An elliptical expression updated

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

The other day, my daughter Charisse brought home old photographs of different sizes. Some would fit exactly a portion of the lyrics of an equally old song by The Lettermen entitled Traces/Memories “faded photographs, covered now with lines and creases”. According to her, those were pictures of old Cebu lent to her by a friend for inclusion in a project yet to be launched. She told me that when they were thumbing through the photos, that of a gentleman particularly caught their attention because he seemed to project an inexplicable aura.

“Would you know who this person, pa, was?” my daughter asked. It was the picture of former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez. I told Charisse to look for the book entitled “What Is Happening To Our Country” because it is a very good reading of the life and times of Pelaez, the 1938 bar topnotcher.

If only “what is happening to our country” were an elliptical expression rather than a question raised by Pelaez to General Tomas Karingal when the latter visited the former at the St Luke’s Hospital where the former Vice President was brought to after he was ambushed near his home, it could have been said today with timely relevance. By the way, according to the internet, an elliptical expression is a group of words with certain understood words omitted.

Pelaez’ elliptical expression could be repeated here today in relation to the claim of Secretary Carlito Galvez that our country is NOT “kulelat” in implementing a vaccination program. What a convenient resort to elliptical expression! Galvez made that remark when queried about the COVID-19 vaccines. Earlier in the day, Senator Panfilo Lacson revealed that the Philippines obtained a loan of about P126 billion to buy the vaccines and yet he has not seen the medicine. I dare to supply the omitted words to the statement of Galvez in the following manner “hindi tayo kulelat sa vaccination program kasi wala na man talaga tayong programa”. Since I have claimed many times in this column that my Tagalog is faulty let me try my best to translate Galvez’ elliptical expression this way “we are not the worst performing country in the COVID-19 vaccination program…because we have no viable program as yet”.

So far, about a million doses had been administered in our country. Is there a vaccination program comparable to that of Indonesia and Singapore? Indonesia reportedly started vaccination in January and peaked its inoculation with one half million doses everyday in March. Why are we not kulelat when more than 20 million Indonesians have already received COVID-19 vaccines while only a million Filipinos have been vaccinated? In Singapore, about 15% of the people there have been fully vaccinated whereas we have not reached 1%.

Pelaez could have also asked Secretary Francisco Duque “what’s happening to our country”? This is especially relevant as Duque reportedly CELEBRATED (emphasis, mine) the vaccination of a million Filipinos because our record of recoveries reached already 900,000. This Duque statement is a sick manipulation of our emotions. The coronavirus killed almost 17,000 Filipinos. What a gaslighting only a Duque mind can conjure!

Of course, if Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez were alive today, he could have asked President Rodrigo Duterte “what is happening to our country?” And again if this were more an elliptical expression than a question, I also dare to supply the words which were omitted in the following composition “with your leadership that is a monumental failure”.

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