By Manuel Garcia Calleja
It’s a good thing when I went to the barbershop with my apo there were only Egay the barber attending to a sullen-looking kid and two other boys lined up accompanied by their yayas, which was a good thing, too, as they just kept to their wards. Also, it’s a good thing that George the “professor,” ancient Amang, wise man or wise guy, depending, and street-smart Buting were not there. I’ve got a terrible sore throat and I’m in no mood for talk.
I was about to doze off when Egay said, loud enough for me, in particular, to hear, “It’s getting to be exciting, pare.”
At once I recalled Buting starting our one-sided conversation when I met him last week with, “Pare, it’s getting to be a bore.” Like Buting, Egay was referring, of course, to the impeachment trial of the CJ.
“Unbelievable, pare, little boy lost Tupas and company continue to rack up setbacks…”
I know, I said to myself, bowing my head.
“First, the TRO on the prosecution’s request for the opening of the CJ’s dollar account…”
Frankly, I have seen it coming. I even predicted a knockout 13-0 decision because the law was definite on the absolute confidentiality of dollar bank accounts.
“Still…,” Egay stepped back to survey the back of the head of the sullen-looking boy,”…even with the preciseness of the law it’s a big wonder there were still five justices who vote against the granting of the TRO.”
I read in the paper a dissenter opined that adhering to the law on dollar accounts could turn the country into a haven for ill-gotten wealth.
“And wonder of wonders still…’” Egay said, slapping the nape of the sullen boy with alcohol, “…the Senate impeachment court went into hysteria whether to obey or defy the TRO!”
Again, frankly, without Enrile giving his take on the matter, which was to obey the TRO, I expected the Senate court not to even vote on the issue. They made the law and it’s creepy now they want to break it, for reasons they reckoned as “good reasons” but for Egay are reasons they themselves may not like or believe in but can’t do anything about.
Egay helped the next boy into the barbershop chair and began snipping his hair like he knew how the boy would like his hair cut. I now sat on the next vacant chair and swiveled to face him. Can’t doze off anyway so might as well hear him talk.
“Do you know I was about to write off the impeachment trial when after weeks Tupas still can’t get off the ground on Article 2? Maski na with that gravel-voiced Senator-judge “ca-jawling’ the PS Bank witness for more, more back accounts and even with the slick-haired, smooth-talking Senator-judge even enumerating the possibe accounts of the CJ and getting “None, your Honor” answer everytime?”
“Until…,” Egay let it hang while he surveyed what he had done with the boy’s hair, “…until somebody upped and asked, “Hey, guys, how did procurator, este, prosecutor Tupas get hold of those bank documents with which they based their request for subpoena anyway They are supposed to be confidential, di ba?”
Didn’t notice it, too, and the prosecutors have been going to town with the alleged back accounts of the CJ with the media lapping them up until, yes, until one keen observer, like our own ancient wiseman Amang, noted the attachment to the subpoena request which was not supposed to be there in the first place. Yes, how did Tupas get those?
Egay shook his head as he snipped off an errant hair. “The ‘patriotic’ Umali, standing ramrod straight, without blinking an eye, declared he got the documents from small, also a ‘patriotic,’ lady. A lady so small she was nowhere in the CCTV footage.”
I thought if the strategy was to picture a ‘patriotic’ guy and a ‘patriotic’ gal doing their ‘patriotic’ job, the better move should have been to stage it with an actual small lady handing the documents to the bulky Umali, knowing fully well that there will be a verification later and that the footage of the CCTV will inevitably come into play.
I thought also that the ‘small lady’ thing was a cover to take away the finger that could point to the ‘tall’ PS Bank manager Tiongson as the leak source.
Finished with the third boy, Egay motioned for my apo who like the first kid looked sullen, didn’t want his hair cut.”Then came Banal, another ‘patriotic’ guy who’s got this story of coming upon the documents inserted in his gate.”
Tell that to the Marines! I heard some people say to the yarns about how the bank documents got into the hands of Tupas.
“And this back-and-forth, back-and-forth, time-wasting, nerve-wracking talk about who and how the documents leaked, whether they were fake or not, until God, thank heavens, got fed up and lo and behold!, came into the picture the Banco Central and the AMLAC. More plausibe they are the “leakers”, di ba?”
Then shifting gears, Egay said: “And, pare, have you read about the chair of PAGCOR being charged by a US-based casino giant of getting favors from a Japanese businessman?”
Yes, I read that. One paper headlined it, “US suit tags PGCOR Execs.”
“Now, get this, pare, your Boss at once declared the guy tagged in the suit is innocent until proven guilty, which was ‘saliwa’ to his going around town saying the CJ is this-and-that and that the CJ should be burned at the stake, pronto, when his persecution, este, prosecution is not even half through. How do you call your Boss, pare?”
I know the word, I muttered as I escorted my apo out of the barbershop. It’s not a nice word and it won’t sound nice saying it, either.