Up Yours

June 21st, 2009 · No Comments

By Greg B. Macabenta

I swear this story is true. A film director I knew was so incensed at someone who had offended him, he seduced the fellow’s wife then phoned the man and gloated: “You know what I’m doing right now? I’m screwing your wife.” The fact that the director was from Pampanga is pure coincidence. But this brazen act of shattering a fellow human’s self-respect, of heaping shit on a person’s head (a literal translation of a Tagalog saying), of telling a person to his face “Up yours!” has just been replicated by someone from that province.

Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, aided by her scheming, traitorous, self-serving surrogates in the House of Representatives, have just told the Filipino people: “We’re screwing you.”

And, in response to the spineless response of the political opposition, the media, civil society, the church, and the Filipino masses, they have held up the middle finger in the universally understood gesture that means: “Up yours!”

The passage the other day of Resolution 1109 by the lower house of Congress ­ nay, the LOWEST house of Congress ­ was brazen enough but not the most brazen.

What has reminded me of the contemptuous call made by the film director to the hapless husband about the latter’s wife being the way Arroyo’s spokespersons and surrogates would have us believe that Malacañang has had no hand in the machinations that led to the passage of the resolution, and in what will unfold in the coming days, all the way up to next year.

Listening to palace spokesman Eduardo Ermita reminds you of a condom. He is so smooth talking, so straight faced, so reassuring even while you know you’re being screwed.

He would have the citizenry believe that Arroyo, who summoned the lapdog congressmen to a meeting and whose sons have been like puppeteers manipulating the actions on the floor of the House, has had absolutely no hand in a scheme that even the dumbest among us knows her operators have been hatching for a long time.

One must admit that the operators in the palace are good chess players. But not good enough. Their moves are too obvious.After all the gambits, it is obvious that a checkmate is what they have been trying to spring.

But, like the villain with the stove hat, black cape, and the mustache in the comic strip, they have, time and again, had to declare: “Curses! Foiled again!” They have already had some highly placed casualties, chief among them, Joe de Venecia.

Were the Filipino people ever lulled into believing that they had given up? Not at all. The lackeys in Congress have never been famous for subtlety.

But this time, they have become really desperate. With time running out on foiling the presidential elections, the new moves have been purposely made so brazen, people are expected to doubt that they’re serious or that they make sense.

But these are carefully orchestrated moves. Nothing has happened by accident or by chance. Ask Ronnie Puno.

First, they go through the pains of forging the Lakas-Kampi merger. Then Arroyo declares, with obvious tongue in cheek, that this is proof that there will be elections ­ because, otherwise, why would the administration be strengthening its party machinery?

An idiot would readily agree with her. Yes, sir, there will be elections. (Wink! Wink! Did I say “presidential elections”?)

But why now? Why are they doing this less than a year from the May presidential elections? Why not much earlier?

Of course, they wanted to make their move much earlier, but there were just too many scandals getting in the way of a positive reception from the masses. They had been hoping for a best-case scenario where a modicum of “popular” support could be whipped up. But that’s too late now.

At this point, they don’t give a damn what the reaction of the entire country will be. As far as they’re concerned, the time for “santong dasalan” has ended. The time for “santong paspasan” has begun.

But they needed insurance. In this respect, they did two things. First, by merging Lakas and Kampi to guarantee that at the local level, they hope to make certain that the troops will be ready for any kind of scenario ­ whether presidential or parliamentary.

But in this “brilliancy,” they appear to have overlooked the fact that when you merge parties, there are liable to be ambitious folks who will fall through the cracks. A monolithic party still has to choose the candidate for each position in each contested area ­ and when you merge two parties, you end up with two candidates (or more) fighting for only one slot.

But the second insurance policy was simpler: Pay off the congressmen and guarantee their support of the resolution. Thus, 1109 was railroaded.

The third insurance they’re trying to buy is tricky. The Supreme Court. The final arbiter.

Are they counting on the support of presidential appointees?

It is in making this move that Arroyo and her cohorts will more than match the supreme insult perpetrated by the film director from Pampanga.

But what they appear to have failed to consider is that there is a difference between a cuckolded husband and a citizenry whose dignity and honor have been trampled upon. The latter are capable of rising up and fighting back.

Ironically, Arroyo should have seen this. Because it was also in Pampanga that this was proven to be true ­ when her courageous cabalen declared that they had had enough and, against all odds, against money, power, guns, and machinery, they voted Among Ed into office.

“Up yours!” Nograles, Ermita, Puno, the Arroyo boys, and their mother may now be saying. But just wait till the worm turns.

Then we shall see whose turn it will be to say, “Up yours!”

Note: This article was published in Mr. Macabenta’s column “Ad Lib”, published in  BusinessWorld, 10 June 2009. 

Greg Macabenta is a publisher, an advertising veteran and a writer for some of the major newspapers in the Philippines.  He is currently the Chairperson for the National Filipino American Association (NaFFAA).

Tags: Writers' Brew