"Always and ever a blessing from the Lifegiver"
The current campaign is proving once again how the extremes on both sides of the political divide can always find common ground in their shared looniness.
Come now two “Otso Deretso” candidates—Neri Colmenares from the far left of the CPP-NPA-NDF, and Gary Alejano from the far right of the Magdalo recidivist mutineers—who, for lack of anything better to say, are beating the deadest of dead horses by trying to resurrect the old GMA bogeyman.
At the ABS-CBN senatorial debate, Alejano said the former president should be jailed “for destroying the country’s institutions.” Colmenares chimed in that Mrs. Arroyo had been “the most corrupt president.”
Thankfully, the ABS-CBN news piece included some helpful reminders of how the various charges against Mrs. Arroyo have actually fared in the courts:
One, the Supreme Court in July 2016 voted 11-4 to junk the PCSO-related plunder case that had allowed her successor, the autist PNoy, to jail her for five years.
Two, she was cleared in December 2018 of electoral sabotage charges in connection with the 2007 senatorial elections.
Three, the “Hello Garci” case in connection with the 2004 elections simply lapsed in 2009. Colmenares and Alejano should talk to their team-mate Romy Macalintal, an election lawyer, who asserts that there was no proof Mrs. Arroyo cheated in 2004.
Four, the office of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales—no friend of Arroyo—cleared her in all of the major cases filed against her: OWWA/PhilHealth; fertilizer fund scandal; and NBN/ZTE. These were all, by the Ombudsman’s own reckoning, “very, very complicated” cases—thus, easily milked for all their yellow propaganda value by the godfathers of Otso Deretso.
Should it matter that due process has repeatedly vindicated Mrs. Arroyo? Of course it should, at least to us law-abiding citizens. But obviously not to Colmenares and Alejano, whose very DNA seems to be imprinted with an abiding disregard for the law.
Should these two now be voted into the Senate? Any repercussions from that will be squarely on those among you who choose to do so.
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I’m among those on either side of the political divide who share in what must be the unalloyed happiness of senatorial aspirant Mar Roxas and his news-media star wife Korina over the birth of their twins.
With Korina well north of 50 years old, the birth was obviously technology-assisted, using the services of a surrogate mother. But the process of creating new life in vitro is long, risky, expensive and often painful, and whenever the results are successful, nothing short of unqualified applause is called for.
The problem, of course, is that there is no nine-month buildup to the blessed event, if the couple chooses to keep it quiet. Which is why the most virulent of Mar’s critics are calling him out for timing the twins’ arrival so fortuitously at the start of his campaign.
The candidate may rightfully be excoriated for “kaplastikan,” a criticism that has never had trouble sticking to him. But that is certainly no excuse for his critics to drag his new babies into the messy picture. The process of creating those babies would have been too complicated to include any additional considerations of political expediency.
Mar may also rightfully be criticized for a wide range of performance shortcomings, from the multiple increase in drugs, smuggling, and other major crimes during his watch at DILG, to the MRT corruption scandals during his earlier tenure at the Department of Transportation, to all the skeletons he must have buried in his closet during his years as a key factotum of the autist PNoy.
Unfortunately for his critics, between the storied Roxas name, the star power of his TV celebrity wife, the name recall left over from two failed presidential bids, and a campaign war chest that must be bulging from six years of LP ascendancy, Mar now finds himself very much within the “Magic 12.”
His new babies can only solidify his position there. But that shouldn’t be laid on the babies. No matter what the political fall-out, at the end of the day they are nothing more, nothing less than the latest additions to a family like any other—devoutly to be wished for, always and ever a blessing from the Lifegiver.
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I’d like to close this column by asking the reader’s prayers for my aunt, the late Dalisay Bocobo-Balunsat, who passed away over the week-end in San Francisco.
Tita Daly made her way to the United States a long time ago, before I was even born, where she became a fixture in the cultural, literary, journalistic, and educational circles of the Fil-Am community in San Francisco.
She was the last to go of the Bocobo siblings—children of Jorge and Felisa Bocobo—whose very different names betrayed the principal influences on the thinking and character of their father: the classics (Elvira, Florante, my mother Celia, Ariel), the Protestant tradition (Israel), and Filipino culture and history (Dalisay, Malaya).
Today she’s back in their company, together with her husband Uncle Tony who left year earlier to prepare her welcome mat. It’s the passage of an entire generation. May the eternal light illuminate them, may they rest in peace.
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