I t’s over a year, Sir, since I and a tennis-playing friend wrote you a Dear Noynoy letter. Now I write, yet one more time.
I will still address you Sir because P-noy, your self-given appellation, which my friend snorted at then as “jokey,” (Sounds like a joke, he said) is now used sparingly (di masyadong bumenta) and the way you are addressed these days – President Noynoy – is sort of icky, limp, weak; like how a doting mother calls a son who can’t seem to cope up, so says my barber (who’s my kibitzer this time.)
As in at the start of your term, there are now the same spate of Dear Noynoy letters (disguised as opinion pieces and commentaries) in the papers, radio and tv and the Internet. With their tips and advices, encouraging words and their giving you good marks (from your KKKs, of course) I think, Sir, people continue to care and want you to make it and…
“Not so!,” interposed my barber. “They are STILL treating him like a walang kamuwang-muwang kid off to his first day in school!”
(OMG! Unbelievable! Exactly the same words uttered in the same snorting way a year ago by my tennis-playing friend who has gone, I hope, to heaven last December!)
If you remember, Sir, last year I narrated how my mother prepared me for my first day in school (with a raincoat and rubberized cap over my school uniform; my shoes disappearing inside a pair of galoshes) which, like those Dear Noynoy letters, showed concern with the storms that will come…
“Afraid then,” my barber cut in again. “… MORE afraid this time!”
The storms did come, Sir, and go. You weathered them all.
“Rode them out is more like it,” my barber smirked. “For the SOP of solving a problem by the Pasig River palace Boss is to sit on it and think it over and continue sitting on it and thinking it over until people forget. The bloody Luneta hostage-taking fiasco, for example…”
But, Sir, you even woke up early the following day to go to the scene…
“And he could have counted the number of bullet holes on the bus, for all the world care!”
But, Sir, you ordered an investigation, di ba?
“And so he did and also with the other booboos, like the Torres shenanigan, and where did they all end up?”
Anyway, like what I said last year, Sir, I must commend you for promising to eradicate corruption, although I must admit , Sir, that this is one nut even the Singapore Superman can’t crack. It’s amazing not a single day passes without alleged corruption – funds misused, millions pocketed, biddings rigged, cost overpricing, palms greased thick – being bannered in the papers, aired over radio, flashed on tv. It seemed, Sir, you are really out to make good on your promise to run after those whom you perceived to be as not as lily-white as you and your KKKs. It looked, Sir, that you’re hellbent on collaring those you think have not walked the “tuwid na daan,” most particularly the little lady. I can imagine, Sir, the nights you have been dreaming of the little lady locked in some dark, dank cell hanging by her fingertips, but who mockingly grins at you in return. “
“Obsessed, that’s how I look at it,” my barber said, calmly starting to trim my already thinning hair. “… squandering precious working hours that should have been spent on governing a country, which BTW, is what being enthroned at Malacanang is all about.
“And as a result of having “nobody home,” my barber continued before I could open my mouth, “… jueteng still in full bloom…drug trade flourishing… murders, carjackings and rapes have increased…joblessness is rising…OFW jobs reducing… inflation rate rising… prices of rice, sugar, pork and chicken high… we are still short of 66,000 classrooms, 113,000 teachers… floods still hitting Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Mindanao… colorum buses still running on Edsa, among others and those are not my assessments,” my barber was quick to point out, “but that of of a columnist who should know wherefore he writes!”
Still, I must admit your drive against corruption is “right on track,” as your “good-news” messengers are telling us (and without batting an eyelash.)
“So that’s why,” my barber cut me again, “the general who they said pocketed those millions is now a free man? The fertilizer scammer still enjoying his millions? And up to now no big fish has been convicted for corruption?”
Still, I must commend you, Sir, for excusing no one in your corruption drive and I am talking about the Pajero 7.
“Tit-for-tat, that’s what it is,” my barber sort of enlightened me. “The Boss started it by going for the RH Bill. The prayerfuls retaliated by telling the Boss he is not up to the job and must ride into sunset in his Porsche or BMW, pronto. The Boss shot back by spreading out the “Pajero skeletons” in the closets of the men in the immaculate cloth (never mind if those subsequently hamming it up on tv and in the papers in aid of whatever not only have “Pajeros” but really “ritzy wheels skeletons” in their closets.)
Sir, I’m sorry but I have this feeling that something’s rotten hereabouts. There are these infrastructure projects, ongoing or even at their last stages of work, being put on hold or even cancelled; contracts rescinded, plans scrapped. Is it because they were conceived or initiated by the previous Pasig River overlords? Or, as malicious wags say, the present palace overlords want a bit, or the whole, of the action?
Sir, I have also this feeling that the Conditional Cash Transfer by the good lady with the red-today, blue-tomorrow streak of hair, is going to work like the feeding programs of some kindhearted souls. They can do only so much for a time. It would have been better, Sir, if we go by the truism about the hungry being taught how to fish instead of just giving him the fish.
Sir, I know we have still a long way to go but this early you have already lost quite a number of your big rah-rah squad. Of course, Sir, for you it’s “Yey!” if the polls are up and “No big deal!” if the polls are down. I wish you could have a copy of a postmortem write-up (Excluded Middles, First Year, Bulletin, July 6, 20ll) of your appeararance at the recent UP graduation rites by Ms Averill Pizzaro, a BS Philo graduate at the UP Diliman, Quezon City. The unflappable Mr. Lacierda, et al, may dismiss Ms Pizzaro’s article as just another from a “self-confessed cynic” but I found “grains of wisdom” in it while from your talk at the UP, Ms Pizzaro said she heard none. For my barber,“First Year” is one helluva of an article he would die for writing himself.
Manuel Calleja used to work as a copywriter with advertising agencies. In his retirement, he does community outreach, including serving as Lupon Tagapamayapa in his barangay in Quezon City. He recently won third place in a national essay writing contest sponsored by National Bookstore and Philippine Star.
published at Blog Watch at the Philippine Online Chronicles