POSTSCRIPT / November 25, 1997 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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50 too young for Gloria’s age? Too much for Cardinal’s waist!

THAT was a most unkind cut, ironically from one who was supposed to preach charity. Jaime Cardinal Sin was not only being sexist, but also inconsiderate, when he told Senator Gloria Macapagal Arroyo not to run for president because she was “only” a woman, aside from being allegedly too young (50 years). The Cardinal stopped short of pointing out that Gloria’s height (about five feet) was unpresidential.

No wonder criticism and pained reaction rained on the Cardinal’s deprecating remarks made before members of media, whose insulin surges when they smell a saleable story.

The father confessor should have had the diplomatic sense, if not Christian charity, not to gossip about personal things that he told Gloria when she went to seek his counsel.

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CARDINAL Sin may have missed his calling. Maybe he fantasizes about being a radio kumaintator or a newspaper calumnist. Somebody, maybe one of the nuns tending to him at the archbishop’s palace, should remind him that he is a Prince of the Church, an alter Christus.

The Cardinal is not like us wretched sinners. Yes, much is expected of him, but he is not expected to talk too much too often‑ especially on politics.

We welcome his occasional interjections, even ejaculations, on the subject of Philippine politics, but his choice comments should not only be wise but also terse and timely. Just enough to drive a telling point.

By being selective and judicious in his political comments (not full-blown commentaries), the Cardinal’s occasional pronouncements would then carry more weight. A shepherd should not cry wolf or wow too often, remember?

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REGARDING the age for a presidential candidate, the minimum age has been lowered to 40 in the present Constitution. Tama ‘yon, kasi why leave nga naman the serious business of running the country to the old fogies?

The Constitution did not say if it meant chronological or mental age when it pegged the minimum at 40. But if she can dance a mean cha-cha on stage during a miting de avance, rural voters won’t care about age or lack of it.

As for being “only” a woman, we wonder if the Cardinal had in mind Section 1, Article VII (Executive Department) of the charter when he made the sexist remark. That section says: “No person may be elected President unless HE is a natural-born citizen….”

Paano na ito? The feminists in our midst and in our hair are so finicky about references, insisting for instance that when there is a reference to “man/men” as in “All men are created equal,” the statement must be referring only to men. They want separate and specific mention of women, so when we say, “Businessmen were invited to the Palace,” we are supposed to mean that only the males were invited because there was no mention of the distaff side.

When the Constitution talks of “he” with reference to the president, is it implying that only men may become presidents?

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BEFORE feminists and constitutionalists jump on us, let me stress that we subscribe to the gospel that “he” in the charter covers women (and even feminists, over their objections).

But going further back in time, for the benefit of you guys who had overstayed in the States and forgotten your Philippine history, there was a time when our Constitution denied suffrage to convicts, the feeble-minded, idiots and women!

This was long before there was a Cardinal Sin. Of course, our women did not relish being in that distinguished company, so they worked hard and long to be also granted the right to vote enjoyed by the menfolk.

Psst, don’t tell your American friends, but it is actually the women who are running our country. We have always been a matriarchal society. But the women are smart and agile enough to let the men feel that they are on top.

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REMEMBER our story last time about some wannabes who said they were seeking the presidency because God told them to run? Well, the epidemic is spreading. The papers say that Speaker Jose de Venecia had trekked to Mt. Banahaw also seeking God’s anointment.

If he is praying for God’s endorsement, it seems JdV will have to wait. And he need not go to a mountain shrouded in mist and mysticism. God is still in Canada regaling APEC summiteers with tales of a Philippine economic miracle.

If you believe reports from the camp of former Defense Secretary Renato de Villa, the real economic miracle was that one in De Venecia’s residence in plush Dasmariñas Village where delegates to the recent Lakas-NUCD mini-convention hied off looking for, huh, Mr. Sobrepeña.

The papers, incidentally, say that President Ramos will announce on Dec. 8 his choice for Lakas presidential bet. That day happens to be the feast of the Imaculada Concepcion, which may be more appropriate than the feast of the slaughter of the Niños Inocentes three weeks later.

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