Rep. Suarez as face saver, Jamby as president and Erap as Ninoy
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2009-08-18

The growing clamor for Senator Benigno Simeon “Noynoy” Aquino III to pick up the mantle of leadership from his mother, the late beloved icon of democracy, Cory C. Aquino, is owed largely to Filipino loss of trust in their present crop of leaders. Filipinos are yearning for a leader like Cory whom they can trust and believe.

Just look at the ‘clowns’ that proliferate in our political landscape these days and you’ll see why there is a strong clamor for Noynoy to be the 2010 president. Just look at the crass attempts to deceive us and your heart can’t help but yearn for another Cory who always leveled with us.

Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez claimed that he paid for the $15,000 tab of Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) at Bobby Van’s. Few Filipinos would be inclined to believe him, especially in the light of reports that GMA aide Medy Poblador was the person who paid for it in cash.

Few believe that Representatives Martin Romualdez (said to have paid for the $20,000 dinner at Le Cirque) and Suarez treated GMA and her party in the US. How can you believe that when you know that GMA is the one who treats the representatives so that they will defend her during Congress investigations, kill her impeachment cases and push her Charter change agenda?

Rep. Suarez has been caught shifting from one explanation to another. He even placed US Security personnel in trouble when he claimed that they were part of the group of 65 diners which is why the tab went as high as $15,000. US Security personnel will never sit down to dine with those they are assigned to protect.

No doubt, they had to justify the big tab and so they padded the number of diners because a consumption of $2,000 per person — assuming that there were about 30 diners only — would really provoke anger in a hungry nation.

Going to another case of incredulity, how did you react when Senator Jamby Madrigal announced that she is running for 2010 president? Judging from the STAR Inbox texters last Saturday, you would likely agree with many of them who thought it was a case of clowning on her part or that she was suffering from delusions of grandeur. Even Jamby’s ally in the Opposition, former president Joseph “Erap” Estrada, was surprised and reportedly advised her to read first the public pulse.

Some STAR Inbox texters said that Jamby could be running in order to gain a forum for her on-going attempts to demolish presidential race leader Manny Villar. Last Thursday, during the Villar Ethics Case Hearing, Jamby insisted in presenting an issue that was irrelevant and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile threw it out.

During the Cory interment, a prominent member of the Cojuangco family expressed surprise to see Jamby Madrigal there. The interment was strictly for 150 close relatives and very special friends and Madrigal isn’t regarded as such.

Still on the subject of clowns, convicted former President Joseph “Erap” Estrada had the gall and the temerity to liken himself to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela and our new National Hero, Ninoy Aquino.

Erap was reacting to the ‘elbow’ Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) threw in the direction of his face during her July 27 State of the Nation Address (SONA). GMA said: “Those who live in glass houses should cast no stones. Those who should be in jail should not threaten it, especially if they have been there.”

In his July 29 press statement which was emailed to STAR columnists, Erap likened himself to Mandela and Ninoy — citing them as victims of repression who were jailed even if they did nothing wrong. By associating himself with Mandela and Ninoy, Erap would be suggesting that he too is a hero, not a convicted former president.

Erap had a fair Senate Impeachment Hearing until the suppression of the Jose Velarde envelope triggered People Power II. He went through the trial at the Sandiganbayan and was represented by some of the best lawyers that his money could buy. They used every legal mechanism available to them. Did you see any violation of due process?

Erap and GMA were twin disasters for the country and if we’re not vigilant, they could resurrect to inflict more plagues upon us. However, much as we’ve said a lot against GMA, it does not mean that Erap is a better choice. That would be like saying that arsenic is preferred for ingestion instead of cyanide. The truth is both will kill us just the same.

With Erap and GMA, we are not talking about two agents from the forces of light but about two agents from the forces of darkness. They create a benighted nation. If we know what is good for us, let us not be lulled into thinking that a lesser evil is good. It is not. We will never have social justice, peace and order in our society if our people think that way.

Filipinos must look beyond the woeful eras of Erap and GMA. Sticking with GMA or going back to Erap is nothing more than sinking deeper in the quicksand of moral decay and economic stagnation.

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A great disservice to P-Noy

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