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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Vice-presidents

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“Will BBM reward her with endorsement come 2028? Again, that is doubtful and Inday must know it, deep in her heart”

John Nance Garner, who was vice-president to Franklin Delano Roosevelt from 1933 to 1941, described his office as “not worth a pitcher of warm piss.”

The US of A consigns its vice president to being Senate President, with largely ceremonial powers, where the real power lies in the Majority Floor Leader elected by its hundred members.

In the Philippine system though, the vice president merely sits and waits for the president to die, resign, removed or is incapacitated, unless the president appoints him to a Cabinet post.

Our post-EDSA history shows us that Cory and Doy were elected as a team, but as early as the night after their Club Filipino inauguration, the betrayal of “palabra de honor” began.

To follow the 1987 charter, Laurel was named prime minister and foreign affairs secretary, but weeks later, a “revolutionary” government was proclaimed, abolishing the Batasan and with it, the position of Prime Minister.

(More details of the “betrayal” that led to the break-up we intend to write about in a book for future release, having been given a front-seat to the “unity” by Laurel).

FVR’s squeaky win over Miriam got him a vice president from the opposition, Joseph Estrada, to whom he gifted a position “right down his alley” which was to head the Presidential Anti-Crime Commission, which Erap was able to use effectively to nail down criminal syndicates and the scalawags in the peace-keeping forces.

Six years after, Erap was president.

Though GMA ran with Joe de Venecia who lost to Erap, the latter graciously gave her what was then thought of as a less significant Cabinet department, the DSWD.

(This writer, sitting with Erap in a car from Alaminos to Rosales in Pangasinan suggested another post, after briefing him on surveys that showed an Erap-GMA victory was imminent, but again, the details are for a book).

But Erap lost the presidency a scant 31 months after, and GMA first appointed her VP, Teofisto Guingona Sr., who had a falling-out with her before the 2004 elections where she “won” over FPJ, Ping Lacson, Raul Roco and Bro. Eddie Villanueva.

GMA won with her teammate, Noli de Castro, a first-term senator elected in 2001, whom she appointed HUDCC chairman.

Noli was scoring well in pre-election surveys for 2010, but decided to go back to broadcast journalism, an unusual but admirable move.

PNoy had Jojo Binay, not his teammate Mar Roxas, although Binay was a loyalist of his mother Cory, and got the housing post as well.

Duterte won with Liberal’s Leni Robredo, to whom he gave the same housing post, revoked months later after “confidential” information that she was “meeting with plotters.”

In post-Marcos governments except for Pres. Garcia, vice presidents came from the same party as the president, and were appointed to the Cabinet.

In our history, vice-presidents became presidents only after their president died, or in the case of GMA, after Erap was dethroned. Only Diosdado Macapagal became president by fair election.

So is our vice presidency likewise not worth a “pitcher of warm piss?”

Today we have a parallelism between the post-EDSA Cory and Doy tandem, whose relationship soured soon after their proclamation. We have a BBM-Sara “Uniteam” that is all but formally sundered.

Doy could not hold his disappointment and could not publicly pretend cordiality with Cory.

If he had suffered in silence, made a pretense of cooperating with the popular Cory, would she have endorsed him in 1992? Not likely.

Inday Sara, probably learning from the Cory-Doy saga, has decided to suffer in silence, and remains cordial with BBM but not his powerful First Lady who has publicly declared the vice president “bad shot.”

Will BBM reward her with endorsement come 2028? Again, that is doubtful and Inday must know it, deep in her heart.

Family and close friends have urged her to resign as DepEd secretary, a position she should not have accepted to begin with, after her desire to be defense secretary, as announced by her president, was declined.

Sure, DepEd has the biggest budget, but it also has problems far too difficult to solve within a six-year term. Astute advisers should have told her to opt for DSWD, now the new fountain of government graces in the form of “ayuda” for most everything.

Then again, who would want to be president in the benighted land of food insecurity, persistent inflation, an intractable energy crisis, a traffic and transportation crisis, with little wherewithal to go by because come 2028, government debt will be more than 20 trillion?

And on top of all these, a nation that could be the battleground of war between the world’s superpowers?

Ah, but pure ambition is what drives our politics.

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