Manila Metropolitan Theater…its history and story of neglect

Manila Metropolitan Theater

…its history and story of neglect

By Apolinario Villalobos


A country without a cultural landmark is like a basket that can’t hold water. Nothing is left to stand for the past, be it significant or not. Events just happen and forgotten, and for this, the people’s culture suffers. Many countries, though how small they are, have won the respect of powerful ones because of their rich past, made tangible by whatever remains.


The Philippine’s rich past has made its people look for an outlet which took form in plays, songs, poems, paintings, sculpture and other artistic expressions. The admixture of the eastern and western influences, have surfaced in all these expressions. Foreign influences which left their respective sediments in the country nourished cultures which are distinctly different from each other. These are however, consolidated by the Filipinos in a compromising effort to have just one that could be identified with them.


That was the benevolent intent which was magnified during the administration of Ferdinand Marcos. The theater was then, beginning to gain momentum in its effort for revival, as plays and concerts were again held, but unfortunately cut short when the feisty president was deposed.


Despite its sorry state today, it is important that Filipinos know how such neglected important landmark came to be.


The Metropolitan Theater that sprung up on a area of 8,293.58 square meters at Liwasang Bonifacio (formerly, Lawton plaza), embodies the several periods that saw the metamorphosis of the country. The unpretentious environment in which the expressionistic framework of the theater took shape is just a stone’s throw from the Bonifacio monument that stands witness to rallies of disgruntled students and workers. It is also a few steps from Mehan Garden, once a popular recluse of Manilans on weekends. Today, Mehan Garden is part of the Universidad de Manila campus.


Its colorful and massive façade reflects its mute desire to stand firm and solid despite the challenges posed by turbulent years that rocked its structure more than five decades ago. The month of February in 1945 saw the crumbling of its roof as a result of bombings and shelling by the Allied Forces during the liberation of Manila. Its walls however, withstood the barrage of both the allies’ and enemy’s fires.


But the theater’s story before the dark years of WWII was something else. It was full of struggle and challenges that just strengthened its foundation. In 1924, with an appeal from Mayor Earnshaw, an area of 8,293.58 square meters was leased  by the government of Manila to the Metropolitan Theater Company, represented by Horace Pond, Antonio Milian, Leopoldo Khan, Manuel Camus, Enrique Zobel and Rafael Palma. The land then was used as a flower market of Mehan Garden. It was an untrimmed and not so pleasantly landscaped area that gave way to the theater.

The concerted effort of various communities of Manila that comprised of Americans, Chinese, Spanish and Filipinos, bolstered the hope of the crusading artists. A magazine, Manila’s Philippine Magazine, carried encouraging write ups on the proposed theater in its effort to gain support from its readers. Stocks were sold by the Philippine International Corporation at Php100.00 and Php50.00 to raise the needed fund which was one million pesos.


The project inspired many artists. Almost everybody was concerned and did not hesitate to offer help. One of these early sympathizers was Juan M. Arellano, a leading architect of the era, and who was sent to study in the United States with Thomas W. Lamb, an expert in theater construction. His sojourn in the United States marked the birth of a unique theatrical design which stood for the Filipino’s artistic traits. A brother of Arellano, Arcadio, contributed his skill in decking the structure which took form shortly after the cornerstone was laid in 1930.


What took shape was what the Phlippine Magazine editor, A.V.H. Hartendorp called modern expressionism. Flagstone paths were cut across lawns greened by tropical creepers and shrubs. On each side of the rectangular theater were pavilions separated from the main hall by open courtyards.


The theater’s façade truly expressed the richness of the Malay culture imbibed in the ways of the Filipinos. Colorful were the glasses that made up the big “window” and the tiles on both side of the façade. Philippine plants in relief added exoticness to the theater’s face which was crowned with traditional Muslim minarets. Additional oriental accent was provided by shapely sculptured figures of two women who seemed to be preparing to take flight.


The theater’s interior equaled the exterior’s magnificence – wide marble staircase, mural paintings by Amorsolo and modern sculptures by Francisco R. Monti. The latter was an Italian sculptor, who practiced his trade in the country in the early 1930s. To give a feeling of spaciousness, boxes were eliminated. Relief figures cast shadows on the proscenium. Elongated lamps of translucent glass in the shape of bamboo stalks filled up the empty wall on both sides of the hall. The translucent stalks pointed to the ceiling that burst with a cornucopia of mango fruits and leaves.


