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Petty and Mean

Petty and Mean
Ronald Roy

I thank texter 3003 (last 4 digits of sender’s cellphone number) for welcoming me to the ranks of “responsible journalists”. Apparently, 3003 is happy to see me supporting President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III (P-Noy) despite some uncomplimentary things I’ve written about his parents. But I beg to clarify a few things here.
In the first place, I don’t consider myself a true blue dyed-in-the-wool journalist. I am a lawyer with a business administration degree in economics, and have other things to do by way of creative and recreational hobbies. But at 75, I’ve come to realize being a political critic is my best way of helping save a nation that has gone to the dogs. At my age, I suppose people get to play new roles in the universal scheme of God, planet, country, people, family and self in that order.
I receive no pittance for scribbling my heart out against bad people in government. Doing so would go against my doctor’s advice. But how do I ignore the persistent notion that one’s self-proclaimed love of country is nothing but bombast unless suffered with the burning passion of a Rhett Butler or a Cyrano de Bergerac?
I had initially hoped to stand by P-Noy’s side since his success would redound to our benefit. But because passing developments seem foreboding, I may soon be back where 3003( last 4 digits of cp#) once considered me an irresponsible critic, the certain return of life-shortening conditions notwithstanding.
I think I have however found a way of dealing with that eventuality. So with your forbearance, dear readers, I shall now pilot a petty and mean way of hitting at people I don’t like, hopefully without subjecting myself to possible cardiac complications.
The principal tool of any lawyer is the WORD, oral or written. With this tool, the lawyer thinks, researches, strategizes, argues, listens and pleads. Depending on the extent of his lingual proficiency, he can win a losing case or lose a winning case. In effect, justice is delivered or denied depending on his verbal skills. And that includes magistrates who are also lawyers.
It is not my intention to denigrate professionals for insufficient ken of their own tools. But verily a patient can lose his life from a surgical error, or a poorly built 2-storey edifice may crumble from an earthquake measuring a mere 4 on the Richter scale, just as a colossal catastrophe can result from the incompetent management of a truth commission, i.e., the incompetence or unfitness of one man, just one man, presiding as its chairman.
The point need not be belabored that, other factors being equal, a public defender haltingly arguing in open court with a strong Visayan accent will most likely need some luck to upstage an articulate prosecutor. Yes, it is to his misfortune that magistrates have little patience for bad English. Let’s take the word “subpoena”.
A subpoena is a basic legal document which even non-lawyers pronounce fairly correctly. When spoken, its letter b is actually silent like its counterpart in “subtle” or “plumber”. But the error does not sound really bad because we are accustomed to hearing Filipinos incorrectly exploding the b in subpoena.
However, it becomes a bit scandalous when one who was once a Supreme Court Chief Justice and later a permanent United Nations ambassador for 9 years enunciates the word in the following four- syllable sequence of: soob-poh-weh-na (instead of the three-syllable sapina).
I almost died each time Mr. Hilario Davide mangled the word on a television show years ago. Soob-poh-weh-na sadly exposes Mr. Davide’s atrocious command of diphthongs. It also raises questions as to where he studied law, how many times he took the Bar examinations if at all he took them, and so forth.
In any event, because of his much publicized unfitness to chair a truth commission, and the said body’s being an inherently risky enterprise—if patterned after the South African model—through which guilty parties may not get the comeuppance they deserve, I doubt soob-poh-weh-nas will be of any service to Mr. Davide’s investigations.
I’m being petty and mean? Of course! But I’ve let off some steam and feel much better now. Diyos ko, ang kapal naman ang buwisit na heto! Hindi na lang basta magretiro!
By the way, my cardiac condition is called arrhythmia—an anomaly characterized by irregular or abnormal heart beats—which incidentally is the reason I have a pacemaker implant under my left clavicle. I sometimes encounter an arrhythmic attack when I see red, such as when I think of that notorious fertilizer fund scam.
For better recall of the principal characters the scam often mentions, I have thus devised an acronym: LBM. It now makes me feel like I could die from guffawing whenever I associate LBM with Lorenzo, Bolante and Merceditas. Petty and Mean? Absolutely! Laughter is the best medicine, and that’s why I’m still around waiting for P-Noy to throw them into the slammer. (arnydolor@yahoo.com; Tel # 7106701, Cel # 09186449517)

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