HERE NOW, THE NEWS.  Top members of the Philippine Senate shocked their constituents this morning by being extra nice to each other and indulging in unprecedented public displays of affection.

Ordinary citizens are reacting with outrage at their lawmakers’ naked expressions of civility.

It began when Senator Panfilo “Ping” Lacson lavished praise on his colleague, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, calling her  “an extraordinary humanitarian.”

[CLIP OF LACSON] “She’s extremely kindhearted—she pays her housemaids very generous wages by using public funds. I mean, what can I say? She’s just terrific. It’s a privilege to know such a charitable…excuse me, I’m tearing up.

“Miriam is also devoted to Filipino heritage. She even built a private cockpit for lowly sabungeros, also with public funds. What a great, great human being.”

Senator Santiago returned Lacson’s compliments, blowing kisses at her colleague, saying she really missed him terribly when he fled to Hong Kong to escape criminal prosecution.

[CLIP of MIRIAM] “You can’t help but love the guy! Pinky, my dear, I’ll sponsor a gay marriage bill so you‘ll have the right to marry anyone you love. Just kidding. People, listen. There’s nothing wrong with being gay, and I don’t believe Ping Lacson is one. Although I know his boyfriend is.”

Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile also publicly declared his unbounded affection for the lady senator.

[CLIP of ENRILE] “You know, ganito ‘yan. I was riding my imported used car from the Cagayan special economic zone when Cupid ambushed me and shot my car full of arrows. So now all I can think of is Miriam, and I’m not faking it.”

Ordinary citizens needless to say are appalled by this unexpected turn of events. For a man-in-the-street feedback here’s Babes Amalayer at the MegaMall.

– Rico, shoppers here are up in arms at the senators’ shocking civilized behavior.  Barry Inez, an office clerk, says he’s had it.

[CLIP of Inez] “What the…? When are they going to act like real senators and start slinging mud at each other?! My god, whatever happened to traditional politics?”

–And some people complain that the senators are also spending their precious time working on legislation instead of quarreling.

[CLIP]“’I’m Reli Azar, a housewife. I don’t approve of the direction of the Senate. It’s really disgusting—purobills na langAno ba ‘yan?“

–Rico, fed up ordinary people say they are losing faith in their government because the senators have turned their backs on time-honored values like pettiness and self-aggrandizement. Back to you.

THANK YOU, Babes—now, the latest from the Vatican where the Holy See is rolling out the red carpet for the arrival of 117 cardinal-electors who’ll be choosing a new Pope, following the sudden resignation of Pope Benedict.

We go now to Vatican City via satellite with style reporter Peachy Pie Dinagyan.

–Rico, the paparazzi are going insane trying to the get the best spots! Papa-razzi, get it? Ha, ha. Thousands of chanting and kneeling fans are waiting for their favorite candidates for the papal seat.

–Here with me all the way from Manila is liturgical fashionista-blogger BoyetBoy Acolito. So, tell us who’s wearing who for this gala? By the way, you look mahvelously thin!

“Mwah! I didn’t hear that, but thanks! Actually, Peachy Pie, for the conclave they’ll all wear the same top designers–Vincenzo Serpone of Naples and Barbiconi of Via Santa Caterina here in Rome. That means ancient church values, with little nods here and there to modernity.

“Here come the cardinals from Spain and Tanzania, sashaying in stunning Vincenzo Serpone scarlet silk cassocks topped with knee-length, white linen rochets with Belgian lace highlights and edging—perfect for repeated voting in a locked chamber.

“That scarlet silk short-shouldered mozzetta cape worn over everything–also by Vincenzo Serpone–is absolutely gorgeous! Great for bloodless backstabbing. Oh, and the whole ensemble accessorizes fabulously with Barbiconi creations.

“The cardinal from France, for example, is simply fetching in his red Barbiconi zucchetto skullcap for ordinary plenaries. When the new Pope is chosen they’ll all switch to gold-threaded Barbiconi mitres.

“Here’s Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles. Poor dear. He’s deep in a scandal right now–for covering up sex abuse by priests in his diocese. But he looks angelic with a pure-white cincture around the waist to symbolize chastity and self-restraint in sexual matters. Also by Barbiconi.

–But BoyetBoy, aren’t these a bit too fancy for such a solemn procedure?

“Peachy dear, afterwards they’ll all go back to ordinary prêt-a-porter from little shops here in Largo Argentina. You know, regular black or white habits for excommunications, exorcisms, or daily activities like berating congregations for salacious thoughts, and denouncing family planning and homosexuals.”

–Really? Now BoyetBoy, if I may–this whole lacy-dressy high fashion conclave strikes me as a bit, well, gay.

“Peachy honey! Remember, when it comes to sexually ambiguous symbology, gay-bashing clergy got there first. Be a proud Roman Catholic, girl!”

–That’s our very own fashion hotshot BoyetBoy Acolito. He’ll be heading to London to work on Madonna’s “Papa Don’t Preach 2.0” world tour.

The fans are going crazy now. More cardinals are arriving to seal themselves in a room and blow smoke. Back to you, Rico…Cardinal Mahoney! Cardinal Mahoney, camera time, please!!

THANKS, Peachy Pie. Filipinos are waiting for news of the new Pope as our very own Cardinal Luis Tagle is in the running. If he’s chosen, Filipinos will surely bring their very own touches to the Vatican, like calling him Sir Pope.

And that’s the news this evening. Good night and see you again tomorrow at sex, I mean, six.