April is the cruelest month

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April is the cruelest month
-TS Eliot

March and April are the cruelest months in these parts. The “summer” they signal is not the relief from winter it’s known in milder climes, but its opposite: the onset of days of stupefying heat that for those in the lowlands who can’t escape it (or who don’t have air conditioning) means sweating even as they’ve just bathed.

The very use of the word — no doubt devised in this country by ad men who hype it as the season for trips to the beach and vacations in Tagaytay and Baguio — is misleading. What begins in March is not summer but a season of dryness and fires (it’s not called the dry season for nothing).

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Saving the worst for last

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The worst may be over — for Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her gang of marauders.

That at least is what regime consiglieri Norberto Gonzales — a man for others if there ever was one — believes. Otherwise known by his official title of National Security Adviser, Gonzales, having apparently pondered deeply on the current state of Mrs. Arroyo’s chances of hanging on to her office — i.e., on her security — claims that she’s likely to stay on, although attempts to unseat her will continue till the end of the year.

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Speaking for themselves

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Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has the support of the mayors of 77 cities, the governors of 52 provinces, the generals of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), the Philippine National Police (PNP) hierarchy, her Cabinet secretaries, and those fabled bishops of the Catholic Church whose influence caused the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines to issue its pathetic pastoral letter last February 26. As for the House of Representatives, no one should be under the illusion that the vast majority of its members are any different.

That at least is what the news report on these worthies’ “unity walks” and “statements of support” say, and that’s most probably indeed the case — for now. But it doesn’t mean that the members of Mrs. Arroyo’s current chorus of supporters (many of whom, if we’re to believe popular lore, are bought and paid for) won’t shift allegiances once it becomes clear that the days of her majesty’s rule are numbered.

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