This is a story about a modified public debate sponsored by the blind, mute and the deaf. The organizers from moderator down to the judges were either blind or deaf and mute. The debaters have complete senses. The debate aimed to resolve a preposition and whoever gets pissed off lose.
A spectator asked the judges, “How will you know if a debater gets pissed off?” The blind judge said, he who shouts at the top of his lungs is pissed off. The deaf-mute using sign language said,“He who blushes is pissed off.” In short, actuations determine the winner.
As for those who have become the subject of this column, the pikon have revealed themselves.
This is my 5th column since May 7th. And because of The Manila Times’ prestige, my column quickly reached the desk of the concerned.
My first column was about the political drama in Cebu where I tackled the alleged surreptitious moves of the Garcias and Martinezes for a local radio. The day it was published, former Cebu Governor and now 3rd district representative Gwendolyn Garcia sent a text message and I quote: “Just to correct your erroneous info, I am not taking over BantayRadyo and Mariquita is certainly not a dummy of mine. I hope that you will rectify the inaccuracies in your column.”
I called Cong. Gwen several times before and while writing that column. If she keeps a phone log, my mobile number would have appeared several times between May 1 and May 5. Unfortunately, my calls were ignored. However, in the spirit of fairness, I write her late denial. As for me, I stand by my story.
Gwen, known to many as little GMA for her temper, doesn’t care showing the public her rage. But I find her polite with her messages, different from the Martinezes who, I was told, have a standing order to media handlers to attack me on the air and in social media.
My second column was about former Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn. His supporters said I should have made my stand clear— if I were for or against Hagedorn. Well, that’s the beauty of being on the neutral ground. As for Hagedorn, he is professional enough to acknowledge that being a public figure, he cannot avoid scrutiny.
Then came my Tuesday column about the Mambas— PCSO Board of Director Mabelle Mamba and Presidential Legislative Liaison Officer Dr. Manny Mamba. Their reaction was interesting. One thing was clear, they are pikon.
According to my source, someone bought all Tuesday release of The Manila Times in the newsstands of Cagayan to avoid circulation. Someone suddenly became a huge fan of the Manila Times, huh?
Later that day, a colleague of mine in DZRH and a close friend of Mabelle told me that the latter texted her. The message said: “Bakit ganyan si Niño Bonito Padilla?” Mabelle seems to have an impression that this colleague has a hand on my column. Colleague on the other hand, simply said: “Do your thing, hindi ako mangingialam nyan.” Of course, nobody can dictate to an independent mind.
I am not sure if Mabelle did her research but she seems to be looking for a padrino hoping she can silence me. The Manila Times publishes my column; DZRH airs my program.
A little later, I received text messages from Dr. Manny Mamba. The message which was sent thrice was formulated the jejemon way said: “Gud am Mr. Padilla. This is sec Manny Mamba. Can I call?”
Surprised how he got my number and because I was doing the afternoon newscast for the provinces, I ignored his text messages until my phone rang. He sounded tensed; his pitch higher than his normal speaking voice. He said: “Sana Nino, di mangyari sayo angginawa mo sa akin na may magsulat sayong mali.” He was inviting me for a meet up; I said I was not interested but am willing to listen to his piece.
Like every single politician we know, he denied everything, saying the Mambas are the victims in Cagayan. He further said: “Mga duwag ‘yang mga Enrile. Sinasabi ko yan in public and you can quote me for that. Ginagamit kayong mga taga-media, alam mo naman ang politika. Kung sino man ang source mo, isa siyang duwag.”
I am writing about the Mambas’ denial to give their side of story. Still, I stand by what I have written, the details of which I gathered from several sources— a cop, a tindera of pansit batil-patong, several farmers, kuliglig operators, a businessman, a known kabo (jueteng collector) and even tambays. They say the same things and all I had to do before writing was to verify from other reliable sources— some through local media men and some, through what had been reported in the national dailies.
Now it can be told that the Mambas lobbied that DZRH refuse admission of an applicant for Tuguegarao correspondent to replace the late Rico Calubaquib. Fearing the applicant is a supporter of Enrile, Mabelle sent messages to other reporters of DZRH. I assure though, that the DZRH provincial desk under my watch will continue to be apolitical.
Some might be wondering why I made no details of how Enrile asserts power in Cagayan. Seriously, need I write about it? Everyone knows JPE’s life story— his personal life and his life as a politician. What else is there to expose?
On the other hand, we have wondered how a political rival, Mamba, gets in the way of Enrile. That is more interesting.
Anyway, I would like to apologize to Dr. Manny Mamba for introducing him as an attorney. Being a legislative liaison, I thought he was a lawyer, not a doctor. Maybe that explains why some of the legislative- executive development advisory council initiatives under his watch have been rejected by the Supreme Court for lack of constitutional savor.
It may be recalled that Malacanang vetoed over 80 bills since President Aquino assumed office. To name a few: The Centenarian Bill, The Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Bill, and The Magna Carta for the Poor. Blame it on the lack of coordination of PLLO with the legislative department.
Unlike his predecessors, Dr. Mamba, as mere political accommodation, lacks skills and guts to be in his position; his focus on his interests in Cagayan seems to have eaten up the dignity of his office.
I am not surprised why Dr. Mamba seems to find it hard to believe that there remains some activist journalists (and decent ones) who envision change through the media. He is used to dictating people maybe?
This is not Cagayan. Not his turf. I am owned by no one, not even by my wife.
Lastly, professionalism, if not total silence, is golden. Ang pikon, talo..
Catch me live on weekdays at DZRH 6:00-7:30PM or you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org