Intentional lapse

CTALK - Cito Beltran - The Philippine Star

I missed the live coverage of the first SONA of President Bongbong Marcos only because I got so immersed watching a movie that featured Mark Wahlberg and Mel Gibson. No, it was not some action film about some war hero but it was a real piece of work, as I discovered that when you put Wahlberg and Gibson in a religious movie they successfully turn faith into reality not religiosity. Mel Gibson already made his mark directing the movie “The Passion” where he made all of us see and sense the brutality of Christ’s trial, torture and crucifixion and pierced our hearts with guilt. But in his recent project, Mel Gibson is in the movie and delivers a performance that any struggling father, husband and lost soul can relate to. He is rough, excessive and real.

Mark Wahlberg, on the other hand, gets so real as the movie progresses and it comes to a point when you are no longer watching the actor but the real life story. The movie I refer to is none other than the Netflix special “Father Stu.” It is rough, gritty, surely took liberties from the true story of Father Stewart Long, a failed amateur boxer and belittled son who pursues the love of his life but ends up on the floor facing defeat – or so it seemed. Fair warning, I got seriously misty eyed watching this piece of work and I recommend it to everyone regardless of denomination, especially for those with “Father” issues, earthly or otherwise.

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As for the SONA, like I said, I missed the live show and what apparently had been the return of the fashion show of the rich and influential women. Judging from what many congressional spouses and kamag-anaks had been posting, I already knew that several of those women would be manifesting tasteless exercise in their ostentatious display of their fashion and lack of social sensitivity. I know it’s a thing, but in the country where we crucify presidents for driving a sports car, fine dining abroad, etc., why should the State of the Nation Address become an official excuse to flaunt what you got? Yes, they can call me a killjoy but if we collected the price tags on those outfits and totaled it, Judas Iscariot might rise from the potter’s field and say: “The money could have been saved and given to the poor.”

Either way, “It is done.” Maybe the congressional spouses can get together and hold charity auctions right after such events and cast lots for their garments through public lottery and donate the money to people or families in need, such as the family of Jeneven Bandiala, the security guard who was shot and killed in Ateneo recently, or a whole bunch of other Filipinos who are missing meals, especially single mothers who skip breakfast or dinner just to feed an infant or their children.

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Out of respect for the efforts he put into the SONA, I did read the full text delivered by PBBM and he essentially followed the advice of Clement Stone to “aim for the moon and if you miss, you may hit a star.” He covered much of the aspirations and concerns of experts and citizens alike and in spite of being a nosebleed-inducing piece on economics and government spending, he has spelled out his short-term and medium-term aspiration at least for the next two to three years. While the President and I were both a bit young in those days, some of his statements sounded like a “Back to the Future” trip to 1965 and 1969 when another Ferdinand Marcos said: “This nation can be great again.” In fact, when I anticipated writing about the SONA, I considered the title: “Groundhog Day” where, in the movie, the lead character was forced to wake up repeating the same day, doing the same things over and over again until he finally caught on that what he needed to do was to get things right.

In the coming days I am certain that nitpickers will start to air their unsolicited opinion and all I can say is that the President should listen to whatever is said, particularly the bad or the negative, sift and filter and validate them for useful inputs and use them to his advantage.

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Yes, the term intentional lapse reads like an oxymoron, but it clearly applies to what happened to the Vaporized Nicotine and Non-Nicotine Products Regulation Act or VAPE bill that has lapsed into law.

In the first place, it is stupid and hypocritical to use the term “lapsed into law” because it is reminiscent of Pontius Pilate who washed his hands to free himself of the any guilt or blood regarding the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Yes, he did not approve of it and yes it was God’s design that Jesus died for our sins, but Pilate could have done something about it and, for failing to do so, his reputation and his name is associated with infamy.

In similar fashion, the people in Malacañang beginning with former president Rodrigo Duterte, former executive secretary Salvador Medialdea, current ES Vic Rodriguez and President Bongbong Marcos could have done something to stop the VAPE bill, such as veto the bill and not allow the bill to lapse into law. PBBM vetoed the ecozone bill for the Bulacan airport that was meant to create jobs, why could he not veto the VAPE bill which will suck life from the users and eat up finances from the health care system? If this can happen to the VAPE bill, then it is likely that even the E-Sabong is not far from returning once congressional backers and lobbyists give them a franchise and Malacañang decides to wash their hands just like Pontius Pilate did.

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