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The Gordon knot

Republika

FAIR COMMENT | Alito L. Malinao

According to Greek mythology, when the peasant Gordius became king of Gordium in Phrygia, he dedicated his wagon to Jupiter and fastened its yoke to a beam with a very complex knot. Centuries later, when Alexander the Great arrived on the scene, he was told that he couldn’t conquer and rule Asia unless he proved himself worthy by untying the knot.


Alexander quickly solved his problem – and gained a new kingdom – by slicing the knot in half with his sword. Since then, “Gordian knot” has become a term for a difficult problem, and the phrase “cut the Gordian knot” has become a popular way to describe a neat solution for an apparently insurmountable difficulty.


Today, if we stretch the meaning of the original “Gordian knot” a little, we have a similar situation in the seemingly open-ended hearings on the Pharnally multi-million scam by the Senate blue ribbon committee headed by Senator Richard Gordon. For lack of a better term, we can roughly call it “Gordon knot” because from its original goal of ferreting out the masterminds of the scam, the Gordon hearings have spiraled into name calling and threats between the fiery senator and the equally fiery President Duterte. And because neither one seemed to give way, we are in a quandary on how to resolve the impasse and move on to a much bigger problem which is how to address the raging pandemic.


The nation, of course, is indebted to Senator Gordon for exposing the Pharnally scandal and since it involved Michael Yang, a former economic adviser of Mr. Duterte, it was only natural for the President to come to the succor of his former aide. And this triggered the verbal skirmish between Gordon and Duterte with Gordon, in one instant, challenging the President “to do his worst” and in another, in a more melodramatic refrain, saying “I fear for my life.”


I think Mr. Duterte is not that stupid to harm Gordon since he is fully aware that if anything happens to Gordon, the President will be the prime suspect. Former Senator Antonio Trillanes has done the worst things to the President, calling him a thief and a criminal. In fact, it was Trillanes who initiated the case against Duterte at the International Criminal Court. And yet Trillanes is still alive. So, Gordon should relax because nothing will happen to him.


In one instance, Gordon also called for a “revolution” against bullies, referring to Duterte. He should have followed this up with personally going to EDSA to spark another people power against the administration. Perhaps only the usual demonstrators waving huge red streamers would join him but not the horde of the previous two EDSA uprisings. The reason is that Mr. Duterte is still popular with a +64 satisfaction rating in his last year in office.


Cutting the “Gordon knot”


Gordon is the only one who can cut the “Gordon knot” by putting a stop to the hearings in the Senate and with enough evidence and paper trail that his committee has uncovered, the Senate could recommend the filing of plunder charges against Yang and other executives of Pharmally and let the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan decide on their guilt or innocence. Then we could move on to addressing the pandemic.


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