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‘Mi casa es su casa’

TOP cop Bato, he with a heart soft as “mamon,” grinned sheepishly as he told a press conference how Kerwin Espinosa, tagged as a drug lord by his own father, “wanted me to fetch him at the airport, like a VIP.”

Well, General, Kerwin was playing like father, like son. After all, Mayor and Mrs. Rolan Espinosa of that little-known town in Leyte until father and son made it famous, became instant celebrities when they were lodged in your White House like honored guests, in keeping with local traditions of hospitality. On the other hand, following US tradition, the White House is the official residence of the president of the United States.

The two images of Filipino hospitality and American officialdom must’ve been too much for the younger Espinosa, most likely suffering from stress, toxic anxiety, and now delusions of VIP grandeur. Who wouldn’t be, with a shoot-on-sight order dangling between his eyes, possibly the only feature left untouched by cosmetic science?

While Mr. and Mrs. Espinosa were enjoying the General’s generosity, even as their host and his kids inhaled the smoke from the mayor’s cigarettes – imported, smuggled? – Commander-in-Chief Digong was going around, delivering a series of pep talks to soldiers, veterans and the wounded, assuring and reassuring them of the best care, medical assistance, improved facilities and equipment in military hospitals. He also promised they will get well with pretty girls in shorts looking after them, something the Espinosas did not get to see in the White House.

What’s the connection between a general’s house and a military hospital? While one became the temporary residence of an A-1 “drug personality,” the other is the home of our heroes, the ones who wait to be healed and cured of their pain and traumas. What do the soldiers in those hospitals feel knowing that villains, scared or defiant but dangerous nonetheless, deserve not our hospitality but the most repugnant hostility?