“The man of knowledge must be able not only to love his enemies but also to hate his friends.” Friedrich Nietzsche
By Alex P. Vidal
We always find it hard to defend our politicians each time our foreigner friends rib them and call them names. In the first place, they have no right to besmirch the reputation of our compatriots right here in our own territory. Our politicians may look like SOBs to them, but they are still our own SOBs. In the name of free speech, let the chips fall where they may.
Because we value and respect the majesty of the constitution that guarantees the freedom of expression in this country, the most that we can do is to let them unload their tantrums however vexatious they may sound sometimes, and, if necessary, parry their offensive soundbites if they veer south of the border.
Some of these Pinoy politician bashers who happen to be my friends are Danny Leigh of Australia, Jack Hall of USA, Tom Doyle of Ireland, Henning Blegvad of Denmark, Martin Stummer of Germany, and Yukio Katsumata of Japan.
Leigh’s displeasure for Filipino politicians started when he personally saw for the first time what a slum area looks like in Paranaque while we were riding in a passenger jeep years back. “Oh my. What is that?” Leigh blurted, pointing his finger at several shaggy tots walking with bloated tummies and no underwear. Leigh, a trader from Sydney, said he heard a lot about squatter colonies in the Philippines and what he saw mystified him. Leigh, 45, blamed the politicians for the impoverished community. He fumed: “Some of them (politicians) live in gated subdivisions and give speeches wearing expensive attires yet their people live like rats.”
Katsumata, speaking in broken English, lamented a personal experience where a Manila politician he failed to identify tried to extort money from him in exchange for recognition of his illegitimate son born out of wedlock to a Filipino mother. “Korrrap politisyan,” Tokyo-based Katsumata hissed. He left for Japan and refused to negotiate for his son saying some Pinoy politicians “are worst than corrupt policemen.”
Hall, 83, a retired contractor from Ohio, hesitated when I asked him to pose with then Vice President Noli de Castro for a souvenir photo in a beach resort in Iloilo City. “If not for you (referring to me), I won’t pose with that guy. I heard he is also corrupt. I don’t trust (Filipino) politicians,” remarked Hall, who smiled while de Castro did not. Hall is married to a Cebuana nurse.
Stummer, who used to own a beach resort in Guimaras, always sought my assistance each time his wife, Helen, would allegedly assault him. “I was the one who was shot and nearly killed by my own wife, yet I was the one who landed in jail? What a f…ck life!” Stummer loudly protested while locked inside the Jaro police station years back.
He was arrested after a violent domestic quarrel with Helen inside their resto bar. Helen insisted it was Stummer who provoked and insulted her. “He is too much!” boomed Helen, who denied shooting her husband but admitted her willingness to square off with the heavyweight German “to defend my dignity as a woman.” Stummer blamed “influential” and “corrupt” politicians closed to Helen behind her lackadaisical attitude since she allegedly became a socialite. Helen denied Stummer’s accusation saying she is a friend both of politicians and non-politicians.
The sharpest indignation came from Blegvad, 84, a crack pianist who entertained some of the generals under Adolf Hitler during the World War II in Berlin.
Blegvad, who doesn’t believe in God, said he doesn’t believe politicians can save the Philippines from moral, spiritual, and economic meltdown. “In the first place, they are a bunch of dishonest criminals and the number one reason why the Philippines is mired in poverty, why superstition and fanaticism have eaten up the moral and spiritual fibers of Filipinos; because there is breakdown of discipline and lack of respect for the laws. Because the politicians are not role models.”
“I agree,” retorted 79-year-old Doyle, a victim of physical abuse by Ireland Jesuit priests who were not prosecuted because they were supported by politicians. He said he avoids Filipino politicians “because I don’t want gossips and corruption.” Gossipers act like politicians and some politicians also gossip, he said.