The Motherless Child

Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror December 13, 2006  edition, p. A6.

I believe there are tiyanaks, vampires, and zombies who vote for peoples’ initiatives. I even believe in miracles like the Immaculate Conception.  But I must admit, I don’t know if I’m ready for Speaker Joe de Venecia’s startling announcement regarding the maternity of his new baby named “Con-con.”

He said, “Any act of constitutional reform or change is purely the initiative of Congress. God knows, the President did not talk to me.”

I was shocked. The child he fathered has no mother?

Last Friday, I invited some political and social commentators, living and dead, to spend the weekend with me, to help me analyze de Venecia’s incredible about-face on con-ass. A few of them showed up: Will Rogers, the American humorist; Ivan Goncharov, the Russian novelist; Douglas Jerrold, the British playwright; Don Marquis, another writer; Bob Harris, the blogger; George Mason, the American Founding Father; and Mark Twain.  Anything is possible in the Enchanted Kingdom.

The first issue we tackled was, “Have you ever heard of a baby born without a mother?”

The consensus of the experts was, “if GMA is not the mother of Joe’s baby then there’s a dirty towel in the Batasan that little ‘Con-con’ is calling ‘mommy.'”

Next, I wanted to know if any of my guests thought de Venecia’s move was really, “turning the tables on them (senators).”

“De Venecia and his coalition never give up, no matter what,” I remarked.

Will Rogers replied, “There are three kinds of men: The ones that learn by reading.  The few who learn by observation.  The rest of them have to pee on the electric fence and find out for themselves.”

“That accounts for their pained expressions,” I thought.

Our attention then turned to a reporter who asked de Venecia why this congress and not a newly elected one should make changes to the charter. De Venecia’s reply was, “let me throw the question back at you.” And he proceeded to ask the reporter whether or not it was realistic to assume that a newly elected senator or the winner of the 2010 presidential election, after spending hundreds of millions for his campaign, would give up his seat for charter change.

I thought de Venecia’s reply revealed his conviction that politics is business and the primary concern of an elected official is to get a return on his investment.

I asked my guests, “Don’t you think it’s so selfless, philanthropic even, that de Venecia is so willing and eager to give up the speakership for charter change?”

Ivan Goncharov replied, rather cynically I thought, “It is a trick among the dishonest to offer sacrifices that are not needed, or not possible, to avoid making those that are required.”

Douglas Jerrold quickly added: “He is one of those wise philanthropists who, in a time of famine, would vote for nothing but a supply of toothpicks.”

De Venecia’s prepared statement elicited more comments from my guests.

Don Marquis said, “Did you ever notice that when a politician does get an idea he usually gets it all wrong?”

George Mason was more philosophical, “When the same man, or set of men, holds the sword and the purse, there is an end of liberty.”

At this point, I was going to add my two pennies to the discussion but a commotion in the press conference interrupted my commentary.

Someone was shouting to de Venecia and company, “I would like to say to you all I am completely appalled by your collective goal. You’re totally bereft of principle that’s why you’re without shame.”

The outraged man, Renato Constantino, was thrown out of the press conference by what looked like “security.” On his way out, he was doused by a glass of water thrown by what passed for a business columnist, Victor Agustin.

I had really wanted to impress my guests with a bit of punditry before the disturbance occurred, but all I could say after that was, “Victor Agustin’s behavior is an embarrassment to the gossip profession.”

By Sunday, the pro cha-cha crowd was praising de Venecia’s spectacular somersault. Carmen Pedrosa wrote an article assuring her legions that de Venecia’s gambit was “a brilliant countermove.”

I felt sorry for her, clueless still, despite going through two peoples’ initiative abortions mercifully performed by the Supreme Court. But Bob Harris quipped cold-bloodedly, “I think natural selection must have greatly rewarded the ability to reassure oneself in a crisis with complete bullshit.”

Finally, Mark Twain spoke up and asked me to, “Please advise the poor lady, ‘it is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.’”

I assured Twain his message would reach Pedrosa—just as soon as I solved the Riddle of the Motherless Bastard. First things first.

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