Rags and Mud

Last Thursday, mudslinging returned big time to Philippine politics as the Nacionalista Party unraveled an accusation Trapothat the Aquino family illegaly earned P170-M  from the private road interchange built for Hacienda Luisita on top of P80-M payment for right of way. Cavite Rep. Crispin Remulla said that the SCTEX project overshot by almost P12 billion from its original cost of P21.39 billion to P32.8 billion with alterations and realignment from the original master plan, including the Hacienda Luisita road interchange.

According to the accusers, the alleged road scandal is said to explain why Senator Aquino refuses to dip into the P200-million double insertion allegation against his colleague Sen. Manuel “Manny” Villar on the C-5 road project which Villar’s accusers alleged benefited his real estate firm.

Mudslinging is as ancient as the birds chirping in the air. It is how TRAPOs normally communicate especially during the election season. TRAPO, for those new to the term is a blend word or fusion combining the first syllables of TRA-ditional PO-litician. In the beginning, Philippine journalists and “street parliamentarians” (that is, activists) used “tradpol” to refer to traditional politicians. At some point, someone (in a magical moment of intellectual bliss) must have noticed that “trapo” was a better combination because it’s also the Spanish-derived Tagalog word for rag. They are your seasonal smiling faces hanging on electric lines, They are the names in waiting sheds following “Donated by:, They are the names hastily printed on the donation food packets during Ondoy and They are the ones inside giant Trapo2SUVs with sirens honking on for you to keep to the other side of the road.

Eons ago TRAPOS were headed and bred by no other than former President Marcos under the lab of cronyism. unfortunately remnants survived the attempted purge after the 1986 EDSA Revolution. But due to lack of activism, collective apathy and because of our inherent short-term memory, the infestation grew though the years and peaked during the current regime spawning scandals such as ZTE, Fertilizer Scam, Hello Garci, C-5 Dead End to name a few.  If you look hard enough, you will understand  that the *EDSA revolution was actually a revolt against the effects  of TRAPOism more than dictatorship.

In today’s age of modern individualism, we should already have developed a revulsion against TRAPOs. A kind of vile churn in the stomach you may feel when glancing a roadkill. We should be wiser now…we should be tired of the political crap they try to feed us every now and then. Mudslinging is a caveman tactic used by Neanderthal politicians. It has no place in this day and age.

1991 Henry F. Carey Christian Science Monitor (Boston, Mass.) (Aug. 19) “Aquino’s Challenge: Electoral Reform” p. 18: In the 1987 legislative elections, the National Movement for Free Elections (NAMFREL)—which exposed President Ferdinand Marcos’s attempts to rig the 1986 elections—did not contest the election of many traditional politicians, derogatorily called trapos (Tagalog for “dirty rag”) *Comment by Jose F. Lacaba 21 Feb 06 http://www.doubletongued.org/index.php/dictionary/trapo/


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