The Goalkeeper and Sweeper of Malacanang

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In soccer the task of the goalkeeper is to stop the opposing team from scoring goals, hence preventing them from scoring. Failure to score in soccer means the opposing team cannot win. A goalkeeper has many tools in his arsenal to keep the other side from winning. He can dive for the ball to secure it or block it with his body. Or he can punch or kick the ball out to prevent an attacking sequence. If needed, he will throw in his body just to keep the other side from scoring. Indeed, goalkeepers are heroic.

Of course, to make life easier for goalkeepers, other defenders will help in screening, blocking and tackling the attacking opponent. Probably the most important of defenders in soccer, apart from the goalkeeper, is the sweeper. In Italy, it is called the libero. The sweeper “sweeps up” the ball when the opponents breach the last line of defenders.

The word ombudsman is originally a Swedish word but it has already been integrated in the English lexicon. In its Nordic origins it is supposedly a government official tasked to investigate complaints of citizens against government officials and its functionaries.

In the Philippines, especially under the rule of Gloria and Mike Arroyo (the true meaning of “GMA”), the role of the ombudsman is the same as that of a soccer goalkeeper. That is, to prevent the people or the opposition from scoring “goals”. The Philippine “goalkeeper” has also “tools” like sitting on complaints, filing weak cases, throwing the complaints out or simply finding that there is a violation but there is no culprit. Of course, like a goalkeeper, a GMA “ombudsman” should be able to throw in everything to keep any cases from prospering.

In the current “match”, a new sweeper or libero was recently fielded by the team’s coach who happened to be a self-anointed sportsman. Though rusty from a two-year “forced suspension” he was immediately fielded into the fray after a two-week “conditioning program” at the SLMC. Having been pronounced physically fit by the SLMC, he is now assisting mightily the “goalkeeper” in preventing any goals. Indeed, right in the first play, he immediately showed his “defensive prowess” by sweeping the ball out while at the same time shouting “No scam, no scam!”.

Yes, how “heroic” indeed. From the corner of my eye I thought I saw his “coach” grin and nod to signify how well his favorite defender “performed”.

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