May 17, 2009

The Book Blockade Scandal: A One Act Play

At an unnamed office inside Benecañang Castle...

Sec. Burgis: Esdilis, my beautiful secretary (even if you're indeed fortyish!) We need more money! Can you think of ways to increase our tax collection? Her Royal pain in the twat wants to have at least 25% rise in the collection so that she can have a bigger largess in the upcoming elections! More is better, I say!

Usec. Esdilis: Yes sir. Um... I think we need to follow up on our tax collections on our friend Ucioso Tan.

Sec. Burgis: (alarmed) What?? Him?? Why?

Usec. Esdilis: Because sir, from our records here, Ucioso Tan paid a mere 35% of the total taxes since 2002. The taxes we have been collecting from him mainly from the tobacco tax, the sin tax and the incise tax amounted only to P20 million, that is considering that the gross receipts is P10 billion. This is I think, sir, the largest loophole we need to cap.

Sec. Burgis: (more alarmed) Don't you dare imply that the department that has been feeding you and your family for the past 10 years has been remissed on collecting taxes! And more importantly, not on Ucioso Tan.

Usec Esdilis: (baffled) But why?

Sec. Burgis: Are you really that dumb as your coworkers say you are, huh? We can't collect the exact amount from Ucioso, not even from Lovit Seesaw, not from Whimelda Varcose, and certainly not from Boracay mansion owner Sherap Pisstrada. I agree that they have to pay a bigger share of the pie, but the truth is, Her royal pain in the twat said not to touch them. She said it's best for her administration not to rock the boat because I think she knows that if she did rock the boat, these people would have heaped a lot of problems on our heads. She wants them satiated inside their little petit bourgeois kingdoms partying, shopping and calculating their monies so that Her royal pain in the twat will have free reign to build up her own strong castle.

Usec Esdilis: If not for those idle rich crooks, from whom shall we get our collections from? You yourself said, sir, not to touch those smugglers from Cagayan Province and those Chinese importers in Divisoria. By the way sir, has Lily Hong paid you your cut from the Japanese chop-chops down in Laoag?

Sec. Burgis: Shush! Don't mention that to me. How about those books I hear?

Usec Esdilis: Oh! You mean the report by our customs examiner down south? But sir, the cut... I mean, our collections from that will be a pittance compared to the bigwigs!

Sec. Burgis: But still, don't you see? That is still something, isn't it?

Usec Esdilis: Barely. I don't understand why we should indulge in such a Pyrrhic enterprise!

Sec. Burgis: Naku! Pa-pyrrhic-pyrrhic ka pa! Use your head! Learn from our Binondo connections. Even if we only get a measly P10,000 from the total tax increase, it's still an increase, yes? An increase means more taxes that are being collected, yes? More taxes means that we're more efficient, no?

Usec Esdilis: I see your point sir.

Sec. Burgis: It's in the act of doing something even if you yourself know it won't amount to anything substantial. And if we send out a circular for an added book tax before the 30th, her Royal pain in the twat will see that we have done something concrete, something back-breaking. She will realize that her minister and her minister's minion are not lazy good-for-nothings who rubber stamp any paper that comes their way be it a contract or a wad of bills. You know what this means for us, my dear?

Usec Esdilis: A new bank account?

Sec. Burgis: No stupid! She will probably be so pleased that she will choose me as a candidate for her party's senatorial ticket.

Usec Esdilis: (puppy bulldog eyes) What about me?

Sec. Burgis
: Of course I haven't forgetten you. You shall become my executive secretary. You will have a bigger office and you will have a phalanx of personnel at your every beck and call.

Usec Esdilis: (beaming) Wow! That is a fine idea sir! I can see myself taking a massage inside my office while my secretary's stirring my tea.

Sec. Burgis: Fine! Fantasize all you want! But if you don't get your fat lardy ass moving and work on that circular, you won't even have an office to go to! Remember, 2010 is election year!

Usec Esdilis: Ok sir, right you are! I'll finish the draft tonight and it shall be ready for signing tomorrow morning! (smiling) They won't know what will hit them!

Sec. Burgis: Oh Esdilis, make it subtle please? I don't want to stir a hornet's nest. This may seem trivial to you- hello? booksellers? They may be like those small-time peddlers in Recto and Avenida but bear in mind that the ones who will be affected more are the readers- readers with college degrees, readers who are already professionals like doctors, politicians, businessmen, journalists.... and leftist communists! Make it subtle, ok?

Usec Esdilis: But I don't know how sir!

Sec. Burgis: Are you not a lawyer yourself?

Usec Esdilis: (flushed) Ummm.... y-y-yes!

Sec. Burgis: Don't tell me that your University of Pateros Diploma is a fake? (eyes narrowing)

Usec Esdilis: Ummm... I have been great in college debates sir, and..

Sec. Burgis: (exasperated) No matter! I want you to use your mean-spirited logic and remaining intelligence to convince those book importers that this new tax is justifiable. Understand?

Usec Esdilis: I understand sir! I shall never ever ever fail you!

Sec. Burgis: Good. I know you will because you've never failed me in bed.

Usec Esdilis: (blushing) Oh! I don't know what you are talking about, sir!

Sec. Burgis: Perfect! Now, here are two books you may want to read before you write our new circular.

Usec Esdilis: Hmmm! 1984 by George Orwell and The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli. Haven't heard of these books, probably pulp fiction from the 198os. Sir, this "Prince" book is the biography of that "Prince" singer, isn't it?

Sec. Burgis: You really are dumb! Now go, my dear and write that circular! Don't come to my office without the draft. Is that understood?

Usec Esdilis: Yes, sir. (Retreating towards the door).

Hence, the start of the Great Book Blockade of 2009.

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