceed to Syria, pronto, right after the “triumphal” photo-op with Barack Obama.

People in Malacanang and the cabinet are still asking, why Medy, who is neither envoi extraordinaire et plenipotentiaire, nor an official of the DFA? And what was so urgent about the Syrian rendezvous, or the Libyan assignation? As far as my moles tell me, the Dona arrived Wednesday, August 5, in the wee hours. Senora Medy came home just this weekend, eleven days later.

You and I will never know these secrets, until after the Dona exits, which, as far as Medy and Glory, Miguel y su Ermita, will never be.

* * *

Today, August 18, BGen Danny Lim will motor to his hometown in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya, to file for a transfer of voter registration. He is reportedly running for senator in the 2010 elections.

I will vote for him, and will urge many others to support him. First, because he epitomizes the ideals of integrity, courage and reforms for which our soldiers should live and die for. Second, because he will not be a candidate in Manny Villar’s senatorial ticket, which would be completely antithetical to integrity, courage and reform.

* * *

A retired soldier sent me this “conversation between GMA and an unident… Judge”. I don’t know if it was filched from ISAFP files just like Hello Garci’s:

Judge: Where will you go if you tell a lie?
GMA: To Hell.
Judge: Where will you go if you tell the truth?
GMA: To Jail.

* * *

Nobody beats Senadora Miriam Defensor Santiago when it comes to candor. She wants to run in the senatorial ticket of Manny Villar. Why? Pera-pera kasi. But her asking price is stiff. 200 million pesos, and no more the barya-barya that Manny used to help her with in past elections. After all, Miriam learned from Alan Peter Cayetano how much of a killing Manny made in Vista Land shares. What’s one percent of that for La Miriam? Ka-dyutay lang nga balato!

But the lady senator was not given the “due respect” as Chair of the Economic Affairs Committee which recently conducted an investigation into the television advertisements of government officials, disguised as “in aid of public information”, when her bête noire, Ronnie Puno snubbed her queer investigation “in aid of legislation”. What in heaven’s name does Economic Affairs have to do with advertorials? Maybe the Committee on Public Information, or even Dick Gordon’s Blue Ribbon, but Economic Affairs?

So, Ronnie just went to Pangasinan and perhaps looked for a perfect mango tree, so that next time around, “maganda ang bunga” of The Tree.

* * *

But then again, could not Senadora Miriam, for the sake of consistency, also file an ethics complaint regarding the “pre-mature campaigning” of her fellow senators, particularly her favourite, Manuel B. Villar Jr., who has outspent them all? Villar started his ads on March of 2008, in time for a poll survey’s fieldwork. Then resumed each time either SWS or Pulse Asia’s sub-contracted enumerators worked the field. From April of 2009 to the present, Villar has doubled and tripled his television presence, and must have spent close to 750 million by now on air time alone. That’s a lot of moolah. And if plenty of moolah is the justification for an investigation “in aid of legislation” by the Economic Affairs Committee, why spare your fellow senators, Madam Senator?

Care to know the provenance of such great wealth, Senadora Miriam? Or you just want a piece of the action? Two hundred million, and to think a poor spokesman was promised only 50 million --- 10 million before the campaign, and 2 million up-front.

* * *

Still, from a retired military official, one of our avid readers, comes this story, aptly entitled, “The Wave”:

“The Pope and GMA are on the same stage in front of a huge crowd.

“The Pope told her: Do you know that with just one wave of my hand, I can make every person in the crowd go crazy with joy?

“One wave of your hand, and the people will rejoice forever?”, GMA marvels.

“This joy will not be a momentary display like that of your constituents, but will go deep into their hearts, and they will forever speak of this day and rejoice”, the Pope explains.

GMA dares the Pope --- “Show me!”

The Pope slapped her. Just one wave of his hand.

Of course the people rejoiced, forever and ever.