Category: miriam defensor-santiago

How the Miriam Santiago vs Ping Lacson circus mirrors the Philippines’ bakla culture

by benignO

Funny that just as soon as Senator Miriam Santiago threatened to reveal the “truth” about Senator Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson’s sexual orientation, the latter senator in a way kind of validated what many people have been speculating by going on a rampaging counter-attack himself. 

For one thing, this all supposedly started after Lacson was accused by Santiago of being one of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s attack dogs. Then, for another, Lacson would follow suit and go on an equally public attack on the lady senator. In both cases he seems to be exhibiting the very behaviours symptomatic of the conditions Santiago says afflicts him — being an attack dog and being, well, a bit on the Pinky side. After all, what real gentleman would see no issue with making big public stink about his ill feelings towards a woman.

To be fair to Lacson, Santiago’s attacks are quite crude. The best of threats are best kept veiled in favour of real actions. What was that old Nike slogan again? Just do it. Trouble is Lacson does the same — stoops down to the level of his adversary. Both now are making good use of the Media to further their tirades against one another. Guess who comes out of this laughing all the way to the bank?

Since when has Philippine Media become the sumbungan of choice of powerful Philippine senators?

Veteran journalist Ramon Tulfo, as a matter of fact, is known for his hit show Isumbong mo kay Tulfo where he facilitates getting the issues that affect ordinary powerless citizens to the fore before a mass audience. But that is a concept that suits ordinary people who do not enjoy the clout of Philippine senators.

You really gotta wonder then about the sort of men who obssessively tattletale to any bozo who cares to listen about the women they’ve had confrontations with. Filipinos of all people should understand. There is no English translation for the old observation when beholding such characters: Kalalaking tao pinatulan ang babae. Where I come from, the most admired men are stolid and stoic even in the face of a woman’s wrath — one, I am constantly told, that hell itself hath no fury to match. Indeed, a man resorting to rude behaviour on a one-on-one confrontation with a woman is bad enough, but to be constantly tattling about said confrontation loudly in a public forum of mutual back-patters is another.

Where I grew up such guys are easily told off: Bakla ka pala e.

Philippine senators, any powerful public official for that matter, whether male or female are expected to man up — specifically, settle disputes amongst themselves like men. After all, they serve as models to a citizenry who lack a tradition of doing the same. The sight and sound of senators clawing each other’s eyes out in catfights in living colour and surround sound simply highlights the sort of politics that reflect the character of the Filipino vote.

Why do Filipinos vote for such politicians?

Well, spectacle is king in Philippine elections. No surprise there. Indeed, our most esteemed “activists” for “social change” routinely denounce politicians for acting like clowns while on the campaign trail but are themselves blind to the banal clownery with which folk in their own ranks deliver their “activist” messages.

We can’t continue to reserve our most vitriolic criticism for Filipino politicians and ignore the character of the people who routinely vote for the same bozos year in and year out.

As Raquel Welch was said to have said:

Insanity is expecting different results while doing the same thing again and again.

Ms Welch is quite the woman indeed.

write it down, miriam!

Senate Prez JPE and Speaker Sonny may not be free to give year-end “bonuses” to themselves and to their staff, as a matter of law and delicadeza. Such “pamaskos” should be in the sunlight, given with transparency.

… Supposed to have said he was “just making lambing” to the senators, he (enrile) should have used his own money to stroke them.

that’s rene saguisag in Dark knights johnny and sonny, sunflower uncle jovy.  he also asks:

If JPE had given the same sums to Miriam & Co., would they have groused?

it doesn’t matter to me that miriam might be grousing only because she was one of four who had been given peanuts instead of the full monty.  what matters to me is that while grousing she has confirmed what we always suspected, that our senators are not only over-compensated, they are self-serving first, public servants kuno second, if that.

even more awesome, miriam has dared challenge enrile on historically significant matters.  read conrado de quiros’s Go girl:

Comes now Miriam Defensor-Santiago to set the record straight. Or to remind her countrymen of what they already know. Or to put back in shape the history that someone has tried violently to twist.

In her own words: “Namunini ’yan (Juan Ponce Enrile) noong martial law. Right-hand man iyan ni Marcos, martial law administrator iyan ni Marcos. (He immensely benefited during martial law. He was Marcos’ right-hand man, he was Marcos’ martial law administrator.) He should now answer for the crime of plunder. Bakit siya ganyan kayaman? (Why is he so rich?) He should answer for the crime of causing the disappearance of people. Defense minister siya, e di dapat managot siya doon.” (He was the defense minister, so he should answer for it.)

