Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece came out in the October 14, 2009 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.
I was sitting all by myself, enjoying a double espresso, when I saw Phil at a table across me. I waved him over.
“Phil! What are you doing here in the Philippines?”
“2010 man, I want to be part of it,” he replied.
“You’re going to vote?”
“Yup and campaign too.”
“He’s the one,” I said.
“Yes he is. But I ran into my friend Beavis and he told me I’m making a big mistake,” Phil said.
“So who does Beavis support, the convicted plunderer, the ethically challenged billionaire senator, or the cabinet secretary who promises more of the same?”
“He didn’t say. All he said was he didn’t like Noynoy. Anyway, he gave me a book he said would change my mind about Noynoy.”
“What’s in that book?”
“It’s supposed to be a well-documented account of the excesses of Cory Aquino.”
“Beavis thinks he can bring down Noynoy by promoting a book that slimes Cory?”
“He doesn’t see it that way. He says he’s doing his patriotic duty.”
“Pissing on Cory’s grave is patriotic? Show me the book.”
The book was written by Cecil Arillo, camp follower and chronicler of the RAM, a cabal of soldiers who hold the all-time record for staging the most number of failed coups.
“Have you finished reading it?”
“No, I haven’t started, why?”
“Some passages are marked,”
“Beavis marked them for me.”
“Ah okay. How about I read you the marked passages?”
“Sure,” he said.
And so I read.
“In many instances, President Aquino may have been worse than Marcos. She also ruled by decree (by virtue of a revolutionary government that was suddenly in place), abolished the 1973 Constitution, violated human rights and betrayed the Filipino people.”
I saw Phil’s eyes turn into saucers before coffee went shooting out of his nose and on to my shirt.
“May I continue?” I asked, pretending I didn’t mind the coffee stains on my new shirt.
“Please do,” he said.
“Aquino built a complex of overpasses in Metro Manila that only constricted some of the major arteries.”
Phil burst out laughing, “Stop fooling around, read from the book!”
“I am reading from the book! Here’s another gem.”
“When President Aquino addressed the US Congress in 1986, she missed a historic opportunity to ask the US government to write off the $26.3-billion indebtedness that the Marcos regime had bequeathed to her administration.”
“Marcos owed the US government $26.3 billion?”
“No. The US government didn’t lend $26.3 billion to the Marcos regime. ”
“Then why slam Cory for not asking the US Congress to forgive a $26.3 billion debt not owed it? ”
“The next excerpt will answer your question,” I said.
“Other similarly distressed countries such as Poland and Egypt had asked for, and were granted, a write-off.”
Phil raised his voice, “But that’s entirely different! The US government was the creditor of Poland and Egypt, it was in a position to forgive their debts!”
“Hey, it’s my voice but it’s Arillo doing the talking!” I shouted back.
“Here’s something that will amuse you.”
“…her regime left a paper trail that revealed its own scandals and corruption. Remember the “Rela-thieves” and “Kamag-anaks, Inc” exposed by Doy Laurel, then her own vice president?”
“Really?” Phil asked.
“The question is, kaya ba niyang panindigan ang sinabi niya? Can Arillo cite any congressional investigation, any complaint lodged with the Ombudsman, or any impeachment filed as a result of graft, corruption, extortion, or plunder by Cory or any of her relatives?”
I added, “Sure, some of Cory’s relatives were trapos; but they were not plunderers. Were there scandals like Centennial Expo, BW Resources, or ZTE-NBN during Cory’s time?“
“Well you know what they say, where there’s smoke there’s fire,” Phil teased.
“True, but in this case the smoke you see is blowing out of Arillo’s behind.”
I read another excerpt.
“…she threw out all the worthwhile infrastructure and economic programs of Marcos and branded them all as the handiwork of the devil. She mothballed the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, for example.”
“Be grateful,” said Phil.
“You can argue about the safety of nuclear power plants but there is no argument over radioactive waste disposal. Every country with a nuclear power plant is faced with that unsolvable problem. What are you going to do with BNPP’s spent radioactive fuel rods?”
“The rods can be sold to Ahmadinejad and Kim,” I joked.
“Or you can stick them up your rear end,” he retorted.
“Do you want to hear more excerpts?”
“No more crap for me today, thanks.”
Before we parted, I told Phil to remind his friend Beavis that it’s okay to be against Noynoy and to campaign against him but it’s not okay to bring him down by sliming his dead mother.
“Tell Beavis anyone who does that is beneath contempt,” I said.