Ambivalent towards Erap

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I feel ambivalent towards Erap.

I neither like nor dislike him. My feelings has something to do with the memories of my little boy. My 6 year old son adored Erap. Luijoe thought the world of the former president. Luijoe yelled at the top of his voice that Erap was the smartest president in the whole world, in a jumpacked room at a plane ticket office ten summers ago.

In his booming voice, he threw his hands up in the air , twirling around the room, “Mom, President Erap is so smart, the smartest president in the whole wide world”.

awkward silence

Nobody in that room could deny not hearing my son’s adulation. It was May 2000 at the height of Erap’s unpopularity. I wanted the floor to open up and swallow both of us. I could feel the steely gaze and snickers surrounding us. My boy never sensed the awkwardness of the situation but I wanted to save face.

“So , why is Erap the smartest president in the whole wide world?”, as I squeaked the question to my naughty son.

“Mom, his jokes mom. He says the funniest jokes. That is very smart of him” (or something like that)

See my son had a great sense of humor and loved to throw a joke or two. Then he discovered the Erap jokes during one of our conversations. Luijoe overheard us laughing to our heart’s content on an Erap joke. He wanted to know why were laughing. He badgered to know the joke. So I narrated the joke

Erap: Miss, do you have a ballpen?
Clerk: Sorry, sir we don’t have any ballpen
Erap (angry): Why did you name your store “Penshoppe“?

royal_elastics 043.jpgHow my boy laughed! Luijoe loved to tell this joke to everyone . One time, Luijoe and I passed by Penshoppe ( a teen fashion store) in Glorietta mall and I teased him if he wanted to go inside with me , so I could ask the same question Erap asked. Luijoe tugged me away. hehe

I bought him the book , “Joke ni Erap” by the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism in early 2000. Luijoe often packed this Erap Joke book in his backpack and kept re-reading those jokes that he could understand. He loved the book so much, he even labelled it with his name. Here are a few of his favorite jokes culled from that book.

royal_elastics 044.jpg

Erap: “I have brain cancer. Yehey!!!”
Ramos: “That’s delicate, how come you’re still happy?”
Erap: “Now I know I have a brain”

Comelec: Oh, simple math na lang! Ano ang “2 + 2”?

Erap: Three!
Comelec: Sorry
Ronnie: Mataas pa diyan!
Erap: (in his highest-pitched voice) Threeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!

and Luijoe’s favorite of all.

Executive Secretary Zamora: Sir, Pwede bang palitan ‘tong laptop ko?

Zamora: Masyadong Mabigat, eh!
Erap: Ba’t di ka mag-delete ng files para gumaan?

Like most young kids, Luijoe was already computer savvy and he knew about deleting files. How he loved to crack this joke whenever I carried my laptop.

I smile and tear as I recall these poignant Erap memories with my son.

What an innocent little boy.

In Luijoe’s last week in this temporary place, we call Earth, my impish little boy caught Erap on TV and tugged my sleeve to take a look.

“Mom look at Erap. What does corruption mean?”

I pondered. How should one explain corruption to a six year old boy?Should I break my son’s heart and explain that he is accused of amassing wealth?

I decided not to lecture him on the evils of government. Corruption is an alien concept for such a little boy. I cuddled my son and just told him that he had problems. My son died a few days later. It was best after all that I did not tell him .

The days and the weeks soon after our devastating loss, seem like a blur, making me a living zombie. Not even the news of the EDSA 2 moved me. I was numb, even apathetic to the political climate.

Here I am 10 years later, watching the news, hearing about Erap, the second leading presidential candidate. The memory jolts me as if I never left the year 2000, as if I am right there with my son. The skeptics might think it is odd that I want to thank Erap for the memories. Even discounting my son’s death, it is undeniable that the former president still has charm even to the masses.

Perhaps, I don’t know what to do with Erap as a presidential candidate except thank him for being himself , the charming person that he is.

In a few days, on May 27, it will be 10 years since my son died.

Memories like these make it seem my son never left me, that he is alive and well and just laughing nearby.

Noemi Lardizabal-Dado (1388 Posts)

You may contact Noemi (noemidado @ for speaking and consultancy services in the following areas: Parenting in the Digital Age (includes pro-active parenting on cyber-bullying and bullying) ; Social Business ; Reinventing One’s Life; and social media engagement. Our parenting workshop is called "Prep to Prime (P2P): Parenting in the Digital Age (An Un­Workshop)" P2P Un­Workshops are conducted by two golden women in their prime, Noemi and Jane, who have a century’s worth of experience between them. They are both accomplished professionals who chose to become homemakers. This 180­degree turn also put them on a different life course which includes blogging, social media engagement and citizen advocacy. They call their un­workshops Prep to Prime or P2P, for short, to emphasize the breadth of their parenting experience. They tackle different aspects and issues of parenting ­­ from managing pregnancies, prepping for the school years of children, dealing with househelp, managing the household budget, to maximizing one’s prime life and staying healthy through the senior years.

  • this post is so touching noemi, we’ll, i don’t care that much about PP. this is quite comforting… we just need to dig deeper in the past to reminish those happy times have with our love ones though they’re not around physically 🙂
    .-= noteither´s last blog ..Blue suede shoes =-.

  • Rain

    arghhh!!! i shed a tear… it’s my birthday on the 27th…now i’d always think of sweet Luijoe on my birthdays… on politics, I also thought then, that GMA would be a better President than Erap. I failed to factor the FG, presidential sons, Jose Pidal, etc.

  • neah alina

    Ahh, Noemi!
    Being a Mom myself, with 3 very grown up kids, the youngest being 20, this story is very touching. I don’t know what to say (as evidenced by your previous link on what not to say to the grieving), but only that my heart goes out to you.
    Indeed, God’s mysteries are mind boggling, if one considers the loss of a child. I have a high school batch mate who lost her almost 20 years old son to cancer, and my heart bleeds for her loss.
    I guess, us Moms, have an unseen bond that ties us all together and we can only understand what we feel and think each and every moment we experience whatever kind of loss.
    May God bless all Moms!

  • Your son took the wrong notion that Ex-President Erap is smart and you should try to clarify it for him. Anyway, that was really funny and I also love jokes about Erap but I really hope that such jokes doesn’t upset him.
    .-= Elmo´s last blog ..My Comment Rules and Policy =-.

  • Sana ay madali kang makabawi sa kalungkutan habang nananatili ang masasayang alaala ng mahal mong anak.

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  • eric

    I’m a single father and I have been away from my sons for 4 years now. Working here in America whom I call heaven but sometimes hell when the pangs of loneliness and longing with my sons fills me up…

    Reading your blog brought some tears to my eyes and made me realized the importance and priceless moments to be with your kids. The 4 years that I lost with my sons is nothing compare to the years now that you’re not gonna be with him. I’m very sorry for all your pains and we know wherever Luijoe is now, he’s in a better place than in this cruel world we’re living.. God bless you….