Chipped China: Part Two

Mr Buencamino writes political commentaries for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror, October 24, 2005 edition, p. A11.

In part two of the series on insanity, we move from the Senate to Malacañang.

The first crackpot, we described as trying to get a different result from doing the same thing in the same way. The second case is slightly different.

From Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia, we get a glimpse of the second type of insanity. Wikipedia says: “A theory of sanity was proposed by Alfred Korzybski in his general semantics. Basically he believed that sanity was tied to the structural fit or lack of it between our reactions to the world and what is actually going on in the world.”

In layman’s terms, a sane person will move out of the path of an oncoming train; a loon, on the other hand, will deny the train exists or, in advanced stages of psychosis, will try to stop the train in its tracks through sheer will power or bodily strength.

Ever since the 2004 election, surveys were telling Mrs. Gloria Arroyo that the overwhelming majority of the people didn’t like her but she refused to accept that reality. She insisted that polls were biased and inaccurate.  However, going into denial was not good enough. Mrs. Arroyo had to adopt a modified “Sybil” approach in order to cope with the unbearable reality of being universally disliked.

“Sybil” was a hit movie in the mid-70s about a troubled girl who, unable to cope with reality, fragmented herself into sixteen personalities. Mrs. Arroyo, on the other hand, decided that rather than take on too many personalities, she would only create an extra personality for the Philippines.

It was at her State of the Nation Address (SONA) that Mrs. Arroyo introduced her schizoid fantasy of two Philippines.  She said: “One is the Philippines whose economy, after long years of cumulative national endeavor, is now poised for take off. The other is the Philippines whose political system, after equally long years of degeneration, has become a hindrance to progress.”  Convinced there was a Philippines that appreciated her, Mrs. Arroyo began to stand everything on its head.

She spoke about the tyranny of the minority after her tyrannical majority crushed the impeachment complaint she filed against herself. She said the killing of the impeachment marked “a glorious day in history, when instead of forcing a President out of office through people power, they chose to keep a President through voting in the halls of Constitutional Democracy.”  All of a sudden the horse she rode to Malacañang—people power—was bad.

Mrs. Arroyo is also suffering from an identity crisis.

Before her SONA, she compared herself to Ninoy Aquino. She likened what she perceived as character assassination with Ninoy’s murder.

After the impeachment, she began to equate her survival with national interest so she issued EO 464.  She castigated a senator for calling one of her pimps a pimp. She believed patriots were traitors and traitorous contracts were patriotic. She fired a career civil servant from his undersecretary post for obeying the law and ordered the court-martial of two AFP officers who revealed what they knew about election anomalies.

Now, Mrs. Arroyo is also suffering from paranoia.

She sees the exercise of oversight functions by the Senate as a sneaky continuation of the impeachment complaint against her.  She took seriously the paranoid hallucinations of Miriam Santiago about an assassination plot being hatched by Cory Aquino and Franklin Drilon. She shifted to calibrated preemptive response when she saw little bullies running around her schoolyard.

The question arises: Did the Garci expose drive Mrs. Arroyo over the edge?  Who knows what drove her batty but an insanity defense at her impending trial will be credible if she hires her counterpart in the Senate to defend her.

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