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A society in decay? Pinoy vs Pinoy?

July 12, 2019


THE House Speaker is No. 4 in the line of succession to the presidency. Indeed, certain of the Speakers we have had were arguably of presidential timber quality. That some of the aspirants to be No. 4 we had just read about belonged to the Lapiang Pinabili Lang ng Suka or the Wassiname or Whosis Party, again indicate the state of putrefaction of a society in decay. Household names only in their own households. For No. 4, for crying out loud!

The Prez was saying he would not interfere; then he proceeds to inflict his will, via a discombobulating term-sharing deal that makes eunuchs of the House, whose right to decide on who would lead it, it abandoned, sans any struggle, resistance or whimper.

A truly independent House worthy of respect can change leaders any time, on its own. The administration has yet to understand the virtue of subtlety. Whatever Lolo D wants, Lolo gets, while everyone focuses on a committee to head and its budget, fantasizing on being addressed Mr. or Madame Chair, preening before TV cameras.

But, we do have to give it to would-be Speakers Alan Peter Cayetano (a fait accompli) and Allan Lord Velasco (a dream, even a fantasy). A lot can happen in 15 months; when politicians shake hands, they should count their fingers afterwards. Their term-share may be questionable as despicable trafficking in public office. But, let’s see what they can do to give our people mired in massive poverty a better life.

Serious traffic problems. No urban planning. Just Build!Build! Build! Bahala na po. Last urban lungs going, going, gone. Poor commuters lining up in the dead of night, in wind and rain. No water or in trickles. Massive vote-buying. Countless homeless. Many crooks and gross human rights violators in office. Good officials named, shamed and deep-sixed sans due process. Proud and profane high officials with limited vocabulary cuss. A judicial system without predictability — but I do appreciate the high court’s recent reported decision, via ponente Justice Diosdado Peralta, favoring prisoners, which should help decongest our overcrowded jails, etc. Prominently publicized, but we could not, as of the other day, get a copy of a decision in a case I assisted an idealistic human rights neophyte.

Are we now a society in decay? Following savagery and civilization? Now our patrimony and sovereignty are in jeopardy.

Childish taunting

No matter who was to blame for the June 9 maritime incident, the Chinese should not have abandoned our 22 fishermen nor lied about supposedly swarming uncaring Pinoy vessels. The criminal abandonment reinforces the theory that the Chinese vessel is part of China’s maritime militia and its crew feared being found out, scaring our probers, if any, who had to find fault in the 22, to appease and not displease China.

When we, per our Constitution, renounced war as an instrument of national policy, we meant, I think, a paradigm for all. Else, in the classic statement of Sen. Bato dela Rosa, “shit happens.” That he misspoke reinforces the belief that military intelligence could be a contradiction in terms. In the end, Bato sorta apologized kuno, rare in our arrogant palalo o hambog culture.

But, why should our proud and profane Prez taunt Trump to go to war with China by taking the first shot when Trump is busy making friends with North Korea? Warmongering is not in our culture or Constitution. If astig Kanto Boy Digong gets the elephANTS to quarrel — with his childish taunt, “my Kuya Xi can beat you, Tito Sam” — what about us, ANTS? A stray missile may wipe out Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao. And risk pitting Pinoy versus Pinoy as will be shown below.

Digong should not be a soltador in a cockpit inducing the US and China to make sabong. I grew up in a sabong culture, in Mauban (a late uncle was fond of it) and Pasig (my late Kuya was). There, I heard kristo, tiyope, tupada, bulik, alimbyugin, llamado, dehado, pakahig, tari, rueda, pintakasi, lodies, rerebe, himas. atbp. I hear of Pinoy-sponsored tupadas in the US, where Macoy, na-tiyope, fled to in 1986. (In a televised 1986 debate with Caballero Tsikboy Ka Turing Tolentino, when he said gently that I had no proof that candidate Cory, my principal, had won, I said, “kayo naman po, Ka Turing, ang tandang na na-tiyope at tumalilis, talo ng inahin”.

