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.


  1. Good of you to rerun this post. I cannot comment on Get Real Post, as benigno bans my free-thinking opinons there. I fail to toe the editorial line, so very authoritarian and senatorial like, he spams me.

    In this particular instance, I enjoyed his perspective and agree that these rude personal confrontations demean the senators.

    Go figure. . .

  2. manuel buencamino

    Ping Lacson just did it. He did not tattle tale to just any bozo like Benigno. He referred Miriam’s case to the Ombudsman. (The one where he rented out office space in her building to herself for P70K a month.) He did not go to the press, he went to the Ombudsman. He went to the press only to reply to Miriam’s below the belt attack and to inform the public about the referral to the Ombudsman.

    Miriam did not know that Lacson was going to act, that he would check Senate records, find the documents proving the anomalous transaction, and refer his findings to the Ombudsman. The referral is what got Miriam out of her “sick” bed with threats of exposing Lacson’s shenanigans and sexuality. You will note that after Miriam retreated to “sick” bay at the height of the bangayan over the christmas dividend nothing more was heard from Lacson. Or for that matter any other senator.

    Miriam’s response to the referral was shameful: I will expose him, I am a senator and I enjoy parliamentary immunity, if he responds to my charges I will sue him for libel because he does not have parliamentary immunity anymore.

    “Kalalaking tao pinatulan ang babae.” What an ignorant sexist comment. “Pinatulan” reflects inequality of status, power etc. “Kalalaking tao” refers not only to gender but to a quality associated with male as necessarily masculine. Macho mentality, places males in a superior position over females. Are men preying on the weak when they get into an argument with women?

    “Bakla ka pala e” So negative qualities are associated with baklas? And the Miriam-Lacson circus mirrors bakla culture? Torpe ka pala e. What it mirrors, specially Miriam’s behavior, has nothing to do with bakla culture. It has everything to do with civility, gay, straight, or whatever.

    I don’t understand why you would propagate Benigno’s prejudice.

    • like i said, it’s new to me, benigno’s perspective in this instance. being female, i’m in no position to say he’s wrong or right, thus the repost, hoping to hear from other males, straight and gay… what offends me about ping’s response to miriam is that he’s parang nagmamalinis, and/or parang si miriam lang ang tanging guilty of the sins he’s accusing her of… ito namang si miriam, i really hope she has something more on ping other than alleged pinkness that has nothing to do with corruption…

      • manuel buencamino

        I thought being female you would be offended by “kalalaking tao pinatulan yun babae”. Then again who am I to tell you take offense at being considered the weaker sex, the sex that is papatulin.

        But the reference to bakla in a negative way is offensive not only to baklas but to straights as well, specially straights with relatives and friends who are bakla.

        Anyway, Ping is not nagmamalinis. I doubt any senator can do that. What he said in a GMA TV interview ( is “Everytime she opens her mouth, mag-iipon ako, magga-gather ako ng evidence to expose her misdeeds and corrupt ways.”

        So ayan. Hindi pagmamalinis yun humanap ng ebidensiya contra sa kalaban. Ang nagmamalinis so far ay si Miriam kasi wala pa siyang naipapakitang ebidensya sa kalokohan ni Lacson. At yun patutsada ni Miriam tungkol sa christmas dividend ay ang perfect example ng pagmamalinis kasi tinatanggap naman niya yun dati, nung ang dibidendo niya ay sinlaki ng dibidendo ng ibang senador.

        Sana meron ngang maipakita laban kay Lacson. I await Miriam’s detective work. Pero sa ngayon wala akong nakikitang mali sa ginagawa ni Lacson laban kay Miriam kasi nagga-gather siya ng ebidensya at inire-refer niya sa ombudsman. Yun ang tamang gawain, diba?

        • Regardless of who has the best stock of bullets to get their targets at, i think Ping is more credible by using the Ombudsman to prove his point. This time, Miriam has met her “katapat” in daring to eat bullets for breakfast.

  3. ah, i’ve been described as “post-feminist” which may explain why i don’t take offense at the huwag-patulan-dahil-babae, which really operates only at the public catfight level… and ok, i get what you mean about ping doing the right thing, filing case with ombudsman. but i am reminded that it was enrile that miriam was attacking and not ping, so it’s interesting…

    • manuel buencamino

      It was Ping that he called Pinky and threatened to expose when the next Congress convenes. But she also said she would ask for an investigation of car imports at CEZA and Enrile’s memoirs. So parehong niyang binanatan. But I’m pretty sure the attack on Lacson is directly connected to the referral of evidence to the Ombudsman. Ipit dun si Miriam. All she can do is expose other senators who are doing what she did and then all of them can pass it off as kalakaran sa Senado