Missing in Action

Good Morning Philippines!


It was amusing to see how the spokespersons at the Palace took turns in explaining why the President was nowhere to be seen during the twin typhoons, “Pedring” and “Quiel”  as they barreled through the Philippines last week. Mr. lacierda gave the opening salvo with his story about the President being “not fond of photo-ops” by way of explaining his “missing in action.”  Seriously, is that something a leader tells a citizen drowning in a flood as being the reason he’s not around if only to reassure the flood victims and  give them hope that help is on its way? Is the President’s “camera shy” quality more important than assuring families desperate in their life and death situation that the government is there to help and no less than the President is on top of the situation as evidenced by his presence. Put in his own terms, does an “employee” tell his “bosses” he can’t make it to work because there are people with cameras in the office building and he’s against photo-ops?

When another day passed by and still no sign of the President, it was Abigail Valte’s turn at excusing the President with her version of an asinine remark saying the President “does not want to become the focus or the center of attraction when he visits” the provinces submerged in water,  hence, his conspicuous absence.

And finally, word came out on  some personal reaction from the President to the devastation: “the President was shocked,” Ms. Valte announced, this, coming 5 days after the first and the worse of the twin typhoons struck and some thirty people had already perished.  All the while that they were explaining why the President was not here or there but was monitoring the situation closely, no one was able to say exactly where  he was and with whom and doing precisely what. That was as transparent as it got. And we’re talking here simply of his whereabouts during a calamity.

It is as easy for Mr. Aquino to call all Filipinos his “boss” as it is for him to behave like one and an insensitive one at that. It is no different from the diner at an ultra expensive restaurant calling the waiter “boss” to order him, discourteously,  to bring  more wine. If there is one trait of this President that has been made obvious to all, it is this: insensitive and callous. It was shown when he acquired the Porsche; made evident when he refused to apologize to the families of the victims of the botched rescue operations during the infamous “Luneta hostage crisis;” and  revealed during the recent calamities that saw more than fifty people die and millions suffer and who are still suffering.

So when the President repeats to us that we are his bosses, picture the brash, arrogant diner at the fancy restaurant rudely ordering the waiter to bring him more wine, condescendingly addressing him as “boss,” “amo,” or “chief.” And then imagine yourself as the waiter having to bear with him.




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