WAYWARD AND FANCIFUL. A mouthful of Pichay. By Gail Ilagan

Pamati is a Visayan term that refers to someone who brazenly oversteps the bounds of his expertise. As a psychologist, I was especially pained to be assaulted by Pichay’s inexpert mouthful aired to all and sundry on the government station on the night of February 12. Here is the crucial element to our doom as a nation. It is inexpert opinion that sees the light and rules the day on our government station.

There is no way Pichay and his fellow rah-rah boys on the government station are going to make me swallow this indigestible, insulting hog swill. This is an insult to psychologists. Here I spit it out.

At best, the 5-second MIA footage would be inconclusive to show that Lozada was coerced into going with the men who were escorting him through that passage. What is evident from the framing of that clip was that Lozada was boxed in and there was no avenue of escape.

Note Lozada’s position. On his right was the wall of the tube, on his left slightly to the front was the assistant airport manager and slightly to the back was someone we can take as a rear guard. There’s a certain economy to this security maneuver. Two men are all it takes to make a really tight spot. I bet Angel Atotubo plays dama.

Rationalize that physical arrangement. The assistant manager was in the lead because he knew where to lead the subject. The rear guard betrays his familiarity with the place and the people in it with that wave to whoever it was that allowed the party through. Whoever that was could also be spelled backup to the rearguard. If Lozada were to run, running back was definitely out.

There’s at least one too many people here though than the security situation warrants. That is, if Atotubo’s objective was just to get Lozada through that secure tube. Atotubo could have done that alone. But maybe the rearguard is not for Lozada. Maybe he’s to protect Atotubo from Lozada.

To Lozada and to the rest of us who have never been there, that tube is an unfamiliar, contained space and we won’t know where it leads. It would be reasonable for one being conducted through there to just follow the lead since turning back evidently is not an option. You don’t bolt and run when you don’t know where you’re going. You don’t bolt and run when you know you can’t take two steps in any direction and be out of reach of the loving arms of any or both of your escorts.

So what’s a guy to do, except to just bleed off stress by moving his hands. As most of us know, the cellphone is a convenient stress reliever.

Note Lozada’s pace. Does that look like confidence or eagerness to you? Because Pichay would rather have us believing that with his elaborate reading of body language. Okay, Lozada’s got his eyes on his cellphone. Maybe the phone is new and he has yet to memorize the keypad. Maybe that is the way people who send out a hundred text messages a day text on their cellphone. Maybe texting indeed has got him preoccupied.

Or maybe he’s reluctant. And maybe he’s masking his discomfort by focusing on the cellphone since his escorts are not at all making any effort to see to his comfort by making reassuring small talk. Does that company look friendly to you? Because Pichay would have us believing these were loving people here who were only after the Lozada’s safety and peace of mind.

“He is free to move. There is no one hampering his movement,” said that other toady – like, he too turned expert over night on body language.

Well, dear, freedom in this sense is relative. You’re right. The footage did show that Lozada was free to move within the confines of the body press he was subjected to. He was free to move where he was being led to because there obviously was nowhere else to go. Don’t tell me you’re waiting for him to panic and bolt all over the place. This is a wheel-and-deal technocrat, remember? For technocrats, calculating the odds is an automatic process. So is sitting it out till the opportunity to be in the clear presents itself. But he’ll try to find that escape hatch any chance he gets.

Why do you think Lozada went to the bathroom? And why did the assistant manager feel he could afford ten precious minutes to wait the subject out? It’s because the assistant manager was confident that the man was bright enough to eventually come to the conclusion that the restroom was no escape hatch. What’s ten minutes to the assistant airport manager when he’s got a brilliant student who will eventually get the lesson without much instruction?

Pretty please, Pichay, just shut up about what you don’t know enough about. Go play chess or something. Someone who mounted the most expensive senatorial bid only to lose should know by now when to throw in the cards. (Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan's column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to [email protected] "Send at the risk of a reply," she says.)

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