Mr. Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms.  His political commentaries are published in the Business Mirror column, “Dispatches from the Enchanted Kingdom.” This piece was published on 3 December 2008, page A6.

I don’t understand why the opposition was offended by Congressman Pablo Garcia’s analogy. They should have been grateful the old man was generous enough to share insights from a trial he witnessed over 2,000 years ago.

Time has not eroded Garcia’s memory. He had no trouble recalling the trial of Jesus clearly and relating it to current events.  Garcia said:

“More than 2,000 years ago, our Lord Jesus Christ was crucified because of an opinion survey. Pontius Pilate presented our Lord to the crowd and said, ‘Whom would you prefer, Barabas or Christ to crucify?’ Our Lord Jesus Christ lost in the survey. Is that how we are going to judge our President because of an opinion survey?”

Garcia’s analogy was right on the money! (Pardon the intended pun.) The House justice committee did choose to crucify the Truth and set a criminal free.

There’s Pablo Garcia and there’s Deputy Palace spokesman Antonio Golez. The latter cannot speak on the Bible with as much authority as Garcia. He’s too young, by two millennia.

Still, he used a passage from the Bible to lecture bishops who said they were ready to support any means if there were no other legal ways available for seeking the truth.

He told them, “These statements are contrary to the teachings found in the Book of Romans, Chapter 13, which says that we should submit to the duly constituted authority.”

And he read out the biblical riot act: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”

If Golez is right, then former Comelec commissioner Virgilio “Garci” Garcillano must be God.  However I doubt ZTE-NBN star Benjamin Abalos or members of the joint congressional committee that refused to scrutinize even one Certificate of Canvass in the 2004 presidential election will concede that point. God, they will argue, manifests Himself in more ways than Garci.

Mrs. Gloria Arroyo likes to brag about her cozy relationship with God. She has on more than one occasion said that He was her “best friend.”  He answers even her most trivial prayers. And I’m not talking about those phone calls related to the counting of votes in the 2004 election; those did not involve trivial matters. I’m talking about another prayer, the one concerning Manny Pacquiao.

On September 11, 2005 Mrs. Arroyo told reporters “God heard my prayers that he win” after she learned boxing great Manny Pacquiao defeated Hector Velasquez. This weekend Manny and millions of Filipinos will be hoping she will call or text God.

Now just because Arroyo pals with God doesn’t mean her servants can take liberties with Him as well. Gloria was flabbergasted when her press secretary Jesus Dureza prayed, “Bless the President so we will have forbearance, good health, the tolerance to lead this nation up to 2010 and perhaps who knows even beyond” and later said, “I’d like to do a light prayer. I’m sure God, the Lord, has a lot of sense of humor. My whole prayer was in that context.”  She felt it was presumptuous of the man, a mere Palace servant, to jest with her best friend.

At any rate, God and the Filipino people can laugh about the mirthful prayer of Christ’s tocayo, Jesus Dureza, and Pablo Garcia’s “where’s the beef?” remark because who, other than Garcia, would think beef when he smells a rat?