The Politics of Insult

Mr. Buencamino writes political commentaries for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Malaya, October 10, 2005 edition, page A5.

Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is tired of the politics of insult. She wants to put an end to it.

Recently, she asked the descendants of the Katipuneros to help her stop the trash talk. She said:  “I ask for your support as I put my foot down for the sake of the people. For the sake of enabling the government to work rather than be disabled by the politics of insult….”

Mrs. Arroyo is truly worn-out from listening to her shameless cabinet call Susan Roces a “griping” widow; Cory Aquino a negligent mother and a worshipper of false gods; Kris Aquino a tramp; the Hyatt 10 a bunch of traitors;  the Senate a kangaroo court infested by
destabilizers; and the Senate President a “backstabber”.

She issued Executive Order 464 to show everyone she was not going to allow any more incivility in her branch of government.  She ordered all the employees in the executive branch, especially cabinet secretaries, senior level civil servants and military brass, to seek her permission prior to any appearance before any kind of congressional inquiry.

Mrs. Arroyo is determined to stamp out the politics of insult in all of its forms, including insults to intelligence which her appointees had mastered and grown to love.

Some people insist that Mrs. Arroyo insulted the intelligence of the Kaanak Foundation, the association of the descendants of Katipuneros, when she spoke to them recently. But she did not.

She did not insult their intelligence when she told them: “Yes, we all want the truth, but the truth must be found in the forums where the rule of law is observed, where the rules of evidence are observed, where those accused have a right to present their own defense in accordance with time-tested regulations,” She merely took advantage of their good manners.

She had no qualms about saying what she said even though she knew her audience was aware that by forums she meant the Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET) which didn’t allow the election protest against her proceed and the House Judiciary Committee which threw out the impeachment complaint without so much as a glance at the mountains of evidence waiting to be examined for sufficiency in substance.

Mrs. Arroyo felt free to tell the Kaanaks that the Senate was a kangaroo court where “the situation is manipulated by projecting speculation, hearsay and half-truths.”

She assumed no one in her audience would be so rude as to remind her that she would not even admit to her half of the truth when she refused to say whether she was the one talking to that mystery man in the tapes and that she would not even discuss what she had said “sorry” for.

We can’t blame Mrs. Arroyo for taking such liberties when the officers of the Kaanak Foundation themselves passed a resolution expressing their support for her.

We can’t accuse Mrs. Arroyo of hiding behind the law either. She is a firm believer in due process in proper forums. Rest assured Mrs. Arroyo will reveal all if only there were a forum on this planet where she can tell the truth without suffering any of its consequences.

Mrs. Arroyo abhors the politics of insult more than anything else on this planet except for one: the politics of truth.

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