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Prevarication

Prevarication

Ronald Roy

It was past five in the afternoon when I last saw Bubby Dacer at the lobby of the Manila Hotel, two or three days before he was reported to be missing. I remember that November day well because Bubby surprised me he could hum a tune after all. All week long I had been playing on the acoustic keyboard my latest composition “A Touch of Summer,” as had hotel pianist Joselito Pascual, until it became a favorite among happy-hour habitués.

Hauntingly romantic and reminiscent of Henry Macini’s incorrigible flair for smaltzy lyricism, it puzzles me to this day it never became a hit. Perhaps it was its melodic predictability that was its own weakness. But then, I tell myself that life is one whole puzzlement (this is my most consoling thought when things don’t go right, especially when we don’t have the answers) and even when we do have the answers, they’re the kind that make us and everybody else miserable. It’s nobody’s fault; life is just like that!

We often question God, other people’s motives, the cruel twists and turns of love and peace, yet we never question ourselves because it’s never our fault, and because we do not relish undergoing the torture of psychological self-flagellation. Being imperfect or bad is more comfortable, even luxuriant. So, to hell with righteousness, with justice!

I therefore find it strange that I should now seek enlightenment with a little hope that former President Fidel V. Ramos will explain why he announced to the world that Bubby Dacer was missing on the day they were supposed to meet at the hotel, instead of just shrugging his shoulders with the thought that maybe Dacer simply forgot they had a meeting. What the heck, it would be no big deal if my barber failed to show up. Why would I throw the alarm that he was missing, unless I knew he would be missing? Hmm, I think you owe us some answers, Mr. Ramos.

* * *

Barely an hour after official confirmation of the ill-fated crash of the Bell 412 presidential chopper on an Ifugao mountainside, where all eight occupants perished, I received from a Palace informant this text message: “The presidential chopper had earlier been used by Rep. Mikey Arroyo who left Manila for Baguio at past two in the afternoon. Despite inclement weather , PGMA ordered at 4:30 that the chopper be used to fly her advance party to Banaue. Just wait. Mourners will surely soon blame PGMA for their losses.”

The same and other similar text messages were passed around Manila’s rumor circuit. Like a rabid canine, Press Secretary Cerge Remonde now castigates rumor mongers as unkind, unchristian and felonious purveyors of lies. Sorry, Mr. Remonde, but who in the first place is the chief propagator of the Filipino culture of lying? If critics like me choose not to deal with your president’s entreaties for fair play and truth, it’s because they choose not to deal with a below-the-belt hitter and an inveterate liar.

She brought it upon herself, buddy. Given her track record as a congenital prevaricator, Gloria’s claim that she was born a baby girl is like the ancient proclamation the earth was flat, or like a talent scout’s observation that she would be perfect for the role of Dyesebel. And we’re not even talking about a Madrigal singer’s sarcastic remark Gloria would be a curious baritone standing in the last row of the choir.

Besides, Cerge—may I call you Cerge?—people have accepted your boss for what she is: an intemperate spoiled brat who never takes no for an answer. So, even if in fact she did not order a risky 4:20 flight for the chopper, the more logical supposition is that she did, over and above the technical judgment of the pilots. For this utter disregard of human lives, consistent with whimsical despotic impulses, may she join asap the likes of Nero, Hitler and Bonaparte so that together they may rue forever their excesses and shortcomings. Whether they’ll do it with wings and harps, or horns and tridents, only the just Lord knows.

* * *

It would be wrong for Gloria Arroyo to add as a feather to her cap the latest citation that the Philippines is the top tourist destination in Asia. It is God, not she, who endowed our country with seven wonders for the world to marvel at. There are two new ones on the list: the La Salle Taft building (constructed between 1992 and 1924) counts among the top 101 architectural structures “worth seeing before dying,” and Gloria Arroyo, as the shortest pygmy ever to make it to the top worth kicking before dying!

(Email: arnydolor@yahoo.com, cell # 09186449517, landline # (02)7106701)

Ms. Ninez Cacho-Olivarez

Publisher and editor-in-chief

Dear Ninez,

For your consideration, please.

Yours,

Ronnie (Roy)

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