MANILA, Philippines (The Adobo Chronicles) – Each year, The Adobo Chronicles names its Person of the Year, choosing from among candidates who have made a significant impact on news and social media by grabbing the headlines for heroic deeds and statements relating to national or international events.
In 2013, we named Hollywood actor Jackie Chan, who has repeatedly survived news about his untimely demise. Last year, we named former Philippine Interior Secretary and now presidential candidate Mar Roxas for being the “man for the masses.”
For 2015, we were very conflicted.
Our short list included President Aquino, for being in a constant bubble, always proclaiming that the Philippines is the “new darling of Asia,” while ignoring the many ills and perils that the Filipino people continue to endure.
We also considered his sister, television host Kris Aquino, whose penchant for blabbering has made her the ‘queen of gossip,” oftentimes washing her dirty laundry — especially her private and family life — in public.
Transportation Secretary Joseph Abaya was also on our list for the unending woes of Metro Manila’s nightmarish traffic and the beleaguered MRT (light railway) and for proclaiming that these problems “were not fatal.”
But after serious deliberations, our editors have finally made a unanimous choice: Jose Angel Honrado, general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), under whose watch the now internationally-famous laglag bala became a trademark of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Laglag bala was an airport scheme in which scrupulous airport personnel “planted” live bullets in bags and luggage of unsuspecting airline passengers for the purpose of extorting money.
The scheme caused the cancellation of international gatherings, business meetings, family reunions by overseas Filipino workers (OFW), and the proliferation of a new cottage industry: plastic wrapping of checked-in luggage at NAIA.
Even President Barack Obama was advised by ther U.S. State Department to wrap his briefcase in plastic upon arriving in Manila for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit meeting last month.
It has also been reported that a Philippine Airlines flight from Honolulu left for Manila with no passengers, only the crew, because confirmed travelers refused to board the plane for fear of being victimized by the scheme once they landed in Manila.
But what made the editors truly convinced about bestowing this 2015 honor to Honrado was his testimony before a Senate hearing in which he told Senator Bongbong Marcos that he had no control over what happens at the airport, essentially confirming that he is being paid as general manager to do absolutely nothing.
Congratulations to our 2015 Person of the Year!