The chair wrecker is back!
AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star 2006-12-05
Partner Betty Go-Belmonte baptized me as the "Chair Wrecker" 20 years ago when I wrote a column for the STAR, which I named " As I Wreck this Chair." Betty, her hubby Sonny and myself call each other partner because we were a regular prayer trio, believing in Christ’s words that: "Where two or more are gathered in my name, I am in their midst."

Now Sonny and I are not exactly what people would call "religious." Sacrilegious would be a more apt description for me as I am wont to challenging authority that steps out of bounds.

It was Betty’s childlike faith and zealous devotion that guided us. I have witnessed many instances when Betty’s prayers led to finding God’s design through passages from the Bible. Betty shared many of these experiences through her Pebbles column.

Betty’s Bible readings foresaw EDSA I. It was also her readings that guided her to split up with her co-founder of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Eugenia "Eggie" Apostol and put up the STAR. Inquirer and the STAR, legacies of EDSA I, are now the two leading English language newspapers.

I chose to name my column thus because I have actually demolished a number of chairs. I was 200 pounds in my teens and doubled that tonnage to over 400 pounds when I was in my late 30s. Today, I tip the scales at a little over 300 pounds. When I visit friends, many of them make sure that I am seated only on superbly engineered chairs.

In 1973, I was 250 pounds and was then an Account Manager at J. Walter Thompson (JWT), the junior in the Pepsi Cola Account Management Team. I demolished three of those JWT wooden swivel chairs of 1950s vintage in six months. Our property custodian had to give me a senior executive steel framed chair, despite my junior position with the threat that if I somehow manage to destroy even that, my next chair will be a barber’s chair.

But more than the literal meaning, the chair wrecker moniker represents my idea of what an opinion writer should be – the fighter for readers’ causes, giving their voice the appropriate amplification and recognition. That of course means I will need to kick, rather than lick ass.

This chair wrecker will espouse truth, regardless of threats and pressures and will be guided only by what is good for national interest. The chair wrecker wants to provoke questions as well as encourage people to seek answers, especially those who do not know and understand the circumstances of their exploitation.

The truth that shall set us free can only be the whole truth and not just the aspects of truth that serve vested interests. The whole truth that empowers and enriches the human spirit shows the good and bad aspects, the noble and the crass. The doctor who tells his patient that he has a fantastic liver but does not tell him about his ailing heart gives the type of ‘good news’ that kills.

The political opinion writer has to provide context, perspective and insights to the raging issues. We cannot move forward if our people do not know their history and can’t appreciate the context of their predicament.

When we got rid of Marcos, we were moving along pretty well under the Aquino and Ramos administrations and then we elected Joseph "Erap" Estrada President in 1998. We managed to replace Erap in 2001, albeit with a most questionable chief executive. And now that we want to replace the present Palace occupant what do we see? We are seeing an opposition that is rallying around the banner of Joseph Estrada!

Just how do you move forward with a mind like that? You don’t. You are stuck to re-living the mistakes of the past.

The chair wrecker will be like the little boy who exposed the nakedness of the parading monarch in "The Emperor’s New Clothes" to the shock of everyone who went along with the sham and hypocrisy.

The chair wrecker cannot allow his pen to lend credibility to the pathological liar. He must challenge the lies, deceit and hypocrisy of those who parade themselves as paragons of piety and chastity – like the known fornicator who likes to be shown on the front page receiving Holy Communion after a previous night’s wild orgy.

It is a great challenge to be a political opinion writer at this time when many media persons pay with their lives while others are slapped with libel cases. During the Marcos dictatorship, you were only deprived a forum for expression.

Primitivo Mijares was killed not for his journalism but because he betrayed a master who would not tolerate treachery. Other than Mijares, hardly any other journalists were killed or thrown in jail for libel during the Marcos dictatorship.

Under Madame Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, murder and libel are the course of action against those who will not lick ass. Kick ass and maybe a bullet will find you, otherwise, a libel case will.

But when one considers that ignorance is at the root of our national problem – how people are exploited because they do no know how to vote and protect their vote –then the task of those who write becomes a truly holy mission. And it is not for the faint of heart.

This is what you can expect in this column. Nothing less.

  Previous Columns:

It had to happen on The Ides of March and Holy Week

Suggested guidelines for liability- free Internet posts

Election lawyer: PCOS critics should put up or shut up

All Excited by Pope Francis

A great disservice to P-Noy

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