Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was published on December 31 in page A6 of the Business Mirror.
“Hindi nila kami kilala! Sabihin mo nga sa kanila kung sino ako! (They don’t know who we are! Tell them who I am!)”
Nasser Pangandaman Jr. is the son of Nasser Pangandaman Sr.
Junior is the mayor of Masui City, Lanao del Sur. Senior is the Secretary of the Department of Agrarian Reform and a newly appointed member of the reconstituted peace panel for Mindanao.
Junior plays golf at the Valley Golf and Country Club. He maintains a low profile, despite being a city mayor and the son of a Cabinet member. He does not have a ‘wang-wang’ siren on his golf cart, and he does not have any motorcycle outriders clearing the way for him. He simply jumps the line without even a “by your leave” so golfers who never heard of him assume he is just another “promdi” who hides his ignorance by being rude and intimidating.
Senior plays golf with Junior. He is also very low profile, despite being a Cabinet member, a peace panel appointee, and father of the mayor of Masui City in Lanao del Sur. He stays in the background and says nothing when Junior is busy introducing himself to other members of “Valley”.
Junior is a man of few words. He lets his fists and feet do the talking. Senior is slightly more verbose. Last Monday, Senior went on dzBB radio and issued a public apology for the incident at Valley Golf.
He said, “Humihingi ako ng paumanhin sa nangyari. As a government official, hindi ko rin gusto ang nangyari Nasaktan ang pamilya ko, nasaktan din ang pamilya de la Paz… Hindi ko tinatalikuran ang responsibility ko as a government official and a father,” (I am apologizing for what happened. As a government official, I also did not want what happened. My family got hurt and so did the family of De la Paz. I am not turning back on my responsibility as a government official and a father.)
Senior later clarified his apology in an interview with another newspaper. “I have apologized to the public, but this does not mean that I am accepting that we were wrong. We’re not the ones who instigated the incident. There is an investigation going on and the truth will come out,” he said.
Junior and his father are the subject of a complaint for physical injuries but Junior is said to have been hurt, too. He could have broken his little finger while he was introducing his fist to the De La Paz family.
Meanwhile, a Malacañang spokesman came out with a statement claiming, “The Department of Justice has been directed to investigate the golf course incident and the [filing of] proper charges against those responsible for any violation of law” while Pangandaman Sr. has denied any knowledge of such an investigation.
“There is no Palace investigation…I am not aware of any. There was no impropriety by a Cabinet member because I pacified them. Let’s not blow this up,” Senior said.
Pangandaman Sr. left for Baguio City last Sunday to join Mrs. Arroyo’s party. Asked if he had discussed the incident at Valley with Mrs. Arroyo, Junior’s dad said, “She didn’t say anything. She just asked what happened.”
Junior need not ask his caddy to introduce him to other members of Valley Golf. Members know who he is by now. Unfortunately he might be asked to resign from the club.
But Junior can always build a golf course in Masui City. That might be the right thing to do. Out there everybody knows who he is so he can be pretty sure he will have the golf course all to himself any day, all day.