Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tawdry Tales

If there's one form of diversion on which Philippine culture thrives, it's sensationalism, and the more melodramatic the better—especially if it involves well known show business celebrities and political figures.   An example is a recent incident involving the high visibility and troubled Revilla family which boasts of  members in both of these professions.

Bad feelings that had been brewing among the young adult siblings in this huge clan finally boiled over, the eldest, Ramgen, was shot and stabbed to death allegedly at the instigation of his sister, Ramona, and his brother, Ramon Joseph (RJ).  Ramgen's girlfriend was also wounded in the attack.  The motives supposedly were jealousy and conflicts over such matters as the allowance amounts that Ramgen doled out to his younger sibs. (Keep in mind these people are post-adolescent. Yet they still rely on family handouts for support. But such over-age dependency  is common in the Philippines).,

RJ was apprehended, but Ramona fled the country before she could be arrested and will likely never return.  She  headed for Turkey where her husband resides. However, she has also left Turkey as well and is now a fugitive. To add to this telenovela-like tragedy Ramona was already in her father's bad books for marrying against his wishes.

Then there is the drama of the former Philippines president and now congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her husband Mike who want to leave the country for treatment of Gloria's medical condition for which she claims to need specialized care that's not available in this country. Yet because of  allegations that both of the Arroyos committed various acts of corruption while Gloria was in office—not to mention the illicit methods by which she supposedly attained  her term as president in 2004— there is concern that they will also pull a "Ramona" and not return to face the music. The Arroyo's legal petition to be allowed to depart has pitted the executive and  the judicial branches of government against each other over who has the right to make the decision.  The Supreme Court had approved their plea, but President Aquino is opposed to their departure. At this writing, the executive has won the latest round by filing charges against Arroyo and placing her under arrest while she is in a local hospital.  The Arroyos aren't going anywhere, at least for a while.

As an aside, Gloria Arroyo may well be  trying to play on the sympathy of the Philippine people even though she was almost universally scorned while president for her corrupt deeds.  But she just might win them over anyway. Former first lady Imelda Marcos did it, and it's just as though Imelda was never the wife and part of the hated martial law administration of the late president Ferdinand Marcos. She has regained her popularity and like Gloria was also elected to Congress. BTW,  before the arrest warrant on Gloria was served,  Mike's attorney,  Ferdinand Topacio,  asserted that he is so certain that if the Arroyos are allowed to leave and then fail to come back home, Topacio will castrate himself. He should be careful about putting both his eggs in one basket.

Finally,  I want to make it clear that this post is strictly for the purpose of acquainting newcomers to the Philippines with local cultural mores.   By my relating such stories, it should not be construed that I regularly follow such gossip-ridden events. Not me. Honest.

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