Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the March 10, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

Never give a sucker an even break. – W.C. Fields

I was telling my wife about a scam where someone hacks into your e-mail account and uses your identity to swindle money from your contacts.

“How?” she asked.

“With a sob story that ends with a request for an emergency loan,” I replied.

“Terrible,” she said.

“I got one recently,” I said. “And it was signed in my name.”

“Duh,” she remarked.

“I know.” I replied. “But I was so moved by the letter I immediately lent money to myself.”

And that’s how I explained where I got the money for Noynoy and Mar’s golf fundraiser. Needless to say, I got a black eye for it. But it was worth it.  The fundraiser was fun – great company, delicious food, raffle prizes, yellow sports shirt and umbrella for free, and, best of all, no long speeches.

The clubhouse has a great second floor veranda overlooking the ninth and eighteenth greens. It’s equipped with native recliners that, on a breezy day, will do what a sleeping pill does, without the side effects. Unfortunately, recliners are not easy to carry around, unlike pills.

Anyway, I was shooting the breeze with one of the female organizers. We were both drifting in and out of breeze-induced sleepiness so I’m not sure about what comes next, a dream or nightmare reality?

“Fundraisers are fun,” I said.

“There’s one next weekend but I’m not going because it’s for Gibo,” she said.

“I understand,” I replied. But I felt compelled to explain why I was going, “The Commission on Elections said columnists have to be impartial.”

“I understand. Believe me, I do,” she said. She’s an old friend. She knows I’m a golf whore and that my idea of agrarian reform is to build more golf courses.

“I bought two tickets,” I continued. “I invited a golf buddy after my first choice turned me down but he also declined. He’s for Villar.”

“What was her excuse?” asked my veranda companion.

“She’s for virile young men.”

“Ouch!” she laughed.

A week later, I went to Gibo’s fundraiser. The organizers invited a hundred players but only eight showed up, and one of them was for Gordon. So there were nine participants in all, if you include me, the impartial columnist in a yellow sports shirt.

“Same as the surveys, seven Gibo and one Gordon,” I quipped. No one laughed. “At least Gibo gained two since the last survey.” Not even a mercy chuckle. But I persisted, “The good news is Gloria and Mike will award the trophies, although they will be a bit late.” Someone smiled, finally.

We finished golfing, lunching, raffling, and awarding but still no Gloria and Mike. “A bit late” was turning into a long wait so I decided to leave. As I was saying goodbye I heard the familiar sound of ostentation and intimidation: ear-splitting “wangeoww-wangeoww-wangeoww.”

“They’re here,” I said, hurrying back to my seat.

I expected a rousing welcome for Gloria and Mike. Instead, they were met with stunned silence, well, not exactly; a busboy dropped a tray full of dishes; Gloria and Mike were wearing orange sports shirts and waving the thumb and forefinger V-sign.

Gloria was about to say something when I was startled by a loud voice. “Wake up, sir, it’s midnight and you’re the only one left in the club.”  It was the manager.

Midnight is way, way, past my curfew. I was in big trouble with my wife. I had to think fast. And then I remembered the e-mail sob story scam.

“Do you think it will work?” I asked the manager.

“Well, you don’t have too many options left,” he replied.

“You’re right, I’m dead already anyway,” I said.

“I’ll help you,” he said. Male bonding is strongest in battered-husband-versus-abusive-wife situations.

He started writing. “Is this believable so far?” he asked. It was great fiction.

“I’m home free!” I exclaimed. “But don’t stop now, ask her to send money too!”