POSTSCRIPT / August 9, 2011 / Tuesday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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CCP leading us on not-so-straight path

THIS IS ART?: How would President Noynoy Aquino feel if the Cultural Center under his office exhibited his caricature with a penis sticking out, his bust with rabbit ears attached, or the picture of his family with condoms over it?

Would the President ignore the offensive “art works”? Would he say, as his spokesman had said, that he has nothing to do with the antics of his appointees to the Cultural Center of the Philippines, that its board has independence and that artists enjoy freedom of expression?

Cannot the President display displeasure over similar “art” exhibited at the Cultural Center that includes a crucifix with a wooden penis attached to it, a picture of the Holy Family with a condom over it, and a statue of Christ the King with rabbit ears?

Where is the Cultural Center, with a tolerant Catholic president behind it, leading this nation on the not-so-straight path of alleged art?

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TRUST HIM: It seems we just have to trust President Aquino’s judgment when he flew to Japan last week for a one-on-one with Murad Ibrahim, chair of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, for ending the decades-old rebellion in Muslim Mindanao.

His closest advisers said it was the President’s own idea to talk with the head of that rebel group pining for its own Bangsamoro.

If the President’s dialogue with the leader of a liberation front whose credentials and ulterior motives are not even clear turns out to be a blunder, sorry na lang to all of us. But if he achieves peace with his own brand of reaching out to secessionists, allelujia!

Meanwhile, all ye non-believers will just have to wait till the Yellow seeds sown in Tokyo sprout. If they do.

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IT WAS HIS IDEA: Explaining the hush-hush one-on-one, Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa has confirmed that it was the President’s “own idea.” The peace process is something personal to the President, he added.

Earlier, the government’s chief negotiator Marvic Leonen described the Chief Executive’s decision as “out of the box.” Making the same claim that the idea was the President’s own, Leonen said he was merely a note-taker in the meeting held at a hotel near the Narita airport.

Noynoy is following the same path taken by his mother, then President Cory Aquino, who in 1986 called back from exile Nur Misuari, chairman of the badly beaten Moro National Liberation Front, and set him up (like Murad is now being groomed) as head of a liberated region.

Unfortunately, Misuari failed to hack it, and was in fact charged with various crimes related to his handling of the millions poured into the autonomous region of Muslim Mindanao.

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MONEY MATTER: One detail fueling speculation in the secret talks is the composition of the President’s delegation.

In the team were Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima and Budget Secretary Butch Abad, who have nothing to do with peace talks per se or with diplomacy. (Diplomacy is being mentioned here because we might just be dealing with a foreigner in Murad.)

No expert from the foreign office or a topnotch legal adviser was brought along to consult on contracts, international law or the nuances of commitments made on a domestic conflict that has been internationalized through sheer ignorance or incompetence.

That both Purisima and Abad were present can only mean that the mighty flow of money was at least discussed. But no detail on fund requirements was announced.

In fact, no formal joint communiqué was issued after the talks. This has left everybody, every Filipino taxpayer, speculating.

The darkness is unsettling. On a matter of national survival like peace talks, we cannot go by faith alone.

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JITTERY U.S.: There is still uncertainty In the United States and elsewhere even after Washington politicians raised at the last minute the government’s borrowing limit, thereby averting a debt default disaster.

Even with that, economists and households are worried over the sluggish economic growth, wondering if this presages a recession.

Credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s downgrading to AA-Plus last Friday the US Triple-A rating — for the first time since 1917 — is not helping restore confidence. S&P said that the deficit reduction plan passed last week did not go far enough to stabilize the US debt situation.

Although known for their industry and ability to cope under harsh conditions, Filipinos in the US are among those feeling the jittery climate, especially as regards credit and employment.

I have friends in Manila who claim sending to their relatives in America balikUSA boxes filled with canned food, SM sale items and ukay-ukay clothings.

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THAT BAD?: How bad is the situation in the States? My Pinoy ‘55 brod J. B. Navarra said in an email that it is so bad that:

“My neighbor got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

“CEO’s are now playing miniature golf.

“Exxon-Mobil laid off 25 congressmen.

“A stripper was killed when her audience showered her with rolls of pennies while she danced.

“I saw a Mormon with only one wife.

“If the bank returns your check marked ‘Insufficient Funds,’ you call them and ask if they meant you or them.

“McDonald’s is selling the 1/4 Ouncer.

“Angelina Jolie adopted a child from America.

“Parents in Beverly Hills fired their nannies and learned their children’s names.

“My cousin had an exorcism but couldn’t afford to pay for it, and they re-possessed her!

“A truckload of Americans was caught sneaking into Mexico.

“A picture is now only worth 200 words.

“When Bill and Hillary travel together, they now have to share a room.

“The Treasure Island casino in Las Vegas is now managed by Somali pirates.”

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of August 9, 2011)

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