“The secret of ugliness consists not in irregularity, but in being uninteresting.”
–Ralph Waldo Emerson
NEW YORK CITY – Even if she is very qualified to sit as the new Supreme Court chief justice, Tererista Leonardo-De Castro has the “misfortune” of carrying a face only her mother can appreciate, thus critics are not so kind when they ripped her apart as they continued to question her ascension as President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s choice to replace ousted Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
She was chosen, of course, based on her seniority and qualifications despite her “Medusa-like face” which is immaterial and inconsequential.
It is not De Castro’s fault if she was “born in the league of Charybdis”, the daughter of Poseidon and Gaia who flooded lands for her father’s underwater kingdom until Zeus turned her into a monster and had her suck in and out water three times an day.
But some of the critics’ disdain of De Castro probably has cultural and historical basis.
It can be traced to the Filipinos’ traumatic experiences with their colonizers.
The faces of the doñas (Spanish for Mrs) mostly portrayed in the movies to be despicable, mata pobre, maldita and sadistic are still very much etched in the memory of the Filipinos, brutalized and oppressed by Spanish colonizers for 300 years, until today.
Filipinos always have this uncanny penchant of viewing the image of a powerful woman (sometimes wearing the boots and riding on a horse in her hacienda) to be an oppressor or contrabida (villain) who wields a latigo (whip) while berating and questioning the culture of a Pinay muchacha (domestic helper).
This explains why revolutionary heroes like Andres Bonifacio literally bar-b-qued the fat and mestizo Spanish friars (the “demons” in Jose Rizal’s Noli Me Tangere) they caught during the guerrilla offensives (this did not sit well with Emilio Aguinaldo and this “brutality” reportedly was one the sources of their lingering feud.)
Wonder why some Filipinos hated Jose Pidal a.k.a “Spanish mestizo” Mike Arroyo?
Again, we repeat that it is not the newly installed woman chief magistrate’s fault if “she carries the face that resembles monster Scylla’s partner” in a cave on the Sicilian side of the Strait Messina that threatens Odysseus and the passing ships.
Some Filipinos are really cruel when it comes to judging their leaders by how they look rather than how they govern.
I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing the contemporary and friend of the late Arizona Senator John McCain in the United States Air Force (USAF) in Springfield, Virginia only last month.
Retired Col. Lester Marlon Romine, 81, confirmed McCain’s heroism as immortalized in the US media today by the late senator’s colleagues and people who honor McCain’s “larger-than-life” military accomplishments.
Unlike McCain who became a politician and was twice defeated in the presidential race in as many attempts, Romine became a spiritual leader.
He gave me a book of his biography and we prayed together with other friends.
The Office of Senator John McCain, meanwhile, released this statement hours after he passed away: “Senator John Sidney McCain III died at 4:28pm on August 25, 2018. With the Senator when he passed were his wife Cindy and their family. At his death, he had served the United States of America faithfully for sixty years.”