MANILA, Philippines -- The Makati Business Club (MBC) on Thursday said the revelations of Rodolfo Noel Lozada Jr. about the controversial national broadband network (NBN) contract “may mark the beginning of the end for the regime” of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Inquirer, 2-07/07

This is bad poetry, this unlyrical sense
of what is yet to come in the birthland
of our woes. We count the years and centuries
and the distinction in them is that
they are all the same: presidents dying
on us without asking forgiveness
presidents pardoned by their own kind
presidents cheating us of our mind
making us believe that all is well
in the homefront of women vending sex
in Tokyo, of teachers becoming filipina
of Brits and Singaporean and the handywomen
of Hongkong. Put in the nurse of America,
my America that declared democracy
in Baghdad as in my country
and here we all are, spectators
of charades and more so that comes
around to torture us. It won't matter now,
it seems, even as the dollar of our redemption
tumbles down and would make our leaving
a joke. For here, even the very sweat
we sell are for the kings and queens
and their princesses and princes,
children of loam and clay
children that grew out of deceit
of thieving parents and kins
because (a) their mother is president
(b) their father is husband to a president
(c) their uncle is a lawmaker
(d) their neighbors are congressmen
(e) their distant relatives are mayor
(f) their godchildren are their puppets
(g) their godmothers and godfathers
are long dead. But here they are:
the lord of all the flies of the land
the mistress of all the roaches of cupboards
flies and mistress being the same
and roaches and lords no different.

So, the musical chair begins.
You stay here, the largesse is here.
Forgot the priest who does Onan
to cleanse himself of his sins
or lighten the load off his confessional self.
He cannot take, not anymore,
these giving away of many pater nosters
the equally many hail marys
and the endless glory bes. These are
there to keep us away from harm,
from this evil that has befallen us
when we began to believe in the prayers
of presidents. When is it that we stopped
praying, we cannot tell. We have not stopped
even when our prayer preys upon us.

A Solver Agcaoili
Hon, HI Feb 7/08

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