Illustration by Dave San Pedro
At 9:30 AM on June 10, 2010, after he was proclaimed President-elect by Congress, Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III received a telephone call from President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who had just left Shanghai, China on her way back to Manila. The conversation goes:
Gloria: Hello, Noynoy. This is Ate Glo calling.
Noynoy: Ate Glo… who?
Gloria: This is President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. But just call me Ate Glo.
Noynoy: Oh, hello! Madame President… err.. Ate Glo… umm. What a pleasant surprise that you called.
Gloria: Well, I want to be the first to congratulate you on your proclamation as President-elect. You deserve the honor…
Noynoy: Thank you for your kind words, Ate Glo. But I just want to let you know that you’re not the first who called. President Barack Obama called 30 minutes ago. He was the first to congratulate me.
Gloria: Well, I’m glad then that I’m the second to call…
Noynoy: The second was Chinese President Hu Jintao. He told me that you wanted to see him in Shanghai to talk about improving China-Philippine relations. But he said he refused to meet with you because you’re now a lame pekeng duck. He he he… The third was Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan. We had a productive talk. And the fourth was the Portuguese Prime Minister.
Gloria: Portuguese? Hmm… Anyway, I’m on a plane heading back to Manila. I would like to invite you to my private island resort for a tête-à-tête to… umm… talk about our common interests.
Noynoy: I don’t think we have anything in common… other than smoking.
Gloria: I don’t smoke, Noynoy.
Noynoy: Well, in that case, there’s nothing to talk about then. Barack and I hit it off when we talked about our smoking habits. He he he… He invited me to a smoking and beer summit at the White House garden next month.
Gloria: Very good! Seriously, I must see you about something, Noynoy.
Noynoy: What is it, Ate Glo?
Gloria: I’m concerned about all this talk that you’re going to prosecute me for plunder. That’s a very serious allegation. However, I have a proposal to make.
Noynoy: Proposal? What is it that you want to propose, Mrs. Arroyo?
Gloria: Well, I’m willing to return 75% of all my wealth in exchange for immunity from prosecution.
Noynoy: That’s interesting! Actually, that also happened to my mom when she was president. The deposed dictator Ferdinand Marcos made a deathbed proposal through Vice President Doy Laurel that he was willing to return 90% of the Marcos loot in exchange for immunity of his family from prosecution. Now, why is it that you’re only offering 75% of your loot?
Gloria: The percentage doesn’t matter, my friend. You see, the 75% I’m willing to return would be 10 times bigger than the 90% Marcos was willing to return!
Noynoy: Oh Lord, it’s true then! You’re the most corrupt president in the history of the Philippines!!! Kurakot!
Gloria: Hold it, hold it! Don’t get excited, my friend. I’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse.
Noynoy: Oh? And what’s that, godmother?
Gloria: I’ll give you half of the other 25%. That’s 12.5% of the total loot! And I’ll sweeten the pot, too. I have copies of the 175 Yamashita treasure maps. I’m talking about gold, silver, and precious stones valued in tens of trillions in US dollars! That’s a lot of moolah, pal. Let’s have a joint venture and split 50/50 what we recover. It’s going to be fun! What says you, partner?
Noynoy: My mom refused Marcos’ offer and I’ll do the same. I won’t take your offer. You’ll be prosecuted for plunder! And one of my top priorities would be to recover your loot! As for the Yamashita loot, the Japanese Prime Minister and I already agreed that our governments will collaborate in searching for the treasures. Our governments will split what’s recovered.
Gloria: Ha ha ha… In that case I’m not going back to the Philippines. Hoy, Mike! (talking to her husband) Tell the pilot to change course. We’re going to Portugal, right now! Did you hear that, Noynoy boy? We’re going to Portugal where there is no extradition treaty with the Philippines. Adios, kiddo! Ha ha ha…
Noynoy: Not so fast, Ate Glo! Didn’t I tell you that the fourth person who called me was the Portuguese Prime Minister? Well, I lied. Actually, I was the one who called him.
Gloria: You called him? Why???
Noynoy: Well, I called him about your secret plan to go to Portugal to avoid prosecution here. I requested him to deny you entry into Portugal. He agreed. You are now a persona non grata in Portugal. You have nowhere else to go. Come on home now and face the music. It’s going to be sweet and sassy. Hasta la vista, baby.
Gloria: Walang hiya!