Every All Souls Day, I recall this hair-raising anecdote involving a former sectoral representative of the House.
Dear friend Bert de Guzman of Balita and I wanted to interview some House leaders after learning that Rep. Datu Joseph Sibug (Cultural Minority) had just died. It was then that we met Rep. Vic Tagle [Peasant Sector], a seatmate and bosom buddy of Sibug, who was ashen-faced and was shaking his head.
Tagle told us that before the start of the session he was having an animated conversation with Sibug near the main entrance. He said that Sibug even showed him a draft of the privilege speech he had intended to deliver. Thus, he couldn’t believe that at that precise time, Sibug was already hovering between life and death at the Heart Center. In fact, Sibug couldn’t have possibly gone to the House because he was rushed to the ICU early that morning and never left it until he died.
Throughout his life, the late Tagle remained adamant that Sibug had appeared before him and talked with him. If that indeed happened, then it must had been Sibug’s ghost who did. The story didn’t end there. At the wake of Sibug, a sheaf of papers was placed neatly on a nearby table. His widow said it was the draft of the privilege speech that Sibug was supposed to deliver.
* * *
Speaking of ghosts, some staffers of the Office of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms stay clear of a room on the fifth floor every time they make their usual rounds near midnight. They say they could hear sounds inside the room which they know to be empty. And what about reports that the Passport Division of the Department of Foreign Affairs had to vacate the Film Center after repeatedly hearing moans and grieving sounds?
Many workers were reportedly buried alive there during its construction.
Of course, no scary story would be complete without mentioning the “White Lady of Balete Drive” in Quezon City.
A friend told me this story:
A taxi driver picked up a lady along Balete Drive near midnight. The passenger was dressed in black so he didn’t associate it at all with the infamous “White Lady.” In a little while, he saw that the dress of the lady was turning white. It was then that he became nervous.
“Lady, you were wearing black before. Why is it white now?” the driver asked haltingly, his body shaking in fear.
“It’s because I’m using _____ detergent powder,’ she replied, mentioning a certain brand.
* * *
This is a real scary story: The House saw nothing wrong in the “errata” on the 2015 budget and approved the entire appropriations measure without cuts. Majority congressmen even defended the Department of Budget and Management that was responsible for the “errata.” Worse, they approved a provision allowing the President to impound funds even before the end of the year. The hijacking or usurpation of their power of the purse by Malacañang means nothing to them.
Malacanang wanted this special provision so it could use funds faster. Oh yes, Malacañang approved the rehab program for Typhoon Yolanda a year after it devastated most of Eastern Visayas. How about that for fast action by Malacañang?
* * *
I commiserate with the bereaved relatives of ex-Sen. Juan Flavier who died Thursday after a lingering illness. Now, there’s nothing scary to be said about Flavier. In fact, he lit up with his wit any occasion that he had attended. He was a live wire. I can compare him to the late Rep. Sonny Escudero of Sorsogon who was a barrel of fun.
Flavier had often been called The Great Quorum Provider. He was always ready to be the second senator in a committee hearing to constitute a quorum. (Sen. Kit Tatad, one of the best majority leaders of the Senate ever, would frown on this practice of only two senators being considered enough to transact committee business.) After Flavier’s “graduation” from the Senate, it was Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile who attended the most committee hearings. Unlike Flavier, however, JPE, always made his presence felt by asking searching questions and giving additional info that resource persons seemed not to know.
Flavier was a former health secretary. Once, when the Senate wanted to find out if then National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales was merely feigning a heart ailment to elude detention, the chamber sent Flavier and then Sen. Duktora Loi Ejercito Estrada to the Heart Center.
In his formal report at the Senate Session, Flavier said he confirmed that Gonzales had heart ailment.
“Duktora Loi, a psychiatrist, confirmed that Gonzales was sick in the head,” he added as the crowd roared in laughter.
Flavier is gone but his memory lives on.