The people are not her bosses

The people are not her bosses
Antonio Montalvan II Philippine Daily Inquirer
October 10th, 2011

The line was excruciatingly long and moved at a snail’s pace. And this wasn’t the check-in counters yet. This was the entrance to Terminal 3 of the Naia. On the morning of Oct. 1, a Saturday, the PAL Employees Association (Palea) strike was at its peak. Booked PAL passengers were being turned down passage at the airline’s Terminal 2 and were told to transit through Terminal 3.

Thus the longer-than-usual lines at the entrance of Terminal 3. At Terminal 3 was the airline’s subsidiary budget airline Air Philippines which was not on strike. There, its ground crew serviced whatever flights the mother airline was able to fly.

Aggravating the already chaotic situation, only two entrance gates of Terminal 3 were opened to departing passengers that morning. Everybody just had to catch their flights. “Everybody” included one latecomer, arriving in an SUV, who was right away allowed entry into the terminal in full view of everyone in that long, long line. It was my turn next to go through the baggage scanner, except that I had to stop and give way to this favored one.

Who was this favored one, I asked the guards. A Cabinet secretary, one of them replied. Just that, a “Cabinet secretary.” No name was given. But it reminded everybody in the line of somebody else’s description of the so-called “wang-wang” mentality. If she was indeed a Cabinet secretary, then her boss must be President Aquino. And the President has repeatedly said the Filipino people are his bosses.

When I insisted on knowing the identity of favored Cabinet secretary, I was told that she was the Honorable Imelda M. Nicolas, the chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas, a Cabinet-rank position. Obviously, she too was catching a flight. But so was everyone in that line, except that they were not Cabinet secretaries. They were just ordinary people.

In this country where rules are, more often than not, mere fantasia, circumventions by the high and the mighty are commonplace. But wait, we were promised that we were now in the “daang matuwid.” Under that daang matuwid, the car of another Cabinet secretary, Ronald Llamas, figured in a road mishap just last week. A firearm was found inside his car. Are President Aquino’s alter egos now flaunting their positions without him knowing it?

Reminded that what she was doing was a clear manifestation of the wang-wang mentality, the mindset of entitlement that the Aquino administration has promised to eradicate—and that she had to fall in line just like everyone else, the Cabinet secretary nevertheless nonchalantly proceeded to go inside the terminal, totally unmindful of the inconvenience she had caused.

She had a traveling companion, a man who told me that this was only a privilege “for a sickly 61-year-old.” But the 61-year-old, whoever it was among the two of them, was fit enough to travel and even to serve government.

Inside the plane, seated next to me, was a 74-year-old lady who was on crutches. It was her first flight back home after spending some years in the United States. She demanded no entitlements, but a fellow passenger saw to it that she would be provided with a wheelchair upon landing. Secretary Nicolas was certainly more demanding than this much older balikbayan senior citizen.

Secretary Nicolas is described in her department’s official bio as “a lifelong advocate for women’s rights and for good governance.” But more importantly, let us not forget that she was one of the so-called “Hyatt 10” that made headlines in 2005 precisely after denouncing the abuses and corruption that they claimed they personally witnessed under the Arroyo administration. The perception then was that they were clean. The perception then was that they were part of the solution.

If Secretary Nicolas could step on people in broad daylight because she felt she was “more entitled” than all of them, what can she do behind our backs? The possibilities are limitless and tempting.

“Over the years, the wang-wang had come to symbolize abuse of authority. It was routinely used by public officials . . . as if only the time of the powerful few, and no one else’s, mattered. Instead of behaving like public servants, they acted like kings. This privilege was extended to their cronies and patrons, who moved along the streets as if they were aristocracy, indifferent to those who were forced to give way and were left behind. Abusing privilege despite promising to serve—this is the wang-wang mindset; this is the mindset of entitlement.

“They had no right to do this. Yet the flagrant abuse we bore witness to prompts us to ask: if they felt it their privilege to flout the simplest traffic laws, how could we expect them not to help themselves to a share of projects funded by the Filipino people?

“Do you want the corrupt held accountable? So do I. Do you want to see the end of wang-wang, both on the streets and in the sense of entitlement that has led to the abuse that we have lived with for so long? So do I.”

So do we.


