Starweek Magazine

Suicide is fatal

SINGKIT - Notes from the editor - The Philippine Star

I got a text message the other day from an obviously very exasperated motorist asking about starting an online petition for a certain Cabinet secretary – he who shall not be named – to commit suicide. She said that since there is a petition for the MMDA chairman to resign, there should be one for this Cab-sec not just to resign but to commit suicide.

Why such a drastic reaction? Nothing – not one thing – under him works properly: not the trains, not the airports. Buses are potential rolling disasters, many of them driven by maniacs occupying up to three lanes on EDSA or crashing into cars on the highways or falling into a bangin somewhere. A friend renewed her driver’s license last March and it’s now a -ber month and still, all she has is a piece of scratch paper, despite the fact that she is so matiyaga in following up with the LTO (Land Transportation Office, an agency under this Cab-sec). I forwarded to her a story the other day about the LTO promising to clear up the backlog of 1.225 million (as of last week) license cards nationwide by October; in reply I got an emoticon sticking its tongue out at me. At least vehicle license plates are finally available…hooray?!

I don’t think change.org or any online petition platform will agree to host a petition calling for hara kiri; but when I randomly mentioned this to different sorts of people in casual conversation, the unanimous reaction was, “Where do I sign?”

One tong-gressman who came to the defense of this Cab-sec could only say “he’s trying his best,” which is about as lame a justification as there can be, but  quite appropriate for this Cab-sec. As one senior government  official – who shall also not be named – said, “Ang galing on paper, ang ganda ng bio-data.” Indeed, the credentials are impressive (based on Wikipedia anyway): topped the entrance exams at the Philippine Military Academy, thus getting him a ticket to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, from where he graduated with a BS in Math, with distinction; an MA in electrical engineering from Cornell U in New York then a juris doctor from the Ateneo, passing the Bar in 2007. During his three terms (2004 to 2012) as tong-gressman he had the distinction of being behind the “biggest congressional reapportionment in history” that increased representatives of Cavite from three to seven. Then, unfortunately for us, he became a Cab-sec in October 2012.

So, is he corrupt or stupid? Naive or callous? Incompetent or devious? Some quarters allege that the convoluted mess at the MRT is a deliberate result of rigged contracts bagged by different companies with the same shadowy incorporators with collusion at high levels, all in the name of raising funds for purposes I will not dare speculate on. True or not, the fact is that we the hapless masses suffer because of what this Cab-sec is not doing. Traffic, according to him, may not be fatal or even “burdensome to the daily lives of the people,” but he better hope he doesn’t encounter that one exasperated, irate, near murderous motorist who might just disprove his view and show that, like suicide, traffic can be fatal.

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