The auditorium’s facilities were excellent, although the seating area could only accommodate 1,670, quite small for a fast-growing city like Manila. Its lighting, acoustics, air-cooling system and dressing rooms were all excellent and almost faultless. However, there was no understage and the orchestra pit was too narrow.


Dramatic Philippines was responsible for the showing of outstanding plays that made the theater famous. Very active members were Francisco Rodrigo, Emma Benitez and Narciso Pimentel. The theater’s stage was also grace by the zarzuela queen, Atang de la Rama.


Even when the country wallowed in the misery of subordination by a foreign power during the WWII, the theater continued to draw art lovers. It was used by members of the Volunteer Social Aid Committee (VSAC) as a front in raising funds for the underground movement against the Japanese. This group of artists likewise acted as secret mail carriers for Manilans who would like to get in touch with relatives detained at Capas and Cabanatuan. These Manila girls, some of whom were Conchita Sunico, Helen Benitez and Pilar Campos, went to the extent of spending for their own clothing materials which were then designed by Matilde Olmos, the best modiste of European clothes during that time.


The scarred Met which lost its roof during the liberation of Manila in February 1945 held on to what remained. Unfortunately, the transition period did not give much impetus to those who were previously active in theatricals. Of the several establishments housed by the Met, only the Magnolia Rendezvous, an ice cream kiosk held firm. Meanwhile the building underwent painful changes from a boxing arena into a cheap motel and gay bar, basketball court, garage and warehouse, until finally, into a home for half a hundred of displaced families.


It was in such a sorry state when a new breed of artists surfaced and made an appeal to the government to help salvage the Met. Their plea awakened the public from its long indifference and sheer neglect of a priceless heritage. Trouble between the artists and a group of enterprisers ensued when the latter proposed its demolition to give way to a modernistic commercial complex. A petition was submitted to the National Historical Institute to stop the sacrilegious hand and recognize the theater as an historical landmark.


The timely mediation of Mrs. Imelda Marcos gave assurance to the artists’ victory over their destructive opponents. The Met was finally restored to its pre-war grandeur and has been called the Manila Metropolitan Theater.  Its seating capacity was increased from 1,670 to 1,709.

To augment its finances, galleries that fringed the outer structure were rented out to shops that sell handicrafts, restaurants, studious and a night club. Bigger rooms on the second floor were furnished for receptions and meetings. Even the auditorium was leased to a movie company which showed three-dimensional films whenever the theater was free. Once again, shows and concerts were held.


The recovery of the theater was, however, short-lived. The emergence of the modern Cultural Center of the Philippines, Folk Arts Theater, modern cinema theaters and other cultural and artistic venues signaled again its slow deterioration. Groups of concerned artists joined hands to prevent its continued relapse to no avail….until, finally, it is back to its former state of gross neglect that we woefully see today. To protect it from intruding street dwellers, the periphery of the structure is fenced with board on which are pasted scenes of its former glory.




Ang Solusyon sa Trapikong Sumasakal sa Kalakhang Maynila

Ang Solusyon sa Trapikong Sumasakal sa Kalakhang Maynila

Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Nagpapakahirap ang gobyerno at Metro Manila Development Authority sa paghanap ng paraan kung paanong mabawasan ang trapik sa kalakhang Maynila, ganoong ang solusyon ay nandiyan lang…ang Pasig River. Dapat linisin lang consistently ang Pasig River upang hindi gamiting dahilan ang mga water liliy na sumisira sa mga makina ng mga sasakyang pang-ilog tulad ng ferry. Subalit, ang mga proyekto sa paglinis ng Pasig River ay hanggang launching lamang….kodakan ng mga opisyal na gustong makita ang mga mukha sa diyaryo at TV….pagkatapos ng launching, goodbye na sa project….nagkalimutan na. Tuwing may bagong administrasyon, bagong proyekto din ang nilo-launch. GANYAN KAPANGIT ANG UGALI NG MGA NAKAUPONG OPISYAL….MGA MATATAKAW SA PHOTO OPPORTUNITY….ANO ANG NANGYARI SA “PISO PARA SA PASIG” NA SINIMULAN NI MING RAMOS NOONG PANAHON NI FIDEL RAMOS PRESIDENTE?….WALA!!!!!!


