Senator Tulfo and the budol in the art world
By Farah G. Decano
LAST Thursday, Senator Raffy Tulfo took Senator Cynthia Villar to task about the alleged indiscriminate conversion of agricultural lots into residential and mixed-use developments. Coming from a family that develops land into subdivisions, Senator Villar defended their business undertaking and stated that they only target lots in cities and urban areas. Senator Tulfo disagreed citing examples of Villar-led projects in Region 2. If not for the timely intervention of Senator Miguel Zubiri, the newscaster turned Senator would have shamed the billionairess legislator in the usual manner he was famous for.
I wish that Senator Tulfo’s brazenness to confront a colleague during senate sessions can endure later the overt and/or clandestine counter-moves of his powerful colleagues. He must resist any steps to silence him. The senator must not forget that one of the reasons for his recent win for a senatorial seat was his valiant unmasking of possibly inept and corrupt government officials. His constant demonstration of courage has earned him the image of a knights templar of the masses. His Filipino voters expect him to do in the Senate what he usually does over broadcast and social media: unapologetically lambast no-good public servants and courageously hold them accountable to the public. The unheard and outraged voices of the electorate feel that they have found a good representation in Senator Tulfo.
Mr. Senator, this is not the time to tone down your usual no-nonsense tirade against the so-called incompetent and the vile. You were not “hired” by the nation to be a mere team player. You were not voted upon as Mr. Friendship in the upper house. Instead, you have been enlisted to be among the few who are audacious in carving another path of progressive leadership and see to it that fiat justitia ruat caelum.
Mr. Senator, should you suddenly be silenced in the spirit of unity with your colleagues, then you will not be any different from the weaklings of politics. You shall be perceived as compromised. I hope you won’t fall as one of the transactional leaders whose self-imposed policy in leading the nation is quid pro quo in favor of their own, their family’s and their business interests. If you think you have a seemingly spotless record as a sword-wielding media person, please be informed that your present decisions and actions will taint that hard-earned image. There will be a barrage of negative retroactive perceptions against you if you become a namby-pamby senator. If you wish to protect the years of good public perception about you, you must continue to be the corrupt-buster that you made yourself to be.
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A few weeks ago, I was tempted to buy an artwork by a national artist. It was being sold at one-fourth its usual price and I wanted to bite the bullet. I thought that this jackpot does not come very often. Who wouldn’t want to own a creation of a nationally acclaimed painter? Aside from the visual delight that the framed image gave, I also saw it as an investment opportunity.
However, a better and a wiser art afficionado echoed to me what I already knew but deliberately pushed back to the corners of my mind. She had to message me twice to get me to listen to her. Despite all my arguments, that the host seller is authentic and that the economy must have pushed down the prices of luxury goods, she remained adamant with her advice, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.”
She told me that there is a syndicate in the art world. The paintings of famous but dead artists are now being forged. It is a multi-million criminal activity. The mobsters threaten the surviving families of these artists into silence. They also put-up galleries that sold the fakes with real ones as smoke screens.
Be careful. Budol is not limited to the virtual world. It extends also to the real world.
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