The greatest conflict a man can have is a conflict with himself, his own principles, his ilk, tribe and loved ones.
When you’re in conflict with your principles, then very likely you’ve compromised your integrity. When you’re in conflict with your tribe, then very likely you’re seen as a traitor. When you’re in conflict with your loved ones and your ilk, then there’s a good chance that you’ve become intolerable.
Joker Arroyo — my old comrade in fighting the Marcos dictatorship and the post-Marcos era coup plotters — must be a man who is in agony these days.
Well, he has found himself in bed too many times already with Juan Ponce-Enrile (JPE). Doesn’t JPE represent a lot of what Joker Arroyo fought in the past? Didn’t Joker earn his good reputation then by fighting what Enrile represented?
Before we removed Ferdinand Marcos, Juan Ponce-Enrile was one of the stern faces we associated with martial law. On the other hand, Joker Arroyo was there in the frontline fighting martial law. Joker defended Ninoy Aquino in the military kangaroo court while JPE was one of Ninoy’s jailers.
Juan Ponce-Enrile was part of the failed coup attempt to topple Marcos. That failed coup led Enrile to hold out in Camp Aguinaldo (later moved to Camp Crame) on February 22, 1986. Lucky for him the situation developed into the successful People Power Revolt. If not for that, contemporary history would have been different and JPE would have been history.
Had that February 1986 coup attempt succeeded, Joker would likely have to fight an Enrile-led junta. It is doubted if Enrile and his RAM cohorts had plans to relinquish political power to Cory Aquino and the Filipino people.
During the coup attempts against Cory Aquino – proof positive of the real intensions of some people who were salivating to live in Malacañang Palace – Joker was among the defenders of democracy, doing his bit to preserve our newly-restored democracy.
When Joseph Estrada was being impeached, Joker was prosecuting the impeachment case while Juan Ponce-Enrile was there to block Estrada’s impeachment. Enrile counted as one of the Senators who prevented the opening of the Jose Velarde envelope. And that led us to EDSA Dos.
Then, when a mammoth pro-Estrada crowd gathered at EDSA to overthrow Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), Juan Ponce-Enrile was there among the rabble rousers, along with Miriam Defensor Santiago, stirring up the crowd. Joker was on the side of the newly-installed GMA and in fact ran in her May 2001 Senate ticket.
Now, lo and behold, thanks to GMA’s superb talent in transactional politics — Joker Arroyo and Juan Ponce-Enrile are buddy-buddy and chummy-chummy.
Once adversaries, they manned the defense of GMA during the Senate ZTE Hearings. They were together again in the recent bullying of foreign investors from the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce (JFCC).
It is not what the JFCC did (write GMA about their views on EPIRA revisions) that is really the issue, but how the JFCC representatives were so badly treated by the Joker-Enrile-Santiago Senate triumvirate. The trio violated the very concept of Filipino hospitality and proper host decorum.
The country somewhat saved face when other Senators (Senators Mar Roxas, Nene Pimentel and Panfilo Lacson, among them) expressed their disdain for what the ‘Trio Los Brutos’ did.
Still, Joker defends the ‘Trio Los Brutos’ and he even said a mouthful against the other Senators who felt that the JFCC representatives were bullied.
Joker said in an interview: “Senator Lacson and company conveniently forget that with complete abandon, they had bamboozled, bludgeoned, and pilloried to the pulp Filipino Cabinet members and resource persons who appeared before them in the NBN-ZTE investigation.”
He accused them of having a double standard – that they “look down” on Filipinos and “look high” on foreigners.
“That is their new style: Inferiority complex, dual personality. With foreigners it is a different matter, they sing a different tune. They grovel and caution, be polite and be good to them, even if they show disrespect for the Senate.” Joker added.
Joker fails to remember that other than the ‘Trio Los Brutos’ — the rest of the Senators properly treated resource persons during the other Senate hearings. They allowed the resource persons all the time to answer their questions. Upon request, with the exception of DENR Secretary Lito Atienza during the Lozada abduction hearing (and that was for a valid reason), they also allowed resource persons to make opening statements.
Just about the only other Senator who I think could qualify for membership in the ‘Trio Los Brutos’ would be Jamby Madrigal who is in a class of her own.
Frankly, I don’t know where the ‘Trio Los Brutos’ get off posturing as nationalists when they bullied the JFCC representatives. They’re the classic rendition of having three other fingers pointing back at you when you point a finger to accuse another person.
What nationalism are they posturing to have when they’ve been defending the pimping of our country’s resources to China, the new superpower that’s poised to take over the Philippines from the fast declining US Empire?
They’re the type of ‘nationalists’ who will sink, not save, our country!