For once, I miss Cory Aquino. Because Cory really went out of her way not to show in public the traditional disdain of her high-born, ultra-rich class for people like you and me —unlike her son, Noynoy.
If one of these days Noynoy declares that he didn’t know anything about the Quezon City government project to close the public road where his father and mother built their home—and where Noynoy now lives—I wouldn’t be in the least surprised. And if he says that he was misled by Mayor Herbert Bautista, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte or any other local official who dreamed up the plan to barricade his address on 25 Times Street, you and I, as his so-called “bosses,” will know what really went down.
Disclosure: I live near the West Triangle area in Quezon City where the Aquino home stands. I cannot count the number of occasions I and other people I know who live around the neighborhood used Noynoy’s street to bypass the heavy traffic on Quezon Avenue to get to West Avenue using Times, and vice versa.
But now, the city has deemed that this portion of Times from West 4th Street to Examiner Street that runs in front of Noynoy’s home has to be closed. With heavy duty steel gates attached to massive square concrete posts on either side, no less.
At a time when the government is negotiating with the homeowners’ associations of many private, gated communities to open up their roads to the public to ease traffic, Bautista and the other leaders of the city have deemed it proper to close down a public road and make it private. At a time when the Noynoy-appointed head of the Commission on Human Rights says he can only act on incidents of oppression and injustice perpetrated by state actors, a local government decides to deprive so many of access to a public road in order to favor one former president, without so much as a whimper of protest from CHR.
I remember when Noynoy was president and the Presidential Security Group used temporary barricades and set up checkpoints where the permanent gates are now rising. I understand that it was necessary to take such measures for a sitting president, never mind if he really lived in Bahay Pangarap across the Pasig River from Malacañang Palace most of the time.
But the PSG troopers who manned the checkpoints then were always polite and professional. And they never, as far as I can recall, prevented motorists like me from passing through Times Street.
Now, I don’t know who will be stationed at the heavy gates that the city is building on either side of Noynoy’s home. Or even if the gates will be permanently closed except to those fortunate enough to breathe the same air that Noynoy (when he is not puffing on Marlboros) inhales.
But I feel it is my duty to tell Noynoy that he is no longer president. And that he cannot use our taxes to deprive us of a public road and to ease his paranoia.
If Noynoy really feels that he should be protected from random motorists or even from protesters who may stage rallies in front of his home, then he shouldn’t inconvenience us and make us pay for it. He should move out of Times Street and into a gated community like his fellow plutocrats, where he will not have to deal with riffraff like his former bosses.
I understand that some sort of sign will be put up at both gates when they are done, since this is a government project. May I humbly suggest that the closed off portion of Times Street be prominently identified as the Quezon City extension of Hacienda Luisita.
Then I will no longer protest the closure of a public road that people like me have already long paid for—and which you and I have paid for again, in order that we may be deprived of its use.
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Some may protest that this is not really a big deal and that Noynoy should be accorded the respect and protection that he deserves, as a former president of this benighted land. I beg to disagree.
This isn’t just about the closure of a side street. It’s about the entire attitude of condescension and impunity always associated with the Aquino family and their sycophants that I’m railing against.
It’s the same attitude that gave us Mamasapano, where dozens of soldiers were left to die after they completed their mission, and Dengvaxia, in which nearly a million children were injected with a vaccine that even its maker found potentially unsafe and fatal.
It’s about how some people don’t care what the vast majority thinks, or if they can even think at all. Therefore, their self-appointed betters will do the thinking for them, because they always know what’s best for everyone.
And then, when they get found out, they run, hide and barricade themselves from the people, whom they now mortally fear. This is about that.
By the way, I sent repeated requests for comment to both Bautista and his spokesman. Bautista sent an SMS after I called him twice to say that he was in a meeting.
When I texted the mayor back to say I just wanted to know why my city was paying to secure Noynoy and closing down a public road permanently in order to do so, the mayor did not reply. His spokesman didn’t even answer.