Pinoys who escaped from Mexico and its galleons, and settled in Louisiana, just might have introduced sabong to the natives. There was supposed to be a Pinoy enclave. A book on chess genius Paul Morphy I read long ago said there were Filipinos, so-called even centuries ago, in New Orleans. The Manila Men introduced dried shrimps in the bayous and married blacks, Creoles and other minorities, but not Caucasians or WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants). Forbidden.

Too bad, the Pinoy settlements in their tiny corner of the world have been obliterated by hurricanes.

If China and the US openly quarrel violently, not only would the world tremble. That may be how the world as we know it would crumble and end.

It could test the loyalty of Pinoy migrants in the US. The Manila Men of 1812 fought with Jean Lafitte and Gen. Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson (the 7th US Prez) against the Brits in the decisive Battle of New Orleans of Jan. 8, 1815. Outnumbered, but not outfought. If Digong leads us into a war between China and the US and chooses to side with the former, we might be fighting our own people in America. Pinoy versus Pinoy. That is why before he opens his mouth, Digong should think matters through and their consequences.

There are millions of Pinoys in the US. Digong’s taunt just might lead to war which no one could win, and annihilate everything. Only two apes may survive and grouse that they have to start all over again.

Term limits

But, seriously, back to the here and now, on term limits, can one really have enough of a Lorenzo M. Tañada Sr. or a Jovito R. Salonga by reading out “consecutive” in the Constitution? I could only basically look at pages 90 and 91 of the Aug. 1, 1986 proceedings of the Constitutional Commission Record, so thick and heavy I could hardly use it without risking a slipped disc. Did I cherry-pick from the 1,587 pages of my two volumes? For now, I believe we should not read out “consecutive” and the rest period is three years, as articulated by Commissioner Chito Gascon; no one disagreed. We should not throw away the priceless extra of experience of a Recto, Laurel, Salonga, Tolentino, Diokno, Padilla, Rodrigo, et al., in favor of those who still have to look for the comfort room.

But, looking at the House and Senate now, one might wish “no term” at all sana for some.

Finally, I found last Tuesday a Daily Tribune headline I could agree with: “Cayetano, Velasco halve speakership — Rody caves in to `sharing’.” I was reminded of cavemen and their best thinking in a jurassic era.

Let us see. Alan and Allan, yes, godspeed, show us what you can do to give our people a better life, while Sal Panelo contorts himself into a pretzel.

And no, we cannot have a second Fil-Am War. On Feb. 4, 1898, Private William Grayson of the Nebraska Volunteers fired the first shot in Sociego St., in Sta. Mesa (in Manila, not San Juan). Englishman Grayson was doing sentry duty and encountered three Filipino soldiers (“niggers,” to him, a racist). The victim was Cpl. Anastacio Felix of the 4th Company, Morong Battalion.

No to a second Fil-Am War! The Prez should unite, not divide, us.

And grave reservations I have, I regret to have to say, on widely admired Amal Clooney, not just another pretty face, getting aboard for iconic Maria Ressa. FLAG and Teddy Te can do the job. I don’t relish the thought of Tanny, Pepe and Joker spinning in their graves. In our time, we had to rely on ourselves in dealing with Macoy, Chief Justice (CJ) Iking Fernando and SolGen Titong Mendoza. CJ Iking was said to look down on non-UP law alums as a lower form of animal life, but I managed to weather his toughest questions and came out in one piece, I like to think, in my first oral argument in the Supreme Court in 1982.

I don’t want Digong meddling in the House leadership. And it is enough, from where I sit, for Amal to express her solidarity but the nitty-gritty is for formidable Teddy to handle. Kaya po ni Teddy ‘yan.

But, is our judiciary not in decay also? As the poets sing, if we are all in the gutter, in decay, some of us must keep looking at the stars. And our reach should exceed our grasp, or what’s a heaven for?

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