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Who needs Trapos?

Who needs Trapos?
Ronald Roy — 2012 July 12

It is about time we stopped kidding ourselves believing that President Noynoy Aquino is dead serious about appointing a Chief Justice who is the exact opposite of former CJ Renato C. Corona. I have said it once, and I’ll say it again: the next Chief Justice is a lackey of P-Noy whoever he or she may be, if the if the President’s idea of the most qualified top magistrate in the person of Sen. Franklin Drilon is any indication.

In last week’s column, I wrote:

“Going by the constitutional requirements of competence, integrity, probity and independence, Atty. Franklin Drilon is one: incompetent, for having once sued Juan Ponce Enrile for a non-existent crime he dubbed as ‘Rebellion complexed with Murder”; two: lacking in integrity and probity, for having done so in order to appease then revolutionary President Cory Aquino who “wanted Enrile’s head on a silver platter” for what she believed as his role of mastermind in a failed coup d’état against her; and three: bereft of independence, as shown by his overtly biased pro-administration deportment as an impeachment trial judge.”

I now add a half-forgotten fact to Mr. Drilon’s sordid list of disqualifications: At the height of the “Hello Garci” scandal that saw Gloria Macapagal Arroyo fleeing to Iloilo for sanctuary, Drilon was there to lead a group to welcome her with open arms and banners and chants of “we love you! we love you! …”

Hmmm… is P-Noy a trapo (short for traditional politician)? He orchestrated CJ Corona’s ouster from office for having “unpardonably” accepted a midnight appointment from GMA, and yet he would now consider the likes of Drilon as a shoo-in for the vacated post because of the latter’s obsequious behaviour as an impeachment judge, and because all the past about his canine devotion to GMA is pardonable.

Sister Agnes (de Jesus), traditional politicians will forever be abhorrent to the welfare of the people for as long as politicians think they are not the servants, but the masters, of the people. Scan their current maneuvers relative to next year’s mid-term elections, and you’ll know what I mean.

Take the case of former President Erap Estrada, for instance, who complains P-Noy is unduly pirating some of UNA’s senatorial bets.

Erap is a friend whom I owe not a single favor, and whose involvement in any raging issue I usually comment on—albeit rarely in ways unflattering to him. However, I’m a little surprised that Erap should be griping about UNA’s senatorial slate being invaded via “political piracy” by P-Noy—an event which he should have long anticipated as a seasoned politician.

In fact, Erap should realize that the vast powers of P-Noy can easily install a new Senate President of his choice and, along with that cause a weakening of UNA as a front-running coalition for both the 2013 and 2016 elections.

In any event, Sister Agnes, I’m sorry but there is nothing I see in Frank Drilon that inspires belief he is, as you put it, “á God-fearing statesman who thinks of himself last.” I don’t know about his being God-fearing, but as a trapo he certainly is no statesman who thinks last of himself.

That he is a “changed man” could be wishful thinking, Sister, and neither comforting is your argument that his election as a senator was in effect “an absolution of his past errors”—alas, a proposition that endangers the search for a trustworthy Chief Justice which, well, is academic anyway, given P-Noy’s current mindset on the matter!

Just the same, let us not be among the naïve in a dog-eat-dog political environment. Rather, let us learn from some sages from the distant past, like John Sherman, who once said that “the best prophet of the future is the past.”

But then again, Sister, neither Sherman nor George Santayana—who became famous for the caveat that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”—is relevant to a President who is determined to appoint a toady as Chief Justice. And mind you, Sister, it is no relief that Drilon has declined the nomination, because he has done so to claim as his post-impeachment reward the senate presidency, a juicy post that has however been reportedly offered to NP President Manny Villar during talks that led to the LP-NP-NPC coalition of senatorial candidates for next year’s elections.

Ahh, but such are the messy, self-centered ways in traditional politics, Sister! We really need to remind ourselves often that these trapos are the principal scourges of our sick (comatose?) democracy.

I don’t know how old you are, Sister, but a long time ago the term “trapo” was coined to refer to any elective or appointive government person who sought to serve first his personal interests over and above those of the Sovereign Filipino people, and whose greed was deviously cloaked by his ostentatious lip service to God and country, in a masquerade reminiscent of the great deceiver from the pits of hell. Well, a great many of these trapos continue to walk the corridors of power!

Hmmm… is P-Noy a trapo? Are his advisors trapos? Are trapos as easily identifiable as ducks? Yes, because they neither waddle nor quack; but no, because they are as indiscernible as quicksand and as unforeseeable as odorless whiffs of poison gas. But then, Sister, by their works these trapos shall be known.

Two years into the Presidency, P-Noy has not shown enough of executive savvy and behaviour that hints he is a traditional politician, a trapo whose public behaviour is generally predictable, one who is impressive and sincere in the art of handshaking, smiling, kissing babies, being generous to the poor, and doing all those other little things that will convince you he is your reliable saviour.

Well, Benigno S. Aquino III is not known to be very fond of doing any of those little things. P-Noy is brusque, onion-skinned, vindictive, impolite, what the heck: autistic, bipolar, and anything that does not make him normal with girls. Ergo, he cannot be a trapo, no way! Or, is he?

It would seem that the only way to resolve this puzzlement is to await the results of his much publicized “secret” formula for dealing with China’s not-so-secret saber-rattling tactics over the shoal, and that, with bated breath, we can only sit back and pray our Republic’s President will not blink only to be outsmarted by low-level Chinese functionaries. Correct?

Wrong!! We don’t need orthodox trapos to bring the war-mongering feeders of demented North Koreans to the negotiating table of reason and goodwill. All we need is one unpredictable, inscrutable, autistic, unreadable and bipolar somebody who will depend on a mood to call a bluff!!

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