I come from a place whither I desire to return. – from Dante’s Inferno.
I co-host a backyard-operation called ‘Rock Ed Radio’ and we have stories. For three years now, I realized that we have a pattern. When it is not campaign season, we try to discuss two lights to an issue and we see-saw our way to a balanced take. More often than not we do not hit equilibrium – but the ride is where we learn the most about ourselves and our quest for what is fair. Let me tell you about the times when I had the line, “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” thrown at my face, for there have been many.
- The Women’s Magna Carta and how it came to be : While interviewing Jamby Madrigal on our radio show, in so many harsher words, she said that it’s not fair how Pia Cayetano claims to author the Women’s Magna Carta. She then explained to me how a bill is passed then concluded with “Just because she filed it, doesn’t mean she authored it nor championed it. There are many authors to a bill.” So Pia Cayetano called me to set records straight. She did file it and it was not right for Jamby to say what she said, all official records do carry her name as the one who filed it, and that she refuses to dignify Sen. Madrigal with a lengthy reply. Other women’s groups emailed me too saying who really worked on what. Some on Pia’s side, some agreeing with Jamby. Split in half. As for me, I’m just grateful I got a first-hand narration from the Senators themselves on what goes on in their corridors before a proposed bill becomes law. Friction is usually a good indication that something is moving. Over and above this, we’re all just happy that the Magna Carta for Women exists and we are grateful to all those involved in the process. Then the chorus erupts one more time, “That’s not fair.”
- That famous speech from famous speeches: I was attempting to gather a panel to discuss on-air the plagiarized speeches of Manny V. Pangilinan. While inviting some of them to guest I was surprised to hear many formidable educators and business folk say to me, “Just let it rest. He said sorry na, usually big people don’t even bother to admit and apologize. Let it go. Tapos na yon.” First of all, apologizing for being caught plagiarizing is minimum requirement of a human being – big person or otherwise. Next – imagine the lessons! Since majority of our listeners are students, we thought it would be a great chance to discuss this prominent school offense in a venue other than their Dean’s office. To talk about plagiarism in a relaxed manner but certainly not to make light of it. Though I think the issue has been addressed by proper channels, the university has made its decision and Mr. Pangilinan has exited stage left as gracefully as humanly possible in a situation like this; we should still have an episode on plagiarism. Perhaps not necessarily locked into the MVP speech snafu but maybe we can discuss plagiarism in the light of recent political campaign ads instead?
- That depressingly fake psychiatric report: Regarding a fake psych evaluation on Sen. Noynoy Aquino, ABS-CBN says a source from the Nacionalista Party (NP) gave it to them. The Liberal Party (LP) says that’s obviously fake. Fr. Caluag corroborates with the LP – it’s not his signature on the evaluation form. Noynoy pooh-poohs it and says it’s not worth talking about. NP says to ABS-CBN reveal your sources. ABS-CBN cites the protection of sources. NP says why are you protecting a source that is corrupt? The voting public looks left then right, craning its neck in this ping-pong match, losing focus of real issues and capacity analysis of the candidates because the mud fight is so much more interesting than the policies (that should be) discussed. I asked my friend who was diagnosed with clinical depression what he thought of the whole shindig and he quietly says, “That’s not fair.” I had to stop and pause – I think he wasn’t talking about politics at all when he said that.
- The smiles that won this war. NP’s Adel Tamano and LP’s Risa Hontiveros came out on top of the heap during the recent ABS-CBN Harapan debates. Many Tweetfolks say it’s just because they’re good looking. I asked Risa what she thought of that insinuation and she said, “If that’s a compliment then –Salamat, but I hope it’s because I know the RH issue very well, hopefully it was my sense that resonated more than anything.” (then laughs) As for Adel’s Belo face gently battling Bello’s face, well what can we do – dimples is the new political cleavage. His supporters say that isn’t fair because Adel has more sense in between his cute coconut than the regular candidate for Senator. When I asked him how he deals with potshots about his looks all he says is something like, well, life’s not fair. Personally, I don’t think the Filipino votes anymore on the basis of looks- Richard Gomez lost in 2007 and we know the rest who made it to the list.
- The supreme fight. While arguing with a friend about the recent Supreme Court decision regarding appointments, we burst out into peals of laughter when she said above the restaurant’s din, “Gang, we’re talking about the Supreme Court here – of course they’re NOT FAIR!” When the laughing died down we both realized how sad we were about the way our country is run and how the quest for justice is actually THE good fight.
As of this article’s press time, I heard that the incumbent DOJ Secretary Alberto Agra reversed an initial order to release two initial suspects from the Ampatuan family because the court lacked documents proving their involvement in the massacre. I think the words “massacre” and “fair” cannot co-exist in a sentence strung by me. Personally I think even jail time will not make things fair. The scales have been swung too violently on one side, the only way to even them out is to defy all the great religions and all the Human Rights manifestos ever written. And sadly, I know this: that particular vengeance is not mine. My mother was right – the Philippines is many things, it is beautiful and wild, gentle and savage, sharp and silly, it is not yet peaceful and I don’t think it has ever been completely fair.
Now, tell me about fairness and give me some hope.
Illustration by: D.Chieppo.