Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was first published in Interaksyon.com on February 2, 2012.


Frustrated over having to keep up with Sen. Miriam Santiago’s rapid-fire tirades at the trial of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, the Sign Language Association of the Philippines (SLAP) decided that henceforth the interpreter on duty will simply point a finger to his temple and move it in a circular motion whenever Miriam speaks. Just kidding.

Over the weekend, Sen. Santiago told dzBB radio that she had a brain scan after her blood pressure shot up following her full Brenda on private prosecutor Atty. Arthur Lim.

“There’s nothing wrong with my brain, contrary to the impression of my enemies,” Brenda, I mean Miriam, claimed.

She disclosed her MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) results and the diagnosis of her doctors:  “No brain damage. Flapping noises and high-pitched beeps inside patient’s head are temporary. Patient is advised to rest on her right side for a few days so that the bats can fly out of her left ear.”

But seriously, at least Miriam had the courage to answer questions regarding her fitness for the job. She is not a coward like Ronald Llamas, the political adviser of President Aquino who ran for cover after he was busted buying dibidis in a downscale mall in Quezon City.

It’s not the purchase of dibidis that gets me. A lot of people do it and there is no social stigma or criminal penalty attached to it. What rankles, more than the utter stupidity of a cabinet official buying dibidis in public, is the cowardice of Llamas.

It doesn’t take too many brain cells to figure out that Daan Matuwid, cabinet secretary, and dibidis don’t go well together, does it?  But stupidity can be excused. Some people are born stupid and there’s not much anyone can do about it. Unfortunately. Cowardice, on the other hand, is inexcusable. No one is born a coward. Cowardice is learned behavior. Llamas must have a PhD in it because he ran and left the president and his spokespeople to face the flak for his misbehavior. He exposed the president to attacks because he did not have the courage to accept the consequences of his actions.

Llamas may not know it but the fight against corruption is not for the faint-hearted. As Gloria Arroyo’s late spokesman Cerge Remonde once said, “Anybody who is going to fight corruption in this country or anywhere else is really going to run into serious opposition.”  That means people who cut and run at the first sign of danger have no place in the Aquino administration.

Mr. Llamas, don’t use your friendship with the president to force him to find a reason why not to fire you. You are supposed to help the president, not the other way around. You are supposed to take a bullet for the president, not the other way around. Be a true friend to the president and tender your irrevocable resignation now. You are a liability. Give up your sinecure and go make a living in the private sector. Open a dibidi stall, open a chain of stalls and become a dibidi tycoon, do whatever makes you happy, but stay the hell out of an administration that is trying to change the way things are done in this country.