Hindi na dapat pang ipilit ang paggamit ng mga masisikip nang mga kalsada na pinupuno ng mga kotse ng mga mayayaman at mga bus na galing sa ibang bansa na ang hangad ang lokohin ang Pilipinas na tinatapunan ng mga bus na gawa nila. Nakakabahala ang planong paggawa ng subway sa Metro Manila dahil sa palyadong drainage system na ang iba ay iniwang nakatiwangwang. Siguradong pagbaha, maraming malulunod sa mga subway trains. KUNG ANG LRT AT MRT NGA LANG AY MAHIRAP NANG I-MAINTAIN DAHIL SA CORRUPTION, ANG SUBWAY PA KAYA? HINDI PWEDE ANG MGA GANYANG HI-TECH NA FACILITY SA PILIPINAS DAHIL SA CORRUPTION NA MALALIM ANG PAGKABAON SA SISTEMA….ISANG MAPAIT NA KATOTOHANAN!


Kung sa Bangkok, nagawang i-maintain ng gobyerno ang kalinisan ng main river nila na tinuturing din nilang major traffic artery, bakit hindi ito magawa sa Maynila? May floating market ang Bangkok na pwedeng gawin din sa Maynila, subalit ang problema ay ang mga burarang mga iskwater na nakatira sa mga pampang (river banks) na kapag inalis ay aalmahan naman ng mga komunistang grupo at mga human rights advocates kuno.


Ang Pasig River ay pwedeng gawan ng bicycle lane na may bubong mula Escolta hanggang Laguna at iba pang arteries na dumadaloy sa iba’t ibang lunsod at bayan sa buong kalakhang Maynila. Upang magkaroon ng seguridad ay dapat lagyan ng mga ilaw at mga pulis outpost sa mga designated entrance/exit areas kung saan ay pwedeng umakyat at bumaba ang mga commuting cyclists. Pwede ring lagyan ng mga rest areas na may snack kiosks para magamit na pahingahan. Sa simula pa lang ay dapat na itong kontrolin upang hindi magamit ng mga sidewalk vendors. Kapag nangyari yan, ang mga commuters ay gaganahang mag-bike kaysa sumakay ng bus, LRT o MRT dahil makakatipid na sila.


Ang hirap kasi sa gobyerno ng Pilipinas, karamihan ng mga nakaupong opisyal na mga matatalino kuno ay graduate at nagseminar sa ibang bansa kaya ang mga natutuhan ay HINDI ANGKOP sa Pilipinas. Yan ang resulta ng ugaling pangongopya ng mga Pilipino. Dapat ay isaalang-alang ang kultura ng mga Pilipino pagdating sa mga proyekto dahil unang-una, walang disiplina ang mga Plipino. Dahil diyan, ang nangyayari sa Singapore ay IMPOSIBLENG mangyari sa Pilipinas dahil sa ugali ng mga hangal na opisyal na ang palaging tinitinghan sa mga proyekto ay kung paano silang kumita ng komisyon…AT LALONG DAHIL SA KAWALAN NG DISIPLINA NG MGA PILIPINO, NA KAPAG SINITA SA GINAWANG MALI AY TATAKBO SA HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION!!!!!

Ang Trapik sa Manila at mga Karatig-Lunsod…hindi nangangailangan ng “emergency power”



Ni Apolinario Villalobos


Ang isyu tungkol sa trapik ay apektado ng mga bagay na may kinalaman sa KALSADA, PASILIDAD (TRAFFIC LIGHTS, TOWING TRUCKS, CCTV CAMERA, COMMUNICATIONS FACITILITES, ETC.), MOTORISTA, SASAKYAN, AT MGA TAONG NAGPAPATUPAD NG PATAKARAN. Kung isa lang sa mga iyan ang pumalpak, siguradong mala-impiyerno na ang trapik tulad ng nangyayari sa Manila at mga karatig- lunsod nito. Dapat na ituring itong parang isang relo, na kahit isang piyesa lang ang sira, hindi na ito gagana o hindi kaya ay patigil-tigil na ang mga kamay sa pag-ikot. Ang disiplina ng mga motorista ay saklaw na ng pagpapatupad ng mga patakaran, na kung maayos ay siguradong susundin kaya mawawala ang lamangan at palusutan. Apektado din ang trapik ng masamang panahon dahil bumaha lang hanggang bukung-bukong lalo pa at sinabayan ng buhos ng ulan, ay halos ayaw nang umusad ang mga sasakyan.


