Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in the Business Mirror, May 20,2008 edition, p. A10.

“Something is happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?” – Bob Dylan

Lost in the controversy surrounding photographs showing the Arroyo couple enjoying a round of golf with ZTE officials is a British high court decision to reverse a lower court’s ruling that secretly filming “a man in his swimming trunks at a swimming pool” violated the 2003 Sexual Offenses Act.

At issue was whether or not “man breasts” or “moobs” constituted private parts as contemplated in the law.

Lord Justice Anthony Hughes said, “The intention of parliament was to mean female breasts and not an exposed male chest. The former are still private — amongst 21st century bathers — the second is not.”
Thus the Lord Justice ruled, “This act (2003 Sexual Offenses Act) didn’t mean to refer to the male chest but only to female breasts, it follows that the judge ‘s directions on the meaning of breasts was erroneous.”

The Agence France-Presse summed it up as the failure of the judge in the initial case to properly explain “the difference between breasts and chest.”

And that brings us to Gloria Arroyo and her minions who want the public to believe that the Shenzen photos are just “chest” pictures despite the fact, as last Sunday’s Philippine Daily Inquirer editorial correctly pointed out, that the camera-hungry Mrs. Arroyo uncharacteristically and purposely kept away her usual retinue of paparazzi and chroniclers.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Anthony Golez Jr told dwIZ radio, “Ang nagpapakita ng litratong yan, magaling gumawa ng mga karugtong o ang imagination nila medyo malawak. Simpleng litrato, walang ginagawang illegal transaction o kahit anuman, pilit nilalagyan ng malisya.” (“Those who are showing those pictures have a wild imagination. It was an innocent picture, there was nothing illegal going on, and yet they injected malice into it.”)

Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said, “I don’t see why you think there should be anything wrong about that. In the first place, there was no commitment made by anyone, not even by the President. All she knows is there is this forthcoming ZTE broadband project, but why impute any flaw to a project [whose details had yet to be discussed]?”

In other words, the Palace is accusing the opposition of superimposing breasts on an innocuous picture of a chest.

The truth of the matter is a picture of a breast or a chest, in and of itself, does not tell us anything. It is the context that tells us the story. In this case those photos of the Arroyo couple blissfully strolling in a golf course in Shenzen are the beginning of a tale that ends in an orgy of plunder. But who cares?

“I don’t know if that is the headquarters of ZTE. What I know from information I tried to gather was that, okay, so they played golf, they were treated to lunch and then they were asked to tour the place. Now if that was ZTE then so be it,” said the callous Ermita.
My favorite blogger, the x-rated Rude Pundit, might as well have described the Arroyo regime when he wrote these words about the Bush administration:

“Of the legion of harms done to this nation by this presidency, one of the worst has been the elimination of our capacity to be appalled. The administration has just raised the bar too high. And that is a loss of innocence, in a sense, like post-Watergate or post-Kent State. When a government demonstrates what depravities it is capable of, and the people are willing to blithely accept them, then we have indeed fallen; we have been traumatized into apathy.”

That is what’s happening here, Mr. Jones.