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Malilong: Only in America

IT is no longer the “in” thing to be friends with the Aquinos nowadays, Ballsy Aquino-Cruz joked last Tuesday, noting the comparatively fewer people who joined them in the observance of the eighth death anniversary of their mother, democracy icon Cory Aquino.

No, Ms. Cruz, it is not anymore and that’s the nature of the beast. Here, in our little fiefdom, friendship is most sought after and strangers will worship at your feet when you’re in power. Out of it, you’re mostly alone because your so-called friends will abandon you. And while people like you and your family can easily adjust, many others are not as accepting.

They cling to public office as determinedly as barnacle would cling to a steel plate. Loss of tenure is a nightmare that has to be avoided at all cost, including and almost always stealing a mandate.

They don’t always succeed, of course, and that’s the beauty because then they will have to live through their nightmare. There couldn’t be a worse punishment than the loss of the influence to those who cannot joke about it.

•••

Remember Ferdinand Topacio? He’s the lawyer who swore to cut one of his testicles if his clients, former president Gloria and Mike Arroyo, would not return home from a trip abroad that then Justice secretary Leila de Lima did not want to happen.

De Lima succeeded in aborting the trip and Topacio was spared the risk of losing one of his balls. But I can’t blame him if until now he has not forgiven what in his eyes must have been de Lima’s impudence in defying a Supreme Court order allowing his famous clients to travel.

And if ever he wanted to exact payback on de Lima, he may have found the right person to do it for him in another client, Ozamiz City Vice Mayor Nona Parojinog-Echaves. Yesterday, Topacio said it was Echaves, who is facing drug charges after the raids that saw her father, Mayor Reynaldo Parojinog and many others killed, who convinced Herbert Colanggo to tell the truth about de Lima.

He was hesitant to testify against de Lima, Topacio said, but was prevailed upon by Echaves, who was Colanggo’s girlfriend. He went by Nova’s wish, GMA’s lawyer revealed, because he loved her and “love can move mountains.” Proof that we lawyers also do read Harold Robbins.

•••

U.S. President Donald Trump recently urged the police not to be too nice on criminals. “Like when you guys put somebody in the car,” he told the police “and you’re protecting their head” (with your hand). “You can take the hand away, O.K.?” Police officials and organizations promptly denounced him.

Only in America.


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