Jojo A. Robles

No means no

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“No means no,” was a popular slogan years back, when the phenomenon of date rape first hit the headlines. In the current political situation, the people who want Senator Grace Poe to become the Liberal Party’s vice presidential candidate should be reminded that when a woman turns down their overtures, continuing to pursue her could qualify as rape.


Or at least “harassment,” as Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Poe’s apparent betrothed, has described the pursuit. (As Poe’s partner in an all-but-declared Grace-Chiz tandem for next year, I can understand the Sorsogon senator’s exasperation; it’s as if Mar Roxas and Butch Abad still insist on seeking the hand of Heart Evangelista, long after the actress has married Escudero.)

Of course, we’re talking about the LP here, a political group that has no shortage of self-righteousness even in the depths of its pathetic mendicancy. While Roxas and Abad make no secret of wanting to continue their courtship of Poe, the partisans of the daang matuwid have been howling long and loud about the senator’s apparent lack of commitment to “preserving the gains” of the Aquino administration, simply because she will not say yes to a Roxas-Poe ticket.

Why, after all, is Poe good enough to be Roxas’ running mate but not yet ripe (to use the fruit-based analogy an LP leader used recently) to run on her own? If Grace still needs ripening, how did someone who had even less executive experience and a more unremarkable legislative track record than she, Noynoy Aquino, become good enough to be the father of daang matuwid?

Poe has long ago answered the accusations of her own uprightness, of course, pointing out correctly that no party or administration - especially not this one - has a monopoly of virtue. But that hasn’t stopped Roxas, Abad and other LP bigwigs from still dreaming of convincing Poe to be their anointed running mate, never mind if she isn’t even a member of the party and has no apparent plans of being sworn into it in the foreseeable future.

It does seem, though, that some of the Yellow diehards have already accepted as fact Poe’s rejection of Roxas. These Yellowists are now seeking to draft Camarines Sur Rep. Leni Robredo as their new, improved version of the “faithless” Poe.

That was the point of the launching of a movement yesterday over at Quezon City’s Bantayog ng Mga Bayani urging the widow of the late Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo to join Roxas and the LP as they continue to traverse the straight path. It did not bode well for this new group of old Yellows that Robredo herself couldn’t be bothered to attend the event; even the very heavens seemed to protest, as they literally rained on this particularly sorry parade.

Robredo, I’m told, has as much interest in joining Roxas as Poe had. Meaning none at all.

That will leave Roxas and the LP with little choice but to move on to yet another possible running mate for Aquino’s chosen one. Whether that means the Liberals’ number two spot will be filled by Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos or even, as some have proposed, Aquino’s sister Kris, nobody really knows.

After all, Roxas and Abad still publicly profess that they would like no one else but Poe to be the LP’s vice presidential candidate. But you’ve got to admire the persistence of these LP suitors – they never take no for an answer, no matter how miserable, needy and desperate they start to appear.

Make no mistake: Roxas feels he needs Poe almost as much as he needs to be President. And if you ask any woman, that’s not only pathetic; it could also lead to extreme measures, like rape.

* * *

How difficult was it for the Aquino administration to acknowledge a death in the family of its self-declared nemesis, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo? Very difficult, judging from its official statement on the death of Arroyo’s brother, businessman Arturo “Art” Macapagal.

The short statement on Macapagal’s death issued by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma was notable for its research, citing the deceased’s two stints as an athlete in two Olympic Games, in “1972 (Munich) and 1976 (Montreal)” and his possession of “the national record in Olympic free pistol shooting for more than 21 years.” Coloma also described Macapagal as “a recognized leader in the automotive industry and a staunch supporter of various socio-civic organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and Scholarship Foundation for the Filipino Youth, where he served as Chairman.”


But it never did mention that Macapagal was the brother of Mrs. Arroyo or the son of former President Diosdado Macapagal, whose name this administration erased from the international airport in his hometown of Pampanga. As they would ask on the street, “Bitter much?”

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