The circus is in town

posted July 13, 2021 at 12:15 am
by  Emil Jurado
"It comes complete with clowns and contortionists."


Santa Banana, the circus which we call elections has come, complete with clowns and contortionists!

In an earlier column, I predicted that there will be no less than five candidates for president. My gulay, there might even be more running for vice president, with even President Duterte claiming he is sold on the idea of running with a yet-unknown presidential candidate. 

There is of course presidential daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio who will surely run for President under her own party, Hugpong ng Pagbabago. Titillating the people—and saying, at the end, “what can I do, it’s the clamor of the people?”—is the name of the game. 

The Liberal Party of the Yellows has of course Vice President Leni Robredo, but she says she has not decided to run for president since she is also interested in running for a local post.

Then, there are Senate President Tito Sotto and Senator Ping Lacson who are reportedly eyeing the vice presidency and presidency, respectively. Note that they are going around the country to “consult” the people. My gulay, Senator Dick Gordon, chairman of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, says he might also run for president. Under what party, nobody knows.

Recall that former Senator Bongbong Marcos also said that he would run for president. Will he, since Sara is also running for the top position? To my mind, a Sara-Bongbong combination would be a formidable team. Demographically, they will represent the North and the South.

There is of course Manny Pacquiao, the country’s boxing icon and a very popular senator. Note that Pacquiao is already making a lot of noise, in an orchestrated campaign to become the main opposition to the Duterte administration. He has made no less than the President his campaign target. Pacquiao has already talked to Ping Lacson for the latter to be his vice presidential candidate. But, Ping, a veteran in politics, has kept mum.

* * *

The race for vice president is also exciting. President Duterte says he is sold on the idea. 

To my mind, however, there is a big hurdle that Duterte has to overcome. The 1987 Constitution makes the presidency a six-year term, which clearly means that a sitting president cannot run for vice president. That could be a culpable violation of the 1987 Constitution. But is it? I will discuss this in my next column because I find no provision that he cannot.

No less than Christian Monsod, one of the few surviving framers of the 1987 charter, claims that during their deliberations, their minutes clearly stated that a president can have only one term of six years, which in effect bars him from running as vice president.

Monsod claims that the framers believed that four year plus another four years of re-election was too long for a bad president, and too short for a good president. They reportedly compromised on one six-year term. 

I don’t know if Duterte has read the Constitution, but if he runs for vice president, he could even be impeached, and if the case goes up to the Senate, he might even get convicted. Then again, who can impeach him when Duterte has control of Congress?

Still, will he take that risk?

If Duterte runs for vice president, what will happen to House Majority Floor Leader Martin Romualdez? Didn’t Duterte promise him his support if he runs in tandem with Sara? 

* * *

Pacquiao certainly makes the circus very interesting. As I said, in an orchestrated and scripted tableau Pacquiao has chosen to be a critic of this administration, hurling corruption accusations against the Departments of Health, Social Welfare and Development, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources. 

The boxer-turned-senator knows that the issue of corruption resonates with the people  and raising all these will make him more popular to the masses. With his billions, who can say what will happen, indeed?

There are some questions about Pacquiao that bother me. Did he even finish elementary and high school? Santa Banana, it is said that Pacquiao now has a bachelor’s degree in political science! Is it true that he got it in December 2019, after barely a year, from the University of Makati? 

If this is true, the university has some explaining to do. 

* * *

What will happen during the 2022 elections will be unique. The late Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore said that the problem of the Philippines is that there is too much politics. Indeed, we Filipinos have politics for breakfast, lunch, merienda and dinner. And look at what kind of nation we have.

My wife and I have only one country—the Philippines. We worry about the country we will leave to our children and grandchildren.

* * *

Benny Tantoco, a very close friend, died at the age of 100 years last week. He belonged to the breed of young entrepreneurs who made their name through hard work and enterprise.

When Benny and his wife Glecy started Rustan’s, my wife and I were one of their first customers. When Rustan’s started its luxury department store and its supermarket in Makati, my wife and I were also there. 

Good night, my friend, Benny, may the flight of angels sing you to your rest.

Topics: Emil Jurado , 2022 election , vice presidential , presidential candidates
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