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The off-key Leah N and the exact Bobby F

January 23, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

The off-key Leah N and the exact Bobby F
Ronald Roy  -January 23, 2008

       I attended last Friday’s prayer-rally at De La Salle’s St. Benilde’s Hall. After the speeches, some of which were incendiary especially when pompously delivered by peasant leaders, I had to catch an appointment which disabled me from joining the candle-lit trek to the Edsa Shrine. I asked Black and White Movement (BWM) spokesperson Leah Navarro and Concerned Citizens convenor Bettina Legarda what happened after I left. Summing up their accounts, a few hundred spiritual warriors led by FSC Bro. Armin Luistro and former VP Tito Guingona braved a cold rain with lit candles, but were halted by a fire truck and countless fully armed elements of the Philippine National Police as they moved towards the shrine. “Stop!” was the barking order in the vernacular. “Don’t force us to do something you will all regret!” And so, the marchers stopped, offered individual praises and prayers to Mama Mary whose huge statue hovered over them, sang the heart-rending Bayan Ko, and dispersed slowly into the gathering darkness of a grim political future.  What happened last Friday, my dear readers, was the runty despot’s oft repeated show of force, far deadlier than any other fascist in living memory. . . except that I’d like to extend that story a little further, as follows.

       #0666: “Mr. Roy, I’m 68 years old, and I’m disappointed that people generally believe in EDSA II, that street-corner elitist uprising that put GMA in power on Jan. 20, 2001 at the expense of eleven million people who voted Joseph Estrada into the country’s presidency. I cannot see why people who claim they love democracy continue to acclaim the so-called spirit of EDSA.” Well, I don’t mean to be offensive if I give you the tongue-in-cheek reply that changing your triple-six sim card will give you a correct view.  I empathize with you. You are actually lamenting the evil hold that EDSA II has on numerous misguided freedom lovers. Like yourself, I cherish our democracy that remains comatose to this day.  And the intensive-care patient we call democracy appears to be slipping away as people like Leah Navarro continue to pursue naïve and counter-productive rallies and other similar activities against Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

       Ages ago, Jimmy Navarro was an ardent suitor of a first cousin of mine. Nothing came out of that courtship, and a quarter of a century later, it would be my most pleasant experience to collaborate on my own composition with his twenty-six year old daughter in 1983.  Leah and I recorded “Ikaw, aking minahal,” but Blackgold records archived it since she didn’t dare sing it in live performances because of one sustained high note. I have since been fond of Leah, as if she were my own daughter. She calls me Tito and I call her sweety or honey, as I do all girls of whatever age and size, and I will never change my personal feelings for her.  But a spade is a spade, right #0666? So Leah sweety, please take heed as I know you’re now reading me online.  Please realize that the oust-Gloria movement belongs to everybody inside and outside the BWM.  Ergo, always remember that when you address media, you speak for ALL Gloria-bashers. I am sorry to say that your inadequate grasp of your role in the BWM renders the entire movement vulnerable to Gloria’s survival schemes.  You’re stuck right where Gloria wants you to be as a result of your bungling ignorance.

       After having heard and read you several times, I am now convinced more than ever that you should relinquish your position as the BWM’s spokesperson.  I am appalled, hija, to be quite frank, by your declaration that “EDSA II should remind all that Estrada was a convicted plunderer, and that there was evidence proving that he was guilty of amassing millions of pesos from an illegal activity.  We cannot forget that.” Sadly, my dear, twice you barked up the wrong tree. 1. Gloria is the enemy, not Erap. 2. There was none of the evidence you allude to, but I can forgive you for that since you are not a lawyer.

       #0666, perhaps you’ll understand the enigma about Leah Navarro if you’ll let me expound on what she and I share in common: music, even if I am only an amateur musician, while she is a professional pop diva. Song-writing and crooning are hobbies I dabble in. As music lovers, Leah and I know about music’s power to build or destroy, to denounce injustice or conceal deception. The hauntingly beautiful strains of Bayan Ko, whenever sung in commemoration of either EDSA I or II, never fail to turn me misty-eyed, even if I have never associated either uprising with anything righteous or ennobling.  On the contrary, the celebration of either event reminds me of the outrageous blasphemies of the late Jaime Cardinal Sin and the meddling of imperialist America, notwithstanding the tear-jerking Bayan Ko being sung in the background. Honey, you’re off-key singing Bayan Ko!

