Buencamino writes political commentary for Action for Economic Reforms. This article was published in Business Mirror October 31, 2007 edition, p. A10.

“Let’s not b lyk gud brother of d prodigal son hu resented his father’s pardon of d wayward son hu returned. Let’s bow to wat was don n w8 4 wat lys ahed. PGMA has bitten the bullet wich she must hav prayd over. Let’s not pretend we know better. Let us hope 4 nat’l interest.”

That was a text message I received last Saturday. It was from a sweet, well-meaning but clueless lady who belongs to a civil society women’s group notorious for taking out full-page newspaper ads supporting Gloria Arroyo, no matter what.

The text message came as a pleasant surprise because Gloria’s society ladies have been eerily silent over the ZTE broadband scandal, the fake Oliver Pulido impeachment complaint, and the cash gifts from the Palace to governors and congressmen.

At first, I was worried something bad had happened to those otherwise nice ladies. I thought they had become speechless and paralyzed.

And then I thought they had finally came to their senses!

But I was wrong on both counts.

Gloria’s society ladies were only waiting for a chance to speak out on an issue that was not as embarrassingly black and white as the scandals that had rocked their idol over the past few months and weeks.

Besides, Erap’s pardon was the perfect wedge issue. It involved a conflict of interest and emotions between the Erap’s loyalists and the broader opposition.

The text message I received, biblical reference and all, had only one message: “Mother knows best. Let’s not pretend we know better. Let’s bow to her judgment.”

Except that this mother is one hell of a mother who puts her welfare over those of her children.

That’s why even her most loyal sons have spoken harshly against her latest act of selfishness.

Sen. Joker Arroyo asked, “Why? It may be asked. Why did we go through six years of trial if the President was predisposed anyway to pardon Estrada the moment the decision was rendered?”

Mother knows best, Joker. Let’s not pretend we know better. Let’s bow to her judgment.

Noting that the pardon was granted with “lightning and tasteless haste,” Joker, unbowed, added,

“President Arroyo must answer to her conscience and to the reaction of the people as to her decision to pardon Estrada too soon.”

Senator Richard Gordon was furious.

Mincing no words, he said:

“I am revolted by the whole scenario…I’m not asking for punishment because I don’t like him. I am revolted because the law has been mediocritized or trivialized…in the end, of course, what will happen is that we will become the laughingstock of the world…

For me, she committed a wrong. Period. And it will be an even worse wrong because it can be said that the timing was coincidental. But she should not shortchange the people through this pardon, as they will be left holding the empty bag…

President Arroyo disgraced her position. She muffed her chance to show that her legacy is one of justice…

Estrada was given a big gift by the Filipino people—the trust of the nation. He betrayed that trust which is why he was charged and punished. This case was fought for six years. Is this the way to repay the Filipino people?

She preferred to survive politically, rather than be right, rather than be just. It’s not even a question of mercy. It’s a question of survival for her. It is a transactional leadership at its purest form.”

Occasionally, I completely agree with both Joker and Dick.  This was such an occasion. But mother knows best so let’s not pretend we know better.  Right, ladies?

Senator Gordon’s parting message to Gloria Arroyo was,

“You took an oath to uphold the law. Sure, pardon is your power. Use your power to benefit the people. You do not use your power to make yourself survive.”

And my parting words to those who asked me to simply trust their mama:

“Who’s your mama?”