On Enrile’s part in Edsa: “Gusto niyang tanggalin si Marcos dahil buong pag-asa niya na siya na ang papalit. E, gusto pala ng publiko si Cory Aquino. Purmero, nakikipag-kaibigan. Mamaya nagbibigay ng pera pala para sa mga coup d’ etat laban kay Cory kaya pinatanggal siya sa gobyerno.” (He wanted to remove Marcos because he thought he would replace him. As it turned out, the people wanted Cory. At first he feigned friendship with her. Later, it turned out he was financing the coups d’etat against her. That was why he was booted out of office.)

On Enrile’s ambush in Wack Wack: “Tumigil-tigil na nga ’yang matandang ’yan! Noong panahon ni Marcos, inambush s’ya. Nung panahon ni Cory sabi nya peke ’yung ambush n’ya. Ngayong panahon na ito, sa kanyang autobiography kuno, sinabi naman niya na tunay daw ’yung ambush. Anong klaseng tao ’yan?” (That old man should stop it. During martial law, he said he was ambushed. During Cory’s time he said the ambush was fake. Then today in his autobiography he says again his ambush was real. What kind of person is that?)

What can I say? I love it.

i’m sorry she’s taken ill and i hope she recovers because there’s ping lacson to tackle pa.  he who calls miriam a crusading crook, the one senator who dares take up the cudgels for enrile, defending that gift-not-bribe, which makes you wonder about his no-pork-barrel stance.  hindi ba pareho lang yon, sa kaban ng bayan din galing ang funds?  ah but of course he’s defensive because he accepted the gift-not-bribe.

miriam can make it easy on herself by eschewing public interviews and, once she has recovered her health and equanimity, by writing it all down instead, e.g., a press release responding to lacson, for starters.  not that writing won’t raise her blood pressure, but it’s less stressful, and one can say more, even choose one’s words and frame one’s arguments, for best results.

my attitude is, miriam may not be without sin, as lacson insinuates, but i love her just the same for spilling the beans, like, you know, she’s our expert state witness!

it’s more fun in the senate

we’ve always suspected naman that senators, just like the prez and the veep, the reps and govs and mayors, are traditionally willing to spend tons of money and energy to get elected because it’s an investment that pays back, pays off, big big big time, one way or another.

but what we’ve never heard before — go go go miriam! — is a senator confirming our suspicions, at least about the senate.  the verrrry generous christmas gifts-not-bribes of php 2.46 million each in “additional maintenance and other operating expenses” for 18 senators who happen, or maybe jockeyed, to be in the good books of the all-powerful senate president is, of course, just the tip of the iceberg.  sabi nga ni senator miriam,

Imagine a yearly pork barrel of P200 million, P2.2 million monthly for staff salaries and office expenses, a P500,000 annual travel allowance and an honorarium that ranges between P30,000 to P60,000 a month as chair of a Senate committee.

And don’t forget the regular monthly salary of P75,000.

An unscrupulous senator can simply make it appear that he or she is using all these perks legitimately and then pocket these. 

over a six -year term, even a three-year term, bawing bawi na, tubong lugaw pa.  the most scandalizing thing is, it’s all perfectly legit.  worse, most senators seem to feel entitled, think there’s nothing wrong with such practices in a country mired in poverty, after all, ang daming gastos, ang daming humihingi ng tulong, ang daming relief ops na kailangang suportahan, not to mention their sosyal lifestyles na kailangang i-maintain.  worst, it’s like a reward system, and the pro-status-quo majority are the biggest winners.  no wonder nothing ever changes.

miriam’s hell #cj trial

i am neither anti- nor pro-corona.  if he’s convicted, fine.  if he’s acquitted, fine.  i didn’t like him from the moment he accepted the midnight appointment, but that’s not a high crime, ‘no?

nothing will change, anyway, if corona is removed, except that whoever replaces him will be beholden to the president and his cohorts and not to gma.  and of course there’s the hacienda luisita ruling of the corona court; the cojuangcos would have a good chance of getting the whopping 10B in compensation they want that justice sereno recommends instead of 800M-something lang.  and yes, gma’s goose would be cooked, no matter how weak the evidence of election sabotage against her.

