Saturday, November 17, 2018


Dahil nasa news ngayon si Imelda Marcos, naisipan kong i-posr itong isang lumang kolum na sinulat ko para sa Manila Times bandang 1996.

Jose F. Lacaba                                                                                                              

As If!

IMELDA’S mad. She’s mad as hell at Cory Aquino for suggesting that Imelda should return all of the Marcoses’ ill-gotten wealth to the Filipino people. Reacting like a bull in a china shop, or like a wayward ballistic missile in a fireworks factory, the former First Lady sent media outfits a faxed note addressed to the former President. That was in the nature of an open fax, the high-tech equivalent of an open letter.

“For God’s sake, Cory!” Imelda wrote, liberally dispensing exclamation points. “Be nice for a change!”

Then she went ad hominem, or maybe the politically correct term would be ad feminam: “For 10 years our country and the Filipino people have suffered enough from your ugliness!”

The proper riposte to that amazing display of pique and chutzpah can only be Alicia Silverstone’s favorite line in the movie Clueless:

As if!

I mean, has Imelda Marcos looked in the mirror lately? She may have been Miss Manila in her youth, but now she looks more like Ms. Quiapo Underpass After a Heavy Rain.

Some women age gracefully, their beauty evolving with the years. But the arrogance of power and the subsequent embitterment of defeat have a way of corrupting human flesh, distorting the features of even the most fabled of beauties.

Today I can’t look at pictures of the erstwhile Rose of Tacloban without recalling lines from a John Crowe Ransom poem: “I know a lady with a terrible tongue, / Blear eyes fallen from blue, / All her perfections tarnished—yet it is not long / Since she was lovelier than any of you.”

Congresswoman Marcos doesn’t seem to know that yet. Which is why she thinks she can get away with such prettier-than-thou exhortations as: “Let us all work to make this nation not only great but beautiful again. Put up or shut up, Cory!”

As if!

That Clueless catchword—which, until I saw the movie, I always assumed to be Filipino English, like saying “For a while” to telephone callers—seems like a wonderfully apt retort to certain announcements and pronouncements recently in the news.

The current First Lady, Ming Ramos, for instance, is also in exhortatory mode. A statement from the Malacañang press office reports that she advised the media not to glorify “actresses and television personalities who have children out of wedlock.”

The Malacañang statement quotes Ming as saying: “We should go back to the good moral values. We have to teach children what is right and what is wrong.”

Ming Ramos is, by all accounts, a personable and unasssuming lady. That may explain why a sympathetic press has chosen to interpret her comments as “a slap at former President Corazon Aquino’s daughter, Kris,” who has a love child by a married man.

As if!

I mean, shouldn’t such comments be addressed to the wayward men? Kris didn’t get preggie by immaculate conception, so it seems unfair to single out the female of the species—“actresses.” Where does Phillip Salvador figure in all this? And, closer to home, should people who live in glass houses be throwing brickbats?

 And now comes Jaime Cardinal Sin pontificating on “signals that martial law may return.”
n a radio interview, the good cardinal took note of reports that the government is thinking of giving vigilante powers to private security guards and that the police may have planted evidence against suspected terrorists. He then exhorted the faithful: “Let us be vigilant, especially on that antiterrorism bill.”

As if!

I mean, the possible resurgence of martial rule is certainly a nightmare devoutly to be feared; but if the cardinal is so concerned about that, then maybe he should be equally concerned about the erosion of democratic rights and civil liberties.

Yet a lot of people see the cardinal’s hidden hand in a recent attack on a fundamental democratic right enshrined in the Constitution—freedom of expression.

A newspaper report, quoting an unnamed member of the cardinal’s staff, said Sin “actively lobbied to stop the showing” of the controversial movie Priest.

The hero of EDSA and savior of democracy, who has not seen the movie, was reportedly “upset” by its portrayal of a gay Catholic priest. He had earlier denounced the portrayal as “foolishness.”

As if!

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