COMMENT: Footnotes

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/27 July)– Life’s path twists and turns. A fool he is who wants it straight. Life’s excitement is in its twists and turns as the resilience of a spring bed is in the coils of its springs. Life without its twists and turns is monotony not worth living.

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When I was a boy, one centavo could buy two big pieces of boiled banana, saba. If lucky to have baon for school, that never exceeded one centavo. Eighty years after and a grandfather, a piece of the same size of banana costs about two pesos or more, unboiled; my grandchildren go to school with at least fifty pesos baon, more or less, including jeep fares. When I was a boy, my brother, friends and I walked more than two kilometers to school every day.

When I was a boy, government employees wore formal dress, the men in coat and tie, to office. They earned fifty to thirty pesos a month. They could build wooden houses with GI roofs. They were looked up to as “cream” of society. There were no known corrupt practices. No “under-the-table”, no “SOP”, etc. Eighty years after, do your own comparison.

When I was a boy, peace was really the order. Policemen walked their beats with caliber .32 revolvers and batota or round stick like a miniature baseball bat. Our small town jail was barely populated. There were no kidnap-for-ransom gangs. Eighty years after, what a world of change!

When I was a boy, rice sold at ten centavos per ganta. At 25 gantas to a sack – now equivalent to a 50-kilo bag – a sack only cost P2.50. Eighty years after, the P2.50 has gone up to P2,500, more or less. That’s 1,000 times increase!

Eighty years ago, we never heard our Presidents delivering SONAs, painting and promising roses.

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President Benigno Simeon S. Aquino III, nicknamed “Noy”, “PNoy”, was a fool in launching his government on the straight path (daang matuwid). He is now caught in its twists and turns. He himself, it appears, has kept it twisting and turning.

Tomorrow, July 28, he will deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address. What will he say about the state of the Philippines? Bet? The country is in a state of prosperity never seen before because of the DAP (Disbursement Acceleration Program). Never mind if his SONA is a summation of his tirades against the Supreme Court for declaring the DAP unconstitutional.

Will the Chief Justice and the Justices attend the SONA? How many in the session hall and in the gallery will wear yellow?

What will he say about the peace with the Moros in Mindanao? Bet? Still “within reach” with apologies for still being out of reach.

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Janet Lim Napoles is a villain and a heroine. As a villain, she led the grand conspiracy in robbing the government of billions of pesos. As a heroine, her grand conspiracy exposed, she broke the impunity of the highly-entrenched grand corruptors including herself.

What a twist she is in — from life in mansions and high society to cell in jail with the lowest in society! For her, life’s twists and turns are not an excitement but a shock.

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Here’s for the dessert. My daughter showed me an online picture of Pope Francis queueing in a Vatican canteen for his lunch. That’s our incorrigible reigning Pope. That was unthinkable eighty years ago when priests were seen on pedestals.

Hold your breath. The next online picture will be of Pope Francis cooking his own meals, washing his pots, pans and dishes.

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Don’t miss PNoy’s SONA on Monday. Or, you’ll regret not hearing his latest twists and turns. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Patricio P. Diaz writes “Comment” and “Mind Da News” for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. The former editor in chief of the Cotabato City-based Mindanao Cross and later the Mindanao Kris, Mr. Diaz, now based in General Santos City, has written extensively about the Bangsamoro struggle and peace processes since the 1960s).