Saturday, July 28, 2012

From Sauna to Sona

Lost in Sona:The author (Right) with Rep. Gina de Venecia's PR man Gypsy Baldovino.
Partylist lady solon wears a Kukor, short of Kukortinahin (curtain) frock for the SONA

 This writer who dreams to go to “sauna” has at last attended the real Sona (State of the Nation Address) last July 23 at the Batasan Complex . Thanks to the invitation of Rep. Gina de Venecia (4th District, Pangasinan). What I observed inside the plenary hall, to my amazement, is no different to what looks inside the cockpit arena in my city. Only the plenary hall of the House of Representatives, 20 times bigger than the fowl arena, has sea of men and women outclassing each other in their sartorial elegance and whose first name has been appended with an adjective “Honorable.” That not all congresswomen beautifully carried themselves in Filipino gowns designed by Patis Tesoro and Pitoy Moreno, there were those in the party list sectors who lousily carried themselves in frock designed by Kukor, short for Kukortinahin (curtain), they probably bought in a bargain sale in Divisoria and Baclaran. That the lower box facing the rostrum where the Philippine president, senate president, and the speaker of the House of Representatives sat were rows of benches where present and former high government officials like former President Fidel V. Ramos, former 5-time Speaker Jose de Venecia, Vice President Jojo Binay, former President Joseph Estrada, and foreign ambassadors and their wives occupy. That I pitied the foreign dignitaries who looked like idiots listening to the one hour-and- a- half speech of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III in Tagalog. That the Office of the Speaker should have purchased earphones (just like in the United Nations- for those dignitaries who come as far as the Republic of Timbukto ) on which they listen to translations in English.
That the most popular people inside the August Chamber were former Speaker de Venecia and former President Ramos -- where most of the congressmen and senators who passed by near them stopped and paid their obeisance just like what a knight does to a king. That at the last row of the upper box of the third gallery was a throng of barong-clad men who incessantly and zealously applauded every time the president finished a certain sentence. That even some if not many of these sentences the president read on the teleprompter were not laudable, still these seemingly Malacanang’s palakpak boys fueled many of the 4000 crowd to join their applause. That the 120 applauses the Palace crowed to its press releases to the 4,000 words speech should be downgraded to 12 in case there was no “Palakpak Boys” at the far end of the 3rd Gallery. That I agreed with most of the president’s statements not only because he used Filipino for everybody to understand including those members of Oxo, Sigue-Sigue, and others who waited for Manoling Morato at the Manila City, but he butressed his speech with facts, figures, and Holy Caserole and Guacamole, with eye catching visuals despite the “inaudible” sound system in the gallery. That I disagreed with some of his words liked” Sa Enero, aangkla na po sa Pilipinas ang BRP Ramon Alcaraz, ang pangalawa nating Hamilton class cutter. ‘Di na po bangkang papel ang ating ipapalaot; ngayon po, mga hi-tech at dekalidad na barko na ang tatanod sa 36,000 kilometers nating coastline”. That how could he launch a bankang papel in “la-ot (sea coast)” when the rah-rah-boys of Gloria M. Arroyo only floated them at the Pasig River that until now is not yet salt water? That writing a presidential speech was like scribbling a column in Filipino for the tabloid Bulgar and Abante where sleight of hands were needed to make an impression and drew applause to the spectators: “Pero hindi nakuntento rito si Secretary Mon Jimenez. Sabi niya, kung sa Malaysia may bumisitang 24.7 million na turista noong 2011, at kung sa Thailand naman tinatayang 17 million, sa dinami-rami ng magagandang tanawin sa ating bansa, hindi naman siguro suntok sa buwan kung mangarap tayong pagdating ng 2016”. That how could the president compare the arrival of tourists in 2016 when we are still in 2012 where figures say we will get 4.6 million tourist arrivals versus the last 10 years arrival where the Arroyo administration added only 1.3 million tourists?

 Let’s get rid of the “that” which I incessantly used above. I cherished that after the SONA I was able to cross path with the beauteous Rep. Kimi Cojuango (5th District, Pangasinan) near the red carpet and told her pet bill, the reproductive health would have a chance to be passed before the congress goes into recess when the president’s mentioned “sana nga po, ngayong paubos na ang backlog sa edukasyon, sikapin nating huwag uling magka-backlog dahil sa dami ng estudyante. Sa tingin ko po, Responsible Parenthood ang sagot dito” that incited Cojuangco, Rep. Edcil Lagman, and others to stand-up and applaud the president who paused for a moment to acknowledge them. “Tumataas nga ang economiya natin ayon sa Bloomberg, pero dumadami naman ang mga tao,” I told the maverick lady solon clad in a pearl colored Maria Clara. I cherished that I met former Rep. Mark Cojuangco ( eloquent lawmaker that I thought years ago would be an asset as secretary of the aggie department what with those Israeli technologies he mumbled to us, and a good material in the senate) by telling him: “ Sir, umalis na sa ‘Pinas ang Ford (assembly plant). Masyadong mataas ang presyo kuryente dito sa atin. Dapat nuclear (plant) na tayo”. “Oo, nga!”, quipped by the perceptive scion of business tycoon Danding Cojuangco, who is the proponent in Congress of nuclear plants.

 The Local Front: If Vice President Jejomar Binay is a subject of demolition job (like his extortion activities on business applicants in Makati City) commissioned by his presidential rivals in 2016 presidential poll, 2013 vice gubernatorial wannabe Ranjit Shahanni, an incumbent Pangasinan Board Member and a nephew of El Tabako former president Fidel Ramos, is charged with six estafa (swindling)cases by his former media coordinator Cesar Mendoza. According to a source, Shahani cursed Mendoza when he (Mendoza) asked for his two-month salary. Is this true, Ranjit man? Or is this just a plain and simple political harassment waged by your enemies at the Capitol after you declared their Governor Amado T. Espino as the most corrupt governor of Pangasinan? I heard that your colleagues plan to suspend you from the Sanggunian Panlalawigan because of your scathing “aw-aw-aw-aw” doggone remarks against them. Son of a gun, if they suspend Ranjit by two-third votes as mandated by law because of his 17 absences, how would the Board deal with Board Members John Christopher Arcinue, Teofilo Humilde, and Generoso Tulagan Jr. with 18, 14, and 11 absences respectively?
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