Issue of November 5, 2017

Panagbenga Flower Festival
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A thankless job

New Malacañang spokesperson and former Akbayan representative Harry Roque, casting an oblique eye at Duterte critics, particularly of the “yellow” kind, in his usual acerbic tongue, warns: Be careful when you throw stones, not unless you want a barrage of hollow or adobe blocks thrown back in return.

I wonder, is Roque a Catholic? The Christian way is to throw bread when stones are hurled in your direction.

I guess it’s just politics.

* * * * * * * * * *

Whatever, like most lawyers, consumed by a feeling of self-importance (please, Panelo is a frat brod and a personal friend, so hands off ako sa kanya), Roque, a human rights lawyer whose heart was at one time in the right place, has suddenly turned into, no, not an ogre, but even worse, a Duterte loyalist.

Alas, it happens to the best of us when power and ambition get in the way.

Without a doubt Roque is as smart as they come, but when a client engages your services or a president appoints you to be his official mouthpiece, it is not by reason of your smarts but what you can do for him according to his wishes.

When he shouts “jump,” your answer should be “how high?” But Harry’s bulk would be a problem.

* * * * * * * * * *

If the soft-spoken Ernesto Abella was not able to please Duterte, you think the pugilistic Roque won’t suffer the same fate?

Either way, Roque’s goose is cooked, if he balks because his “principles” tell him otherwise, he could be fired the next day.

If he sticks to the script as Duterte expects him to, he turns into a lapdog.

I once worked in government myself, and it’s not your “beautiful mind” that secures your position, it’s knowing how to dance to the music. Do not waltz when you need to tango, nor trip the cha-cha when Elvis is belting out “Jailhouse rock.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Give you an example, of all Duterte’s men, the ever quiet Bong Co has my grudging, okay. Nope, not Allan Cayetano, still fixated in becoming president. His dad, whom I knew quite well, was like him. Once he made up his mind, there was no stopping him.

Not Bato dela Rosa, who reminds me a lot of my freshman English teacher Alice Coseteng, (yes, Nikki’s mom) who loved to say, “If you think you are intelligent, sorry, but you are not.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Dela Rosa and Cayetano share a common flaw. Politics-wise, they are superb poker players, but wag their tails when holding a good hand.

But not the curiously amazing Bong Co. Like his name suggests, he is Chinese. To quote the much admired although lamented Chairman Mao, “Less talk, less mistake. No talk, no mistake.”

Obviously, Duterte is not Chinese, but on the other hand…

* * * * * * * * * *

But back to Harry Roque. Like most lawyers, he has a gift of wit and gab.

My reading of him is that he simply loves the limelight as much as he loves to talk. Among other things, I am told.

He probably would be a winning lawyer under the U.S. Jury System (he almost always sounds convincing), but as presidential spokesperson, he gets to be on TV everyday, and is on pins and needles at the moment. I fear, however, that he might end up like White House Spokeswoman Susan Huckleberg, limited only to mouthing what Trump wants her to say. By way of deflecting the controversies surrounding her boss, she says that Hillary should be the one investigated for colluding with the Russians.

To which Hillary retorts, “Need I remind you that Trump won the presidency, not me.”

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Speaking of Trump, he may be “an incorrigible liar and a jerk,” but I think he is on the right track in wanting to keep certain religious groups out, if only to protect the American people from possible terrorist attacks.

The Muslims pray a lot, but will have no second thoughts in waging a holy war.

And so too do Christians fall on their knees in the name of God, only to give way to the desires of their flesh, just like Judas.

Rise, rise from your grave King Richard the Lion Hearted. Lead us in our final crusade for love of the mother church.

Why you? Well, Trump hates the Muslims. Like Hitler hated the Jews.

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The Christmas season is now in full swing, with All Saints Day done and over with.

But even as we pay homage to the infant Jesus born to redeem the world from sin, we rejoice at the moment for all the fun and joy that comes with the season.

Family reunions, ham, queso de bola, and other goodies on the table during Noche Buena, new clothes and toys for the kids; sharing drinks, childhood memories, and swapping stories with friends and relatives. It is that time of year when even the poor make the most of life, and not wallow in self-pity.

There is something about the Misa de Gallo that brings us united together as a people.

Whatever you are, we are all God’s children, sharing part of us to the needy and less blessed.

Que “gubat” o’ krisis, pasko pa rin!

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