ALL those television campaign commercials -- conveniently called infomercials because it's not yet the official campaign period and thus campaigning is not allowed -- are disturbing. But most disturbing are the ones that barrage us every after telenovela break the whole night. Yes, Villar and his checks.

Hmmmm... Suddenly written that way, I see a different check. But anyway, let's go back to the original check, no, not the one you write amounts on and sign, just the one that you make with a flick of a pen or a pencil on paper. Yes, that check. Got it... can we proceed now?

Now the checks... the flick of a pen... yes, that check.

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What rankles most is the question that asked if he has made those housing projects that the poor can afford. Oh really. Not that I question the number. I question the fact that there's a lot of spin here, and the spin is intended to spin the masses. All subdivision developers know the law requires them to make low-cost subdivision houses equivalent to 20 percent of their middle class or high-end development projects. We all know Villar, he owns lots and lots of subdivision projects, that's the very reason why the Senators are questioning the route the C-5 road project took. That's the C-5 road project alone, the project that winds along around 10 high-end projects. That doesn't count the others all over the Philippines. Twenty percent of that... hmmm... yes, the check is stating a fact. But a fact that doesn't say that the man claiming such feat has done so because the law requires it.

With so many businesses and projects geared for profit, you have to have millions of workers as well, so check. Employing those thousands wasn't because his heart was bleeding of them, but because his businesses need workforces. Another check. *Ka-ching!*

And then we go to what a senator is. A senator is a legislator. A legislator is one who makes laws, draws up policies, and seeks institutional measures to make life good for the greater majority. Thus, when a legislator keeps on bringing home battered overseas workers, then that simply means that the government he legislates for is not doing its job to protect the workers. Government officials are not there to bring home the battered. They are not even supposed to have all those millions to buy plane tickets for the battered. They are there to put in place measures and social securities that will keep the workers away from battering.

And then we move on to the man with his shovel planting a tree.... a million trees, the check says and we say, all senators and congressmen out there, we are voting you because you can wield a shovel. And yes, you can garner more votes if you smile at the camera as well... or look so pityingly at a poor man. Haha!

As yet another telenovela ends, more checks are made, sending shivers of fear. The fear of so much money spent, the fear that goes with knowing so many more have come before him and ripped our government apart to throw morsels into the hungry masses while squirreling off with the money.

"Kung si Villar ang tunay na mahirap, ano na lang tawag sa atin? Hampas lupa?" Haphid asks as we gobble on food made by Maan the other night. Wait... we have non-Tagalog speaking readers here... Haphid's first question is, "If Villar is the real poor, what are we?"... Now the second, the one that says, "Hampas lupa". Errrr... hampas is hit. Lupa is ground or soil. Errrr... Hit the ground? Haha! Go figure, that's the nuances of a language far different from the language in which it is being translated to. Much like the language of politics and business as against the language of the poor who only know how to be eternally grateful for spoils.

But really, watching all those television infomercials every night, lots and lots of them all paid for by friends, make me feel very close to the ground... trampled to the ground. Hampas lupa. Check!

saestremera@yahoo.com