Go Miriam!

Buencamino does political analysis for Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published in the newspaper Today, 2 September 2004, page 9.

Some days you’re the dog, and some days you’re the hydrant.-Unknown

I think the senator displayed her wit once again when she chose a
dressed-up pile of garbage, Smoky Mountain, as the place to uncover
what lies beneath the man.

It is such an apt metaphor for someone who came off as Mr. Clean while
heading a quasi-military organization that earned the reputation of
being the country’s biggest criminal syndicate. This was someone who
portrayed himself as a Professional Soldier while the quasi-military
organization he led went on a 14 year rampage of torture and salvage;
someone who became the prototype for Angelo Reyes when he accepted,
while on duty,  an invitation to join the mutiny against his
Commander-in-Chief; someone who, as Chief of Staff, dealt with an
attempted coup by punishing mutineers with push-ups— sending a clear
warning to all future putschists that he was not going to treat mutiny
lightly.

This is someone who, as secretary of defense, credited himself with
quashing a series of coups he should have aborted in the first place;
someone who  ran for President and won in an election that gave
true meaning to the term “dagdag-bawas.”  Someone whose
pro-investment policies attracted the Thais to invest in Manila Bay
reclamation and independent power producers  to build power
plants; someone who built an expo center on an abandoned US air base;
someone who morphed a mountain of garbage into a multibillion
development and reclamation project where a new harbor terminal without
a permanent customs outpost was built, boosting the confidence of
importers who got the free trade message loud and clear; someone who
constructed low-cost condos on narrow strips of land abutting railroad
tracks.

Yes, this is someone whose budget secretary said that the payment for
the sale of a military reservation was in there somewhere; someone who
played in golf courses that sprouted like mushrooms in places where his
military brass pissed away the soldiers’ retirement funds; someone who
presided over a Mad Hatters economic boom that passed off sizzle and
ampaw as steak and potatoes; someone who appointed himself adviser to
his successors; someone who punished his successor for not even
feigning interest for his unsolicited advice; someone whose response to
a Senator’s privilege speech was to turn it into a pissing contest.

With perseverance and a lot of luck, the Senator might just show everyone who’s the dog and who’s the hydrant this time.

Go Miriam!

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