June 1, 2023

Once again, we apologize to our readers (dwindling by the hour, he he) for the lapses in grammar and spelling in last Sunday’s column.
We normally pin the blame on our nearly unreadable chicken scratch, since for the past few years, our column has been mostly handwritten.
I am thinking, however, that maybe old age and a feeble memory may have something to do with it this time.

I remember an in-law who prided himself in being an intellectual, which he actually was, to a point that he was soon sounding like a brown Donald Trump, buttressed with claims that his family was known for brains and good looks, combined gifts from the heavens that women of substance find hard to resist.
Power and fortune even more so. Earned, not heaven sent, hence, fatal.

All too suddenly, alas, even before reaching the mandatory retirement age of 65, he sort of started losing his mind, no longer able to remember events, names, and faces.
He could only bewail the fate that had befallen him, and he spent his last moments in isolation crying himself to the grave.

But my father-in-law, who died at age 96, was unbelievably still sharp of mind and tongue until he was stricken with pneumonia, a common cause of death among the elderly.
He could easily recall happenings and historical events that others his age vaguely remembers.
He would connive with me only in the King’s language, never groping for words to say, like an articulate public school teacher that he once was.
A public school product myself (grades 1 to 5) I am sorry to say that yesteryears school norms were far smarter than today’s crop, except possibly fashion wise.
But my grade 5 teacher at the old Baguio Central School, Mrs. Milagros Costales, never wore the same dress twice till about weeks later.

One time, coming home from a party, it looked like the old man had one too many, and my Minda scolded her dad, reminding him that at his age, he shouldn’t be drinking.
Father and daughter got into a little spat, and I got pulled in.
Tipsy and angry, he ordered me and my family to get out of his house. My Minda thought nothing of it, apparently used to the old man’s drunken tirades, and she and our kids would still come to visit her folks over free or long weekends.
Offended as I was by his bossy and unkind remark, I stayed in a hotel all by myself, the boys alternating to sleep over every other night.

One time, we chanced upon each other during a relative’s blowout. As soon as he spotted me, my dad-in-law came over, draped an arm around me, and said, “Son-in-law, where have you been hiding yourself, I miss you.”
It was not the same with my mom-in-law, who became quiet and senile in her old age, perhaps because she stayed away from the brew – but she never failed to welcome us at the front door during every visit, and stand in the terrace to wave goodbye each time we would leave for home.
My two boys are now all grown-up and I miss my in-laws as much as we miss their mom.
Oh well, life goes on, even if it sucks.

PhilHealth officials say they are willing to undergo a lifestyle check, including executing a waiver to have their bank accounts opened.
But of course, you think the money is deposited in their names. Not on your life, the bank deposits, if not stashed away in a secret hiding place, are in the names of a close relative or a trusted friend.
Besides, why the need for a lifestyle check?”
“Res ipsa loquitur,” says a legal maxim.
Funds are either missing, misspent, overpaid, and surely pocketed.

I have said this before, and I will say it again. The biggest sin of Marcos was not stealing the country blind, it was setting a bad example for succeeding government officials to tread his footsteps. I tell you, more money has been stolen from government after his ouster, with every elected or appointed government official getting into the act.
No matter who takes over, the thievery will continue until nothing is left.

“Thou shall not worship strange gods before Me,” says the First Commandment.
Guess again Lord, money is the new god – worshipped by young and old, poor and rich, and a greedy multitude of politicians, government officials, lawyers, doctors, engineers, bankers, businessmen, even bishops and prelates.
Hell, the biggest mafia of all, bigger than the Russians and Italians, is the church itself.
Here, we also have a uniformed mafia, a mafia of barongs, suits, yes, even robes; a petroleum mafia – kunwari rollback ng singkwenta, after three weeks¸ taas ng isang daan.
Ang galing. One step backward, two steps forward.
We also have a drug mafia, a gambling mafia – casinos, for one, jueteng (or another, pati na rin lotto).
We also have a media mafia – one Mafioso taken out, another to take its place.
We also have a lower and upper house mafia, but not so bad with the latter.
And of late, worsened by the pandemic, the barangay mafia.
Noon, tong lang linggo-linggo sa mga expired or walang permit – banana cue, carinderia, sari-sari stores.
Ngayon, first names only sa listahan ng pabuya.
Anak ng mafia! May araw rin kayo, mga tulisan!