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GMA VS LOPEZ: REFLECTIONS ON A MIRROR

May 28, 2008

Lopez group wins first round in the fight for control of Meralco. Good.

It looks like GMA has found her match finally— a cold-blooded Machiavellian adversary, one as wily, deceitful, secretive, brazen, and arrogant like herself in the Lopezes.

Struggle for power seen from a distance is always an amusing spectacle. Just what is there in power that makes people lose all sense of proportion, you wonder, but who am I to judge or speculate about motivations that move men. If your ways in the battles you fight in this world were wrong or right, you will find out for yourself in due time. Just like in the game of basketball, if you play it rough, someone is bound sooner or later to play it rough on you too in exactly the same manner— or worse. The lesson will be singed on you afterwards, perhaps while recuperating from a cracked bone resulting from a tackle during a layup.

In politics, it’s all the same. You rough it up without mercy, taking serious heed of  Niccolo Machiavelli, you’ll receive your just due from someone who takes his daily counsel from the same source. You say that all is fair in love and politics to justify yourself, savor it while victorious. The wheel of life turns. You’ll have your turn on the low and the victorious of the day will say it to your face: all is fair in love and politics, in like mocking fashion. You play catch me if you can and use all the power of your office to foil your catcher, wait, your appropriate adversary will appear.

GMA’s decision to pick a fight with the Lopezes to score points from the public reeling from high power rates would be popular, but for her own past sins, it calls attention to herself. Like a mirror, it reflects. Take the issue of transparency. When Malacañang seconded Winston Garcia’s call for the Meralco management to be transparent with its records and transactions, it got sneered at instead: “look who’s talking?”. Look, indeed, who’s talking? The many scandals that have become her government’s trademark are known not just for their gravity but also for the groundbreaking lessons in naked cover ups and stonewalling that followed each. When Meralco management points its finger to ERC to justify corporate practices that at first glance appear unethical and immoral saying “hey guys, it’s legal says ERC”, you are at once reminded of the legalistic barrage popularized by Malacañang mostly by the frequency of their employment: “Respect the institutions!” “Go to the courts!” When the Lopez group went after proxy votes in a manner seemingly dubious, the Palace could have raised a howl in the name of fairness and goodness but how, without calling back to memory “Hello, Garci” and all the parallel backroom operations during the heat of her own series of crises.

She’s looking at a mirror; it’s herself she sees and it is ugly. Question is: is there any chance she’ll recognize the reflection?

As for the Lopezes, what’s the stuff this family made of exactly? Thanks to this ongoing power struggle, they’re out in the open finally for all to see, while being undressed. This family had successfully parlayed its “good guy” image as a victim of “bad guy” Marcos to earn sympathy and to get into the good side of society.  It paid well; the Lopezes got their business empire back free, a compensation for the wrong done to the family by a “rapacious” dictator, supposedly. But now, it’s all coming back and people want to see documents to crosscheck with their claims of grieveous wrongs and if indeed sympathies were well-placed. Because if the Lopezes were/are indeed the “good guys”, some things here are in serious disconnect. Good guys don’t get this sneaky on people and their costumers.  Good guys do not behave this way!

Want a hint? See how the younger generation behaves. They say the younger generation is always an improvement of the previous. If this is how “good” the Lopezes are now, need we wonder how “good” the older Lopezes were?

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