|With Cavite Congresswoman Lani Mercado|
|The author poses with nonpareil humorous and witty columnist Larry Henares|
|Birthday "boy" former Speaker de Venecia poses with lady solons of the House of Representatives|
BY MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
This "calumnist", er, columnist who used to patronize “turo-turo” (small eatery) has found himself sporting the coat and tie he inherited from his grandpa in the Katipunan while partaking a more than a thousand of pesos a plate dinner hosted by “birthday boy” former five-time speaker Jose de Venecia at the swanky Golden Bay Sea Food Restaurant in Pasay City.
The almost 1000 visitors composed of present and former political high rollers of the country, foreign leaders and ambassadors spent the chilly night of December 26 feasting with Chinese cuisine with the de Venecias and (Speaker Joe’s wife Congresswoman Gina’s) Vera-Perez clans for the visionary and rabble rouser natal day.
As what an able ally of the former speaker former congressman Ed Zialcita declared to open the festivity: “We are here to celebrate JDV’s 100th birthday!” Of course he was joking; JDV (Joe’s monicker) was still young at heart at 75 and a diplomatic talent the present dispensation should have tap pronto.
I bumped there too my favorite columnist in college the irrepressible Hilarion “Larry” Henares. This wannabe political columnist in the province of Princess Urduja told the half-ilonggo-half-Pangasinense member of the illustrious Maramba clan of Sta. Barbara (my wife’s town, too in Pangasinan) that yours truly is an Ilonggo too and a media pal of the de Venecias who hailed from Dagupan City. Henares, accompanied by his daughter-in-law Commissioner Kim Jacinto- Henares of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, surprisingly posed: “Oh, Ilonggo ka man (Oh, so you’re Ilonggo?) ? “Hu-od sir (Yes, sir),” I retorted in Hiligaynon. Amtam makapagsalitay Pangasinan (You speak Pangasinan?)? He posed again in Pangasinan. “Amtak sir. Makapagsalitak so salita yo with JDV (of course sir, I can speak too your dialect and JDV’s),” I told him in my haphazard Pangasinense.
“We missed very much your political prose, “I told him. I and my college pal Rene Pacolor (now a mentor who has a doctor in Social Science, and Larry’s number one fan in Cotabato) could not forget his eye –catching column humorously entitled, like for one, “USA speaks softly and carries a big Dick”. We missed Larry’s distinct irreverence and propensity to brand the high priests of the US embassy and Philippines politics with names like Kulas Platypus for former Ambassador Nicolas Platt and Small Dick (for then Senator Dick Gordon) Crocodile Dundeeng (for former Ambassador Eduardo “Danding” Cojuangco), and Lechon Drilon (for Senator Frank Drilon).
Of course I could not forget his opinions on Council of Trent, colonial lackey, the Central Intelligence Agency, American monopolists, and the Holy Mafia’s Opus Dei represented by the baldy rightist economist and anti-condom warrior Bernie Villegas “Why not write again a column,” I told him after we have our photo ops. He chuckled and told me he has already a TV and radio shows to boot.
I asked him the whereabouts of my “mentor” another columnist non-pareil Antonio “Tony” Abaya who used to send this writer pamphlets like “A Funny thing Happened on the Way to Communism”, “the Other Face of Imperialism”, to name a few, and his weekly article of his column at the Manila-Standard Today at my email. “Oh, Tony has a stroke thus he did not write anymore,” Larry told me in his distinct American accent he learned probably at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
If Larry and Tony molded my political thinking, JDV’s rabble rousing spiel intrigues me no end since I want to emulate it. If evangelicals applause and stomp their feet every time a Jimmy Swaggart- like- preachers emphasized a point in a sermon, JDV gift of gab - he sprinkled with his wide knowledge of international politics - electrify the ho-polloi as they reciprocate it with their incessant round of applause .
I myself is mesmerized to JDV’s verbal spiel, I could listen to him for hours unlike the minutes I could afford to our boring Baptist pastor nearby. Geez, its sheer entertainment! “Eleksiyon angapoy eleksiyon, yog -yog angapoy yog-yog, delap angapoy delap wadya ako para silbi-an kayo! (Election or no election, earthquake or no earthquake, flood or no flood, I am here ready to serve all of you my constituents”,”
One of his “ding-dong” verbal magic that captivate and endeared him to the crowd. The other one is an analogy of his distinct two liners where the second sentence he punctuated emphatically that turned the masses, even those at the boondocks of his congressional district, wild: “I will be giving 90 diesel powered water pumps now.! I will be giving 90 diesel powered water pumps next time!!!” If the world in the 20th Century has witnessed the declamation prowess’s of Adolf Hitler at the Reich-stag and Winston Churchill “ Never Surrender “ at the House of Commons, the 21stCentury has its Joe de Venecia who not only enthralled the Filipinos at the podium of the August Chamber when he was five-time speaker, but spelled those wide-eyed foreign dignitaries (who are members of either the International Conference of (All) Asian Political Parties he co founded and co-chairs , or the Centrist Asia Pacific Democrats International where he is the president) of his exceptional verbal talent.
(You can read my selected intriguing but thought-provoking columns at http://mortzortigoza.blogspot.com. You can send comments too at firstname.lastname@example.org).