Ang usaping ito ay may kinalaman sa hinihinging “emergency power” ng pangulong Duterte upang mapaayos daw ang trapiko sa Metro Manila na nakakaapekta din sa trapik ng mga karatig-lunsod, at malamang ay para na rin sa iba pang panig ng bansa na may lumalalang trapik. Subalit, kahit may tapang ang presidente sa pagpapatupad at mga ideya na lalong magpapaganda ng kanyang layunin, ang tanong ay: MAAASAHAN BA ANG TALINO AT KAKAYAHAN NG MGA TAONG ITINALAGA NIYA PARA SA GANITONG PROBLEMA?


Nakakadismaya na sa loob ng kung ilang beses nang pagkaroon ng Senate sessions tungkol dito, ang pinakamahalagang bagay na hinihingi ng komite ay hindi man lang naibigay ng mga taong itinalaga ng pangulo – ang detalyadong long-range plan, na isang SOP kung may isina-submit na “project proposa”l, na sa ganitong pagkakataon ay ang pagbigay ng emergency power sa pangulo. Bandang huli ay naibigay din kung hindi sila binigyan ng ultimatum. Ang problema sa trapiko ay NAKIKITA. Ang solusyon ay hindi nakukuha sa libro kundi sa mga alituntunin na angkop sa limitasyon ng sitwasyon at kultura ng mga taong maaapektahan. Hindi pwede ang sistema ng Singapore o Germany o Amerika, etc. Iba ang ugali ng mga Pilipino na ang disiplina ay batay sa nakagisnang kultura.


Hindi nangangahulugang walang disiplina ang Pilipino. May mga kapabayaan ang gobyerno na lalong pinalala ng kultura na sa tingin ng iba ay kawalan ng disiplina sa panig ng mga Pilipino. Ang ibig kong sabihin, ay halimbawa, ayaw maglakad ng malayo ang mga commuters mula sa isang akyatan/babaan ng mga skywalk o overpass na malayo ang distansiya sa isa’t isa, sa ilalim ng tirik na araw lalo na kung biglang bumuhos ng ulan, dahil ang mga sidewalk ay wala man lang silungan o shade.


Paanong maglalakad ng ganoong kalayo ang isang commuter na nakakurbata o babaeng nakapang-damit opisina sa ganoong kalagayan? Kung gagawin nila, siguradong pagdating sa opisina ay umaalingasaw na sila at ang damit ay nakadikit na sa katawan dahil sa pawis. Kung ang iniiwasan ng otoridad ay ang pagsulputan ng mga sidewalk vendors kung magkaroon ng silungan, dapat ay 24/7 na may police visibility na sumisita AGAD kung may mag-attempt na maglagay ng paninda. SUBALIT HINDI NANGYAYARI AT KUNG MAGKAROON MAN AY SA SIMULA LANG. WALANG CONSISTENCY O HINDI TULUY-TULOY.  Isa lang yan sa mga dapat ay isaalang-alang ng mga itinalaga ng bagong pangulo.


Nakakatawa pa ang  panukala na paglagay daw ng subways. Hindi yata nila alam na umihi lang ang mga pusa sa Maynila ay nagkakaroon na ng baha (joke lang!). Gusto yata nilang gumastos ang gobyerno para sa isang uri ng malaking drainage sa panahon ng tag-baha. Paanong aasahan ang maayos na maintenance ng subways, ganoong ang nandoon na nga lang sa harap ng Manila City Hall at ang nasa bandang Quiapo ay nagmimistulang lawa kung panahon ng tag-baha? Isa pa, mahina ang maintenance ng mga pasilidad na pampubliko sa Pilipinas, kaya mapapadagdag lang ang subways sa mga mapapabayaan ng ahensiyang itinalaga. Maraming pruweba kung bakit nawalan ng tiwala ang mga Pilipino pagdating sa ganitong bagay, at kasama na diyan ang kapalpakan ng MRT at mga road projects, pati ang mga government buildings na umaalingasaw ang mga comfort room at sirang elevator, lalo na ang airport terminals.