  • bagiw.boibagiw.boi Member PExer
    so there were two menopausal b!tches at the terminal that day...
  • i_am_belisariusi_am_belisarius the unbeaten ✭✭
    People typically get bumped off by Government officials. Live with it, loser.
  • Papichulo169Papichulo169 Member PExer
    Bilang Chairperson ng Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), siguradong labas pasok ng bansa yan dahil kelangang pumunta sa mga bansang may Filipino OFW. Wala nang panahon yang pumila kasama ang mga ordinaryong manglalakbay.


    Secretary IMELDA M. NICOLAS

    Secretary Imelda M. Nicolas is the newly appointed Chairperson of the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) under the Office of the President of the Philippines. Since 1980, the CFO has been mandated to maintain strong and beneficial ties between the country and Filipino communities throughout the world and to promote and protect the welfare, the interests and well-being of Filipinos overseas.

    By now, there are approximately 9 million overseas Filipinos spread out in 210 countries, almost half of them permanent residents while the other half are composed of overseas Filipino workers with the balance composed of Filipinos who are “irregular” in status.

    As CFO new chairperson, Secretary Nicolas takes a more pro-active role for and with all overseas Filipinos, whether working or living in other countries, to maximize the development potential of international migration while at the same time to minimize migration's significant social costs.

    Secretary Nicolas is guided by the new CFO Vision: A community of well-respected and proudly competitive Filipinos overseas who contribute significantly to the productivity and well-being of the countries of where they live or work while maintaining strong political, economic, and cultural ties with the Philippines, and driven by the new CFO Mission: Be the Philippines' premier institution in promoting policies, programs, and projects with Migration and Development as a framework for the strengthening and empowerment of the Filipino overseas community.

    Prior to her appointment to the CFO, she was former Secretary of the National Anti-Poverty Commission (NAPC), former Chairperson of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women (NCRFW), and Presidential Assistant helping cabinet secretaries in monitoring implementation of major government-funded infrastructures.

    She was also a Founding Trustee of BISYON 2020, a non-government organization/private sector group of people which aims to be a funding conduit for anti-corruption programs and projects. Bisyon2020 organized the 1st and 2nd Integrity and Human Rights Conference in the Philippines, 2009 and 2010.

    She was founding Trustee/Treasurer of INCITE GOV, International Center for Innovation, Transformation and Excellence in Governance, a non-government organization geared towards reform in governance, with special and holistic perspective on the critical and crucial connection among politics, governance and democracy.

    She is a businesswoman who has done business in the Philippines, in the United States, Australia, Hongkong, Guam and China. She was Vice-president for Development of TLC Beatrice International Holdings Inc, a New York-based multinational company. She is the current chair of the Women’s Business Council of the Philippines.

    She graduated with highest honors at St. Theresa’s College, Manila and took M.A. Units in Arts History at Columbia University.

    She has been a lifetime advocate for women’s rights and good governance. She was the head of the Philippine delegation during the 10th anniversary of the Beijing UN Conference on Women held in 1995.

    "Magpasensiyahan na lang muna tayo."
  • jpd74jpd74 Member PExer
    iba ang vip ....
  • BeerhandBopBeerhandBop I Am WHIP ✭✭✭
    .... welcome to reality. deal with it, folks.
  • s_lo75s_lo75 I think I'm in love...again PExer
    can you please post the link so I can post it on my facebook account? Thanks!
  • IKARROSIKARROS Member ✭✭✭✭
    How can we expect Cabinet member/s to follow the rules wherein she herself cannot follow the rules by smoking in the plane.
  • jonslaughtjonslaught Disconnected from Reality PExer
    Deal with it. Sabi ni PeNoy , nasa "daang matuwid" na tayo :glee:
  • GroovymanGroovyman Member PExer
    'DAANG MATUWID' is mere lip service just to get 'somebody' in power. This is the P.I. ( Philippine Islands...or what were you thinking?) where traffic signs are interpreted by motorists as suggestions and not something that you should follow. Nakaligo ka na ba sa dagat ng basura?...Don't you wish our President is that accomplished U.P. Graduate, successful businessman and a very responsible family man and not this bald under achiever ( despite his many advantages in life ) who just benefited from his mother's death...Ang kasabihan nga ang pagsisisi laging nasa huli...By the way, I campaigned for this bald guy so admittedly isa ako sa mga dapat sisihin..I AM SORRY! HU HU HU HU.
  • princessciaraprincessciara Member ✭✭
    galing ng mga boss naten...aliping alipin talaga tayo ng abnoy na gobyerno..pwe at isa pang pwe!

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