Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the July 28, 2010 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.

Contrary to the rumors you have heard, I was not born in a manger. I was actually born on Krypton and sent here by my father Jor-El to save the Planet Earth. – Barak Obama in a light moment

I showered and dressed early Monday morning. It was the SONA and I didn’t want to be late. Only the vice president has the privilege of arriving late.

I started my preparations for the SONA a week ago. I had my physical therapist work on my neck and arms for the inevitable rubber-necking and elbow-rubbing that I expected to do at the Batasan. I visited my Binondo herbalist for a special tea that would suppress vomiting in case I caught sight of certain politicians.

And so I seated myself, one hour before the SONA, in front of my television. I did not get a ticket for the show. The House protocol office said they were tapped out, all seats taken, no standing room allowed. I told them they were liars, that I knew Cong. Gloria Arroyo’s high chair was available. They said my only chance was for vice president Binay to arrive late again, in case, this time, his motorcade is stopped for running through a red light.

I heard Gloria skipped town because she feared arrest after the SONA. I guess nobody told her that the cops surrounding the Batasan were not a posse. They were there for security and crowd control, to restrain lynch mobs. Anyway, newsclips showed that she left for Hong Kong in the company of her husband Mike and Mike Defensor.

Watching the SONA on TV is not all that bad. One can smoke, drink, snack, and even go on a bathroom break. But it has a drawback: TV anchors and on-scene reporters who tell us what we just saw and heard. They remind me of sports announcers who never made the shift from radio to TV.

Now the post-mortem with pundits is okay. There are some things that do need a little explaining. Besides it’s fun to watch pundits pretend objectivity and intelligence. But it’s the post-SONA interviews that provide true comic relief.

Senator Loren Legarda was asked about her reaction to the SONA. She said she liked it. And then she used the rest of her time talking about herself.

By the way I liked her new hairdo. It took years off. But that’s what prompted a friend to comment – “Parang bagong hiwalay (recently divorced).” I raised my eyebrows so she explained that Loren’s reaction to her electoral debacle, adopting a new younger look, is typical of scorned middle-aged women.

Former Agriculture secretary Yap claimed he was surprised by the President Aquino’s mention of over-importation by the National Food Authority. He said why blame him and Gloria when the decision on import volumes was done by collegial bodies. Too bad his interviewer was sharp. She asked him who chaired those bodies.

I liked the SONA. It was what I expected of a chief operating officer, a presentation of facts followed by plans and courses of action. But I was disappointed there was no mention of the Freedom of Information Bill (FOI). I presume the president thought there is no need for it now because he will have nothing to hide. But the FOI is not personal. I hope one of these days Aquino realizes that the bill is the antidote for the culture of opacity and impunity.

Finally, ANC, the news channel, totally distracted me with an inset at the bottom left corner of the screen. What was a magician performing hand tricks doing in the SONA?