AN affliction on a person with a name easy to use in wordplay is that his enemies can pun it to death. Florencio "Butch" Abad's foes do.

You've read of "A-bad boy" or "Big 'Bad Boy" or "Bad, bad Abad" and similar puns focusing on, what else but, badness. Puns wouldn't have come, or not as quickly, if his family name were Jesus or Angel.

One with easy-to-pun name is left alone until he occupies high office and figures in public controversy. Arroyo became Arrobo; Radaza became, ah, something only a feisty radio commentator dares to mention in public.

Butch Abad, as chief of Department of Budget Management (DBM), is powerful and controversial.

Punsters are now targeting Abad, what with allegations about his being Janet Napoles's "mentor" on large-scale fraud, a sharp rise in wealth after long lean years, and beneficiary in the pork barrel fraud. Butch flatly denies the charges but that hasn't stopped the punning.

Not when he's known as President Aquino's alter ego, one whose intestines are entwined with PNoy's "bituka" (idiom for intense bonding). PNoy critics are also Abad assailants.

Lemon tree

Thus, Malacañang defended Abad about his nine relatives in government. But what's wrong with the many Abads?

Nothing, until one Abad is suspected of being rotten and public suspicion spreads to the family tree, which like the lemon tree in the song is no longer pretty and the fruit becomes "impossible to eat."

It's not illegal but people unavoidably think of greed when one Abad is mired in alleged corruption and they see so many other Abads on seats of trust and privilege.

(paseares@gmail.com)