Federal Somalia and Venezuela: Basket cases?



I WAS a promdi from Pasig when I first entered San Beda in 1955. Certain Bedans wore very pink low-waist pants, with Manileño swagger, and some with wit, accent and diction I could only envy.

I am today nearing 79 and entering my second childhood (were you my stude, you’d be well advised to say, “Sir, you are into your second adolescence, the way you look tonight”).

My folks were not riding shotgun on me at all on how I was doing (just weeks in Grade I in Makati Elementary, accelerated); I played hooky often in Rizal High and in San Beda. They just let me be.

Not beyond easy recall was Benedictine Fr. Casares booming “what a great blasphemy!” — characterizing a sacrilegious statement. We may need such booming denunciation today. Respect for religious feelings we find in the Penal Code, on offending such feelings. It also imposes public censure on one offending against decency or good customs by highly scandalous conduct. All of us may have violated these articles penalizing insensitivity to people’s feelings. But, we could simply apologize, say sorry, repent of it, and move on.


No childish my-god-is-superior-to-your-stupid-God! Brother Manny Lucera, in John Grisham’s Associate, said: “I needed forgiveness, because there were lots of sins in the past. I needed peace, because I’d been at war my entire life. I needed love, because I hated everybody. I needed strength, because deep inside I knew how weak I was. I needed happiness, because I’d been miserable for so long. . . .” (2009, paperback).

Our astig Warrior President, proud and profane, spends/wastes his time on trivial non-presidential matters, such as theology, naming-and-shaming, etc. I pray for him to succeed, as his success is yours and mine. Failure, ditto. We should return to the core values inculcated in our youth.

Hail then to the Bedan Commander in Chief. Hail also to Bedan Sen. Leila de Lima, who will be honored on July 28, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. by Liberal International with its Freedom Prize, in Novotel, Cubao. It will be sponsored by the Liberal Party, to be attended by Bedan Veep Leni Robredo and other LP stalwarts and Leila’s kith and kin. (I’ll have a class on Human Rights in Dean Ulan Sarmiento’s San Beda Alabang Republic and there’s the traffic situation to factor in. Problematic. Traffic, which has worsened since June 30, 2016, when Digong said, “so help me God,” is the new tyrant.)

Last Sunday, I was in Wack Wack, for Alex Padilla’s 62nd birthday bash. I saw his showbiz gifts, singing, dancing, ad libbing, etc. His soulful rendition of “You’ll Never Walk Alone” brought me back to my freshman Rizal High year and Roy Hamilton. But, he should be in the Senate. His pop, Senator Ambo, was Veep of the 1986 Constitutional Commission (headed by Prez Ka Celing Muñoz Palma). Fruit does not fall or roll far from the tree.

The following day, Monday, the Prez received a draft constitution from a respectable body not mentioned in the Constitution as part of the Charter change process. He may only suggest of course but we cannot forget who is making the suggestion.

I am curious as to how federalism, as proposed, can give our people a better life. I have gone around a bit and have not found a single tree with money growing on it, datong to meet the first law of mankind — survival.

Whatever new Constitution we may have, we need to bring back our country to pre-martial law shape; those in government were then paid above the level of corruption. I was closest to the judiciary, first as a messenger, and then, as lawyer. In Manila, there was tsismis only as to one Court of First Instance judge. The rest we worshipped, including court personnel. True pros. Court of Appeals and Supreme Court Justices were even more elevated in the people’s esteem.

Marcos, whom Digong idolizes, destroyed our institutions, values and processes; we have not recovered. Digong now seems to work for the restoration of the kleptocratic family, tainted by established human rights violations. On July 15, 2003, they were ordered by the Supreme Court to return billions of ill-gotten wealth; mysteriously, it did not order their prosecution as ill-gotteners. There oughta be a law that established humongous ill-gotteners should not qualify to run even as barangay dogcatcher. More so, judicially validated human rights violators. Bongbong as new Prez or Prime Minister scares the bejesus out of me; again, fruit never falls far from the tree. Of course, we are not to underrate anyone’s capacity for change and growth. Still, President or Premier Bongbong? Susmariano!

Alexander Pope intoned: “For forms of government, let fools contest, whate’er is best administered is best.” Digong cites Murphy’s Law in regard to the unfortunate misencounter between cops and soldiers — if anything can go wrong, it will. Federal can yet fragment and balkanize us. Somalia and Venezuela, now basket cases, are federal.

The change must be thought through. The Prez should not waste his time quarreling with everyone and his mother. He flies down to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to watch Manny Pacquiao, in the “manly art of modified murder” —McGeehan. Two top officials with their entourages spending/wasting time and money, given our 24/7 problems.

Anyway, Muhammad Ali was holding court on TV before the Ali-Foreman fight and gave a memorable answer when host David Frost asked how he’d like to be remembered. His reply, which fell trippingly from the tongue: “I’d like for them to say, he took a few cups of love. He took one tablespoon of patience. One teaspoon of generosity. One pint of kindness. He took one quart of laughter, one piece of concern, and then he mixed willingness with happiness. He added lots of faith, and he stirred it up well. Then he spread it over a span of a lifetime and he served it to each and every deserving person he met.”

No one questions how tough the Prez is, having been at war his entire life. Compassionate? Mr. Prez, be kind, to all, including a possible successor. Is Leni incompetent? TWA — Talagang Walang Alam si candidate Cory, per Macoy in the 1985-1986 snap polls. She retorted: “TWA, talaga, talagang walang alam sa pagnanakaw, pagpatay, atbp.”

Leni, incompetent — to cuss, name and shame, to waste money on trips, with an entourage, such as the presidential whim to fly to KL, to ignore gridlocks and price rise, etc.

What Prez Cory did was to have a competent star-studded Cabinet, where exchanges were marked by creative tension.

Today’s Cabinet? A chuwari-wari choir, with all due respect, from where I sit, leery of being rendered jobless by our most bastos and talkative Prez ever.



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