Theater of the absurd
By Al S. Mendoza
YOU think it’s over?
I mean, do you believe the curtains have been rung down?
Insertions intentionally in place?
Substitutions suitably done spic and span?
Withdrawals without leaving anyone unsatisfied observed to the hilt?
That the show has ended—finally?
It only just begun.
Many more absurdities will rent the air.
No, this is not a comedy of errors.
Nor, is it your telenovela in the mold of a Korean teleserye.
Far from that.
This is your theater of the absurd, which is more profound than a circus, or even a zarzuela.
In your theater of the absurd, you don’t follow the rules. You can bend them in a moment’s notice.
In the end, there are no rules, actually.
Just like in a typical French movie, you don’t know when it ends. You can’t even predict a faint hint of what will befall the lead actor/s.
Like, do you think President Duterte is serious in his bid to become senator after his Palace stint?
Or, Bong Go wanting to become president of the republic?
And did Bato fool us all?
When Bato filed his certificate of candidacy for president in October, I immediately said he was just joking.
Even after he had asked a reporter: “Do I look like a mockery to you?”
He didn’t look like one, of course.
Because he looked like a clown—bald pate and all.
So, when Bato withdrew as presidential candidate, who did he fool?
Himself alone, who else? That’s part of the theater of the absurd.
I never took the President’s word hook, line and sinker.
He’s been always like that from Day One: The master of the theater of the absurd.
Do I need to rewind to 2016 to play again the Digong drama of an 11th-hour move to run for president?
Just when everybody thought he’d never run for president, he took a stunning 360-turn that caught everybody unawares.
He did it when nobody was looking.
Isn’t surprise the best attack? Is that also a Zun Tzu gem?
Whether that was something to gloat about or not will depend on one’s political leaning.
Whatever, it was a master stroke for the ages that will form part of Philippine political lore for generations to see.
Nobody in the immediate future can ever replicate that caper.
The President’s daughter herself has backed off from any form of xeroxing it.
“I’m not a ‘last-two minutes’ person,” Sara Duterte has said.
Bato tried but he ended up a poor copycat. Even as he idolizes Digong to high heavens, he’ll never be a good replica of the original.
It’s different with Bongbong Marcos, who keeps mouthing the tired, distorted line of “restoring the legacy of my father.”
He speaks the truth.
The dictator’s son surely wants to perpetrate his father’s legacy of stealing people’s money (no less than $10 billion), of using martial law to imprison, torture and kill thousands of pro-democracy patriots and of faking his war medals to satisfy his insatiable lust for power and self-aggrandizement.
Now, that’s no theater of the absurd but allowing a return to the darkest saga of Philippine contemporary history.
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