Columns

Offline: 4 shameless senators

It is only in the Philippines where one will witness the sickening sight of very powerful politicians – senators, no less – defend the indefensible.

Over the weekend, five senators took the cudgels for Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, saying the Senate should not threaten to have him arrested after the so-called religious leader had refused to face the lawmakers to answer many disturbing questions on his activities.

Good thing one of the senators changed his mind, and withdrew his objection to the Senate threat.

But the other four should hang their heads in shame, but won’t do so because they’re as thick-skinned as they come.

In no particular order, the Shameless Four are Robinhood Padilla, Imee Marcos, Bong Go, and Cynthia Villar.

Oddly enough, Villar’s son who is also a senator, Mark Villar, did not join the group, and neither did Bato dela Rosa, who usually goes along with anything Go does.

What is sickeningly interesting to note is that not one of the four said they believed in the innocence of Quiboloy. They all said practically in unison that they could not sign because they considered the pastor a nice man who had always been kind to them.

As the saying goes, show me who your friends are and I’ll show you who you are.

Of course Quiboloy would make friends with the quartet, as they are all seen to be powerful politicians. One is the elder sister of the president, one is married to one of the richest businessmen in the Philippines, one is the alter ego of a former president, and one is a washed-up actor who remains popular with the masa for reasons that people of average intelligence cannot fathom.

Oh, and the senator who had a change of heart? It’s none other than JV Ejercito, who at least showed that he still has some brains and that his La Salle education did not go to waste. The same thing cannot be said of Go, however, as he is said to be a graduate of the great school where Ejercito earned his bachelor’s degree.

As of this writing, Quiboloy remains in hiding. But he did take the odd step of naming former president Rodrigo Duterte as administrator of his church and all its properties, which is easily worth billions of dollars. Yes, dollars, not mere pesos, folks.

I could say that the Davao-based pastor is proof that millions of Filipinos are gullible, but sad to say, the same can also be said of Americans, who follow the various televangelists who are nothing more than money-worshipping leaders able to take money from their flocks with ease. The Filipino pastor’s church is said to have five million members, mostly based in Davao.

And if I may be so bold, I do wonder why God in heaven allows this when he can easily end their miserable lives by hurling a thunderbolt their way. Or am I mistaking the one true God with Zeus or Jupiter, or Odin, maybe?  

As an aside, some of my more religious friends are engaged in an endless debate on why bad things happen to good people. I stopped joining them in such useless talk ages ago.

What I want to know is why senators who should know better are siding with someone who may be the devil incarnate, or at least one of Satan’s senior disciples.

I will always have to exclude Padilla, whose IQ must be somewhere between idiot and moron. It’s not his fault he is as dumb as a frozen tadpole, but what’s the excuse of Marcos, Villar, and Go?

In the bad, old days of the Marcos dictatorship, there was loose talk that Macoy and Meldy really wanted Imee to become president, as she was supposedly more intelligent, or at least more serious with her studies, than their only son.

Over the decades, she has shown flashes of brightness as a lawmaker and as a politician. Often, she seems to use her common sense.

This is not one of those times.

As for Villar, who came close to being first lady, her lack of compassion for the poor is well known. She has absolutely no clue on what it’s like to struggle to find food on a daily basis for one’s family.

She appears to be a person of at least average intelligence, but it is her moral values that have been brought to the fore because of her inexcusable defense of the delusional religious leader who fancies himself another son of God, right next to Jesus Christ.

Villar’s defense goes like this: The pastor is my friend. The pastor has been good to my and my family. Ergo, he cannot be guilty of anything.

I must ask if she ever took Logic 101 in college, and if she passed.

Then there’s Go, who remains the top lackey of Digong Duterte. Even after he was elected senator, he continued to act like the former Davao mayor’s butler, bodyguard, and best friend, all rolled into one.

He reminds me of a former Pasay City police chief who ran for mayor of the city where I grew up multiple times, and whose sole claim to fame was that he washed the behind of former mayor Ambo Cuneta after his regular poop in his fading years. The guy lost badly each time. He could not tell the electorate why he should be chief executive of a city that had a myriad of problems.

As for Padilla, the less said the better. He is an ex-con who received an undeserved presidential pardon. He is the reason that all washed up action stars should be banned from running for any public office.

Religion has been called the opiate of the masses, and this is true in the case of Quiboloy’s blind followers. The same can be true of the four senators, who are addicted to the votes that the pastor is said to deliver.

All of them are running for reelection, and I suspect one or more of then could be eyeing the vice presidency, or even the presidency.

Yet for some reason, I still believe that the Philippines is not a lost cause.

Maybe I’m the one who’s delusional, huh?