Friday, July 08, 2005


During my summer vacations in Palawan when I was small, one of the things I remember doing is throwing stones at tuko, those nocturnal foot-long lizards famous for two things: their eponymous call ("too-ko, too-ko") and their viselike death grip. Once a tuko clamps on to something - the side of a tree, the eaves of a house - it would be impossible to dislodge.

Stories circulated about the miserable state of people who had the dubious distinction of being clamped on by a tuko (perhaps because the tuko, tired of being the victim of so many stones hurled against its replitilian hide, finally decided on a little revenge). The lizard's claws, it is said, embedded so deeply into the unfortunate's skin that it was impossible to remove without further hurting the victim. People tried all sorts of things - subjecting the lizard (and, by sad extension, a portion of the victim) to flame, acid, repeated beatings - to no avail.

When a tuko wants to hold on to something, nothing can make it let go. Except for death or surgery, hence the term "kapit-tuko" (tuko's deathgrip).

As much as I can, I try to limit my political opinions on this blog.

But the unabashed deathgrip our lady president has on her position, despite the obvious desire of many sectors for her to step down and do what is best for the country in the long term, reminds me of a tuko.

She should take on the attitude of a public servant and not a queen, be part of the solution rather than continuing to be part of the problem, and leave behind a legacy of helpfulness and duty rather than confusion and distrust.

She should be the great woman we believed her to be - and not a tuko.


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