One dinner that costs too much?
The now popular dinner that cost PGMA's entourage $21,000 got the people even madder than they already are. "It's just a simple dinner," as Remonde puts it. "Not a single centavo of taxpayers' money was spent for that dinner," he added saying that the famous repast was hosted and paid for by Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez. Furthermore, "A Php1 million dinner tab in Manila can be too much but not in New York," says QC Rep. Danilo Suarez, adding that he could have foot the bill..."
Several things come to mind. First, the simplicity angle. A dinner of soup, salad, a main course, drinks and coffee or tea may have been considered simple for their tastes but with that kind of bill, I cannot consider it simple. If we go by Rep. Suarez' argument, why then did the New York Post publish the cost of the dinner? If that was not news for it was indeed ordinary, NY Post would have just ignored it. Dog bites man is not news as opposed to a man biting the dog.
Remonde is quick in saying that he would ask the deputy executive secretary to release this week a financial statement on all expenses incurred during the visit. I do not have any doubt that it will yield nothing with regard to the dinner for it has been paid for by someone else, another government official. Hmmm, could he also look into the pork barrel of the said representative? Or yeah, maybe he is extremely wealthy like Mr. Suarez who is willing to foot the bill for he has lots of cash to spare. But then, the money could have been spent elsewhere, like education where hundreds of children could have benefited like, uhm, the place which he represents.
But of course, I can never understand their ways. Maybe what they have done is justified considering the fortunes of their circumstances and based on what they have. I remember a scene in Jesus Christ Superstar when Judas confronts Christ why He allows Mary Magdalene to use brand new, expensive fine ointment on Him, Jesus answers, "There will be poor always, pathetically struggling, look at the good things you've got." meaning He cannot save the poor by not using expensive things. But then, that's Tim Rice and the play is kind of blasphemous anyway. But maybe, just maybe, there is some truth in that. I will never understand what it is to be rich. I am merely an ordinary man trying to earn a living doing honest hard work. Working hard and staying poor, that is.