nothing will change either if corona’s not removed, except maybe he’ll inhibit or try very hard from then on to be impartial vis a vis gma cases lest he get impeached again next year.  and that, inhibiting and/or judiciously working at impartiality, would not be a bad thing.

so i am prepared to accept the verdict of the senate impeachment court.  i like it that presiding judge enrile, while bending backward to accommodate an ill-prepared complaint and prosecution, has drawn the line at subpoenaing members of the supreme court and challenging judicial privilege.  while there is much that needs reforming in the judiciary, weakening the institution and rendering it vulnerable/subject to the whims and caprices of the executive and legislative branches that are already too too too powerful would be disastrous for the country in the short-term and in the long run.

of course, there is every possibility that in the end, even if the corona camp were able to mount a credible defense, that the senator-judges would vote still according to their individual political agendas, usually connected to whoever’s in the palace.  pero kanya-kanya nang perception yan, and kanya-kanya ring diskarte, to vote or not to vote for them or their sons / daughters / spouses / siblings, in the next elections.

having said all that, in the spirit of disclosure, here’s my take on senator-judge miriam’s latest lecture that had vitaliano aguirre playing the fool.

i simply cannot find it in my value system to denigrate, condemn, or even criticize senator-judge miriam defensor santiago — as many many anti-corona peeps in social media are doing, waging a hate-miriam campaign, complete with down-dirty cussing ang isa — for lecturing the prosecution and using the words “gago” and “kagaguhan” to characterize how the prosecution has been handling the impeachment case.

neither can i find it in my value system to declare volunteer private prosecutor vitaliano aguirre a hero — as many of these anti-corona peeps are doing, complete with we-are-behind-you graphics – for daring to cover his ears during miriam’s lecture, and when called out, instead of apologizing (as his fellow prosecutors urged), daring to express in no uncertain terms, his contempt for the senator-judge, so to speak, for stridently lecturing the prosecution.

to me it’s clear that these hate-miriam love-aguirre people would be cheering miriam if miriam had been scolding the defense, and they would be angry instead with aguirre for covering his ears if he had been part of that defense.  to me it’s obvious that anti-corona anti-gma peeps are being unreasonable, i suspect out of a real if unspoken fear that corona might be acquitted, either because they have a stake in his conviction or because they have already judged him guilty, like the palace and their favorite media have.

miriam had reason, every time, to lecture the prosecution.  again and again she was provoked by the prosecution’s ineptness and panggagago.  whether or not we like her demeanor or her voice or her language or her scolding style, the prosecution deserved the scolding, every time.

this last, she was scolding the prosecution for dropping five of eight impeachment articles, and they had it coming to them.  to me they were like schoolboys who enrolled in 8 units but “dropped” (that’s the word tupaz used) 5 units kaysa ma-singko, kaysa bumagsak, dahil kulang sa requirements, and then had the gall to cover their ears when scolded by their elders.  kagaguhan indeed.

and no, gago does not mean “stupid.”  “tanga” is the equivalent of “stupid,” and there’s nothing stupid about the prosecutors.  in fact, it takes smarts, craftiness, guile, to be gago, that is, to break rules and brazenly try to get away with it — yan ang panggagago: iniisahan tayo, ginagawa tayong tanga, akala makakalusot sila.  kagaguhan is largely what the prosecution has been up to from the start, railroading, practically overnight, a badly crafted complaint that 188 signatory-reps didn’t even have time to read, and for which they had no evidence.

malaking kagaguhan din ang ginawa ni aguirre.  he was being gago, impertinent, pa-defiant, when he covered his ears in an insolent ploy to attract attention to himself and away from the senator-judge’s lecture.  in any courtroom, especially this one where the fate of a supreme court chief justice is being decided, it is kagaguhan for a prosecutor to consider himself equal to a judge.  the stakes must be so high, he was willing to play the audacious anti-hero, resort to dirty tricks to distract the public from the painful truths that miriam has been revealing about the prosecution.

so really, this front page item on the inquirer quoting cory’s spiritual adviser, that Miriam is ‘worthy of the fires of hell’?  for speaking the truth?  what the hell!  then that goes for me, too.


No Plan B to fall on by Solita Collas-Monsod
The inane, the insane, the profane Manila Standard Today Editorial
Your Honors… by Alex Magno
The Aquino-LP agenda by Carol Pagaduan-Araullo