BROADCAST talk about former Cebu governor Emilio "Lito" Osmeña's threat to explode a bombshell against the local Liberal Party hasn't referred to the word's usage in the past.

Who would talk these days about "bombshell" except when mentioning a bomb or artillery shell or an "outrageously, exotically" beautiful woman?

The era when "bombshell" meant a political issue directed at the enemy, which would shock and stun voters, was when Lito could still go up the rally stage without being helped by strong, able-bodied aides.

There are only few issues in this age that a politician could hurl at his rival and make the voter's jaw drop or his eyes pop out or shove him off the seat.

The multibillion-peso pork barrel fraud and the Mamasapano massacre were the last national issues that jolted and electrified people. But what local issues so dismayed and revolted us that we hounded our leaders out of office?

Not the Balili lot purchase or the convention center construction: they probably influenced election results at Capitol but could they qualify as bombshell? Not the expose about reconditioned trucks City Hall bought as brand new. Suspicions were raised but there was no smoking gun to make people cry out "oh my God."

A sex scandal? A bombshell could literally involve one, as the word originally meant a sex icon, like Rita Hayworth whose pinup was painted on bombs tested at Bikini atoll. Yet the nation's shock was not Erap Estrada's flagrant womanizing but his winning the elections. Talk of incest in a local government created snickers but there was no showing it caused the players' defeat in the polls.

Trade-off

So what could Lito's bombshell be? It should be one that would cause outrage and revulsion. Otherwise, people, with senses deadened by all sorts of politicians' abuse and excess, would just shrug it off as part of the cost of trading off votes.

(paseares@gmail.com)