I didn’t notice it at first until a naughty reporter said that a legislator resembles “Mr. Bean.” I gave a closer look to the lawmaker referred to and I realized that indeed, he looks like Rowan Atkinson, the late actor who became popular portraying the impish “Mr. Bean” in a comedy sit-com series made for television. Their similarities are more striking in their big eyes and prominent ears.
A “Mr. Bean” look-alike in the legislature should make the public imagine having great fun in that lawmaking body. But if you think this legislator could be as entertaining as the late popular British actor-comedian, you’ll be in for a big, big disappointment. Alas, their similarities end with their physical features. “Mr. Bean” makes everybody laugh even without saying any line. The lawmaker, on the other hand, makes one feel like crying whenever he opens his mouth. Why is it that I have this sneaky feeling that he’s actually the one laughing at us?
Atkinson made plenty of money playing the role of “Mr. Bean,” and he deserved every penny of it. Our lawmaker, on the other hand, makes money whether he works or not, whether we like his performance or not. We have no choice but to provide for the upkeep of this spineless legislator thru taxes.
“Spineless,” did I say? Yes, spineless—like a puppet—for he is one who’ll mindlessly follow the dictates of his leader even if he’s supposed to be independent. He has no mind of his own and will mouth the lines dictated by the powers-that-be. Why oh why do we have lawmakers like him? Ah, but that’s a question that should be asked of our voters. Or, should it be asked of the PCOS machines?
Our columnist Emeterio Perez first asked this question that was never asked by the yellow ribbon committee of the Senate: What’s the basis for the claim of Ruby Chan Tuason that she received P40 million as commission for securing the pork of senators? Tuason, originally charged with plunder, turned over that amount to the government shortly before the Ombudsman granted her immunity. Embattled Sen. Jinggoy Estrada is now asking the same question asked by Perez.
Tuason had testified that she received a five-percent commission from approved pork-funded projects. This means that at the 5% rate, she was instrumental in the release of P800 million of the pork funds to be entitled to P40 million. She told the yellow ribbon committee that she should have received more but Janet Lim Napoles, the alleged brains of the pork barrel scam, made several deductions from her commission. Yet, nowhere in her affidavit and testimony before the Senate panel did she explain how she got P40 million, or where did the P800 million of pork funds go. It’s a big letdown that the Senate yellow ribbon committee and the supposed sentinels of our justice system immediately believed her tale without getting the needed details.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada claims that Tuason got even more from the Malampaya fund but the government hasn’t touched this issue yet, not even with a 10-foot pole. He charged that from Malampaya fund commissions, Tuason set up a micro-business corporation with a P80-million capital, and put up a high-end jewelry store in a plush hotel. He also said she owns real estate in Dasmariñas Villa, Alabang, Valle Verde and Kawayan Cove here in the Philippines and also in Las Vegas, Nevada, Oakland, California, and Henderson, Nevada.
The alacrity with which Tuason’s claims were accepted (“slum dunk, buzzer-beating three-point shot that won the game”) is in stark contrast to the painfully slow government action on the “tell-all” list given by Napoles to Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. Not even suspicions that she’s out to sanitize the list could make her move faster. How long it will take her to vet the list, only she knows.
The Senate is about to start debates on the bill of Senate President Franklin M. Drilon (FMD) and Sen. Pia Cayetano requiring all tobacco products to bear pictures illustrating the ill-effects of smoking.
FMD said he expected the Senate to pass the measure this month. Senator Pia, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, is equally confident. She said that manufacturers have already agreed to print picture-based warnings on their tobacco products.
The bill’s authors are thinking of pictures of the lungs of a smoker to be printed. I don’t believe this kind of pictures will have a deterrent effect. How about printing instead pictures of President BS Aquino 3rd coughing while holding a stick of cigarette? Seeing how the “Man of Steel” could end up with coughing fits should be sufficient warning for smokers to get their hands off that stuff.