June 23, 2024

According to former Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert del Rosario, some Chinese officials are bragging that they played a big role in Rodrigo Duterte’s resounding victory in the 2016 presidential elections.
In that same year, in November, the American electorate also trekked to the polls to vote who will lead their country in the next four years.


Of all the candidates vying for the top post in the land, one Mar Roxas was favored to win – grandson of a former president, son of a much beloved senator, a graduate of the Wharton School of Economics, and gifted with good looks and an impeccable pedigree.
Above all, he was the administration candidate, the fair-haired boy of the party in power, whose social graces and gentle manner made him a hit of the ladies and the upper crust of Philippine society.
There were at least two or three more other candidates, but giving Mar a run for his money was a tough, foulmouthed, and ill-mannered mayor of a southern city, a lawyer and a former prosecutor.


In the United States, Hillary Clinton, the first serious woman candidate for president, and the Democratic Party standard bearer, was expected to win over Donald Trump, an airy, pompous business magnate whose lies catered to the so-called intelligent voters of America (turns out that like Baguio voters, they were brainless too).
We shall dwell on that more when election time comes around.


Surprisingly if not shockingly, Trump and Duterte won.
Both too would later become disappointments.
Trump was soon exposed as a braggart and nothing but a big bag of wind.
It was different, however, in the case of Duterte. The Filipino people expected too much of him, and are never happy even if Duterte was (is) trying his best to make them happy. Not good enough. The Filipino will always want to be happier, and that’s why most elected leaders are deemed to be failures.


But is it true that the two victors had some outside help? Could be the reason why while Trump has badmouthed everyone else, he sings praises to Vladimir Putin. Clinton may have won the popular vote, but Russian technology and the stupid U.S. electoral system made Trump win.
But why is our President Rody singing the same tune for Xi Jinping, the biggest poacher of all time?


Hey, Trump can still come back in 2024, but constitutional restraints prevent Duterte from seeking two successive terms.
Deep in his heart, Duterte wants his daughter to succeed him, because that is his only way of coming back.
So, Sara’s line should be – let my old man retire in peace, I am me, not he, and I will do better because I am a woman.
She should even add – why is my dad having a shouting match with Trillanes? Me? I will just shoot him dead. A duel to the death? That’s fine with me.
Leni? She may be a woman, but the men have her by the nose, and will just slap her silly.
Pacquiao? How many rounds does he want? 12? 15? I will knock him out like Marquez did. Right. Abogado contra gago.


Last Thursday was Cordillera Day, and talks of autonomy are again rife.
But again, we ask – autonomy for whom? We asked an Ibaloy elder if his tribe will benefit from autonomy, and he shakes his head, pointing to the North.
I agree. Autonomy will just widen the playing field for Domogan, Olowan, Bomogao, and all the other lawyers with hyphenated names.
But what about Magalong and Marquez? As per “tradition” and native practice, an autonomous leader needs to have mountain roots.
I nominate Dr. Julie Cabato and Bridget Hamada-Pawid.
Sorry, but I am not looking beyond these two.


In a recent survey undertaken by an independent pollsters’ group, it appears that Benguet folk are happy with the current leadership.
They like Congressman Eric Yap’s government-to-government style of governance – talking to the different mayors on how he can help in their programs of government, and his door-to-door charitable work – providing medical help and medicine for the sick and elderly, taking care of the water and other needs of poor folks (according to Yap’s people, he felt a pinch in his heart watching an old man fetch water from a river a kilometer away from his home on a bamboo pole, and he promptly donated the equipment for artesian wells).
I had a relative who called himself Mr. Action because he was doing everything to make life a little better for his constituents, not delivering speeches even if he was a lawyer of some repute – in Balaoan, La Union, my mom’s hometown.
God rest his soul.
Be safe and stay healthy, dear reader, and have a great weekend.


OBITS:
We mourn the demise of Celia Diaz-Laurel, the beloved better half of a dear old friend, the much-lamented Salvador “Doy” Laurel, vice president of the Philippines when he should have been president.
On a few occasions that I have had the privilege of dining and enjoying our little chats, even my late beloved wife Minda said that she never met a more refined and intelligent lady like ma’am Celia.
Our condolences to the Diaz and Laurel families.