By Jullie Yap Daza
Even the Pope can crack a joke, telling bishops in Peru, “What is wrong with Peru, that when one finishes being president one ends up behind bars? . . . If we let ourselves be led by people who only speak the language of corruption, we are done for!” Those remarks, reported Agence France Presse, earned him some laughter.
Corruption is not a joke. We’ve had a president who was exiled, another who was jailed, yet another who was detained in a hospital, but so far we have survived the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune by being resilient, an adjective that we do not seem to mind, especially when used by First Worlders wondering why we are what we are. As victims of decades of corruption in high places, we are still able to laugh at our state of risibility.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez didn’t sound funny at all when he threatened LGUs with a zero budget if they did not support the call for a federal form of government. The feedback was so bad that he had to assure his humorless listeners that it was only a joke. Maybe he was also joking when he said Con-Con or Con-Ass could do without the Senate. The flak has been malingering, but the Speaker has yet to say, “Just kidding.”
As senators and congressmen quibble and quarrel, bicker and argue over the Speaker’s words, the clock is ticking and the pages of the calendar are flying off the wall. Is there time to overhaul the Constitution, prepare for the 2019 elections and the plebiscite to go with it? That complex and complicatedly expensive process is not a game when time is the enemy. TRAIN has left the station with a load of new taxes and tax discounts, but the light at the end of the tunnel is coming from the headlight of another, oncoming train. Stop the clock, stop the train? Nene Pimentel advises, go slow. Cha-Cha isn’t slapstick.
The biggest LOL joke of the week is contributed by jeepney drivers refusing to give up the ghost of their rotting, rusting, decrepitly dangerous vehicles. They have the nerve to give one and the same excuse for their “bulok” and “usok”: “Sir, puede pa naman iyan” (it’s still good to go).