Top Stories Yahoo

And why should Aquino go to the wake of Jennifer Laude? Who she?

commentary logo


Jennifer Laude's mother at her wake. From Bulatlat.TOTOO naman. Bakit nga naman inaasahan natin pumunta si Pangulong Aquino sa lamay ni Jennifer Laude?

Sino ba si Jennifer Laude? Hindi naman siya kamag-anak ng mga Aquino. Hindi naman siya haciendera katulad ng mga Cojuangco-Aquino. Hindi naman siya sundalo. Hindi naman siya miyembro ng Liberal Party. Hindi naman siya nanay o asawa ng miyembro ng Liberal Party.

Asked last Wednesday by Raul Dancel of The Singapore Straits Times during a forum with the Foreign Correspondents Association if he was going to the wake of Laude, the transgender who was murdered by a member of the United States Marines Corps last Oct. 11, Aquino said he doesn’t go to wakes of people he doesn’t know.

His complete answer: “You know, in general, I don’t attend wakes of people I don’t know. I find it—and I’m speaking for myself—I’m uncomfortable in trying to condole with people who don’t know me and… Parang how can I say that I really sympathize with their loss and have some relevant discussion with them on trying to assuage, ‘di ba, their loss at that point in time? If I know the person somehow or the person is close to me… For instance, I went to the wake of the mother of Governor (Alfonso) Umali recently. The mother of Governor Umali had entertained me in her house in the years previous and Governor Umali is very close friend. In Leyte, I went to the unanticipated demise of the wife of Congressman Boying Cari, and I had a chance to talk also to his children—the eldest is 23 and the youngest is Grade Six. As a general rule, I attend wakes wherein there are some connections, so that ‘yung I don’t want to be a burden but rather I want to help them at their time of grief.”

No one can accuse Aquino of not being transparent. He does not bother masking his arrogance.

Really, why would Aquino go to Jennifer Laude’s wake? Who is she? She is not a relative. She is not in his class. She is not a member of the Liberal party like Oriental Mindoro Governor Alfonso Umali, treasurer of the LP and Rep. Jose Carlos Cari of Leyte’s 5th district.

I asked Fr. Eliseo Mercado for his reaction. He pointed out three things:

First, “PNoy is the President and he is known to almost all Filipinos.”

Second, “All the while he keeps mouthing the Filipino people are his bosses. Jennifer belonged to the people – his bosses. Or this is purely for sound bytes?”

Third, “Jennifer was murdered brutally, that is, beating and drowning in a toilet bowl by US Marine – part of VFA (Visiting Forces Agreement). Since he likes the VFA, at least he should sympathize with victim of VFA.”

Anne de Bretagne commented in Facebook: “To be perfectly honest, I don’t think the president should be expected to attend the wake of Jennifer – the deceased was not a member of his political family nor was a serving member of the military but if interviewed or challenged to attend the wake, he should mouth a less callous answer and show a bit of empathy, something expected of the president of the republic no less!”

I commented that being tactless seems to be an Aquino trait. The President’s sister is dubbed as “taklesa.”

This is not the first time that Aquino has made insensitive comments. Last year, in a post-Yolanda community meeting in Tacloban, a businessman complained about the breakdown of law and order in the typhoon-devastates city. Aquino snapped at him: “But you did not die, right?”

There was also his public humiliation of weatherman Nilo Prisco just two weeks after he became president in July 2010.

Movie Director Joey Reyes in a Facebook comment underscored two points: “First, some people mistake tactlessness with brutal honesty, insensitivity for frankness or even wit. Second, empathy is a quality that defines integrity in leadership and sincerity in the responsibilities that come with the position. Enough said.”.

Being honest is being truthful.

Being tactless is being rude and inconsiderate.

It is a mark of a person’s maturity to be honest and truthful and still be considerate and mindful of somebody’s feelings.

Going around social media are pictures of the funeral marches of President Aquino’s parents: Benigno Aquino, Jr in 1983 and Cory Aquino in 2009.

The thousands of people who paid their last respects to his parents didn’t know them personally. But they lined up and marched. It said a lot of the Filipino people.

In the same way, Aquino’s statement why he is not going to Jennifer Laude’s wake says a lot about his person and his quality as a leader.