• Drink and be merry?


    MANY lawmakers may not be drunk with power but a number definitely gets drunk while in power. As one once said: “Many lawmakers don’t drink–they get drunk.”
    A congressman narrated how he was complimented by an awed person with the way he held his glass.

    “If he could only see the really strong drinkers of the House. I’m not even in the First Five,” he chuckled.

    I don’t know how many “spirited” members the House still has, but the fact that the chamber has had difficulty passing a measure banning driving under the influence could give a clue to their number.

    Among the lawmakers at the Batasan, the late Leonardo Perez of Nueva Vizcaya (Rep. Carlos Padilla claimed he was cheated by Perez) gave the most vivid picture of an inebriated member. When he entered the session hall during the Regular Batasan, he wouldn’t walk straight to his seat. Wouldn’t? I should say “couldn’t.” He would sway from one side of the aisle to the other as he inched his way to his place.

    Although Perez often attended sessions obviously drunk, members of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan deferred to him. He was then the political adviser of President Ferdinand Marcos and whenever he spoke, he was presumed to be voicing the stand of Marcos.

    At the Senate, the late Sen. Blas Ople was unequalled. He eased off with his drinking on his last term/year, however.

    “The voice from above is getting stronger,” Ka Blas explained.

    Manila Mayor Erap Estrada was a strong drinker starting with the time he was in showbiz. During his tenure in Malacanang, his doctor asked him to give up his favorite drink “Blue Label” if he wanted to live longer and healthier. Erap gave away dozens of the expensive Blue Label to then Sen. Tessie Aquino Oreta. The senator, in turn, gave bottles to Senate reporters (including this Congress Insider, I must confess.)

    Hey, I don’t have to focus only on lawmakers who drink. The fact is, many in media are also avid drinkers although not the more expensive ones, mainly beer. Drinking beer has many drawbacks, including the need to relieve oneself.

    A group of reporters were on a sidewalk after calling it a day at a beer joint. One felt the need to urinate but the only nearby cover was a car. He unzipped his pants and was urinating when the car suddenly darted forward. He didn’t want his “thing” to be seen by the public so he tried to keep astride the car–which was an impossibility.

    During an election campaign, a group of tired reporters were having a round of beer at a Davao hotel when a candidate for senator arrived. He saw what the reporters were drinking and ordered his aide to get his bottle of Fundador from his car.

    The senatorial candidate had just opened the Fundador when he received a call thru his cellphone. He told the reporters he had to attend an emergency meeting then left — bringing along the still full bottle of Fundador with him.

    I don’t know what’s in a drink but I have seen it change the character of a person. There was this Defense reporter from Bicol known for being very friendly and for being soft-spoken. Whenever he drinks, a new person emerges. He acts like a sex maniac and would try to embrace and kiss a waitress.

    Another seemingly quiet media man was already drunk when he challenged to a fight a man who passed by our table. The “sin” of the passerby? He looked at the reporter who considered the look offensive. I had to follow that man to the rest room and apologized. I had to do it or there would be a rumble (the man had company). I surely wouldn’t leave my companion–and I didn’t want a fight to ensue. Thankfully, the aggrieved man wasn’t hot-tempered. Since that incident, I never went to a bar with that media man again.

    It’s not only the hot-tempered persons that one should guard against in a drinking bout. Would you believe that the practice of “tagay-tagay” where the entire group would use only one glass to drink beer poured from a jug could also be harmful to your health? A friend realized this when it was his turn to drink and with a round of “tagay” about to end.

    At the bottom of the jug was a denture placed there by a prankster.



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