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Monday, February 26, 2024

Divided we fall

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“The whole world is laughing at us, not knowing where this country is going”

Though I am not even half as ‘religious’ as Senators Alan Cayetano and Joel Villanueva, I will quote from Matthew 12:25 — “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.”

Several politicians have through several centuries echoed the same, as in the US of A when the founding fathers solemnly said, “United we stand, divided we fall.”

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and Vice President Sara Z. Duterte said as much, by making “unity” the single anchor of their 2022 campaign, hardly ever making a stand on important issues.

Going by the number of voters who listened to nothing else but “unity,” it seemed like the benighted land was indeed off to a fresh beginning, and even those who supported other presidential tandems in 2022 could not but be inspired that perhaps we will see transformational changes in our decrepit politics and our boom and bust economy.

But now that unity is sundered, like Humpty Dumpty, broken into fragments that cannot be put together again, even with the efforts of “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men.”

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Several quarters have called upon the president to mediate, perhaps in the hope he and he alone can end the squabble between the houses of Congress, and among his minions vis-à-vis the outspoken former president who needs no minions to prattle for himself.

The “imperial” Senate which will soon move to a new P12-billion self-proclaimed “iconic” building in the southwestern fringes of Fort Bonifacio where Taguig and Makati part ways, some 30 kilometers distant from where Imelda Marcos once built a grandiose, no less “iconic” in-her-time building to house the Batasang Pambansa, has been berating their “lower house” counterparts for being the puppeteers of a stealthily- planned and stupidly implemented PI, with the sinister intent of abolishing the “august” to kingdom come.

Never mind the fact the members of both houses share the same addicting proclivity towards pork barrel, (save only for retired Ping Lacson and the deceased Joker Arroyo), likely their only commonality now that they hold fort in different buildings, unlike the past when the “upper” and “lower” house gentlemen debated with much more elan in what is now the National Museum.

For the Senate, the Cha-cha issue is existential; for the House it is about “economic provisions” which their nationally-elected counterparts do not believe.

Where in this discombobulating scenario stands the author of “Uniteam,” El Presidente, mismo?

Meanwhile, using the discredited PI as cassus belli, the former president from the deep South fulminates and accuses his immediate successor from the far North, mismo, as sanctioning this whole rigmarole, a claim not hard to believe because as it was in his time and before, and as it should be till now, in the land so benighted, the presidency is everything.

To compound the division, the former president joins a former speaker of the HoR in threatening the secession of his fortress Mindanao from the rest of the country.

Those who know him well enough know that he is not too serious about secession, that in the end, he will quip “istorya ra kana” then by his sarcastic follow through — “Ni-tuo diay kamo?” (That’s just a tale and you believed it?)

It sounds better in Tagalog, “kuwentong kutsero lang, kumagat naman kayo?”

But others pretend to take it seriously, including the National Security Adviser, erstwhile DILG secretary of Duterte, mismo, the retired general from the hills of San Mateo, Eduardo Ano, who threatens that secession will be met “by force.”

The whole world is laughing at us, not knowing where this country is going.

The business community is worried that political noise will as always, trump economic concerns, be moving their attention away from the much-awaited bidding for the “renovation” of the single-runway NAIA, that gateway to the country where “spoilers” and “unqualified” are in the merry mix of bidders, looking at this as barometer of whether indeed, our government is serious about transparency and level playing fields.

And the poor, ever hopeful, ever-trusting, if we are to believe OCTA’s research findings done during the Christmas season, wonder if all these disruptive quarrels will bring about “20-peso rice (per kilo),” as they buy double-priced instant noodles and emaciated tins of sardines for their “ulam,” never mind the latest PSA metric on inflation going down.

Uniteam is hopelessly broken, just as Constitutional change is no longer possible, while the president who could have averted all these is looking forward to his forthcoming foreign trips to wherever, seemingly unmindful that “divided we fall.”

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