OH, the joy of writing a column. You do a little piece, and what do you get, an avalanche of reactions from readers which tell you you’ve written something big. My column last Saturday, “Who said this? Hoy putanginang duling…” was prompted by an offer by Novaliches Bishop TeodoroBacani, Jr. of P10 million for President Rodrigo Duterte to prove his allegation that the prelate has got two wives.
Before that. I already had the topic to write about: an inquiry into the predilection of President Duterte to badmouth particularly high-placed personages. Along this theme is a passage in the book by Carlos Quirino, The Laurel Story, recounting an incident in Batangas in which President Manuel L. Quezon cussed upon seeing a cross-eyed man: “Hoy putanginang duling. Anong ginagawa mo rito (Hey, you cross-eyed one. What are you doing here)?”
The incident took place at a time when the country’s political landscape was split between the “Pros” and the “Antis,” the point of polarization being the Hare-Hawes-Cutting Act which in 1932 the tandem of Senate President Sergio Osmeña and House of Representatives Speaker Manuel Roxas (hence the moniker OSROX) had successfully worked out with the United States for granting Philippine independence. Although vetoed by President Herbert Hoover, the US Congress overrode the veto and the HHC Act was signed into law providing for the timeline for final establishment of an independent Philippines–-the ten-year transition period under the Philippine Commonwealth, the independence to be proclaimed, at the end of the tenth year, July 4, the same date as that of the independence day of America. Quezon, who was then Senate Majority Floor Leader,
objected to the HHC Act for its provision of indefinite maintenance of US military facilities in the Philippines. He led another independence mission which eventually got the Tydings McDuffie Act which was held by keen observers of Philippine affairs as nearly similar to the HHC Act but for the provision that the matter of US military facilities would be settled within a fixed time. In the controversy, those who favored OSROX were called “Pros” and those against, “Antis”.
Now, among the Pros was the vociferous and influential Senator Jose P. Laurel whom Quezon had been eyeing as a conduit to winning over the group to his side. It was in the course of Quezon’s importuning of Laurel’s sympathies that one evening he sought to attend the Batangas political rally, actually held in Lipa, about which goes the following account by Carlos Quirino:
“When the man from Baler went to Lipa during the height of the controversy sometime in 1933, he was met by a silently inimical crowd, for that province was the home of Laurel, and Lipa was the residence of Teodoro Kalaw, staunch supporters of the bill and therefore against the kastila. But the crowd was not entirely hostile because Lipa was also the bailiwick of Recto (Claro M.), a rabid anti.
“Just before he got on the platform in the public meeting called by his adherents, Quezon saw a cross-eyed man approaching him.
“’Hoy, putangina mong duling, anoang ginagawa mo dito?’ exclaimed Quezon in Tagalog.”
Long story short, that incident demonstrated a number of nice political oddities. One, cussing “putangina” far from isolating, endears the speaker to the public. It took that one single cuss to get the belligerently quiet Batangueños to burst out in guffaws. Since that night, the Batangas folks were never the same again; Quezon had won them.
Needless to say, Dr. Laurel, among them.
For, as the writer explains, the cross-eyed fellow Quezon cussed was no ordinary citizen. He was a respected alderman who, having swallowed the cussing, got the cusser adulated by the throng.|
Says the writer: “Incidents like this buttressed the popularity of the President, and Laurel, who was one of the curious onlookers said to himself: ‘What a master of crowd psychology is the President – no wonder he has remained at the top of the political heap for the past two decades.”
Might not Dr. Laurel be referring, too, to Duterte now? Despite the latter’s unbridled cussing, he stays on top of the political heap. His consistent approval rating attests to this. Like Quezon, he must have discovered the secret of the psychology of public cussing. You don’t cuss just any cross-eyed person. You cuss a cross-eyed person who commands public respect. So, for instance, you don’t just badmouth Ambassador Goldberg, you cuss President Obama, too; you don’t just slam the United Nations rapporteur, you blast UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, too; and you don’t just damn the perceived promiscuous bishop, you bang the Pope, too.
For all of that, you get your trust and public approval rating well-ensconced in the tally boards of SWS and Pulse Asia, and elsewhere.
