“Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver.” – Edmund Burke
NEW YORK CITY – Now that her husband, Atty. Jose “Joe III” Espinosa III, has been installed by the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) as the new Iloilo City mayor, Mrs. Gina Sarabia Espinosa or “Mrs. Joe III” should be wary of snakes and political parasites.
They are just waiting for the “grand welcome” in the city hall – or may have already started their initial serenade.
Some of them were the same characters who bombarded Mrs. Marivic Mabilog with “beso-beso” and “pa-sweet feeling” treatment when Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog ascended to power as chief executive after the May 10, 2010 elections.
They wormed their way into the corridors of power by splendidly heaping Mrs. Mabilog with verbal and actual blandishments, among other flowery compliments in a hope to gain favors and special attention for them, their relatives and cronies.
They were the ones who quickly clapped their hands and loudly chanted hooray to “recognize” whatever little accomplishment made by the first lady or done by someone else on her behalf.
Trademark of genuine “sip-sips.”
Once they were “in”, they behaved like indispensable wiseacres; they arrogantly build images of invincibility; and hubristically stomped their feet on the pedestal of authority.
Many of these octagon-jawed opportunists did gain favors, in one way or the other, for their relatives and cronies and for their own whims and caprices, of course.
In politics, there’s a conventional wisdom that says if you don’t have a direct access to the chief executive, take the “short route”: go to the wife.
We are not saying though that Mayor Mabilog had tolerated and opted to keep a blind eye on their perceived haughtiness and shenanigans.
Mrs. Mabilog may have been smitten by their lullabies and cajolery in the beginning, but not lock, stock, and barrel.
In fact, she never flexed her muscles in the city hall. She stayed out of her husband’s shadow and disabused the people’s minds that they could get what they wanted from the mayor if they would befriend the wife.
When Mayor Mabilog was on top of the world, some of these carpetbaggers and remnants of “chewing gum gang” were on top of the universe.
When Mayor Mabilog was in trouble after being falsely tagged as a “narco-politician” by the misinformed President Duterte, most of them were nowhere to be found; they suddenly became deaf, mute, and blind.
The dyed-in-the-wool allegiance to Mabilog nosedived.
Then came Mayor Joe III. Came also the new white lady, the bejeweled daughter of the famed Sarabia Jewelry, First Lady Gina Sarabia Espinosa.
She must learn from history; she must study the predicament of past first ladies. Since there is a possibility that Mayor Joe III’s tenure might go beyond 2019, there is also a strong possibility she will meet more flatterers and false admirers like those who praised the Emperor’s robe.
In the Divine Comedy, Dante depicts flatterers wading in human excrement, stating that their words were the equivalent of excrement, in the 8th Circle of Hell
Minna Antrim once warned us: “Between flattery and admiration there often flows a river of contempt.”
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