Monday, August 11, 2008
Mercado: Among Ed and simple Physics
By Ram Mercado
THE recent Dialogue between Pampanga Governor Ed Panlilio and Vice Governor Guiao, also presiding officer of the Provincial Board (PB), has not spawned understanding and goodwill. Rather it brought forth a poisoned fruit. During the televised confrontation, Panlilio brought out his concerns to Guiao. One of these is the urgent matter of a supplemental budget to pay the Balas (quarry task force) workers who are not in the regular budget. Visit the Beijing Olympics 2008 blog The PB has recently turned down the governor's request for a special session, the urgency of which Guiao had already known and clearly understood. He even encouraged Panlilio to seek support as he needed. For a reason as flimsy as a burlesque dancer's gown, the PB rejected Panlilio's request for having failed "to fully impress the reason for the need of a special session." This is pure and plain harassment, a gross obstructionism and an act of downright belligerence. While the presiding officer was on leave, his hit man did the works. Panlilio had spent great efforts explaining during the dialogue his priority concern of having funds appropriated for the Balas personnel. That the governor's quarry revenue collections are a record high is a singular achievement which made him famous far and wide. The board members do not share that pride, apparently resenting a remarkable feat. This has been the Gov's redeeming value despite his failures in other political and management aspects. What our Cabalen admire about Panlilio is his honesty. Unless he absconds with government money or display wasteful and frivolous extravagance of provincial funds, he remains a hero in the eyes of most Pampangos. Thievery and corruption is rampant enough. When a public official proves himself to the contrary, he gets widespread admiration and silent support from the public at large. A leader of this mould would be difficult to beat in an election. But there are underworld denizens who hate honest people. Panlilio thus becomes a "Public Enemy No.1" of the PB led by Guiao. Why should the Board, indeed, pass and approve urgent and necessary funding requirements for worthy projects of Panlilio when by doing this will enable him to implement his agenda for governance? Being in a state of "belligerence", Panlilio should understand the overt hostility. Even before he takes the first move to ask for the PB's speedy action and favorable support to his program, he is already "dead meat" Pampanga is the pitiful loser in this Capitol war. Panlilio is not the loser as he gains people's sympathy for the ordeals he has been subjected to. The people cannot be fooled by the board members' conspiracy, disguised as legislative wisdom, against the priest on leave. The PB wanted to know the urgency of Panlilio's request, and the specific items he wanted to be funded. The members know what the Governor needs and requires. This is not a complicated matter to apprehend unless a deliberate sabotage is intended. The truth is they wanted Panlilio to come on bended knees and pass though the eye of the council needle. What the governor should do is wage an education-information campaign and get his message beamed to the breadth and length of the province. Let the people decide who is the villain in this continuing saga. The people would not find it hard to understand what is happening. Among Ed will be in his elements doing that. As a preacher, he can spread his gospel to the villages where simple minds do not differentiate between "urgent" and "necessary." Provided that he does not steal from the people's money; providing further, that he stays a bachelor if not celibate, he would be well on his way to a second term. He would even pass a Recall election, which I support so that our people may sell their votes and buy some rice and canned goods from the proceeds. After all "rights" can be put under negotiation or paid for including compensation for human rights, bill of rights, right-of-way including their right to vote. As we are told, nothing is free in this world. People should profit from their labor and sweat, why not earn honest money by selling their votes? Diogenes roamed the streets of Athens with a lighted lamp day and night looking for an honest man. There is one such person in Pampanga, one who refuses to prostitute his office in the name of "good" politics. The more the council people make a martyr of him by their insult, discourtesy, obstructionism and open hostility, the stronger the people will support Panlilio. Ironically, Guiao and company are making him bigger than he really is by cutting him down to size. Don't they know simple Physics - that the whole is greater than its parts?