By ELINANDO B. CINCO
FILIPINOS have only the Americans – Thomasites and the Liberation Forces – to give credit to for their parroting a colloquial remark that is meant to rebuff someone who has humiliated us as a person, and that’s,“Look who’s talking!”
It is said to be an effective rebuke, especially against someone whose character is short of garrulous. By just one blunt rejoinder, the antagonist is silenced.
This informal remark has recently made the headlines when it was uttered by the lawyer of Vice President Robredo as an answer to a blunt comment of President Duterte. “Vice President Robredo is incapable of being president (of the land) because she is incompetent.”
What was the basis of the Chief Executive’s reaction? Nothing more than a well rehearsed assessment, or a spur-of-a-moment comment.
The day the presidential observation was relayed to media was the same day that VP Leni made the announcement that she had assumed the role as leader of the opposition.
However, many expressed their opinion that the Duterte remark was self-serving. Why? Because he wants his own daughter, Mayor Sara, to aim at the presidential plum in 2022, without any impediment from other lady aspirants.
“Nagsalita ang magaling,” is the Filipino translation of “Look who’s talking.”
It is uttered as a critique and a curt retort that simply implies that the original speaker is devoid of intelligence of the topic being discussed. Hence, the speaker is derided as someone who is completely off-tangent.
“Nagsalita ang magaling,” also connotes that the receiver of the remark is basically ignorant and only pretends to know something about the substance of the topic being examined.
Incidentally, it is said that the British invented the discourteous, “You and your big mouth!” which is an offshoot remark of the Americans’ “Look who’s talking.”
Again the Filipino has a brusque translation of that, “Puro ka kasi dada ng dada!”
But some bystanders believe that the “Look who’s talking” phrase is an effective admonition. It most often silences the antagonist who, they say, is also rendered speechless.
That can be a sign of admission of guilt.
If so, in an exchange of harsh words between two persons, the “Look who’s talking” remark is a potent offensive censure to his antagonist.
Simply put, the lawyer of VP Leni does not have to dig deeper into his glossary of curt remarks in answer to Duterte’s rhetoric.
For example, if the Digong renews his calumny against VP Leni, the lawyer has only to pull out from his cue cards the now proven British harsh admonition, “You and your big mouth!”
It may not sit well with spokesman Harry “The King” Roque, but it will dull his senses. That’s for sure!
And so the Robredo camp will now have the most potent defense arsenals against the rhetoric of the Palace unleashed in the Made-in-USA “Look who’s talking” and the Union Jack-minted “You and your big mouth!”
Any scathing verbal tussle from Malacañang will be answered by the volleys of fire not from the bottles and cartons of chili and pepper easily uncorked by Bicolanos manning the New Manila fort of VP Leni’s, but from the rants molded by the wordsmiths of Union Jack and Uncle Sam.