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SILING LABUYO: Hypocrisy and heavy dose of chutzpah

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity.” ~ French author and Nobel Prize winner Andre Gide Confession before the Holy Week is always a good thing as it helps individuals prepare themselves for the renewal that Easter brings. Catholics in particular has an obligation to go to confession and are highly encouraged even by popes to exercise the sacrament of penance during Holy Week to help them start anew. The kind of confessions they have in mind, however, is not the kind that Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez gave during a media interview. Speaker Alvarez confessed to having mistresses and having sired children from other women. He didn’t think it was a sin because “sino ba ang walang kabit?” In his mind, the fact that he perceives that everyone has a girlfriend on the side makes it a normal thing. The Speaker of the House is the fourth highest position in the Philippine government and leads a House of over 300 legislators and their staff. He is occupying a top leadership position in government and is therefore looked up to not only by the legislative people but the country as a whole. Thus, his morality or immorality is not a joking matter that he could easily dish out during a media interview like some badge of honor. Kabayan Partylist Congressman Harry Roque proudly admitted that the speaker’s adulterous affairs are common knowledge in the House of Representatives and therefore, it’s not a big deal. Roque’s solicitous comment is probably meant to suck up to the Speaker who has not yet acted on a disqualification case filed against Roque by his Kabayan partylist friends. The speaker’s own predilection of impregnating young women is in itself already an abomination treating women as an object like a dildo that he can use at any time to achieve orgasm. Yet, here was the speaker yapping about how many wives he keeps and the children he sired from each. Clearly oblivious to the fact that still being married to his first lady makes his affair to the second, third and fourth lady adulterous relationships and if he got married to any of them without dissolving his first makes it a bigamous act. That’s a lot of gall from a person who has taken an oath to obey the laws of the land. His equally adulterous boss, President Rody Duterte and acting like a pope gave his blessings to the Speaker’s dalliances. “He is not a Catholic so he is okay to keep as many wives as he wants to.” As if the laws on bigamy and adultery only applies to Catholics. Clearly, such chutzpah and hypocrisy of both men are repulsive especially given their vilification campaign against Senator Leila De Lima’s adulterous relationship with her former driver. While we are on the topic of hypocrisy, how about the audacity of Wanda Teo, the Tourism Secretary who appealed to the opposition, the media and others to tone down criticism of the Duterte administration particularly on the extra judicial killings because “they were affecting tourism.” She got a mouthful from U.N’s special rapporteur Agnes Callamard who advised the secretary to convince DU30 and his ilk to stop the EJK instead. When the president was pressed harder on the militarization of the South China Sea due to China’s construction of a military base there and with offensive weapons to boot, he boldly blamed the U.S. for not sending the cavalry while China was in the process of building it. I’m sure somebody reminded him that for the U.S. to do that that the Philippines must request it because the Americans are not claimants and therefor has no sovereignty to these islands. Somebody needs to remind him also that it was in 1992 when China started making moves to claim the islands as their own after the U.S. bases were shuttered back in 1991 with the Senate’s rejection of extending the Military Bases Agreement. More importantly, it was during President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s term when her administration through General Hermogenes Edbane, Jr. who was then governor of Zamabales sold a 500-hectare mountainous swat of lands in Sta. Cruz, Zambales to the Chinese who then “harvested” the soil for the reclamation of Panatag (Scarborough Shoal). Recently, DILG secretary Ismael Sueño was fired by no less than the president for his lack of knowledge when queried on the terms of the contract of the fire trucks purchase and loan guarantees from Austria. The deal was actually consummated during the term of the previous administration and therefore was already a done deal according to the secretary. Duterte wanted to make an example of Sueño by publicly firing him. Sueño apparently was facing corruption complaints too from his undersecretaries at the DILG who felt left out of the transaction – meaning, they were not on it and not invited to Austria when Sueño made the trip. The opposition’s reaction was equally hypocritical by labeling Sueño’s dismissal as a political move disguised as an anti-corruption measure. One of VP Leni Robredo’s adviser opined that the move is prelude to the appointment of Bongbong Marcos to the DILG. It is hypocritical because of all people they should know that everything a politician does is always viewed from the lenses of politics and cynicism. The hypocrisy here stems from a couple of things. First, if Sueño is indeed involved in corruption, then his firing is a good thing so why condemn? Senator Sonny Trillanes complains that the DU30 administration is corrupt but firing the DILG secretary if he is indeed corrupt is foul? DILG Secretary Sueño is a big fish not to mention he is a party mate of the president. President Noynoy Aquino could have exhibited the same zeal but didn’t and had a hard time firing his corrupt party mates who were involved in shady transactions. The other issue is the supposed appointment of Bongbong Marcos to the DILG portfolio. It is the president’s prerogative to hire and fire people in the Executive Department. There is a confirmation process to that but it starts and ends with the president’s pleasure. So, to second guess his appointment is clearly an encroachment on the president’s prerogative. In the Philippines, there is a term for that: “weather-weather lang yan.” The press or media is equally hypocritical. When the president complains of biased or inaccurate reporting by the press or that the media is hindering some of his programs, media people would often be quick to assert its role as the fourth estate or power. And that it is the role of the press to be antagonistic with those people in power and to check their abuses. Yet, the Philippine Daily Inquirer allows Martin Andanar, DU30’s communications secretary to write his regular column. While Andanar is a media practitioner, he now works for the government and more specifically, for President Duterte. If the role of the press is to check those in power, Andanar cannot be expected to criticize his boss or the boss’s cabinet men. Same goes for Mucha Uson who writes a regular column for the Philippine Star. Uson’s columns as a matter of fact, are for the most part hit pieces on the opposition with VP Robredo being her favorite. It is hypocritical and transactional for Philippine Star to assert its independence from the administration when it allows Ms. Uson a platform to spew her vulgarity and indecency.

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