The Christmas party hosted by President Benigno “P-Noy” Aquino III at his official residence, Bahay Pangarap (Dream House), was austere compared to ex-president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s nine extravagant Christmas parties during her presidency. However, the by-invitation-only event brought together his kamaganak (relatives) kabarkada (friends), kaklase (classmates), and the rich and the powerful: the old rich, nouveau riche, taipans, patriarchs of political dynasties, political leaders, business moguls, and military top brass. Indeed, these were the who’s who in today’s Philippine society.
But missing was the sumptuous 18-course Chinese lauriat that Gloria used to serve, a present from her powerful friends in Beijing. Instead, what P-Noy served was a simple meal of arroz caldo, siopao, hotdogs, leche flan, and kalamansi juice. There were no alcoholic beverages.
For entertainment, the Banda Kawayan (bamboo band) played popular Christmas songs. As a finale, P-Noy and the new “apple of his eye,” Len Lopez, sang “Jingle Bells.”
The dinner started promptly at 7:00 PM. At 8:30 PM, P-Noy, after an introduction by the Speaker of the House, stood up and proposed a toast, “Walang corrupt, walang mahirap! Manigong Bagong Taon!” (No corruption, no poverty! Happy New Year!) The spontaneous response of “P-Noy forever! P-Noy forever!” was deafening and the foot-thumping was earthshaking. The floor of the palace’s grand ballroom shook as if a huge locomotive had just passed by. Then Len whispered to him, “Pero mahal, lumang tugtugin na yata iyan, di ba?” (But my love, that’s old tune, wasn’t it?) “That’s okay, as long as it works, di ba?”
The exchange of gifts followed the presidential toast. The guests formed a single line to the presidential table. As each guest handed a gift-wrapped present to P-Noy, Len handed the guest a yellow envelope. Inside, it says, “You’re invited to our wedding on October 11, 2011 – Noy and Len.”
Then came the highlight of the evening — a presidential speech. It was an extemporaneous speech, no notes… and in English! “After six months as the president of our beloved country,” P-Noy began saying, “I am faced with a daunting challenge — either it’s business as usual or do something that a lot of you wouldn’t think I’d do.” He paused and looked around. “I will fight corruption until the last drop of my blood! I will never, never let the memory of my parents be stained.
I’m doing this for them and I know that they’re beside me, right here. I can feel it! Can you feel it too?” “Yes! Yes! Ninoy and Cory are with us here, long live P-Noy!” the guests chorused and gave P-Noy a standing ovation for five minutes.
P-Noy continued, “I believe that to accomplish this monumental task, I have to bite the bullet, crush your cojones with my bare hands if I had to, and do whatever it takes to make our nation great again.” Sen. Bongbong Marcos stood up and led a standing ovation for three minutes.
“I have prioritized a set of goals for the new year,” P-Noy said and he brought out a piece of paper. “This is my New Year’s resolution.” The guests were silent and breathless with anticipation.
“First,” P-Noy said, “I’ll make sure that the poorest of the poor will receive monetary assistance for food and education for their children. I asked P21 billion from Congress for this program and I want to thank Congress for allocating that in the budget.” DSWD Secretary Dinky Soliman and Party-list Congressman Walden Bello jumped up and led a standing ovation for two minutes.
“Second,” P-Noy continued, “I included in my proposed budget a pork barrel allocation of P145 million for each congressman so you can serve your constituents better.” Standing ovation for 10 minutes followed. “Incidentally, I also gave Gloria P2.2 billion in pork barrel so she can…” “Boo! Boo! Corrupt! Magnanakaw!” shouted the guests. “Hold it! I’ll explain later why I gave her that much pork,” P-Noy exclaimed.
“Third, I’ll start the construction of the Pan-Philippine Express that would connect — with an unbroken railroad system — Aparri in the north to the tip of Sarangani in the south. We will build subterranean tunnels across the San Bernardino Strait, San Juanico Strait, and Surigao Strait, a feat that has never been done before. Gloria promised that project in 2006 but it never got off the ground. The railroad system will be completed by the end of my presidency in 2016.” Congressman Manny Pacquiao of Sarangani stood up and led a standing ovation for three minutes.
“Fourth, I’ll increase taxes of the rich and the large corporations to create jobs for five million ‘metro aides’ to clean up the streets, public toilets, and tourist places. This is necessary to attract tourists.” Tourism Secretary Alberto Lim jumped up and shouted, “Pilipinas kay ganda!” Former Tourism Undersecretary Enteng Romano protested, “That’s my idea!”
“Fifth, I’ll make sure that every poor family will have a house. To accomplish that, I ordered Vice President and “Housing Czar” Jojo Binay, my loyal sidekick, to raise money and work with Tony Meloto to build five million Gawad Kalinga homes. And if Jojo fails to raise enough money, I’d be twisting your arms — especially the taipans and oligarchs — to donate money for this noble cause.” Silence. “Did I say something that you didn’t like?” Silence. “Well, you ain’t seen nothing yet, my friends.” The guests looked at one another without muttering a word.
“How about fighting corruption, Mr. President?” asked Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago. “I’m saving that for last, Miriam,” P-Noy said and he looked around. Nobody was moving. Silence…
P-Noy broke the silence. “Well, as you all know, I suffered several setbacks in my anti-corruption campaign. My House allies failed to impeach Ombudsman Merci Gutierrez and the Supreme Court nullified the Truth Commission which I wanted to use to bring corrupt officials in past administrations to justice.” Silence…
“But like an old adage says, ‘If you can’t lick them, join them,’ I decided to join them,” P-Noy said. “So, I made peace with Gloria, Merci, and Chief Justice Renato Corona.” “No! No! No! We don’t approve of that,” the guests shouted. P-Noy responded, “Well, it’s too late for that, it’s a done deal, fait accompli. We’ll change the government to a parliamentary system. Gloria, Renato, and I have formed a triumvirate to rule the country with me as Head of State for 10 years and Gloria as Head of Government and Prime Minister for… well, indefinitely.”
At that moment, Arroyo and Corona emerged from the backdoor. They joined P-Noy, linked their arms up, and shouted, “Mabuhay si P-Noy! Mabuhay si Gloria! Mabuhay si Renato! Mabuhay ang Pilipinas!”
Then Gloria spoke, “My kababayans, I promised I shall return. Here I am, back in power. Power! Power! Happy days are here again!”
Suddenly, the front door opened and 300 armed soldiers barged in, led by Sen. Sonny Trillanes and Gen. Danny Lim. “Your deal is not fait accompli yet,” Trillanes said. “In the name of the people and the State, the three of you are under arrest for betrayal of the people’s trust.”
P-Noy shouted, “Walang hiya ka! Judas!”
Then all hell broke loose! It was pandemonium!
“Wake up! Wake up!” I woke up. It was my wife. “Huh? What happened?” I asked. “You’re having another nightmare,” she said. “Gee, I thought it was real! Thank God it was just a dream,” I said. “Why?” she asked. “Never mind, it’s nothing,” I said. Phew! That was weird.