How’s Gwen?-A A +A
Friday, January 18, 2013
THE hugs, the hellos and the air kisses are done. We settle down for dinner and a cozy chat among friends. Then the inevitable question comes up: “How’s Gwen?” they demand.
I answer truthfully. I don’t know. I haven’t seen Gwen for some time now. Not Christmas. Not New Year. Not Three Kings.
As a media practitioner, one is always conscious of the responsibility to remain professional. I strive not to mix work and family. As a columnist, I write my opinions, within standards of propriety, for others to ponder upon and to spark healthy debate on issues that matter to our community.
It is a tough balancing act, but Sun.Star readers deserve no less than the best. And right now, people just want to know: “How’s Gwen?”
So we hie off to the Capitol in search of answers.
It’s been more than a month since the Standoff. The police barricades are down. Armed security has thinned to two or three guards prowling the premises. No more signing of “visitor” records. No more bodily searches. Thank goodness, they’ve seen the light!
Approaching the Office of the Governor, we encounter a hive of activity. TV crews from GMA and ABS-CBN crowd the antechamber, along with reporters, cameramen and photographers from other media outlets. They want to know if the governor will dance the Sinulog as she has done the past eight years.
Gwen looks elegant in her skinny jeans paired with a horizontal-stripe top. My, she’s grown even slimmer! She’s now less than half my width. I wonder whether she’s lost that much weight or I simply gained that much more inches over the holidays. The former, I’d like to think. But honestly? It’s probably a combination of the former and more of the latter.
I am offered a cup of coffee which I accept. The coffee is hot, the room temperature seems just right and the lights are on. Another item to tick off the answer list.
People want to know whether they cut off her water and electricity as threatened. No, they didn’t.
Offices of high-ranking officials have, as a matter of course, an extra room for a quick shower and change, and a bed for the much-needed power naps. The one attached to the governor’s office is simple, adequate and purely functional. Not exactly the Shangri-la. But it answered another reader’s question: No, she does not sleep on the couch in the Governor’s Office.
We ask Gwen how she is doing. She’s fine, she says. A steady queue of visitors from the towns, from Manila and from neighboring provinces is keeping up her spirits. They wish to stand up with her.
I guess they too cannot accept the insult heaped upon all Cebuanos (and Filipinos) when Imperial Manila insists, “This is not a power grab. This is not political. This is not a standoff.”
Gwen looks a bit tired and drawn. It is not easy being the target of any type of harassment--be it political or personal.
So when people ask me “How’s Gwen?” my answer is: she is fine and not fine.
She is fine, in good health and in good spirits. But she is not fine with power grabs, political harassment and insulting the people’s intelligence.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 19, 2013.