Godfathers 1, 2 and 3

Yoly Villanueva-Ong
'Tanda,' 'Kuya,' and 'Pogi' would qualify as the 'Corleones' of the Senate

Trilogies are hard to pull off. Inevitably, the second and/or third installment fail to live up to the standard set by the first. That was why Francis Ford Coppola was reportedly tentative about doing Part 2 and 3 of The Godfather, acclaimed as one of America’s greatest movies. True enough, the prequel and sequel were judged as “lesser” than the original, which film critics hailed as “flawless.”  

If “Tanda,” “Kuya,” and “Pogi” were proven to have diverted billions of their PDAF to the alleged fake Janet Napoles NGOs, they would qualify as the “Corleones” of the Senate. 

The triad of privilege speeches that Senate-spectators watched kicked off with the Senator Jinggoy Estrada-starrer on Sept 25, 2013. It was a relatively short movie, with a script of only 22 pages, delivered in less than 30 minutes. Consequently, the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) was uncovered.  

The script had 4 recurring elements: Parry and protest, deflect and deny, turn the tables and then play for sympathy. There’s pathos, anger, drama and a hopeful ending. Jinggoy established the theme of vague innocence, defined the plot against the opposition and set the tone of righteous outrage. This pattern will be repeated in the series. 

Jinggoy’s memorable lines:

 “…EXPOSE THE BIASES AND PREJUDICES AGAINST THE OPPOSITION OF CERTAIN INSTITUTIONS, LIKE THE MEDIA, THE COMMISSION ON AUDIT, THE DEPARTMENT OF BUDGET AND MANAGEMENT, AND EVEN THE BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE OF THE SENATE.”

“WE HAVE BEEN SINGLED OUT… IN THE SO-CALLED 10-BILLION PESO PDAF SCAM. WE HAVE YET TO BE AFFORDED THE OPPORTUNITY TO CONFRONT THE EVIDENCE THROWN AGAINST US BUT SADLY, IN THE EYES OF THE FILIPINO PEOPLE, WE HAVE ALREADY BEEN MARKED AND PORTRAYED AS THE WORST THIEVES AND SCOUNDRELS OF THE GOVERNMENT.”

AT KAPAG NABAGO NA ANG BULOK NA SISTEMA, NAIWASTO ANG TIWALI, AT NAITAMA ANG MALI, DOON PA LANG NATIN MASASABI NA TUNAY NA ANG TUWID NA DAAN.”     

On Nov 27, 2013, former Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile took center stage. Just like Godfather 2, this segment had its innovations. The archenemy, villainess and nemesis was introduced as the character “Obsessive Hater,” the “Grandmamma of all falsehood fabricators.” Her name was never uttered in the 2,632-word screenplay known as the privilege speech. But there was little doubt as to who was being alluded to. He ranted:

“…UNLIKE SOME PERSONS FAMILIAR TO ME, I DO NOT THINK I SUFFER FROM ANY KIND OF SCHIZOPHRENIC OR PSYCHOTIC PARANOIA TO BE THAT PARANOID TO NEED SOMEONE WITH A FIREARM TO VISIT A RESTROOM.”

In response to Senator Miriam Santiago’s allegation that JPE was the “mastermind and brain of the alleged PDAF scandal” he did not pull any punches. He described his antagonist as “inane and bitterly hostile” and claimed: “Only a distorted, degraded, and deranged mind could imagine and invent such a blatant lie.” 

But just like Jinggoy, JPE ducked the issue of his involvement in the so-called Napoles scam. Parry and protest, deflect and deny, turn the tables and then play for sympathy. 

“… I AM AWARE THAT THE PUBLIC HAS BEEN WAITING FOR ME TO SPEAK UP ON THIS MATTER, BUT FOR NOW SUFFICE IT TO SAY THAT THERE WILL BE A TIME AND A MORE APPROPRIATE FORUM TO DEAL IN DETAIL WITH THE ALLEGED PDAF SCAM, AND I WILL GIVE MY FULLEST COOPERATION TO UNEARTH THE TRUTH IN THAT ALLEGED SCANDAL.”

More props, cameo role

Then on January 20, it was Senator Bong Revilla’s turn to top-bill Part 3. He opted for a full-length 52-minute soliloquy with more props, more reveal, plus a cameo role for his weeping father in a wheelchair. But Revilla stuck to the same tiresome script: Parry and protest, deflect and deny, turn the tables and then play for sympathy. 

PAULIT-ULIT PONG SINABI NI BENHUR LUY SA HEARING NG BLUE RIBBON COMMITTEE NA SIYA ANG PUMEKE NG PIRMA SA LAHAT NG MGA DOKUMENTO.  ANG MGA KASAMAHAN PA NGA NIYA MISMO ANG NAGSABI NA SIYA AY MAGALING AT EXPERT SIYANG PUMEKE NG MGA PIRMA.” 

AYON SA SURVEY NG SWS SA MGA NEGOSYANTE PARA SA 2013, LUMABAS NA TUMAAS SA 56% ANG PERSONAL NA NAKARANAS NG MATINDING KORUPSYON. 42% NAMAN ANG NAGSABING KAILANGAN NILANG MAGLAGAY PARA MAKAKUHA NG KONTRATA SA GOBYERO. YAN PO BA ANG DAANG MATUWID?”

Bong Revilla accused President Aquino of supposedly influencing the Corona impeachment trial, but he voted to convict anyway. He ends with a quote from Isaiah, “All who raged against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced. Those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.”

How was the trilogy rated? Apparently, with an emphatic thumbs down! Here are excerpts from the “privilege speech” of netizens. They did not mince their words:

KUYA JINGGOY…. ANG PANGIT NG IYONG SCRIPT…. (FEELING KO, NASA PELIKULA AKO) DI TALAGA BAGAY MAGING LAWMAKERS ANG MGA ARTISTA….”

“LIKE FATHER, LIKE SON.”

“ENRILE: GUSTO KO HAPPY KAYO. YOU BET, TANDA! HAPPING-HAPPY KAMI! WE ARE IN BLISS NOW THAT THE “NOOSE” AROUND YOUR PRECIOUS NECK IS TIGHTENING.”

“IF SEN. MIRIAM IS A CUCKOO, THEN SEN. ENRILE IS A CUCKOORAKOT.”

“BONG REVILLA’S SPEECH IS LIKE HIS MOVIES, BAD AND UNBEARABLE” 

“YUNG SPEECH NI SEN. REVILLA PANG KAP’S AMAZING STORIES”

“THE THREE MUSKE-THIEVES…. WALA NANG TATALO PA SA KAKAPAL NG PAGMUMUKHA NYO. MGA MAGNANAKAW!”

ANG DAMING NAGHIHIRAP…WALANG MAKAIN. ITO NAMAN MGA WALANG KALULUWANG MAGNANAKAW NA POLITIKO AY PASASA SA PERA NG BAYAN. IKULONG ANG MGA IYAN O BITAYIN PARA HUWAG PARISAN.”

The end. – Rappler.com

Yoly Villanueva-Ong, the founder of Campaigns & Grey, is currently Group Chairperson for the Campaigns Group of companies. She writes weekly for Rappler.