[Bodymind] To the advisers of Senator Bong Revilla

Are you the same ones who told him it was okay to treat us like idiots as well?

I have some questions regarding Senator Revilla’s privilege speech:

1. Whose advice did Senator Revilla take that made him sound like a blithering idiot?

You know, the one who suggested the Latin quote: “Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus false in one, false in all. Sinungaling sa isa, sinungaling sa lahat!

Pretty impressive at first hearing but I can’t help wondering if another Latin phrase to showcase his supposed erudition would’ve been much wiser? After all, Senator Revilla himself has been caught making false statements not just once, but at least twice.

So his using the “falsus” defense (as it were) is such a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. It’s like a scene from a French farce! Well, a French farce with a twist: revolving bank accounts instead of revolving bedrooms.

It’s ironic that he scored his own goal by berating so-called liars who aren’t proven to be so, when he himself has lied (and it has been proven, again, and again). He has, not to put too fine a point on it, been hoisted by his own petard (to use an old English expression).

2. Were they the same advisers who told him it was okay to treat us like idiots as well?

Could someone not have told him that using the phrase “daang matuwid” 14 times might be considered overkill?

I get it, of course. In high school, we were told parallelism could improve writing style and readability. It is even thought by some – apparently Senator Revilla himself and/or the same advisers – to make sentences easier to process, but 14 times in one speech ?!!?

Did someone reassure Senator Revilla that, as long as he said this phrase differently – sometimes bombastic, with finger pointing; occasionally sadly and as if in pain – he would convince us?

I doubt even Laurence Olivier could sound eloquent after saying anything that many times. And I doubt anyone, even his greatest fans, would ever mistake Senator Revilla for Lord Olivier – or even Kenneth Branagh.

3. Who suggested that Senator Revilla use his family to generate sympathy?

I have mentioned politicians’ penchant for trotting out their families to strengthen their cause but I must admit having a close-up of one’s teary-eyed father was a new one for me.

Still I couldn’t help wondering if the tears were simply because Ramon Revilla feared the PDAF scandal would thwart his grandson, current Cavite Vice Governor Ramon “Jolo” Revilla III, from accomplishing the same trajectory from actor to senator, with his own PDAF (or a facsimile of it) to donate to his own favorite NGOs. Would the buck (literally) have to stop with Bong?

4. Did they not wonder beforehand if it might have been better if they didnt keep ricocheting between an audience that expects music, celebrities and bombastic oratory and the audience he was supposed to be speaking to – the august body of his fellow senators? 

Maybe they knew it wasn’t an issue since most senators seem to do it when they, too, give their own privilege speeches. 

I mean, what was all the business with the toy truck? Perhaps if his lead-up to it weren’t so obvious, it might have led to a chuckle or two, but I doubt Senator Revilla has the timing and the smarts of a stand-up comedian to succeed at that.

If his advisers really wanted to help Senator Revilla, why did they allow him to come across as irritatingly smug, oblivious to the fact that people who listened for something substantial in his defense just got the usual electioneering claptrap – “I owe it to my voters,” etc?

Or maybe, advisers, I am doing you an injustice, blaming you for Senator Revilla’s sorry excuse for a privilege speech. After all, no matter how hard you tried to convince him to behave otherwise, maybe he insisted on doing things his way. I doubt Senator Revilla believes in understatement, and he is obviously not a fan of the “less is more” school of thought. On the contrary, Senator Revilla seems to espouse the movement called “more is always more” – be it parallelism in speeches or funds being allegedly diverted again and again and again.

Senator Revilla behaved as if he thought himself a sure winner, and thus didn’t have to try that hard to convince people of his innocence. Because he didn’t really try to address the pertinent issues, did he? Maybe he hopes people really believed his claims that all this wealth is from working hard as an actor, endorser, etc. But if that were true, wouldn’t the trajectory be senators becoming actors instead of vice versa?

But maybe Senator Revilla and his ilk are right. Maybe it’s too soon to hope the theft, perfidy and arrogance of those who campaigned relentlessly to make our country better but did the exact opposite will have outraged people enough to make a difference in the next election. Maybe.

Personally, I think people have reached their tipping point. Maybe we are just being as arrogant as these strutting senators when we think the masa aren’t concerned enough to grasp the concepts that we don’t even try to connect with them? How will we know if we don’t give them a chance to question, debate, disagree?

Not all of them just want to be entertained by “Panday” and “Agimat.” Many of them have started to see the alleged theft of millions to fund lavish lifestyles simply diverts money that could’ve been used to: build schools and better pay schoolteachers so that public school students would not have the disadvantage of not going to Ateneo or Poveda; build hospitals so that people in the provinces do not have to walk hours just to get to one. 

But we have to start somewhere. Why not here? And for God’s sake, why not now? – Rappler.com