How will the crowd receive Gwen’s dance?-A A +A
Thursday, January 17, 2013
LAWYERS Omar Redula and Briccio Boholst have, between them, fifty years of trial experience. They’re trained to be wary and not to be easily impressed or swayed by testimony. So why did I catch them gaping in awe while listening to Risa Hontiveros in Frankahay Ta! yesterday morning?
Because, as another lawyer (Eddie Barrita) has earlier found out, it is difficult not to like Risa especially when she starts talking. The lady has depth.
Despite the fact that her interview lasted less than 30 minutes, Risa spoke on a wide range of issues including her advocacies on cheaper medicine, agrarian reform and responsible parenthood.
She even managed, within that short time, to offer a comforting hand to Omar, who complained about the absence of a law protecting battered husbands.
Can she take the word of an estranged ally to the bank?
That is the question that suspended Gov. Gwen Garcia has to answer as she grapples with the dilemma of choosing between carrying on a personal devotion or maintaining a symbolic defiance.
Garcia has repeatedly said that she would love to dance in the Sinulog as she had done in the past but is worried that she would find herself locked out when she comes back to her office in the Capitol. She cited past threats to bodily evict her as basis for her worry.
Acting Gov. Agnes Magpale has, however, assured her that no such lockout will take place. Garcia can dance, she said, and come back to her office afterwards.
Despite Magpale’s promise and similar assurances from President Aquino and Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, Garcia is not making that call yet. The latest word from the Capitol, according to Aksyon TV5’s Katreena Bisnar, is that she is still weighing her options.
I think that Garcia can trust that Magpale will keep her word. In the very remote event that the acting governor reneges on her promise, she will face a terrible backlash from the people. Cebuanos won’t tolerate such treachery.
There is, however, one very important factor that the suspended governor should consider when she eventually makes that decision: the crowd’s reaction to her presence. Whether she likes it or not, she will be the center of attention if and when she dances in the Sinulog.
But how will the people receive her? Her admirers as well as those who dislike Aquino will surely cheer her. But remember that she has her share of detractors and you can never discount the possibility that they will express their displeasure as loudly as her admirers will cheer her in her presence.
I remember the day that Aquino was sworn into office at the Quirino Grandstand in Luneta in 2010. The moment outgoing President Arroyo stepped out of her vehicle to receive the final salute from the AFP, a hail of boos reverberated throughout the grandstand.
What if the same thing happens to Garcia at the Cebu City Sports Center? Garcia can, of course, choose to ignore them. She’s dancing for the Santo Nino; nothing else matters. Moreover, as a learned judge once said, buffoonery is already punishment in itself. Let the hecklers embarrass themselves.
But what if her supporters react and things get out of hand? There lies the danger.
Amid all the heat and passion generated by Garcia’s suspension and her subsequent refusal to leave the Capitol, it will only take a slight spark for things to get really ugly. Will she risk it?
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 17, 2013.