There is no question that what Mr. Fajardo did to those Duty-Free employees was contemptible. And that what his dense lawyer said in his client's defense was even more so, for topping cruelty with insensitivity. “Creative outburst,” my ass. A sincere apology would have sufficed, Mr. Fajardo, and this nation of practiced amnesiacs would have found that a good excuse to let go and move on. Instead, you let your lawyer do the talking, which is never a good tactic when basic human decency is involved. Lawyers are supposed to serve their clients' best interests; considering how he has dug a bigger hole for you, why haven't you fired your attorney?
On the other hand, if Mr. Fajardo and his lawyer plumbed the abyss of callousness and tone-deafness first with Mr. Fajardo's revolting on-site behavior and then with his counsel's laughable defense of it, they soon had good company in the murky depths in the form of some people whose response to the incident could only be charitably described as unhinged.
Here, for example, is a reaction broadcast over an e-mail list I'm part of:
That faggot was spoiled by success.. He manifested a gauche manner witnessed by the public. Thus, a persona non grata.
I pity him for he has forgotten to be HUMANE.
If I'm just there, I would spit on his face.
Yeah, calling someone a faggot and threatening to spit on his face is so humane. And so not gauche.
Another letter-sender, all perfumed and puffed up on his sanctimonious high horse, I imagine, managed to divine in Mr. Fajardo's actuations everything that was rank and wrong and filthy in the Filipino:
ABA, MAGANDANG PAGKAKATAON ITONG IPINAKITANG MASAMANG UGALI NG REPORTER NA ITO. NGUNIT HUWAG PO TAYONG BASTA-BASTA MANDUDURO NG HINTUTURO SA ISANG TAONG MAKASALANAN. ISIPIN NATIN KUNG ANO ANG TAMANG GAWIN.
KUNG TAYO'Y NAGPAPAKATOTOO -
MARAMING NEGATIBONG UGALI ANG PINOY - SAMPOL LANG YAN. ISIPIN NATIN MULA SA PRESIDENTE HANGGANG SA KARANIWANG TAO - ANG PAGKATAO NG PINOY AY HIGIT PA SA BOYET FAJARDO NA YAN.
MARAMING NEGATIBONG UGALI ANG DAPAT AMININ, PAG-USAPAN AT DAPAT BAGUHIN NATING LAHAT...
MULA SA PRESIDENTE HANGGANG KARANIWANG MAMAMAYAN!
ANG PINOY AY MAPAGSAMANTALA!
ANG PINOY AY SAKIM
ANG PINOY AY IPOKRITO
ANG PINOY AY TRAIDOR
ANG PINOY SIPSIP!
ANG PINOY UTAK-ALIPIN
ANG PINOY WALANG DELIKADESA
LAHAT NG MASAMANG UGALI NG TAO AY NASA PINOY -
The breathless all-caps rant went on and on, gutting everything in its path from the nation's politics to the educational system to the TV network wars to OFWs to Pinoy rappers to Manny Pacquiao and then to:
KADIRI ANG KANTA NI KUH LEDESMA ! AKO AY PILIPINO ANG KANTA NI FLORANTE AKO'Y PINOY ANG KANTA NI FREDIE AGUILAR PINOY....
Let's leave aside the fact that, in his hysterical breakdown, the guy mistook Mr. Fajardo for a reporter (see his first paragraph). Let's grant him, too, the unassailable fact that Filipino society as we've come to know it is indeed flawed, broken, dysfunctional. He may even be right in that Mr. Fajardo's unseemly behavior provides a window into the larger unacknowledged darkness that resides in our collective soul, natch. But to go from there to braying against Kuh Ledesma, Florante and Freddie Aguilar in utter spittle-spraying incoherence?
First, tragedy. Then, farce. It never fails.
The right punishment for Mr. Fajardo isn't a boycott of his fashion creations; there are innocent people--dressmakers, modistas, etc.; what, you thought Mr. Fajardo himself sews those clothes?--whose lives and livelihood depend on his work. The court should order him to indemnify his victims, then proceed posthaste to therapy--with his lawyer in tow. And those two letter-writers above. They all deserve each other.