December 5, 2023

Of the 12 disciples of Jesus, two of them, Simeon Peter and Judas Iscariot, have the notoriety of being known as the apostles who betrayed Jesus Christ. In both instances, Christ predicted they are about to commit “crimes” even before they were consummated.
Simeon Peter was told that he would deny Jesus and indeed the story goes that at dawn after Jesus was arrested, a woman in the crowd recognizing him as an apostle asked him if he knew Jesus. He denied that he did and a rooster crowed three times.
Fast forward to present time. Three prominent men, a doctor, lawyer, and a contractor died and were sent to the pearly gates of heaven where Simeon Peter, now a saint, was designated Keeper of the Gates. Peter was supposed to screen them and a rooster in his shoulder would crow when the applicant was found lying.
Thus he asked the doctor, “What good have you done to your fellowmen while you were on Earth?” Doc replied, “I headed several medical missions for the indigent patients and now I am head of the Care Center for Covid-19 PUIs.” The rooster did not crow implying that Doc was not telling a lie. Peter approved his documents and off he went to heaven.
The lawyer was asked the same question. He replied, “I had many de officio cases, handling for free cases of poor litigants, and even acquitted a murder suspect wrongfully charged.” Neither did the rooster crow, implying that attorney was not telling a lie. Peter approved his documents and off he went too to heaven.
Next came the contractor, but before Peter could even pose the question, the contractor handed him a white envelope stuffed with a bundle of thousand-peso bills. “What is this?” asked Peter and contractor replied “Ser, SOP, pang kape-kape.” Peter was adamant and proclaimed, “Alam mo naman na never at hindi ako tumatanggap ng SOP na ganyan!” Immediately, the rooster in his shoulder crowed.
Judas, on the other hand, for 30 pieces of silver, set in motion the events that led to Jesus’ crucifixion when he was the pointman who identified Christ at the Garden of Gethsemane using the code name “rabbi” for his captors to know whom they were to arrest. He was some sort of a bayong-hooded Makapili (Makabayang Katipunan ng mga Pilipino) during World War II who gave military aid or pointed to guerillas to the Imperial Japanese Army.
At the Last Supper, Jesus told the apostles that one of them was going to betray him, and like a true traitor Judas had the gall to ask, “Is it I?” Of course the modern version is Jesus is setting up for supper and he calls Judas over to help. “Judas, please set the table.” He complies and sets the table. “Judas, put the food on the table.” He places the food on the table. “Judas, please call everyone to the table.” Again, he does as he is told and gathers everyone.
As they are enjoying the feast Jesus planned and had Judas serve, Jesus gets really serious and says, “This will be my last supper with you.” He pauses and continues, “One of you will betray me.” At which point Judas throws his hands up in a huff, “Why do I have to do everything around here? Diyos ko po, pinag-iinitan ‘nyo na naman ako, lasing lang kayo!”
At the end of the day, after realizing the wrong they committed, Peter asked for forgiveness from Christ. Judas, on the other hand, hanged himself without asking, thus was banished eternally.
Betrayals and stabbing in the back remain though in the present even if Christ’s sacrifice supposedly brought salvation to humanity. Sigh!

Erratum: The last paragraph of my April 5, 2020 column should have read,“Nevertheless, according to Magtanong, they are ready to file a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court and hopefully last April 2 did but 15-0, Asa-ka-pa!” Happy April Fool’s Day joke! Technical glitch on my part in its transmission. Happens even to the best. Mea culpa.