Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms.  This article was published in Business Mirror March 14, 2007  edition, p. A6

Dear Knights of the Enchanted Kingdom,

I had a bad start last week. And it was because of Sir Toting’s reaction to the annual US Department of State’s “Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.”

His “We take it as a constructive criticism from a time-honored ally…” made me spill scalding hot coffee on my lap.

I was shouting, “Bakla!” in between howls of pain. But Sir Toting is not the only paladin who deserves Knight General Emeritus Palparan’s favorite epithet for the Melo report.

The McCarthyite, Sir Norbie, didn’t say the State Department was a communist lair even though its findings were based on reports from non-government organizations. Knight Whip, Sir Hot Papa, did not proclaim the report “incomplete” even though it didn’t come within a tenth of the length of Justice Melo’s 80-plus pages report. And the name-calling motor-mouth, Sir Raul, did not call US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice a “muchacha” even though it’s obvious she descended from slaves.

Furthermore, the State Department enumerated cases reported by leftists and human rights activists. It even mentioned the disappearance of five Estrada supporters who were, in the report’s words, “surreptitiously taken into custody.”  And yet, not one knight cried “Brainwashed!”

Foggy Bottom bases its human rights reports from inputs of embassies and, on rare occasions when it doubts the accuracy of embassy reports, it sends rapporteurs like… well… Philip Alston of the UN.

Anyway, I presume the State Department did not send a rapporteur for this year’s report because I don’t recall any visiting American official receiving an Altonesque dismissal from the Chief of the Glorified Security Forces, Knight General Esperon. There was none of the “I do not know how familiar he is with other insurgencies, but as he admits, he is here for the first time and stayed here for the last 10 days” from Esperon.

Thus, I’m forced to conclude that proconsul Kristie Kenney is responsible for the State Department’s “constructive criticism.”

Besides, Kenney had told the press recently, “We are concerned. We take extrajudicial murders seriously… I think the important thing now is the government of the Philippines has put together some very good ideas. Let’s put them into action.”

Proconsul Kenney used diplomatese to tell your Queen to walk her talk. But you responded with politesse: “we assure the world that the Philippines upholds democracy and human rights as strongly as it cherishes freedom and free enterprise.”

Seriously, I don’t know how anybody can react in such a wimpy manner.

You didn’t ask for balance when Secretary Rice said,

“During the year there were a number of arbitrary, unlawful, and extrajudicial killings apparently by elements of the security services…. Many of these killings went unsolved and unpunished, contributing to a climate of impunity…. Members of the security services committed acts of physical and psychological abuse on suspects and detainees, and there were instances of torture…. Arbitrary or warrantless arrests and detentions were common…During a brief ‘state of emergency’ in February; there was some attempted interference in freedom of the press and in the right of assembly…. In addition to the killings mentioned above, leftwing and human rights activists were often subject to harassment by local security forces.”

And you didn’t deny her allegation that,

“The PNP has deep-rooted institutional deficiencies and suffered from a widely held and accurate public perception that it was corrupt…. Corruption is widespread in the judiciary…. A justifiable public perception of corruption in the judicial, executive, and legislative branches remained high.”

Rice called you murderers, kidnappers, torturers, and crooks and all you could say was “We take it as a constructive criticism from a time-honored ally.”

What a shame. You should have shown some cojones, if only to dispel your fast-growing reputation of being nothing but bluffers and bullies.

You push around a retired justice in his 70s, insult a mild-mannered UN rapporteur after he leaves the country, and you run away from those who fight back. Prince Mike challenged an esquire to a fistfight and then backed down when his challenge was accepted.  Sir Joey, the man who stepped into Sir Mike’s tiny shoes, challenged the Genuine Opposition (GO) to a debate on economics and then ran for cover when GO said they would gladly debate it in Plaza Miranda. You’re what we call, in the vernacular of decades past, “mga tigas t*t*.”

Well, at least you have chutzpah to compensate for your lack of cojones.

You’ll see what I mean after I tell you what happened at a recent election conference organized by Namfrel and sponsored by Malacañang.

Bigwigs don’t usually attend those conferences. But this one they did. Everyone involved in the election process, from provincial treasurers to Comelec employees to Namfrel to Knight General Esperon of the Glorified Security Forces, was present.

Election chief Abalos was so happy to see his comrades from the 2004 election at the pow-wow, he asked everyone to sing, “Hail, Hail the gang’s all here.”

That’s chutzpah.

Well, I have to call my doctor about my second-degree burns. I’m dying to wear trousers again. Heck, I don’t know why I’m even telling you this. You have no need for trousers since chutzpah is all you’ve got anyway.

Hugs and kisses,