Ang lumang-lumang drainage system ng buong Metro Manila ay hindi na maaasahan dahil SINAKAL na ng mga infrastructures na nagsulputan tulad ng mga condo/commercial buildings, at lalong nasakal ang mga LABASAN na hindi kayang alalayan ng mga palyadong pumping stations. Idagdag pa diyan ang mga reclamations na ginawa tulad ng kinaroroonan ng ASEANA CITY sa Paranaque, hanggang sa MOA at Cultural Center areas sa Pasay. Ang mga gilid ng Pasig River sa Maynila ay halos puno na rin ng mga naglalakihang condo/commercial buildings.




Noon, ang mga pulis-trapiko ay hindi takot mabasa sa ulan. Ngayon ang nagtatrapik ay mga “enforcers” ng Metro Manila Development Authority, subalit marami ang nakakapuna na kapag magsimula nang pumatak ang ulan, ang ilan ay nawawala at ang naiiwang nagmamando ng trapik ay mga istambay na “barker”.


Palaging EDSA na lang ang tinitingnan ng pamahalaan pagdating sa isyu ng trapik. Para bang wala nang ibang kalsada. At, kung maglunsad naman sila ng operasyon upang “linisin” ang mga alternate streets, ay hind rin consistent….parang pagana-gana lang o di kaya ay kung marinig nilang magmura ang pangulo. Halimbawa dito ay noong unang umupo ang pangulo. Dahil sa takot na mapagdiskitahan, biglang kumilos ang LTO at LTFRB ng kung ilang araw din upang magtanggal ng mga illegally parked na mga sasakyan kuno sa mga tabi ng kalsada….napansin ko pa na 7AM pa lang ay kumilos na sila upang ma-tow ang mga sasakyan. Subalit ngayon, balik na naman sa dati ang kalagayan ng mga nagsisikipang kalsada na ang iba ay mayroon pang mga repair shop at basketball court! In fairness naman sa Divisoria area, ang kahabaan ng Recto mula sa Sta. Cruz hanggang Divisoria ay hindi nawawalan ng mga pulis kaya nawala ang mga vendors na sumakop na ng kalsada.


Ang nakakaligtaan ng gobyerno ay ang aspeto sa pagkontrol ng pagdami ng mga bagong sasakyan. Ito ang dapat na pagtuunan ng pansin dahil sa kamurahan ng animo ay mga disposable na mga sasakyan, maski janitor sa opisina ay may kakakayahan nang bumili ng hulugan basta may 20k pesos na pang-down payment lang. Kahit pa padaanin ang mga sasakyan sa mga exclusive subdivisions kung sakali, pero hindi pa rin pipigilan ang pagdami ng mga sasakyan taun-taon ay wala ring mangyayari sa mga plano na siguradong kokopyahin sa sistema ng ibang bansa. (Sa Singapore, bawal ang mga kending may pagka-bubble gum at may minimum na pasahero ang mga pribadong papasok sa lunsod…. kaya ba yang ipatupad sa Maynila?)


HINDI KAILANGAN ANG EMERGENCY POWER PARA MASOLUSYUNAN ANG PROBLEMA SA TRAPIKO sa aking pananaw. ANG KAILANGAN AY “CONSISTENCY” SA PAGPAPATUPAD NG MGA BATAS,  MGA “MATATALINONG” PANUKALA at “MATATALINO” ring mga tao na gagawa ng mga ito, na ang TALINO ay hindi halaw sa mga libro kundi sa nakikita nilang AKTWAL na sitwasyon ng mga kalsada at ugali ng mga gumagamit!


Kung may “emergency power” siguradong hindi na mag-iisip ng ibang paraan ang mga taong itinalaga ng pangulo, kundi umasa na lang sa pinakamadaling nakasaad sa hinihinging kapangyarihang yan…na sana ay hindi ibigay ng senado. Ang kawawa dito ay ang pangulo dahil siya ang ituturo ng mga nasa ibaba niyang hindi niya nababantayan 24/7, kahit palpak ang kanilang ginagawa dahil ang sinasabi niya palagi ay aasa lamang siya sa resulta ng mga pagpapatupad. Tanggalin man niya ang mga pumalpak na nagpatupad, sira na ang kanyang programa at imahe!

