When the joke’s on us
WITH admirable courage and humility, comedienne Candy Pangilinan came one Monday afternoon in June, 2009 to seek forgiveness before the city council. Moved by the purity of her intention, the members of the local legislature individually accepted the apology and went on to collectively rescind a resolution that had declared her a persona non grata.
Coming to session ready, councilor Richard Carino revealed that, over the years, the city council had bestowed the “unacceptable person” tag and status to five people.
Only Candy, he noted, came and pleaded forgiveness for a faux pax that, the comedienne stressed, was never intended to hurt.
In an attempt to draw laughter during a show at SMBaguio, Candy uttered “Tao po ako, hindi Igorot”. Immediately and days after, she drew condemnation from all over for that careless remark. Her manager qualified the correct line was supposed to have been “Tao ako, hindi Igorot statue”.
Candy’s impropriety was the latest in a series of slurs that, sooner or later, will be uttered again - out of sheer ignorance about who we are. Not by her, for she learned her lesson, but by others who still believe Igorots are ignorant, have tails and whose ancestors lived on tree tops.
Councilor Nick Aliping suggested a “daw-es”, a traditional Igorot cleansing ritual to exorcise bad spirits that might have triggered the remark that hurt, and to strengthen the peace, friendship and harmony triggered by Candy’s atonement, her appeal for understanding and her wish to understand.
Aliping, one of six councilors who identified themselves to candy as Igorots, was into a ribbing, estimating the ritual might require at least a pair of cows or carabaos, plus 128 sacrificial pigs to each of the city’s 128 barangays.
He suggested Rep. Mauricio Domogan may consider sponsoring the animal sacrifice.The huge crowd gathered at the session hall were figuring out the costs when Aliping advised Candy to consult a “mambunong”, a native priest who might deem even only a chicken would do.
To brush off misconceptions about misrepresentation, Domogan said he was not “lawyering”: for Candy. When he heard the slur, the solon immediately demanded public apology. Candy later called in his office to say she would publicly apologize. .
Hearing her apologize, lawyer George Dumawing, a native of Kalinga and past president of the Baguio-Benguet Integrated Bar of the Philippines , assured he would withdraw a suit his fellow lawyers asked him to file on their behalf against the comedienne.
On Candy’s wish to do more than apologize for her error, Dumawing advised her to tell her colleagues in showbiz to stop depicting Igorots in a bad light in their films, television shows, performances and utterances.