My plate was this big!
Philippine public life often has a novelistic, chiaroscuro quality to it; only it is the sort of novel where you think “how unrealistic, that would never happen in real life.”
Gloria’s now infamous $20,000 meal at the Le Cirque in New York is a good example of the Philippines failing the real life test.
Eight thousand miles away from GMA and her sycophants tucking in at the Le Cirque trough, a woman lay dying in Makati Medical Center. Cory Aquino devoted her life to ending the gross excesses of her predecessor, the conjugal dictatorship, the worst of which were committed in, guess where, New York. As a symbol of how we are back where we started that $20,000 bill could hardly be bettered.
Except that it could bettered. The knee jerk response to Malacañang’s excesses (as with the envelope handed out to Ed Panlilio and the other 190 elected officials who visited Malacañang duing the impeachment hearings) is always “oh the president wasn’t paying, it was one of her supporters.” And who was the generous host on this occasion? Leyte Congressman Martin Romualdez, Imelda’s nephew. You couldn’t make these things up.
The source of the story of the Le Cirque was not a journalist from the president’s home country where 40% of the population experiences hunger regularly. It was the New York Post. Even by the standards of one of the richest cities in the world, the Palace bill was so excessive that it made the New York papers. Just like Imelda.
The economic downturn hasn’t persuaded everyone to pinch pennies. Philippines President Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was at Le Cirque the other night with a large entourage enjoying the good life, even though the former comptroller of her country’s armed services, Carlos Garcia, was found guilty earlier this year of perjury and two of his sons were arrested in the US on bulk cash-smuggling charges. Macapagal-Arroyo ordered several bottles of very expensive wine, pushing the dinner tab up to $20,000.”
The sad thing is that the hangers on complained it wasn’t even much of a trough:
The restaurant was “not fashionable” said Quezon Rep Danilo Suarez “the food is not bad. As for the place the surroundings were not pretty.” [That Martin is such a cheapskate.]
Not a single centavo of taxpayers’ money was spent for that dinner,” an angry Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said. [That “not one centavo” line is such a giveaway.]
What we had in New York was a simple, late night dinner because it was already late at night when we arrived there from Washington DC and, of course, we were all hungry,” Remonde said. (Altogether now: “Awwww”.]