Baclaran Creek: Ugly Stain on the Philippines’ Tourism Image

Baclaran Creek: Ugly Stain on the Philippines’

Tourism Image

by Apolinario Villalobos


Nothing can be one hundred percent clean, sanitized, germ-free, well-kept, etc., to show a pleasant image. But in exerting an effort for such end-result, consistency should be exercised, as failure to do so could be tantamount to being negligent.


Among the ugliest manifestation of the Philippine government’s negligence and inconsistency is the creek at Baclaran which is fringing the northern edge of the purported “business-tourism showcase” of Metro Manila – the cornucopia of condominium buildings, malls, office buildings and the supposedly biggest casino in Asia. Practically, the creek that serves as the catch basin-cum-open drainage of Pasay and Paraἧaque that flows out to the Manila Bay, shows it all. How can the Department of Tourism proudly declare that Manila is a clean city with the obnoxious filth floating on the stagnant creek in all its obnoxious glory greeting the arriving tourists from the airport on their way to their hotels along Roxas Boulevard? Is this progress as what the Philippine president always mumbles? How can such a short strip of open drainage not be cleaned on a daily basis, just like what street sweepers do to the entire extent of the Roxas Boulevard?


It has been observed that every time a government agency’s attention is called for not doing its job well, it cries out such old lines, as “lack of budget” and “lack of personnel”. But why can’t they include such requirements every time they submit their proposed budget? In the meantime, as regards the issue on the maintenance of the city waterways, national and local agencies throw blames at each other, trying to outdo each other in keeping their hands clean of irresponsibility and negligence!


During the APEC conference which caused the “temporary” bankruptcy of commercial establishments in Pasay and Paraἧaque, as well as, local airlines and lowly vendors by the millions of pesos, the creek was almost “immaculately” clean with all the floating scum scooped up and thrown somewhere else. But as soon as the delegates have left, the poor creek is back to its old self again – gagged with the city denizens’ filth and refuse.


Viewing the Baclaran creek is like viewing the rest of the waterways around Metro Manila, including Pasig River, as they are all equally the same filthy picture of neglect, irresponsibility and inconsistency of government concern! One should see the nearby creek at Pasay where the Pumping Station is located, with an “island” that practically developed out of silt, garbage and clumps of water lily! Some days, the short length of artificial creek is skimmed with filth to make it look clean, but most days, it is neglected.


In view of all the above-mentioned, why can’t the national and local government agencies concerned co-operate and do the following?


  • REQUIRE the daily cleaning of the creek by assigning permanent “brigades”, just like what they do for the streets. If there are “street sweepers”, why can’t there be “creek scoopers” and “dredgers”?


  • REQUIRE the vendors with stalls along or near the creeks to maintain the cleanliness of their respective periphery so that they are obliged to call the attention of irresponsible pedestrians who do not show concern. Each stall must be required to have a garbage bag or bin, as well as, broom and dust pan. Their negligence in carrying out such obligation should be made as a basis in revoking their hawker’s permit.


  • REQUIRE government employees with sanitation responsibilities TO GO OUT OF THEIR OFFICES AND DO THEIR JOB, and not just make reports to the City Administrators based on what street sweepers tell them.


  • DREDGE the creek regularly on a yearly basis, not only when flooding occurs during the rainy season, which is a very repugnant reactionary show of concern on the part of the government. The yearly dredging of the waterways would eventually “deepen” them to accommodate more surface water during the rainy season, and even bring their bed back to their former level.


The costly effort of the national government in putting on a pleasant “face” for Manila every time there is an international event, as what happened during the APEC conference, may elicit sympathy and grudgingly executed cooperation, but there should be consistency in it….otherwise, it would just be like sweeping the house, only when visitors are expected, or worse, sweeping the dirt to a corner to hide them.


