Buencamino writes political commentary for the NGO Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Malaya, July 25, 2005 edition, page A5.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo does not apologize to widows.

When a chuckling Raul Gonzalez called Susan Roces a griping widow and said “She can keep on griping. It’s very clear that her husband was not destined to be president because he died of natural causes”, Mrs. Arroyo did not call up Susan Roces to apologize for Gonzales’ remarks. She allowed his characterization of her to stand and said nothing about him mocking a dead man.

When the same Raul Gonzalez lectured Cory Aquino on motherhood after she called on Mrs. Arroyo to resign, Mrs. Arroyo did not call up Mrs. Aquino to apologize. She had nothing to say to say to her. Instead, she called up Kris Aquino, the daughter of the offended lady, to offer her apology.

Why apologize to Kris? Kris wasn’t the target of the widow basher’s blows. Her mother was. Gonzalez had said, “She (Aquino) should first take care of her daughter. It appears that she is assuming that her voice alone can change this country.”  Kris may have been struck by a few stray blows but everyone knows who the brute was after.

Gloria Macapagal Arroyo does not apologize to widows attacked by her Rottweillers. She apologizes to those who have highly rated TV shows. How difficult would it have been for her to ask Kris if she could pass the phone to her mother so she could apologize to her, too?  Maybe she didn’t think she owed the lady who asked her to resign an apology. Maybe she thought the lady committed the greater offense. Who knows what’s on her mind these days. You know what they say about cornered ra.. oh, never mind.

Kris Aquino’s account of her conversation with Mrs. Arroyo is telling because one can see that Mrs. Arroyo was more concerned about repairing the damage done to her image than to the hurt suffered by the Aquino family. She said, “I got mad at him about this. Is there anything we can do to repair the damage?” The damage she had in mind  was obviously the self-inflicted one caused by her widow bashing Justice Secretary. There is nothing that Gonzalez can do or say that will damage the reputation of Corazon Aquino and her family. Once upon a time Gonzalez lawyered for Ninoy Aquino, but then he became a politician who accepted a Cabinet position from the same person he helped railroad into Malacañang and whom he is now defending by beating his former client’s widow. What a guy!

Mrs. Arroyo could have repaired the damage done to her image by firing Gonzalez on the spot and saying she does not tolerate such brutish behavior among members of her official family. That would have blended well with her image make-over. But she didn’t, and she couldn’t, because underneath all that newly laid-on mascara  lies the real Gloria, someone who walked into Malacañang without wiping from her shoes all the shit she picked up on the way in.  “Sorry again, ‘di ko gusto mangyari ito” she added. (Right. Now could you please wipe that shit off your shoes first?)