That was the originally intended theme for my column last Saturday. For the conclusion, I would then cite the distinction given President Quezon as the Father of the National Language. That would rationalize a thinker’s proclamation that putangina is the national language of the Filipino people.
With the article title already typed, I suddenly came across the word war between the Digong and the alleged keeper of concubines. That gave me the idea of passing off the Quezon episode not as an outright sharing of a historical insight but as a subject of a contest among readers. As attested to by the stream of comments from readers, the ploy proved fruitful. Below is a cross-section of those comments, categorized according to the following criteria:
For the money of it
Diego Cagahastian: Offering P5 million for something presupposes that you have this amount. I want Bishop Bacani to explain not his wife or wives, but the myth of the priestly vow of poverty.
Juan: The big question is! Saan galing ang 5mil na pera ni bacani? Galing sa limos ng mga taong ngsisimba? 2nd question nagbabayad kya ng tax si bacani? kung hindi ka cgurado na malinis ka huwag mong pansinin ang putik sa mukha ng iba…
For the morality of it
Julio Ofreneo: As if news of priests having wives is something new! Of course, no one will admit and it does not mean literally getting married. These crooks have sex partners and some have children too.
Ren Fuentes: methinks that bacani was the subject of deo macalma’s blind item 2 or 3 days ago (just after the speech of du30 mentioning bacani having 2 wives). according to deo’s bubwit, si bishop ay merong inanakan na mayor doma ng kanyang kapatid. Hindi na man ito pinabayaan at binigyan ng puhanan sa negosyo ang babae at pinagaral yung anak na lalaki. Ngayon daw ay nagnenegosyo sa caloocan ang anak ni bishop at mayroon ng pamilya at ginagamit ang apelyido ni bishop. Sabi ito ng bubwit ni deo macalma
Some comments in this category are biblical quotes that are so long they cannot be accommodated in this space but as excerpts:
R. Ancheta:” Matthew 10:34-36 (ESV)
“Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.
“Who then is the true one, the pope who loves peace or the coming Christ who shall bring a sword and division among the people?
“But history has reverted to errors—cursing or making cuss words has been despised and declared evil. When the truth of the matter is, cursing or cussing was solely used to condemn a sinner for the evil he has done.”
However, it was John the Baptist who brought to resurrection this lost tradition of cursing the sinners or the wrongdoers.
He said to the Pharisees—You brood of vipers! How can you escape being sentenced to hell?
Christ followed suit when he cursed, You brood of vipers! How can you speak good when you are evil?
Note: You brood of vipers” is the equivalent of our own cuss words, “Putangina mo or putangina ninyo”.
For the laughs of it
As to the question in the title:
Lea Hetherington: It was Bishop Bacani when seeing Duterte inside his church.
Juan Alphonse Demaio: I will hazard a wild guess as to who said, “Hoy putonginang duling, bakit dito ka?” It was Sir Rody who said that to a cross-eyed visitor. The cross-eyed visitor, who was an investigator secretly working for Sir Rody, said that he saw two women who he is sure are the bishop’s wives, and Sir Rody believed him. (Of course the “duling” saw two women when there was only one).
In the same vein, here’s what reader Mikhail Hieronymus says: “Former Manila mayor Arsenio Lacson said it.” The allusion, of course and if memory serves me right, was to the ubiquitous dark glasses the Arsenic wore in order to hide his eyes, which were, that’s right, you said it.
And now, for the winner
Dante: I think, Manuel L Quezon.
Pidro: All thumbs up, Sir, for your common-sense suggestion to Bishop Bacani. Maybe, the good prelate got pricked, nanahimik lang ginugulo, e. For me, as I’ve experienced being a butt of (dirty) jokes before, just “let the dog bark.” Silence becomes golden when words prove superfluous. To your q.: “Who said…?” My guess: President Quezon
From the looks of it, Dante and Pidro, got it correctly. But Dante says, “I think” and Pidro, “my guess’, and what I asked for was a categorical answer, not conjecture.
So, with that technicality, I felt I was not obliged to pay any winner in my contest – until I came across this lady from the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication, Terry Tan Singun-Congjuico, who, showing on her mobile phone an online copy of the “putangina” article, categorically told me: “My answer to that is Quezon.”
She didn’t claim the prize though. And I didn’t offer to pay either. Whew!