Cooperation between the government authorities and the citizens is necessary. However, as there is a clear indication that the concerned citizens, such as vendors and pedestrians, lack discipline, the government should take necessary steps in imposing measures to ensure their cooperation, albeit by coercion, so that whatever sanitation projects may have been initiated can be consistently maintained, for the benefit of all.


If littering on the ground can be prohibited with appropriate penalty, why can’t the same be done for the sake of the waterways? If ever local government units have passed such measures why can’t they be imposed authoritatively and consistently?



Kaya Pala “Nagsisipag” noon si MMDA Chariman Tolentino at DOJ Secretary de Lima…may ambisyon sila

Kaya Pala “Nagsisipag” Noon si MMDA Chairman Tolentino

At DOJ Secretary de Lima…may ambisyon sila

Ni Apolinario Villalobos

Malinaw na ang dahilan kung bakit noon ay kapansin-pansin ang pagsisipag nina Tolentino at de Lima – ang ambisyon nilang pumasok sa pulitika. Akala ko noon, normal lang na palagi silang iniinterbyu ng media, yaon pala ay talagang sinadya nila for media mileage.

Si de Lima ay “eager beaver” o sobrang maliksi kaya plano pa lang ang mga gagawin kahit maselan o dapat ay confidential dahil hindi dapat malaman ng “kalaban”, nagpapatawag na siya ng presscon kung saan ay nagbibitaw pa ng banta na pananagutin niya ang mga tiwali. Dahil sa ginagawa niya, ang mga dapat hulihin ay nakakatakas. Ang plano niya noong pagbisita sa Bilibid Prison upang mag-inspection dahil pumutok ang bentahan ng droga ay ibinrodkast kaya pagdating niya sa “loob”, halos wala nang nadatnang ebidensiya maliban sa mga ginawang mga kubol na aircon. Wala mang resulta, natanim naman sa isip ng mga tao na aktibo siya, masipag. Dinagdagan pa ng ibang broadcasts na lalong nagpahaba ng mileage. Yun pala, may ambisyong maging senadora!

Nadulas pa sa pagsabi noon si de Lima na ipapasa niya sa papalit sa kanya ang susunod na batch ng mga may kaso na may kinalaman kay Napoles, dahil siguro sa planong pag-resign dahil sa kandidatura niya. Subalit maraming pumalag, lalo na ang mga naunang sina Bong Revilla, Jinggoy Estrada at Juan Ponce Enrile, kaya napilitan din siyang ihain na ang kaso. Ganoon pa man, marami pa ring kaso ang hindi nabigyan ng malinaw na direksiyon tulad ng SAF 44 Massacre o Mamasapano Case, at Maguindanao Massacre na kinasasangkutan ng mag-aamang Ampatuan. Takot kaya siyang sagasaan ang mga supporter ng mga Ampatuan na namamayagpag pa sa Mindanao? Mga boto din nga naman silang mabibilang kung sakali. Ngayon naman ay sumawsaw sa kaso ng Iglesia ni Cristo ganoong ang daming mahahalagang kasong nakapila!

Si Tolentino naman noon, halos araw-araw noon ay may interbyu, nagpapakita pa na nagmamando ng trapiko….lahat na ng mga gawain tungkol sa pag-ayos ng trapik ay ginawa na, kahit umuulan. Dahil sa mga nakita ng mga tao, inakalang bukod-tangi ang kanyang kasipagan, kaya may mga nagsabi pang mas magaling siya kaysa pinalitan niya. Subalit bandang huli ay hindi na nakita at nagkagulatan na lang ng malamang kasama pala siya ni Pnoy, Roxas at de Lima sa Cebu, samantalanag nagmumurahan ang mga morista at MMDA traffic constables sa Manila. Nang bumandera ang retrato ng isang Obispo na nagtatrapik, malakas ang loob ni Tolentinong mag-imbinta ng media dahil magtatrapik din daw siya! Matindi siya…maaga pa lang ay nagpapakita na ng pagka-trapo. Kung sabagay, bago siya naging Traffic Czar ay galing naman talaga siya sa larangan ng pulitika sa Tagaytay.

Walang masama sa pagkaroon ng ambisyon upang umangat sa larangan ng pulitika, subalit huwag naman sa paraang garapal…dahil nalalagay sa alanganin ang kapakanan ng sambayanan!