E mu tatasan ing kamulalan da reng Kapampangan

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    A CIRCUS, yes. As anything accompanying Lito Lapid, in both his cinematic and political personas, invariably turns out to be.

    That was the advance birthday party for once city mayor, former and future congressman Tarzan Lazatin last Sunday which virtually served as opening salvo for Lapid’s 2016 city mayoralty bid “before a mammoth crowd at the Malabanias barangay hall.”

    Capturing the carnival atmosphere, Ashley Manabat reported here last issue: “Arriving at around 3:30 p.m., Lapid, dubbed Bida ng Masa (champion of the masses), was mobbed by the throng of people as he made his way to the stage at the covered court with the theme song of his movie Leon Guerrero blaring in the background.”

    All circus, all masa. All visceral. Absent the intellectual. All Lapid. Indeed, only Lapid. That is, can get away with it – all the way to victory.

    Comprehend that phenomenon from this Lapid vignette dated October 4, 2009 titled Race of unreason.

    So shouted an espresso mate at Starbucks, SM City Pampanga, soon as he saw me enter the place Friday afternoon. He threw back at me what has become some sort of (in)famous words I first said in cable TV talk shows.

    Yeah? What made you say so? I asked him soon after ordering my caffeine fix for the day and getting a seat at his table.

    Just look at these. He spread before me copies of Punto!, Central Luzon Daily and Sun- Star Pampanga — all showing photos of Sen. Lito Lapid mobbed by the barangay folk of Arayat town and the fourth district where he distributed relief goods last September 30.

    So? What has that got to do with what I said?

    You, demented or an amnesiac?

    Now, don’t you insult me…

    Okay, did you not yourself write not too long ago in your column that E mu tatasan ing kamulalan da reng Kapampangan was taken in the context of Lapid – if I remember it to the word now – getting elected governor for three straight terms by landslides of votes despite his own admission of being uneducated – or did you say unschooled? – and in spite of the cases of graft and corruption filed against him resulting to his suspension from office by the Ombudsman, plus the obvious increase in his wealth and possessions while the provincial income from quarry operations as rapidly decreased?

    Okay, that’s not exactly what I wrote but it hewed closely to it. So what?

    It appears – based on the messages impacted by the photos of Lapid touched, embraced and hailed by the typhoon victims in those places he went to – his comeback to the Capitol next year is already a foregone conclusion.

    You’re already defining the outcome of the 2010 Pampanga gubernatorial race seven months before the elections? What are you, a prophet?

    No, I am no prophet. Yes, I am seeing the election results. Based on your own conclusion: E mu tatasan ing kamulalan da reng Kapampangan.

    But the issues against Lapid have not even been officially raised, much less thoroughly articulated upon. For instance, his miserable loss to Jejomar Binay in the Makati mayoralty contest in 2007. That is a big dent in Lapid’s perceived invincibility.

    Hogwash! That is Makati, this is Pampanga.

    The people of Makati are not as gullible as the Kapampangan?

    No, not as gullible but supremely intelligent.

    No comparison there.

    Right. So the mere fact that Lapid abandoned his domicile in Pampanga in favor of Makati to run for mayor, but is now coming back after being trounced by Binay would work against him when he faces the Kapampangan electorate. Iniwan ang Kapampangan, ngayon binabalikan matapos maging talunan? On the contrary, this will work in Lapid’s favor. The people are happy, no, they are rejoicing at the return of Lapid. A most auspicious start is this disaster from storm Ondoy. Lapid cut his image as a savior – no little thanks to you, his publicist then – and impacted it in the Kapampangan psyche from the stunts he produced at the time of the Pinatubo disaster.

    The people of Pampanga mired in disaster again are in sore need of a savior – presto, there’s Lapid coming down to their midst. And they cannot be any happier.

    Okay, what about the quarry plunder?

    What quarry plunder?

    Gov. Ed Panlilio managed to collect P413 million in quarry revenues in only two years.

    Lapid and son brought only P155 million in their 12 years of maladministration. How would you explain that before the people?

    Why explain when there’s no need to?

    What do you mean?

    All it takes for people to disbelieve all those things being said about the Lapids’ alleged plunder of the Capitol coffers is to see Lapid.

    A touch from Lapid, nay, a mere smile from him is more than enough for these people to fling themselves at his very feet as though he were an infallible god.

    Where has reason gone for these Kapampangans?

    What reason do you still look for? You yourself said it: E mu tatasan ing kamulalan da reng Kapampangan.

    IT, NATURALLY, follows: Underestimate Lapid’s mastery of that masa gullibility, at your peril.

    That is why I was a bit distressed when Mayor Edgardo Pamintuan called his presumptive opponent a “nobody.”

    “The mayor would not want to comment on anything about that guy who for him does not exist,” declared Pamintuan during a press conference at the Imarex Hotel only last February.

    Denigrating Lapid further: “It is really ‘res ipsa loquitur’ (the thing speaks for itself).”

    Pamintuan though may have since come to his Sun Tzu senses – “He who exercises no forethought but makes light of his opponents is sure to be captured by them.”

    Only last Monday, the mayor was quoted as saying: “I am happy. I will have a worthy opponent” citing Lapid’s stature as current senator and former governor.

    Now, we’re thinking.

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