Speaking for whom?

"Those in politics go into business while those in business go into politics to perpetuate their grip on power."


President Rodrigo Duterte said he will not endorse any candidate for Speaker of the House. But the tight speakership race is getting more muddled with the forming of a Duterte coalition force by presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Inday Sara Duterte. Sara’s brother, Davao Rep. Paolo “Pulong” Duterte, has declared he’s also a candidate for the top House post.

The three candidates for Speaker—Leyte Rep. Martin Romualdez, Marinduque Rep. Lord Alan Velasco and Taguig Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano—and most of the House members know that whatever Inday Sara does or says has the approval of Dad Digong, albeit silently.

Paolo Duterte’s late entry into the race, purportedly to unite the PDP-Laban majority party that is now in disarray, makes it appear to many political observers that this a Duterte political family dynasty in the making. If so, then we cannot expect a constitutional amendment banning the prevalence of political families. Was this why the President recently said he’s not pushing for federalism anymore but instead would focus on charter change? Not precluding political dynasties will certainly get the support of most, if not all, congressmen. They have made political dynasties a family business to stay indefinitely in power.

It is a vicious turnstile or revolving-door politics. Those in politics go into business while those in business go into politics to perpetuate their grip on power. The people are merely pawns to be used over and over again with the hackneyed campaign promise of “meaningful change.” There is actually no change in the political landscape of this benighted land. Only the players are changed but the game plan remains the same at the expense of the people. No one really speaks for the people.

President Duterte last June 30 marked the halfway point of his six-year term. This early, ambitious players are already making noise to project themselves as presidential contenders. The people should discern who these scoundrels are and make a wise choice in electing the next would-be savior of the people.

Velasco initially looked like the leader in the speakership race. But now seems relegated to the shadows after rejecting a term-sharing deal with Cayetano. This makes Romualdez and a growing group of supporters appear ahead.

The Speaker of the House, under the constitutional order of succession, is the fourth in line to the presidency. He or she is the third to assume power in the event the president is incapacitated, is impeached, or meets an untimely death. The first successor to the President is Vice President Leni Robredo in this case, followed by the Senate President, the House Speaker and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. That is the pecking order. Under an orderly transition, there will be nonetheless an upheaval in the government with all Cabinet members to be replaced by Robredo’s people.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo who can be more popish than the President undoubtedly will be the first to fall. We are not pining for the early demise of the President but we hope that he mends his ways and style of governance in the next three years so he can leave a lasting legacy for the people to remember him as a man of the people—not as the anti-Christ, anti-US, anti-EU and anti-anything. Or as someone from Davao who has been demonized by his critics. Then again, this portrayal of the man is also of his own making with his aberrant and abusive language.

So who are the presidential players waiting in the wings? Not my choices but the name are those that come out of the coffee shop habitués who fancy themselves as political analysts, These name so far include industrialist Ramon Ang, Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, senatorial topnotcher Cynthia Villar, Sara Duterte and even Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao. This is why Pacquiao has to win his world welterweight title fight with undefeated American Kieth Thurman on July 20 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. Winning that fight in grand fashion would be his springboard for whatever bigger political plan he has in mind.

At least we all know that whatever billions in funds Manny has, he earned through his own blood, sweat and tears—mostly his fists. It’s hard, honest work for 12 rounds or less, if Manny can dispose of loudmouth Thurman early.

Topics: Alejandro del Rosario , President Rodrigo Duterte , Speaker of the House , Mayor Inday Sara Duterte , Rep. Paolo “Pulong” Duterte , Rep. Martin Romualdez , Rep. Lord Alan Velasco , Rep. Alan Peter Cayetano
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.