December 1, 2023

The popularity rating of President Rodrigo Duterte appears to be up by some notches. Contrived, paid for, or whatever, it doesn’t exactly translate into a much-loved leader. If truth be told, President Digong is more feared than loved.
Fear is the message that the President loves to spread to an already scared Filipino people.
In not so many words, the anger visible in his shaking voice, DU30 warns that if you get in the way, he will make you feel really sorry, and if you persist, for keeps.

We didn’t see it then, but when he threatened his most vociferous critic with dire consequences for being too outspoken (shut your mouth, woman) and later on clamping the senator in jail for her supposed involvement in drugs, it was clear that – just like Marcos with Ninoy et. al. and Aguinaldo with the Bonifacio brothers – he meant business.
“Hapi ang madla, lalo na ang mga tulisan.”
Happiest of all are the men in uniform. You know, scratch our back, and we will scratch yours.

And what does Leni Robredo have to say about all these? Nothing, except she will build more schools and dormitories and keep on reaching out to the people. Given all her Rasputin advisers, including those who made her Vice President (sorry Mar, malaki masyado ang agwat) that wiped out the one million vote lead of Bongbong Marcos overnight, everything that comes out of her mouth is nothing but pure propaganda.
She should stop dreaming that she is the whiff of fresh air that the people crave for at this time, nor is she the Joan of Arc come to save the day.
Better others than her.

In case you haven’t noticed, a military takeover has been in the offing for quite some time. No, not the kind where the sitting president is overthrown with a military junta taking over, but the kind of coup slowly creeping into our political system.
With Ping Lacson posturing himself as a possible successor for Digong, and counting the large number of retired military and police officers holding high positions in government, we could be under military rule in 2022.

More calculating this time, unlike in his first presidential bid where he was too much in a hurry, Ping needs to strike a deal with the Dutertes, with Sara Duterte as his possible running mate.
And logistics is the least of his worries. The vast resources of the Chinese business community, only too willing to give him a second chance, is all the war chest that he needs. He has to watch his step, however, given his enemies from within and out.

My auntie Remy Suello Pidazo celebrated her 94th birthday last Dec. 29, and talking to her was like my apo Kensha come back to life.
One of my fondest memories was us Carantes cousins gathering around our apo Kensha, listening to her insights, memories, and stories that had us all wanting to hear more – of life being simple but happier in the old days; no TV, no CPs, or other technological gadgets; just a growing up native lass communing with and enjoying nature and its wonders; lush green hills dotted with pine trees, crystal waters that you could see through all the way down to a riverbed of pebbles; and of her running away from a colored soldier because she thought she came from another planet; when a centavo saved was a centavo earned.

The difference was that auntie Remy regaled us with her stories of old in perfect English, like a schoolmarm imparting knowledge to her wide-eyed pupils.
My curiosity about Mateo Cariño again getting the better of me, I couldn’t help but ask my auntie Remy if Mateo, given his brilliance and spirit, albeit carrying a lowland name, was truly an Ibaloy, an ethnic group that lives for the good life – sell property, spend it all on women, song and drink, then sell again, until the inheritance runs out.
I do recall, however, my auntie Cecile Afable telling me that, like my lolo Quidno, Mateo came from Atok, Benguet.

Yes, Mateo Cariño was a true blue Ibaloy, but he came from Tublay, and a close relative of your uncle Lampaso Cariño Diaz.
A charming gentleman, he won the hand of Bayosa Ortega, a native damsel adopted by a rich Spaniard with vast landholdings, who left all his wealth to her adopted daughter Bayosa, when he went back home to Spain.

You are again right, Mateo Cariño was one of a kind, tough, and brainy.
But then so was your lolo Quidno. Otherwise, your lola Kensha, sister of my father – Wakat Suello, would not have married him.
A handsome and dapper-looking Igorot gentleman seeps into my mind, wearing an impeccably tailored white suit with a matching tie, his hair neatly combed with Vaseline that went with his well-trimmed mustache.
Now compare that to Mateo Cariño, astride a white horse, overseeing his herd of cattle grazing on green pastureland now known as Burnham Park.
Thank you, Auntie Remy, for resurrecting the pride in our Ibaloy hearts.

Happy 50th golden wedding anniversary to Des and Auring Bautista.