The pork barrel scandal, one of the biggest to tar the administration of President Benigno Simeon (BS) Aquino The Last, I mean The Third, is being likened to a basketball game. Search me why. Maybe it’s because the “players” are good at passing—in this case, not the ball but the blame. Oh well, the use of basketball lingo actually started with the President when he said that his administration is now on its “last two minutes.” (I never knew two minutes could last this long!)
The pork barrel “game,” after a brief “time out,” resumes tomorrow with the supposed “referee,” the Senate Blue Ribbon, hearing the testimony of Ruby Tuason, a major player who agreed to turn state witness to avoid prosecution.
Justice Sec. (Coach?) Leila de Lima called Tuason’s affidavit against Senators Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada a “slam dunk.” Senator Jinggoy, an avid basketball player, wasn’t convinced that Tuason could make a slam dunk. He pointed out that a slam dunk is certain only if Kobe Bryant of the Lakers is involved. Talking with Senate reporters, he said he considers Tuason’s testimony a mere “lay-up that could still be blocked.”
He and JPE said they wouldn’t attend the Blue Ribbon hearing. Are these “players” content on sitting on the “bench” while the “game” is being played at the Senate? Or, do they fear that the “referee” is biased in favor of the other “team?”
To Senator Jinggoy, Tuason might be a mere “enforcer” sent into the game by the administration team. He claimed that she was forced by the administration to testify against him and JPE.
And if Tuason were a “point guard,” she shouldn’t be allowing some opponents from scoring uncontested. That in essence is the advice of Reps. Ferdinand Martin Romualdez of Leyte and Jonathan dela Cruz (Party-list, Abakada) to her. They urged her to reveal everything that she knows, to identify all who benefited from the pork barrel scam, “even if it would involve allies of the President.”
Now, here comes Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite warning of “three-point plays” against the administration team with the latter’s premature disclosure of evidence against the opposing team.
Me? I’m more worried about “deliberate fouls” being committed on opposing players with the encouragement of the “coach” and with the “referee” turning a blind eye to the whole thing.
I’m also worried that while the country is being entertained with this “game,” it might forget the Disbursement Acceleration Program, the high power rates and the alleged overpayment by the Department of Agrarian Reform by about P167 million to Hacienda Luisita owned by the family of the President.
Excuse me while I watch the more exciting, more competitive and more enjoyable UAAP women’s volleyball games.
Big talk, small stick
Former US President Theodore Roosevelt once said: “Speak softly and carry a big stick. You will go far.”
Our very popular (according to surveys) President may not have heard of this popular quotation from The Rough Rider. In the wake of his belligerent talk against China, a major power, he’s definitely speaking loudly while carrying a small stick. He won’t go far this way.
Most of his defenders are branding as “traitors” all who urges caution in the President’s tirades against China in the dispute over atolls in the West Philippine Sea. He was so pugnacious that he even vowed to fight to the last Aquino, I mean to the last Filipino, to defend its territory.
It’s comforting to hear him say that one resorts to name-calling (he was branded “an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality” by a Xinhua News Agency commentator) when one couldn’t answer the issues. He should have known this when he likened China to Nazi Germany. As pointed out by many old hands in diplomacy, no head of state had ever spoken against another country as harshly as he had.
Raising the Philippine flag on this issue will whip emotions to higher level, which need not happen. The claims over the West Philippine Sea have been in the air for several decades already but they had never created as great a tension as we’re seeing now under the watch of BS Aquino The Last, I mean The Third.
No Philippine president has been as bellicose against China as he is. Is this because he’s more patriotic than his predecessors? Or is it because he really knows nothing about international diplomacy? In any case, China has raised its armed presence in the contested area, resulting in increased tension between the two countries. Note that there’s no such animosity between China and the other claimants to the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea.