Missing the mark

Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in the Business Mirror, May 13,2008 edition, p. A10.

The Lopezes should have been an easy mark for a corrupt administration that is trying to look like it cares for the welfare of the masses. Unfortunately,
the administration went into overkill.

I guess Mrs. Arroyo didn’t think Winston Garcia could do it on his own so she marshaled all her forces against the Lopezes. She even went to the extent of asking businessmen and the masses for help. Now the Lopezes are underdogs.

Imagine that. One of the wealthiest, most powerful families in this class warfare-conscious society of ours has the sympathy of the public. Only the geniuses of Malacañang could have pulled off such a stunt.

Now a public that has bitched but paid electric bills it never understood is learning that Meralco’s portion of the bill is only for distribution of power. The bulk of the bill they pay goes to power generators like Napocor, transmission companies like you-know-whose, and VAT. So now the public wants to know, why pick on Meralco when it’s the government that’s bleeding the public dry?

At last Monday’s joint congressional committee hearing on the high cost of electricity, no one could give a straight answer to the question why electricity is so expensive and what can be done to bring down its cost. I think it’s because the committee was asking the wrong people the wrong questions.

If only the joint committee members start their day right, if only the first thing they do in the morning is read the Business Mirror, then they could have read Reflections from a Mirror by our star columnist, Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez. He identified the root cause of the problem they are trying to fix.

Here’s what Mr. Gonzalez wrote:

“NOW that the issue involving Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) has become the talk of the town, there is one aspect that I think should be brought out in the open so we can have a clear and total picture of Meralco’s operations. I refer to the collection of water-meter deposits which I understand is around P3,000 per meter, subject to refund once the user gives up the contract. “

There you have it: the “clear and total picture.” We are using the wrong kind of meters. We are using water meters to measure electric consumption! That’s why no one can make heads or tails of our electric bills!

We can now turn our attention to other more pressing concerns, like gays participating in Flores de Mayo processions and gay marriage.

It was impolite for a bishop to say gays should be banned from Flores de Mayo processions when gays did not ban bishops from competing in this year’s Flawless de Mayo gay beauty contest in Batangas. Common courtesy dictates reciprocity. Mi casa es su casa, mi falda es su falda.

Y ahora, I showed a 60-ear-old friend of mine who is about to marry a woman past child-bearing age the statement of Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros, chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Office on Bio-ethics.

The bishop said, “Marriage and sex, as the Church views it, is solely for reproduction. That’s the nature of marriage, opening up a couple to producing children. We cannot have that in a man-to-man or a woman-to-woman relationship, therefore, sex between persons of the same sex becomes unnatural and offends the Church.”

“So? He’s talking about gays,” my friend said.

“No buddy,” I retorted. “He’s talking about you also. You and your future wife have as much chance of producing babies as those gay couples Joseph and Peter, and Mary and Magdalena. So why don’t you just marry a woman who can bear children? That way you don’t give the Office on Bio-ethics a hard time deciding whether or not it’s okay for you and your future wife to have sex just for the sheer pleasure of it.”

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