Making people happy and ‘Nong Johnny

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Monday, March 24, 2014

“For human beings, the essence of their existence is the pursuit of happiness. The essence of government is the pursuit of happiness.”
“Gusto ko happy ka!.”

WOULD YOU believe that only one person is credited for both quotes: Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile? He said them during the 2010 senatorial campaign, the first to explain the second, why he used the catchphrase in his posters and TV ads.

He wanted voters to be happy, a message that, couched in catchy words and tune, amused people but "really affected the serious business of governance and even human existence."


When asked then what made him happy, Enrile said "it's not a question of what makes me happy, it's a question of whether I made the people happy."

In a way, he did brighten people's lives when as Senate president he steered deftly the impeachment trial of then Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona.

But when one disclosure after another exposed his alleged role, with other lawmakers, in using public funds for kickbacks through corrupt state agencies and bogus NGOs, that surely didn't make people happy.


His election propaganda brought good humor, yet one would wonder, barely three years after, how his probable involvement in the pork barrel fraud could ever make the Filipino people happy.

Despite his denial he had anything to do with the plunder (only his mistress did, he implied), the reasonable doubt that he did steal billions of pesos has cast, on World Happiness Day, a dark shadow on his mantra.

"Manong Johnny" has made many Filipinos angry instead.


Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 25, 2014.


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