Learn to zipper your mouths 

By Alex P. Vidal 

“Much talking is the cause of danger. Silence is the means of avoiding misfortune. The talkative parrot is shut up in a cage. Other birds, without speech, fly freely about.” —Saskya Pandita

LOCAL government officials who do not want to be dragged into controversies involving national issues and national political figures should learn to keep their mouths shut if their “involvement” or appetite to mix in isn’t needed and necessary.

If a cabinet secretary in Malacanang was fired or has tendered his or her resignation and the departure didn’t augur well for the national leadership, let the national leadership or the Palace do all the talking especially in a public discourse.

Huwag makisawsaw (don’t dip), as the Tagalogs love to quip. In Hiligaynon, indi mag intra (do not interfere). In English, shut up!

If a charismatic or notorious dissident has been jailed on trump up or even legitimate charges, local elected and even appointed officials who have nothing to do whatsoever with the cases should learn to zipper their mouths if the issues don’t have any bearing or significance in their functions as local chief executives—governors, mayors, including city and provincial legislators.

The opinion of any elected public official in Iloilo or Negros and in any other provinces and cities matters only if it is about the interests of their constituents and may not be the interests of a political party or national political figure or figures.

Of course, they are also always entitled to their “personal” opinions, but they should bear in mind that many characters in a public office or politics in general are downright jealous, malicious, dirty minded, sneaky, vengeful, malignant, spiteful.


Can we imagine, for example, if a Governor Arthur “Toto” Defensor Jr or a Mayor Geronimo “Jerry” Trenas will declare in the social or mainstream media that “Vice President Sara Duterte-Carpio’s resignation is well-deserved and already long overdue or expected after she angered First Lady Liza Araneta-Marcos”?

Aren’t we bothered, for instance, if a Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson or a Mayor Albee Benitez will do a podcast to fulminate against the release from jail of opposition leader and former senator Leila de Lima after she was cleared of all the charges for illegal drugs filed against her by the previous administration?

And when the media or their fiercest critics lambast them for their arrogant obtrusion or political haughtiness, they get annoyed and blow their tops?


THIS is what we have been saying and writing these past years: if the recent failed coup d’etat in La Paz, Bolivia happened in the Philippines, the coup leader, Gen. Juan Jose Zúñiga, a former general commander of the Bolivian Army, wouldn’t be punished.

Instead, he would be elected senator or even allowed to run for president.

Gregorio “Greggy” Honasan II, a cashiered Philippine Army officer and leader of the Reformed the Armed Forces Movement (RAM), led several failed bloody mutinies that nearly toppled the administration of the late former President Corazon “Cory” Aquino in 1989.

Instead of being arrested, manacled and even lined up for the firing squad (in many countries where coup d’etat failed, this was “tolerated” or “sanctioned” because of the degree of their crime), Honasan became a senator and was even once pencilled to become president.

Antonio Fuentes Trillanes IV, another former Philippine naval officer and leader of a coup d’etat during the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, also became a senator from 2007 to 2019. He even nearly became vice president in 2016.

His involvement in the scary Oakwood mutiny of 2003 and the Manila Peninsula siege in 2007 would have been enough to disqualify him from public office or for him and his cohorts to rot in jail.

Many of their fellow destabilizers in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) weren’t punished after their terrible misadventures and even became multimillionaires after being given juicy positions in government.

In Bolivia and other countries wracked by serious and bloody threats of military takeover, the likes of Mssrs. Honasan II, Trillanes IV and their ilk would have been executed a long time ago.


ANG KAHIDLAW. (Ika-0002 nga Binalaybay sa Serye nga Kahidlaw nga Ginsulat sa Dhaka, Bangladesh, sang hapon sang ika-26 sang Hunyo, 2024, ni Ambassador Leo Tito L. Ausan, Jr.)


Ang kahidlaw,


Nga bunga sang pagtagik,

Sang kaluyag kag kapung-aw,

Kon ikaw ang malikop sini nga kasubong sang dapaw,

Basi madula pati ang imo pangadlaw,

Gani kon may naluyagan ka gid man,

Indi mo gid ini pagpatay-patayan,

Agud kon sa imo kabuhi

Madula ini sang hinali, indi mo gid ini pagkahidlawan!!


Ang kahidlaw


Nga bunga sang pagrara,

Sang kakunyag kag kamingaw,

Kon ikaw ang malikop, nagapalanglapaw,

Gani mag-andam, nga kon may ginakakunyagan,

Ang imo nga kakunyag hapaw-hapaw lang,

Agud kon madula, indi mo gid ini pagkahidlawan.


Ang kahidlaw,

Indi lahug-lahog  nga balatyagon,

Ini duna pa nga tuman kaimon,

Kon may nahidlawan ka 

Kag indi mo maangkon sang gilayon

Daw ginatamaran ka na nga padayunon,

Ang imo nga sa matag-adlaw, mga buluhaton.


Ang kahidlaw,

Labi na gid sa paho nga hilaw,

Kon sang nagamagdos ang pagabatyagon,

Pagpanamkon na kon aton tawgon,

Gani agud indi matukiban nga ikaw ang nagabusong,

Hawid-hawidi lang anay ang kahidlaw,

Sa imo balatyagon tuhoy sa paho nga hilaw.

Ang kahidlaw, indi  masami nga pahanugotan,

Kon kaisa ini aton man nga pulupunggan,

Labi na gid kon ini mabudlay ukon magasto tambalan,




(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed) 


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