Nora Soriño .
ILIGAN City — From out of the blue, my “kapitbahay” friend Fe said: “First, they played it dumb. Then it evolved into something else.”
“What are you talking about, and who are ‘they’?” I asked rather innocently. Fe is from a neighbor office, a legal researcher of a lawyer whose boss at the time was out of town to attend to some hearing, hence the “pangapitbahay” or crossing over to our office. A cure for “boredom,” she says. Which I like half of the time. Never mind the other half of the time.
“The Bucor, who else, the top tunes of the times.”
“What do you mean?” I asked her.
“They interpreted the IRR of the GCTA as including in the computations of the prisoners’ time allowances those that are convicted of heinous crimes. Which is a dumb thing to do as this is clearly not included in the law itself though not specifically mentioned in the IRR. Even an ordinary person can see that. On second thought, it was not dumb, it was a smart thing to do.’’
“So, because of their playing ‘dumb,’ they profited from it enormously, handsomely, though anomalously.”
“That’s a lot of ‘—ly,’” I remarked with a smile.
“Yes,” Fe said. “And I have a theory on that, the ‘Big Bang Theory,’ Philippine style.’’
Fe gave out a big laugh this time.
“Big Bang Theory?’’ I asked and smiled at her joke. I vaguely recalled that the “Big Bang Theory’’ in science says that something exploded out of nothingness in the beginning and thus were born the bodies like the stars, the planets, including our precious earth. “How come this is related to the ‘Big Bang’ in science?”
“Because of their being dumb, this exploded in various faces, some great explosion that reached the stars in this nation’s political firmament. The explosion even reached Malacañang even as it struck the faces of the bigwigs especially that of Presodent Duterte.
“For all his notoriety, they have to thank a Calauan, Laguna weirdo called former mayor Antonio Sanchez, he with that equally weirdo of a hairdo.”
“This is more like a Pandora’s box, that suddenly got opened,” I said.
“Maybe too,” Fe agreed. “That is a good analogy also. But I stick to my ‘Big Bang.’ Because some stars shone brightly in the course of this explosion. Like senators Richard Gordon, Panfilo Lacson, Franklin Drilon, Vicente Sotto III, Francis Tolentino, Christopher Lawrence Go and Ronald ‘Bato’ dela Rosa. The latter’s statement referring to Sanchez as a ‘changed man’ reverberated through this planet and might have qualified him as a ‘villain,’ which might have lessened the brightness of his star.”
I then was caught up in some reflection that the Good Conduct Time Allowance provision in the revised Penal Code was approved only last June, created a tempest. This is helped to a great extent by some first class villain called Antonio Sanchez.
“The other stars included too in this ‘bang’ are, of course, then Bucor chief Nicanor Faeldon whose stars had got dimmer and dimmer after his sacking; Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, and other Bucor officials like Ruperto Traya, who, reports say, journeyed into kingdom come in the course of all this.” Fe’s saying so stopped my reflections.
“And spokesperson Salvador Panelo? How is he classified in this scheme of things?” I asked.
Fe shook her head, meaning she did not know where to place him.
So I said: “If this were a stage drama, I’d place him as a cross between a villain and a joker, if there is such kind of character in this drama.”
Fe looked at me without saying anything. At length, she laughed and I laughed too, even as we knew that some “explosions’’ like this one is no laughing matter.