AS I WRECK THIS CHAIR
By William M. Esposo
The Philippine Star
It was a season of knockouts or KOs, as termed in boxing. First, was the devastating knockout of Manny Pacquiao in the hands of Juan Manuel Marquez. Then this was followed by the 3rd round knockout win of Nonito Donaire over Jorge Arce, as if redeeming national pride that was lost when Manny Pacquiao took an early and unauthorized nap in the ring.
But the biggest knockout victory must be that of President Benigno S. Aquino III (P-Noy) last December 17 when both houses of Congress passed the contentious RH (Reproductive Health) bill with comfortable margins — 133 to 79 in the House of Representatives with 7 abstentions and 13 to 8 in the Senate, with two senators absent. No doubt, P-Noy’s timely certification of the RH bill as urgent created the political momentum that formed the favorable final vote.
Like a great military tactician, P-Noy issued the certification as urgent at the 11th hour. It was like Marshall Gebhard Blucher’s last minute arrival at Waterloo that destroyed the poise and fighting spirit of Napoleon’s Grand Armee. P-Noy made sure first that victory was attainable before he was to use his most powerful weapon. The Bishops never knew what hit them.
Likened to a boxing match, this tussle between P-Noy and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), the repository of the medieval, narrow and superstitious mindset that has haunted the Roman Catholic Church for ages, is a long fight that threatened to extend all the way to the final round. To some medieval-minded Church leaders, it matters not if you’re right, but if you so happen to violate their edict, which they presume to be the will of God, you’re declared a heretic and then burned at the stake.
The classic example of the false pride and narrow-mindedness of those Church leaders is the persecution of Galileo, one of the finest minds the human race had produced. Galileo was persecuted because he correctly concluded that the earth is not fixed but that it revolves. The narrow minded Church leaders were stuck in their Old Testament Psalm 105:5 ‑ The earth is firmly fixed; it shall not be moved. In the end, the Catholic leaders only managed to convince future generations that their narrow-mindedness is firmly fixed. Many pro RH bill advocates saw them that way.
Most Filipinos see P-Noy as one of the trustworthy presidents that we’ve ever had, and he even has performance to back that up. P-Noy cleaned the Aegean stables of corruption left by the unlamented Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA) regime. Now going into the 3rd year of his administration, there has been no scandals linking P-Noy or the people closest to him. From being seen for decades as the sick man of Asia, we are now the talk of international investors as one of the countries to invest in. Our 2012 GDP is expected to hit 6.5%.
Nearing midway into his term, P-Noy remains one of the most popular presidents, except to some of the Bishops and Cardinals of the Catholic Church. It was bad enough that many of those self-righteous Bishops were recipients of obvious bribes from GMA. They should have had the good sense to improve their image by supporting one of the cleanest presidents that we ever had. Like their medieval progenitors, they commit the sin of pride — one of the most abominable in the eyes of God. New Testament: “The exalted shall be humbled and the humble shall be exalted.” Last December 17, at the Congress and the Senate, the exalted were humbled.
I sent P-Noy a congratulatory text message late night of December 17: “Bravo P-Noy! Your certification got the RH bill through the Bishops’ blockade. You’re a paradox on the use of power — how to win without appearing to be trying!”
P-Noy replied: “Very soft sell and low key. Always conscious not to look at the other side as the enemy but a probable partner to improve our people’s lot in life.”
The irony of this situation is that it was the political power — P-Noy — that opted to take the soft and, in a manner of speaking, the humble way. Some of our Bishops, notably Archbishop Ramon Arguelles of Batangas and Bishop Gabriel Reyes of Antipolo, couldn’t hide the froth that formed in their mouths ever since the RH bill became an issue. If these Bishops could physically do it — they’d send fire and brimstone pouring upon P-Noy and then they’ll say it’s the wrath of God.
We Filipinos should be extremely proud to have such a wise and good-hearted president. He’s our man of the hour — able to reach across the aisle in order to forge a common cause for the improvement of our people and country. In the case of the RH bill, P-Noy and the bill’s chief advocate, Representative Edcel Lagman, came from opposing factions. But they found common cause in the RH bill for the welfare of our people. Neither was Senate sponsor Senator Pia Cayetano from the president’s Liberal Party but she and P-Noy found common cause for the welfare of our people.
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Shakespeare: “Madness in great ones must not unwatched go.”
Chair Wrecker e-mail and website: firstname.lastname@example.org and www.chairwrecker.com