I waited until 3PM for the much-awaited SONA of the new president, shrouded with political bombshells against the previous administration whose governance turned into bottomless personal luxuries and avarice. I sensed President Noy’s sincerity and determination to truly serve the interest of the people – both in highlighting the crooked and corrupt ways of the Arroyo administration, and in the practical ways of curbing red tapes in transactions with government offices, or the recodification of laws, or in his sheer determination to lead in simple ways such as mitigating abuse of power by eradicating road use of sirens by public officials. The tentacles of the former administration could of course refute the facts by belittling those as mere allegations, bent statistics as if PNoy has not employed some of the best resourceful minds around in the like of Manolo Quezon and company. For all we know, the former administration has indeed mastered the art of evasion and self-shielding by using power itself. Mrs. Arroyo’s absence on the first joint session of Congress spoke volume of her state of courage and integrity. Let the people be the judge!
The SONA officially started with a prayer, led by 4 men in a row. No woman! First to speak was a Catholic bishop, followed by a layman in my guess, then came a Muslim, and the 4th in a robe most likely coming from the evangelical corner. We may ask: does it really matter if a woman prayer leader stood alongside those men? Absolutely, because i believe big things come in small packages. The SONA was telecast and millions must have watched it. Subconsciously, and obviously, the ritual projected how leadership in worship, undergirded by male-dominated churches, remains in the hands of men. Change in church and society could start in honoring the voices of women in a publicly watched simple rite as praying at a Congressional joint session.