Senators Incubating Eggs. Trillanes counts chicks, Enrile turns the heat

clip_image002MANILA: If you're not that young anymore, you will remember this slogan: "A quitter never wins. A winner never quits." That was the selling slogan of Manuel Uy, insurance seller par excellence. So now I say that Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is The Insurance Seller Par Excellence, because he has just proven the untruth of Manuel Uy's slogan - JPE quit and that's how he insured his win. A winner knows when to quit. His mathematics.is right.

And yes, JPE won over the machinations of Senator Antonio Trillanes. This is how it happened, and it was only yesterday, Monday, 21 January 2013 …

In an interview early Monday, Trillanes claimed that he had enough votes among the Senators to hold a no-confidence vote on JPE, that he was just waiting for some Senators from the Liberal Party to join the group so that they can unseat Enrile (Rio Rose Ribaya, 21 January 2013, ph.news.yahoo.com). "Our numbers right now," Trillanes said, "if you add the Liberal Party Senators, we will exceed the required 13."

It turned out that, assuming Trillanes' politics was right, his mathematics was wrong.

Before Monday, JPE had been the single target of vicious attacks by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, accusing him of using public funds to hand out Christmas gifts to the tune of PhP 2 million for every Senator. On his part, Trillanes said, "If you only knew the sins of Enrile previously and currently, they are loose change compared to Corona's." Loose talk.

You can look at it as a championship chess game. Trillanes failed to factor in Enrile's Survivor Instinct as a chess master. So, on the day that Trillanes said his group was ready to mate Enrile's king, he was trying to think 5 moves ahead when suddenly, Enrile moved a pawn to endanger his king to a mate. And the spectators loudly objected to the King's Sacrifice. Tight move.

What happened was that Enrile declared vacant his position as Senate President. Senate Majority Floor Leader Senator Tito Sotto objected, and Senator Ping Lacson called for a division of the house. That is to say, the Senators were asked to vote by raising their right hand. In one news photo, Senators Koko Pimentel and Antonio Trillanes were the only ones raising their right hand favoring Enrile's motion, meaning that only those pair wanted him out of the Senate presidency.

The vote was 11-3 in favor of not declaring the position vacant, counting Enrile's own motion as favoring that motion. The 11 who voted for Enrile not to vacate his post were Senators Bong Revilla, Francis Escudero, Franklin Drilon, Gregorio Honasan, Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Ping Lacson, Ralph Recto, Teofisto Guingona III, and Tito Sotto (Cathy C Yamsuan, 22 January 2013, newsinfo.inquirer.net).

Only 2 Senators voted in favor of Enrile's motion to vacate his position: Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III and Antonio Trillanes IV.

Those who abstained were Senators Joker Arroyo and Bongbong Marcos. Those who were absent were Alan Peter Cayetano, Edgardo Angara, Francis Pangilinan, Manuel Villar, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Pia Cayetano and Sergio Osmeña (KG/RSJ, 21 January 2013, ph.news.yahoo.com). Even if you counted as anti-Enrile the 7 Senators who were absent, 7 plus 2 is not equal to 13. The numbers don't add up.

I can think of 2 possible explanations of the disaster met by the dreams of Trillanes to shame Enrile with a crushing no-confidence vote and, since I'm an agriculturist, I'll use the metaphor of eggs under incubation:

One, Trillanes was counting the chicks before the eggs are hatched.

Trillanes doesn't have real-world experience in incubating eggs. I know because we used to raise White Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds when I was in high school. You have to incubate the eggs of imported chicken because the hens don't know how to brood. Probably our highest success rate was 80%, or 8 eggs out of 10 incubated. But don't forget that most of the time, there are infertile eggs - you hope that the eggs you're counting on will all hatch, but not all of them will. Infertile eggs means there had been no gifts of sperm cells fertilizing the egg cells individually. Out of 13 eggs Trillanes was hopefully incubating, 11 were infertile eggs. No maleness, just femaleness. Enrile and I am Ilocano; we call infertile eggs in Ilocano ibbong, meaning 0, zero.

Two, Enrile is the master incubator.

Enrile knows when to turn each egg so that the lower becomes the upper part, to turn the heat on when the inside of the incubator is becoming cold, and to watch the eggs against predators such as thieves in the night.

And how did Enrile do that? Listen to excerpts from his privilege speech before he declared his own position vacant (full text of the speech here, ph.news.yahoo.com). In his speech, imagine the master incubator slowly turning the eggs, slowly turning the heat:

The personal conflict between me and four members of this Chamber has triggered a venomous, malevolent and sustained campaign against me. This was spurred by my decision to grant them only P600,000 each as additional MOOE last November and to hold the release of the additional MOOE granted to the other Senators, except to my own office, last month.

The persistent attacks of my adversaries, whether they be my loud and bitter critics, or those lurking in the shadows for lack of courage to come out in the open, abetted by some elements in the media, have successfully poisoned the minds of the public.

The criticisms are based on outright lies, distorted information and deliberately misleading phrases such as “cash gifts”, “Christmas bonuses”, and worst of all, “bribes”- all at the expense of taxpayers’ money.

With the way my foes have so cleverly crafted this disinformation campaign, I cannot blame the public for their sentiments and outrage over what they have been made to believe as an unconscionable and immoral use of public funds. The people have the right to demand from all of us an accounting of every single centavo of taxpayers’ money entrusted to us. No one is immune or exempt from scrutiny in the way the public funds are spent.

In their passionate desire to destroy me, my enemies and critics have not only dragged the reputation of my other colleagues, wildly accusing them of taking bribes and pocketing the people’s money. They have succeeded as well in placing this very institution, the Senate of the Republic of the Philippines, under a dark cloud of doubt and suspicion as a house of thieves.

Do you feel the heat already?

His enemies know who they are. If they don't, listen to what Enrile had to say, identifying them anyway:

I therefore move that the position of Senate President be declared vacant. I ask that my motion be immediately put to a vote to pave the way for Madam Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Senator Antonio Trillanes, any of the Cayetano siblings, or anyone else here who may share the same sentiments against my leadership and who may be secretly interested in this job the chance to be nominated and to seek the majority's support to be elected as the new leader of the Senate.

And there was a vote, and the Nays had it!

Thinking of an incubator and many infertile eggs, I can just imagine some people with eggs on their faces.

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