"Stranger things have happened in this country."
As predicted, despite the shrill protests questioning the legitimacy of the national council of today’s political party of convenience, the first act of the circus transpired in Cebu last Monday, coinciding with the 43rd birthday of the president’s eldest daughter, Inday Sara.
The party’s secretary-general, Rep. Arnolfo Teves of southern Negros Oriental, angrily questioned the validity of the assembly, citing party rules, but as he was there virtually, his protestations were muted, and his planned filibuster ended abruptly.
The floor leader was Raul Lambino of Malasiqui upon Pangasinan, transported to Sta. Ana upon Cagayan, to preside over an export processing zone that processes no exports other than imports of POGO players. I heard on the rather patchy RTVM coverage by the Presidential Communications Office (really now, should a political party’s internal affairs be covered by government-funded broadcasting? Did the President know about this?)
Lambino, whom presiding officer Sec. Alfonso Cusi acknowledged as “Secretary” (then should not Wilma Eisma of Subic likewise be called Secretary Eisma, or Charito Plaza of the PEZA, which covers a multitude of economic zones?) was formerly spokesman of Lakas, the once humongous party of Presidents FVR and GMA.
Rising to recite a litany of accomplishments of the current administration were Governors Dominic Petilla of Leyte (formerly of the “yellow” Liberals), Arthur Yap of Bohol (formerly Lakas, turned NPC, tuned PDP), and Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar (formerly LDP, then Lakas, then LP, then PDP). Aha! The rainbow connection(s)!
But aside from Sec. Cusi, who was asked to preside by the party chair, the president (mismo!) according to presidential spox Harry Roque (no member of PDP), there were Sec. Michael Lloyd Dino, the president’s assistant for the entire Visayas, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (eat your heart out, Harry!), and Gov. Gwen Garcia of the host province.
Still, the most telling presence, albeit virtual, in the PDP council meeting were those of the Executive Secretary, Salvador C. Medialdea, the Finance Secretary, Carlos G. Dominguez, and Budget Secretary Wendell E. Avisado. That powerful trio, though perhaps not formally card-carrying members of the party that adopted the President in 2015, could not be more awesome a validation of the President’s imprimatur of the assemblage Cusi presided upon.
Among the PDP senators, Bato de la Rosa and Francis Tolentino were in attendance. Bong Go recused himself, in deference to the feelings of his fellow senator and PDP acting president, El Pacman, and the other PDP member, Koko Pimentel who swore Pacman in as president of the party was understandably absent “due to conflicting schedules”.
It was the energy secretary’s deputy, Transco president Melvin Matibag, who introduced the who’s who attendance of what Ronwaldo Munsayac called an “illegal” meeting. And boy, were they legion!
Later, Matibag was rewarded with promotion to the post of secretary-general, vice El Pacman’s Arnolfo Teves, the guy who was silenced earlier.
And then the denouement: the council approved unanimously a resolution sponsored by Lambino, asking the President and party chair, to accede to the clamor for him to run as Vice-President of the Republic in the forthcoming national elections 343 days hence.
Y otro mas: For the President and party chair, running as vice-president, to choose whomsoever he would like to be his running-mate, as presidential candidate of the PDP!
Hindi ba baligtad – the presidential candidate choosing his vice-presidential team-mate? But, stranger things have happened on this land where politics is as strange as strange can be.
The meeting ended with an approved motion to call another come 16 July, and a convened national assembly the following day to elect party officers.
“To elect” party officers is an ominous sign that by then, the beheading of some current officials, more particularly, the pambansang kamao, will then transpire.
And depending on the party chair who likewise is President of the Republic, El Pacman shall be replaced by either Lord Alan Velasco, Speaker of the House of Representatives by appointment of Inday Sara the daughter, or by Senator and Special Assistant Bong Go, the favorite.
To all these political happenings of tsunami proportions, the transcendental question in everyone’s mind is whether Rodrigo Roa Duterte, by the grace of God and the will of the sovereign people, President of the Republic since noon of June 30, 2016, will agree to run as vice-president come May 2022 to his daughter or his favorite’s presidential quest.
To which non-party member Harry Roque intones: “he will wait for a message from God”.
“If the President thinks it is God’s will, he will make the proper announcement in due course”.
Come to think of it, in the hills of Davao City adjacent to the international airport, someone calls himself the “appointed son of God”.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!