Woe is me
By Manuel Buencamino
“A political organization is a transferable commodity.
You could not find a better way of killing virtue than by
packing it into one of these contraptions which some gang of
thieves is sure to find useful.”—John Jay Chapman
My palace mole came through again. He sold me another page
purloined from the queen’s diary.
I’m off to New York City once again. My press secretary
said, “President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has decided to
proceed with her planned visit to New York to attend the
high-level debate of the 63rd United Nations General
Assembly [UNGA] and for other high-level meetings with
As you can see, it’s not a junket this time around. The
UNGA will be addressing growing global hunger and poverty,
and it needs the world’s foremost expert on the subject to
explain how she made it work for her.
But that’s not the only reason I’m going to New York. I
need to talk to “high-level banking and financial
officials” to find out how much, if any, did the
Government Service Insurance System chairman invest in
those high-yield investment papers.
As my Press secretary explained, “There is going to be a
dialogue or briefing from high-level banking and financial
officials. We all know that financial markets in the United
States are going down and, whether we like it or not, we are
affected, although how severe it would be is not yet
known.” I intend to find out.
By the way, I wonder why my Press secretary keeps using
“high-level” to describe my activities. Should I buy him
Anyway, I wanted to be out of Manila to distance myself
from the plan to extend my term. I don’t want to stay
after my lease expires in 2010, believe me.
I know I changed my mind before, but that was then. I had a
family to take care of.
Now, don’t get me wrong, by “family” I don’t mean
only the Macapagal-Arroyo family. I’m also talking about
my political family.
Do you know how many very hungry mouths there are in that
family? They were the ones who begged me to run in 2004. I
relented because I felt I owed them.
2005 sealed my fate. There was no turning back after I was
caught talking to Garci. I was not going to go down alone.
Family members in Congress, the Court, the state security
apparatus, the business world and the Church knew they were
going to go down with me if they didn’t do what had to be
They all understood the problem, and quick fixes followed.
Fake impeachment complaints were accepted and legitimate
ones were trashed. An Ombudsman was brought in to backstop
charges we could not evade, and the High Court sat on cases
it could not rule on without appearing too biased. The
Church, true to its calling, came through and ignored the
public’s demand for accountability through impeachment.
Things were beginning to smooth over when the 2007
election, followed by the ZTE-NBN exposé, threw everything
out of whack. Those two events made the Family realize that,
from then on, it was a fight to the finish.
I thought the Family meant 2010. I didn’t realize they
had something else in mind: to use me as their “get out of
jail” card for as long as they could.
The country is gagged and bound. My team at the Supreme
Court ruled that any deal involving me is off-limits to
inquiring minds, Merceditas Gutierrez is Ombudsman and Raul
Gonzalez is at Justice. The state security services pledged
to stand by me, and the state spiritual security service,
the Catholic Church, discerned that the real threat to the
country’s morals was birth control, not the Family’s
Nothing stands between the Family and the nation’s vault,
and they will always have me to blame in case the shit hits
the fan. That’s why the Family will not allow me to ride
off into the sunset come 2010.
I am now a contraption for a gang of thieves. Woe is me.