December 6, 2022

I read somewhere that towards the end of the funeral service of Queen Elizabeth, the archbishop said before the body was taken to the grave: “Now let us remove all symbols of power from the coffin so that our sister, Elizabeth, can be committed to the grave as a simple Christian.”

Immediately, the staff of office was removed, then the scepter, then the crown, then all valuables. The queen was buried with nothing. The archbishop did not include “Queen” to her name at this point too.

Life is indeed vanity. It is transient, and that teaches us humility. Humility in power, humility in relating with others, humility in our acquisition of wealth, and humility in all our endeavors, because in the end, we will all go back with nothing. The message is simply biblical – “Remember we are dust and unto dust we shall return.”

Back home, the reverse is a truism.

In last week’s Senate hearing, Senator Robinhood Padilla rebuked an official of the Department of Foreign Affairs for supposedly being rude when responding to his questions about the Philippine-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty, the Visiting Forces Agreement, and the 2016 arbitral ruling on the West Philippine Sea.

DFA Usec. Eduardo Jose De Vega, smiling, answered “Don’t be worried, Sen. Robin Padilla. ‘Yung DFA at saka ‘yung gobyerno handang ipagtanggol ang bansa kung sino man ang lulusob sa atin, maging sino man sila.”

The subtle reference to a dialogue in one of the senator’s movies made him lose his temper “At kung sasagot po, ako po ay senador ng Pilipinas eh galangin po niya ako. Kayo po, Undersecretary De Vega. Hindi po nakakatawa.”

What a bombshell. He sounded like… “I am a senator of the Philippines, so he must respect me.”

I watched the replay of the Senate hearing on YouTube and De Vega did not sound provocative, nor was he disrespectful.

Padilla probably thought the undersecretary was trying to make light of the situation while he was speaking about serious matters, but my kindergarten teacher says “Respect must be earned and not demanded.”

We all know he is a senator with the highest number of votes – 27 million votes, or 48.18 percent of the votes cast but does he need to rub it in?

In another hearing, I cringe on the manner by which another neophyte senator called the Sugar Regulatory Administrator stupid despite the fact that the administrator having a doctorate degree.

Have we created monsters who abuse people with their legislative privileges just to feed their ego?

Days after assuming office in July, Padilla sent a letter to Senate Secretary Myra Villarica, saying that he preferred to be addressed as Robinhood C. Padilla for all Senate communications and correspondence.
I go back to the story of Icarus.

Icarus was warned by his father not to fly too low or else the sea would dampen his wings, or fly too high or else the sun would melt the wax in his wings.

But Icarus flew too high and the sun melted the wax in his wings, and he plummeted into the sea and drowned.

Icarus’ story taught us that man must know his limits.

But then again, para que estamos en poder? What are we in power for? Ay apo met.
Sigh.