The “Evolution” of the Wheelchair

CJ Renato Corona on a wheelchair after his hypoglycemic bout. The wheelchair, which has always been a device for immobile people, is also now used as a prop for those facing corruption charges. (Screen grab from the ABS-CBN News Channel)

My good friend Jay Canonigo, a law student, whose wheelchair has always been part and parcel of most of his life, can only think that this device “has become synonymous with B-rated productions of accused public officials hankering for public sympathy.” And yes, this obviously disappoints him.

The wheelchair, the device that is used to transport people who are afflicted with mobility issues, is a common factor among three people I have encountered in the news who have been accused of corruption.

In around 2005, former Agriculture Undersecretary Jocelyn Bolante of fertilizer fame (the funds for fertilizers were claimed to be used for Gloria Arroyo’s 2004 election campaign) left the Philippines for the United States to receive medical care. When he returned in 2008 after his arrest at an immigration facility in the US, he disembarked from his plane on a wheelchair. He apparently lost a lot of weight. He seemed to be sick.

Recently, former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo attempted to leave the country with matching props: a wheelchair. She was said to have a spinal defect which is still the cause of her hospital arrest at the Veterans’ Memorial Medical Center. She is now facing electoral sabotage cases.

And just tonight, it’s now impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s turn to use the wheelchair after a grueling two-hour defense. He was reported to have had a bout with hypoglycemia (Corona is said to be diabetic). When he left the witness stand, he seemed to be well, even shaking the hands of those whom he met along the way out. As he returned, his tie was loosened, and yes, he was strapped to a wheelchair. Seemingly immobile.

From an instrument of mobility to a prop for seeming, or perhaps fake, sympathy, the wheelchair has already evolved.

Haec cogitate.

Comments? Email me at


About Luigi Flores
Brother Luigi Flores: Writer/Editor. Mass Communication Instructor. Voice-over Artist. Upcoming Radio Host. Youth Minister. Lector/Psalmist.

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