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Only in his own mind


TINGNAN MO, gamit nila ang pera
kinontribute nila doon sa yellow-yellow.
Tingnan mo ang nangyari,
wala tayong bishop ngayon.
Di mo ba alam? Tinanggal.
Binigyan lang tayo ng caretaker
ngayon na pari.
Walang bishop ng Maynila.
Nagalit si Pope
kasi nakialam sa pulitika.
Iyan ang totoo diyan.
Kaya binigay sa atin offi cer-in-charge na lang.
Wala tayong bishop.
Tagle was out.
He was investigated.
Iyan ang open secret.
Malaman ko kasi nakikinig ako sa lahat.

(Arranged in sophomoric poetic form did I the latest unpresidential ramblings, in line with the evolving new craze on his pronouncements, shamelessly copycatting that on Covid-19.)

So babbled, in his characteristic nonsense, His Excellency President Rodrigo Roa Duterte at the General Assembly of the League of Municipalities of the Philippines in Pasay Tuesday.

So, pray, tell, what has got Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle’s assignment to the Vatican got to do with the mayors? Or, with the encroaching vee-rus – as Duterte puts it – not only posing, but verily imposing, all-too clear and present danger not only to the ways and means, but to the very lives of their constituents? Way off the rational mark, as always, Duterte there.

On record, Tagle served as Manila archbishop from 2011 until this February when he was appointed by Pope Francis as prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of People, reputedly second only to the Secretariat of State in the hierarchy of the Holy See.

The position has primed Tagle to being a papabile – a favorite candidate for pope in the next conclave. If that is some sort of punishment for Tagle or a measure of “galit” of the Pope as Duterte ranted, then every prelate would be praying for Bergoglio to impose papal wrath upon them.

While the Manila archdiocese is sede vacante – vacant seat – the administrator the Pope appointed – Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo – is an even more staunch critic of Duterte. A case of the gauntlet in place of the glove smacked at the president there.

Aye, an absolute hallucination makes of Duterte’s allegation. Which, conversely, makes right of his saying Malaman ko kasi nakikinig ako sa lahat. Ah, what voices only Duterte can and does hear. Which brings to mind that old Tagalog maxim: Ang maniwala sa sabi-sabi, walang bait sa sarili. Proximate, dangerously proximate, to another Tagalog phrase that literally translates to the English “broken good.”

Indeed, that proximity came full manifest only last Monday at the meeting of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases in Malacañang with Duterte at his illogical, incoherent worst.

Now immortalized in the net is Duterte’s rambling of historical hodge-podge that one netizen said could only make sense if viewed as a “stream-of-consciousness surrealistic verse.” Thus, The Kit:

Can be distributed
to the diff erent health centers,
but at this time kung kulang
they can be brought to a testing station,
to RITM.
Kokonti lang kasi.
Eh the kit, is the kit,
meron namang lumalabas pa.
I think that … sabi ko nga …
in every epoch, maybe meron nung una,
Bubonic Plague, mga gago ang tao no’n,
tamang-tama lang.
Tapos yung Spanish Flu,
right before the wars…
kawawa yung mga tao.
pero mas kawawa yung sa Middle East.
the so-called Roman Empire.
You have read the Inquisition,
kung may birth mark ka
you are a witch
and you are burned at stake.

That line — I think that … sabi ko nga … Surreal indeed, the unconscious, rather addled, mind finding expression in the irrational juxtaposition of verbiage.

Fentanyl? Dotage?


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