Six to seven in the evening is usually the hour of the day when I cook dinner. While waiting for the food to cook, I watch a little TV. If I’m cooking a stew which can take up to two hours, I can finish a whole movie. Otherwise, a half-hour program on the Food Network or an episode of Law and Order would suffice.
Six to seven in the evening is also the time when local networks air the evening news. Seriously, I don’t like watching the evening news. In the attempt to grab attention, it’s as though nothing good ever happens. The only “happy” note is when there’s something about Manny Pacquiao but since I don’t care for Pacquiao, there’s really very little in the local news that interests me.
It’s only when there’s nothing interesting on that we tune in to the evening news. And that happened more than once during the past couple of days. Too many replays and we landed on the local networks. The highlight of the news? The SUVS, of course. I mean, even I who don’t read nor watch the news regularly anymore (ahhhh, the luxury concomitant with not writing an op-ed column anymore) know about the SUV scandal — Catholic bishops who requested SUVs from the previous administration and who got what they asked for via “donations” from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PSCO).
Of course, when I first read about it, I thought it was both makapal and garapal. But when the photocopy of a bishop’s letter-request was shown and read on TV in the course of an ongoing Congressional inquiry, I felt the onslaught of a bad, bad headache. And I’m not even prone to headaches.
In the first place, even outside of the SUV scandal, I don’t understand why it has been a practice for the government to make donations to the Catholic Church. In the case of the national government, it’s mostly via the PSCO. In the case of the local governments, the donations come from local government funds and pork barrels.
You want the official version or the reality bites version? Let’s start with the official version.