       Speaking through her lackeys like confabulating Eduardo Ermita, it was obvious Gloria wanted everybody to forget EDSA II, lest its celebration last Jan. 20 would reopen the wounds she inflicted on the nation by unconstitutionally booting our President Joseph Estrada seven years ago. Filipinos will never forget – as the historic moment unfolded with Gloria taking her oath of office before a co-conspirator, then SC Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Jr.— she was committing the basest imaginable form of treason against the sovereign people, not to mention all the abominable felonies that would follow in furtherance of her own political survival. Normally, treason being the most unpardonable political felony against one’s own people, could quickly terminate the traitor’s life with a bullet shot between the eyes. Here, traitors are luckier.

       Of course, she could have personally said last Sunday she was sorry for all her crimes these past seven years, was stepping down, and was surrendering herself to the sovereign judgment of Filipinos. If she had done this, a military takeover of some kind would have surely resulted, and fate, perhaps, would be kinder to her. This, I think, could be one plausible way out of the seven-year mess she has created. But then, she will never do this.  What therefore, seems foreboding and more logical is that her evil reign will end somewhere around 2010 through a popular revolt. Something jugular is imperative. Constitutional succession is not an end to the problem but a perpetuation of the same banana.

*                                   *                                   *

       Robert James Fischer, the alpha and omega of world chess, is dead at the age of 64. The eccentric genius (in the vein of the petulant Van Gogh, the mad Howard Hughes and the unconventional Ernest Hemingway, among other historical oddities) who bitterly renounced his American citizenship, moved to Iceland in 2005 after US authorities poised criminal charges against him, for playing in 1992 a rematch against Cold War Russian rival Boris Spassky in Yugolslavia in defiance of international sanctions. I consider him the alpha of the 64-square board sport because he became the first youngest grandmaster at the age of 16 in 1959 and, in that Cold War one-on-one match-up, demolished the Soviet Union’s decades-old stranglehold on the mental game.

       He was also the alpha who as a six-year old began to learn the basic moves from an older sister until he became a consummate reader of chess literature and participant in skittles in his Brooklyn, NY neighborhood and, through the ensuing years, steadily honed his skills to world-championship caliber, mainly on reading materials before, during and after breakfast, lunch and supper, long before the computer age would mass produce prodigious talents over the board.  The first human computer that Bobby was also became the sports’ last hero, the omega, to be martyred by his own country’s paranoiac grasp of the Cold War between the US and the USSR. Bobby Fischer was a sports icon who loved Filipinos, and no less than Florencio “Campo” Campomanes, President Emeritus of FIDE and the Filipino chess master who was closest to Bobby, can attest to this. Of course, he also loved his fellow Americans whom he did proud by trouncing older Soviet grandmasters that came his way. In the end, sad to say, he was maltreated, instead of being hailed, by his country’s authorities. Hmm. . . close to 90 million Filipinos are brutalized, instead of being hailed, by a handful led by a 4’6” short-legged despot with a revolting mole on the left cheek.

       Incidentally, I witnessed the match which Campo specially arranged sometime in the mid-sixties between the American Junior Champion Bobby Fischer and our very own Philippine Junior Champion Rudy Tan Cardoso which ended at 8-2 in favor of the American wizard. To this day, I proudly own Rudy’s chess clock which he sold to me in the early seventies. Over friendly skittles in the sixties and seventies, I scalped a few name hustlers who eventually became national and international masters. Let’s just say they overestimated me.

       In the spirit of amity, I wish to invite any septuagenarian official of the Arroyo administration to a fund-raising eight-game contest under rules set by a local chess official.  Oh, I think it’s only fair to warn interested players from the administration that since 1972, I’ve only played four skittles against chess aficionados in their early forties, all in a two-hour span, and this happened only last year when I was already 71 years old. Any takers? Messrs. Raul Gonzalez, Sergio Apostil, etc? I stipulate that Gloria’s discretionary funds be tapped for the match’s expenses and cash prize which will go to the winner’s favorite charity.  I hope my Baguio-based friend Campo can give a few suggestions.       

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