The most fearsome and greedy of PH monstersBy Neal H. Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
See what lenient gun control laws do to countries like the United States? More and more often, a wacko pulls out a gun and starts shooting innocent civilians, including young schoolchildren. The latest weirdo to do this was Paul Anthony Ciancia who pulled out an assault rifle at Terminal 3 of the Los Angeles International Airport and started shooting. One Transport Security Administration agent was killed and three others wounded before police shot and arrested the gunman.
We are fast coming to that situation with our own lenient gun laws. In the recent barangay (village) elections, 30 persons were killed with guns, including a man and his two sisters who were shot and killed by their own brother who was defeated in the polls.
It is so easy to acquire a gun in the Philippines if you are willing to pay a fixer or a gun store extra to pull strings for you. The Philippines is the only country in the world where policemen act as fixers for our own gun-crazy wackos and where you can buy guns in shopping malls.
These come to mind with the coming fourth anniversary of the Nov. 23, 2009 Maguindanao massacre, where 58 persons, 32 of them media practitioners, were gunned down with assault rifles on their way to file the certificate of candidacy of then Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael Mangudadatu (now governor) who was challenging the Ampatuans for the gubernatorial seat in the local elections.
Four years have passed and only about half of the 195 accused have been arrested and are undergoing trial. The snail’s pace of the court trial makes it worse. If I am not mistaken, the court is still hearing the bail petition, not the proper trial itself, in spite of the fact that a judge was appointed to hear the case exclusively to hasten the notoriously slow wheels of justice.
* * *
Halloween, All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day have come and gone, but I still think of the mythological monsters of the Philippines that are remembered, especially during those Halloween parties and trick-or-treat begging by children where participants don scary costumes of monsters, ghouls and ghosts. Most of the costumes are that of monsters of the Western world—Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula, wolf-man, witches, fairies, skeletons and ghosts, superheroes, etc.—but none or little of our own mythological monsters. These are:
1. Manananggal, probably adapted from the vampire. The local version’s torso separates from its body to fly with bat wings to hunt for victims.
2. Tikbalang, half-man, half-horse, probably adapted from the unicorn of ancient mythology. It is harmless but it scares its victims.
3. Kapre, a giant adapted from the ogre of the Western world (as in the ogre of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” It seats on the top of a tree and smokes a big cigar whose light can be seen from a long distance and scares its victims.
4. Aswang, a man who takes the form of a dog or pig, who sniffs under houses where there are pregnant women and steals the fetus. Probably adapted from the wolf-man.
5. Tiyanak, a monster who imitates the cry of a baby, and with baby cries lures its victim deeper and deeper into the forest until he is lost. The way to break the spell is to wear your clothes inside out and the victim can find his way out of the forest.
6. Mangkukulam—a witch or warlock who casts a spell on their victims.
7. Dwende, a dwarf. There are two kinds: the white or good dwarf, (as in the Seven Dwarfs) and the black or bad dwarf who also casts a spell on their victims.
8. Nuno sa punso (literally, “old man of the mound”). He is believed to sit atop
termite mounds and if you so much as brush against a mound, the old man will cast a spell on you.
9. Multo, the ordinary ghost. It appears as an apparition or a black butterfly flying into a room, or it makes noise, say by dragging chains on the floor or rattling the doors or windows.
10. The most fearsome, the most greedy, the most rapacious, and the most hated of the monsters do not belong to myth but are real flesh-and-blood monsters—the members of Congress who steal the people’s money through the pork barrel. Unlike some of the mythological monsters that are harmless, they are very harmful.
The only two ways to be rid of them is to put them in prison or vote them out of office during elections.
* * *
Many people now hate the Social Security System (SSS) because its top officials raised the premiums the members have to pay, then turned around and gave themselves fat bonuses. But the ordinary blokes who really run the SSS, although they did not get million-peso bonuses, are still helpful to the thousands of members who follow the red tape that their bosses keep lengthening.
I would like to single out Ellen Sison of the Public Assistance Office, who helped me prove that I am still alive. The SSS stopped my measly pension since last January because they wanted proof that I am still alive, in spite of the fact that my column, with my photo and byline, appears in the Inquirer every other day, right above the column of Conrado de Quiros, brother of the SSS administrator. Don’t they even read the newspapers?
Of the employees who helped me, I would like to make special mention of Sison, who was very helpful. The others are Cecilia Garcia, Valle Anvenovo and the security guard, whose name I did not get, who trundled me without my asking for it in a wheelchair from the fourth floor of the main building through a shortcut to the annex building.
More from this Column:
Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=64655