Manila Standard : Lies and hypocrisy

17 March 2022

By Charlie V. Manalo | Manila Standard

“These are mere fabrications.”
The only thing worse than a liar is a liar that’s also a hypocrite. — Tennessee Williams

If lying is a ground for disqualification for the presidential elections, Leni Robredo should have been long out of May 9 polls. And to think that she had, in an interview with television host Boy Abunda about a month ago, told whoever was watching that particular episode of Abunda’s talks show, that people should not vote for Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr. as the leading presidential candidate is a liar.

In that episode, Robredo categorically stated Marcos is a liar and has been nowhere to be found in times of calamities or when he is needed the most.

However, a compilation of video clips which went viral in the social media showed Marcos, or BBM to his supporters, personally distributing relief goods to victims of calamities even during the times when he was not in public office. He was even present at the Villamor Airbase when the flag-draped bodies of SAF 44 who were killed in the Mamasapano misadventure of the late Noynoy Aquino were given a heroes’ welcome.

But that’s not the only lie Robredo is notorious for. What is most sickening is her selling of lies which she herself believes.

Apparently afflicted with mythomania, or the tendency to lie, exaggerate, or relate incredible imaginary adventures as if they had really happened, Robredo has repeatedly debunked claims they are using the Church in their election campaign, nor had resorted to hakots or ferrying rallyists to their sorties, or even bloated the numbers of those who attended their events.

All of these she had declared in her famed Leni-style of speech characterized by repetition of words or phrases, which are common symptoms of a speech disorder called palilalia (I’m not saying she is suffering from one as I am no medical expert).

Unfortunately for her, videos have surfaced showing her supporters being ferried by buses from Mandaluyong to her sortie in Cavite. Some buses were even said to have come from Cagayan. According to sources from her camp, these rally participants are mostly members of the leftist group Kadamay.

Photos also went viral showing participants in her rallies bringing pink balloons and paper flowers, which if taken with an aerial photo from drones, could give the impression of a massive crowd. To make matters worse for her, individuals who claim they are photo editors hired by her camp, admitted they have been forced to edit their drone shots of the rallies to make it appear tens of thousands have been attending their sorties. While the claims of these individuals have yet to be validated, the physical attributes of their rally venues would themselves invalidate their claims. For example, they claim their rally in Paglaum in Bacolod attracted 70,000 attendees when the venue’s capacity was only about 32,000. To give everyone an idea, the biggest indoor arena, the Philippine Arena, could only accommodate 55,000 individuals.

Anyway, what’s wrong with hakots or ferrying supporters to rally sites? Almost everyone is doing it. Not everyone has their own means of transportation so area coordinators of politicians sometimes have to provide transportation, be it a bus, a jeep, tricycle or whatever, just to bring their supporters to rally venues. I just haven’t heard of rallyists being ferried from as far north as Cagayan to down south Cavite.

But I don’t see anything wrong with that. She just has to admit it instead of trying to make people believe her supporters have been walking for tens of kilometers just to attend her sortie.

With the gimmicks associated with bloating of rally attendees, well, that outright cheating. But then, who else are they cheating but themselves. They, especially Leni, are beginning to believe in their own lies.

With regards to using the Church for their campaign, that is most horrendous. In fact, during a lunch with fellow columnists and editors, I commented that this election could divide the Catholic Church.

When the campaign kicked off, Leni’s handlers and Church backers made her use the Popemobile which was used by Pope Francis when he visited the Philippines in 2015. That, to me and other Catholics, was most irreverent. It was designed for the exclusive use of the Pope, someone we revere. As I have stated in my earlier column, what would these people say if the presidential car is to be used by a presidential candidate?

Then, they started using the pulpits of the Church for their campaign. Photos of Church altars decorated by the Pinklaw tarps surfaced. The other day, there was another gimmick done inside a church – a kasal-kasalan between Leni and her running mate Kiko Pangilinan.

How could these people, including the priests and the bishops of the dioceses concerned, forget the passage in the Holy Bible when Jesus stormed the temple and cried, “My Father’s house is a house of prayer…”

Those are outrightly blasphemous! And totally hypocritic! Practicing what is contradictory to their preaching and declarations.

And those are aside the fact, some priests are openly using the pulpits through the masses they offer, to endorse Leni. The sad thing is they even vilify those who won’t toe their line.

Fortunately, we still have someone like Bishop Raul Dael of the Diocese of Tandag who openly rejected Leni’s request he don a pink face mask when she and her entourage paid him a visit.

“Madam Vice-President, Senator Kiko, hindi lahat naka-pink dito. Kaming mga pari gusto n’yo kaming bigyan ng pink na facemask but we maintain that the church will not be endorsing someone but we will be accompanying our people so that their choice will always be based on principle at hindi dahil sa pera,” Dael said in rejecting Leni’s request as he made it clear wasn’t endorsing any particular candidate and would welcome other presidential aspirants should they decide to visit his diocese too.

It was reported that Leni requested a private meeting with Bishop Dael but it was turned down and instead offered a mass San Nicolas de Tolentino Cathedral, participated by priests and ministers from other Christian denominations, including United Church of Christ of the Philippines, Iglesia Filipina Independiente.

“We are non-partisan, but we can never be neutral when it comes to lies and truth. We do welcome the other candidates as this is part of our discernment process,” Bishop Dael declared.

I just hope Leni grasped clearly when Bishop Dael said the Church should never be neutral when it comes to lies. And we need more Bishop Dael in the Catholic Church.