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Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of the Republic of Cebu

October 11, 2007 Leave a comment Go to comments

Ricardo Cardinal Vidal of the Republic of Cebu
Ronald Roy  -October 11, 2007

       I always interact with friends and strangers through our cell phones. Today is a fine opportunity to comment on some newsy matters raised by them. Texter Christine asks: “Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?” Obviously, the best way to solve this conundrum is to ask, “Which did God create first?” This best way, although addressed to the Almighty, still begs the question. But let’s get a clue from Genesis. God created Eve, the first woman, who later gave birth to a child. So, who came first, Eve or her son (Abel or Cain, or both, if they were twin brothers)? From this we can reasonably infer that the chicken comes ahead of her egg, right Christine? Just as interesting is your other question: “Which comes first, power or money?”

       Again we must roll back the hands of time in search of the answer. Sometime in the beginning of time, brute force was employed by the strongest in the tribe to quell the unrest for only one purpose: to assert primal machismo. The primitive bete noire soon realized that those he had dominated would look up to him for leadership—or power—to provide them their basic needs and to defend them against other hostile tribes. The leader also soon realized that he needed to give perks to a close circle of brainy and loyal followers who would aid him as his think-tank and defenders against putschists or coup plotters from within and without his tribe. The maddening sense of power had to be preserved at any and all costs. Alas, came the notion of producing the perks from the possessions of his tribesmen.

       Let’s now turn forward the hands of time to present-day realities in the Philippine setting, and pose the question: “Which comes first, power or money?” The answer stares us all in the face. The political bete noire is the inseparable tandem of Mr. And Mrs. Jose Miguel Tuason Arroyo. Their think-tank and defenders are, compared to 88 million Filipinos, a tiny assortment of obsequious and parasitical functionaries in the three branches of government, whether or not in soldiers’ uniform, not to mention elements from the clerical and business sectors. Their perks are unjust taxes slapped on Filipinos, revenues lost to smugglers, BIR fixers, influence peddlers, bribers, bribe-takers, in fine: all who benefit from the corrupt practices of a few at the expense of innumerable citizens. So there, Christine, thanks for your insightful questions.

       A reader with cell phone number ending in 1214 posits that “our stagnating socio-economic fix will end only when we all return to God by crushing idolatry of unreasonable material comforts.” That is beautifully put, #1214, and I can only agree with you. You, who are from Cebu, also ask that I comment on the wish of Cebu Archbishop Ricardo Cardinal Vidal that the Senate stop its probe on the cancelled NBN deal with ZTE Corp. of China, so that it can attend to more pressing problems like poverty and other social ills, instead of becoming “too personal” about the allegedly scandalous private life of Mr. Benjamin Abalos, Sr. Well, #1214, in the first place, Cardinal Vidal is a native of the Republic of Cebu, better known as Gloria country. I cannot help but see him as a very partial person, someone who is hopelessly blind to the wrongdoings of GMA, the president of the republic of his province in the south. I don’t know how you’re taking this, #1214, but I call things as I see them.

       For the inseparable tandem, it’s all about power, and for their supporters, it’s all about pelf and perks or, in a word, money. It follows then that for the cardinal, the tandem’s follower, it’s all about money. I’d like to ask him how much worth of payola he regularly receives from Mr. Big and Mrs. Small. I’d also like to tell him that he is a moron if he does not realize his payola is subsidized by the poor people of the Republic of the Philippines. I’d also like to inform him that the Philippine Constitution empowers—and expects—the Senate to catalyze a system of check and balance against the repressive Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, by inquiring into grounds for her impeachment, as mandated by the electorate’s recent overwhelming victory at the senatorial polls.

       Your Eminence, in Gloria’s administration you will find the greatest cheats, liars and thieves, perhaps also the slickest purveyors of marital infamy—the evil that money easily buys. I don’t particularly allude to the alleged second family of Mr. Abalos, Sr., whose conjugal uprightness I can concede. But I will uphold the duty of senators to inquire into the moral fitness of government people, especially impeachable officials like the COMELEC chairman—he who has become the most controversial public figure in the last few years, next only to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Cardinal Vidal, have you ever raised your hackles over the numerous scandals surrounding his office? Or even raised your eyebrows? Or even wondered how come it has taken over five months until COMELEC acting Chairman Resurrecion Borja finally referred to the legal department the possible liability of Lintal Bedol as for the heinous crime of electoral sabotage? You are not at all shocked, your Eminence, that the COMELEC has all this time dragged its feet? And I suppose you were elated there was no dragging of feet in the unconstitutional ouster of Joseph Estrada in 2001? Last Tuesday night, #1214, I reached the cardinal on a long distance call and asked him all these questions. But all I got from him was a deafening silence punctuated by a loud belch, followed by a hic. You must have had quite a meal, Father. Bless you!

       I’d like to assure your Eminence that this critique is not meant to be a discourteous affront to your holy cloak. My queries are intended for the enlightenment of all the faithful. Here is one last question, although there are others still. How do you react to the words of His Grace, Archbishop Oscar V. Cruz, who says, “For all intents and purposes, the current administration in particular seems to have adopted the stand that which it spends unreasonably, the people must pay strictly; what debts it incurs nonchalantly in and out of the country, the citizens should pay faithfully”. What a sham! What a sham!

       Texter #3347 wants me to teach him or her “how to understand liars like Gloria.” Well, I suppose all one has to do is to take the opposite meaning of whatever she says, particularly on such matters as refer to her self-defined legacy, economic performance and other egotistical claims. Also, we should be ready for fractional truths being churned out by her propaganda machine. For instance, she has dazzled her listeners with the rhetorical gem: “I have a government to run, an economy to grow, and a peace to win!” Her audiences abroad could truly be awed by such verbal opulence, and we here at home would likewise be moved, were it not for the knowledge that she has not a people to lead.

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