Playing with Fire

More popish than the Pope

By Gonzalo Duque

IF you analyze the twin political opposition and certain church officials’ hysterical behaviour against President Gloria and her visit to the Pope in the Vatican, you can’t help but remember the Pharisees’ high-handed treatment of Jesus Christ when he opted to heal the sick at the Holy Temple on a Sunday.

What arrogance! Some local priests would even put words in the mouth of Pope Benedict just to embarrass the President who was received warmly at the Vatican.

As expected, the opposition who couldn’t see anything good in PGMA, just like some officials of the Catholic Church, was politicizing the Papal visit. Their very negative behavior is no different from the members of a family who do not hesitate to create embarrassing scenes when they do not like their parents’ guests.


And what is this? A certain church official has issued a circular warning the “faithful” not to invite politicians especially local executives to appear as baptism and wedding sponsors in Catholic Church rites.

You can see clearly that the principle of separation between church and state is now openly violated. There is now an ongoing rivalry between the church and government officials. This is happening because the haunted separation is honored only in theory, not in practice.

Is this the reason economic progress in this country is fast grinding to a halt?

* * *

Press Secretary Ignacio “Toting” Bunye will be the Rotary Club of Uptown Dagupan’s guest of honor and speaker tonight at the De Luxe Grand Ballroom. Congratulations to Ms. Edna Torio-Gonzales who was responsible for taking Mr. Bunye to Dagupan.

Jun Velasco, a good friend of Toting, told me it’s very difficult to invite him to any function outside Metro Manila, so hug Edna for being successful at it. The club and Mayor Benjie Lim should treat him to a grilled bangus at Matutina”s.

In my book, Toting is the best loved and the most hated among PGMA’s Cabinet members. Best loved by pro-GMA people, and most hated by anti-GMA forces. This viewpoint has only one reason: he is very effective as presidential spokesman. It’s natural that what makes Gloria look good would incur applause from sympathizers, and the same is true for those who hate her, Toting is their pet peeve because she makes Gloria the best looking. “But she is the best president the country has produced,” he was quoted as saying.

Luckily for the majority of Filipinos, the antis are fast diminishing because our people do not want too much politics and too much fighting. They would rather be at peace making a living. It is common knowledge that Secretary Bunye was among the few who is effectively handling GMA’s successful leadership.

Mabuhay ka, Secretary Bunye! Mabuhay, PGMA! Mabuhay, Filipino people! To the GMA haters and bashers, mabuhay din kayo pero next time na lang ha? I hope you will see the light soon.

* * *

After a while, Vice Mayor Alvin Fernandez was back to his ways? After blocking a public clamor for the Sanggunian to pass a city ordinance or resolution to regulate the activities of fraternities in the city, he was reported to be stopping the release of his commitment of Pl00,000 appropriation for the nationwide PRISSA.

The reason he gave for holding the fund release was I did not kuno acknowledge him in the PRISSA. Maybe he is blinded by rage because he and everybody knew that he and all the donors had been appropriately mentioned in all media including my column. Being an instructor at LNU, I tapped him for the PRISSA fund support just like the rest. Everyone already gave theirs, only he didn’t.

This reported gesture by Alvin for holding the release simply because he mistakenly thought he was not acknowledged is hypocritical, to say the least. He must be joking or lying to his teeth.

* * *

The controversial proposal to require Dagupan City car and vehicle owners to shell no parking fees is one of the most unpopular to come from my cumpadre and beer-drinking buddy Councilor Chito Samson. Chito wants a contractor who will manage the parking project to get a share of 80 percent share as against the city’s 20 percent. Is Chito anti-Dagupan? And pro-private contractor?

What’s happening with you, Chito? The idea is to rake up revenue for the city government so that it can pay for its increasing obligations is commendable. But why burden vehicle owners? I know for a fact that there are certain places in Metro Manila which practice charging parking fees, but it’s done in a very selective manner.

And here comes Councilor Alex de Venecia who is trying to steal the show from Chito by advocating a bigger share for city, say, 60-40. Mas matinik ya!

I hope this is not another hocus pocus by the money-oriented SP, now a noisy market place. To prevent the SP from throwing its litter everywhere (nagkakalat!), why not authorize the mayor to transact with private contractor with a public bidding? Try to be transparent naman mga pare ko.

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