Robredo de facto acting president!

POSTSCRIPT - Federico D. Pascual Jr. - The Philippine Star

NEW YORK – Filipinos around the globe must be horrified by the video clips showing their kababayans back home huddled on rooftops during a typhoon, some of them eventually swept away by the floodwaters, and of survivors sick and hungry in makeshift shelters.

Many of them are victims not only of the wrath of a violated ecosystem moving to restore Nature’s balance but also of the incompetence and lack of concern of those who presume to govern them.

Noticing what looked to us like the waning capability of a tired President, we posted on Friday the 13th on Twitter:

“If I were President Duterte and wanted an easier time during such calamities as typhoons & floods, I would ask VP Robredo to go out to represent me & the government in calamity areas and give her all the resources/assistance she needs.” (Many followers agreed.)

But we have to tread lightly. Vice President Leni Robredo was once asked by Duterte to sit with his Cabinet and co-chair the task force addressing the narcotics problem. After she accepted the assignment and appeared like doing her job too well, to the point of overshadowing the main actor, she was shown the door.

This time again, despite her comparatively minuscule budget and staffing, Robredo has been moving effectively in the Cagayan areas hit hard by the typhoons and floods, while coordinating calls for help and the response of volunteers, the Armed Forces and the Coast Guard.

We salute the Coast Guard and the Armed Forces for not being deterred by the fact that the Vice President is not in the chain of command. The AFP is living up to the constitutional mandate for it to be our guardian or “the protector of the people and the State.”

But the thousands of calamity victims cowering in various states of distress cannot wait until President Duterte wakes up wherever he is.

So with the continued inaction and absence of the President, we declared Friday on Twitter: “Since there is a palpable DE FACTO VACANCY, Leni Robredo is the ACTING PRESIDENT! We wish her well.” (Duterte can claim it back when he resumes doing his job.)

We pray that the Solicitor General, who has sided with ex-senator Bongbong Marcos in his private election protest against Robredo before the Supreme Court sitting as the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, does not move to cite us and like-minded citizens in contempt.

It was a puzzlement that while typhoons took turns battering the islands, especially Luzon, government agencies could not agree the other day how many had been killed. The AFP said there were 39 as of that day, Malacañang 12 and the DILG’s Año 14.

For quick relief, we suggested ex-parte on Twitter: “No problem. Just add AFP’s 39 dead, Roque’s 12 and Año’s 14, then divide the sum by 3. You got 21.66+ dead? Ask the SC/Presidential Electoral Tribunal to do a recount.”

Sometimes we have to sneak in a little levity, otherwise we would go crazy keeping tabs of what our overstuffed rulers have been doing, trying to do or not doing.

Back in Manila, for instance, DENR USec for Mining Benny Antiporda and MMDA ASec Celine Pialago posted on Facebook photos with their fake white sand beach on Manila Bay – boasting with thumbs up that their P28-million dolomite beach overlay was still there.

We felt compelled to call down the duo: “Huwag na muna ang beloved dolomite beach ninyo ang bantayan at alagaan. Go to the depressed and flooded areas! Kung puede lang.” (We heard later Antiporda deleted his FB posts and shifted his account to private.)

• Game Over – except for Trump conceding

The 2020 election in the US is over! Democratic candidate Joe Biden will be the incoming 46th US president, beating Republican incumbent Donald Trump who, as we write this early Saturday, still has to concede.

Coming in with Biden is his runningmate, California senator Kamala Harris, who will be the first woman vice president, also the first VP of color and of Asian (Indian) descent. They will be sworn in on Jan. 20.

The unofficial Biden-Trump score as compiled by the news media is 306-232 electoral votes. The 538-member Electoral College will convene Dec. 14 to decide by majority vote (270) who the winner is.

Biden cemented his victory by capturing the 11 electoral votes of battleground state of Arizona on Thursday. He became only the second Democratic presidential bet in seven decades to win the traditionally Republican state.

Cases still being heard in several courts in the remaining swing states are expected to be thrown out. Even if decided in favor of Trump, they will not overturn Biden’s big lead.

Trump on Friday almost conceded in a speech in the White House Rose Garden. We presume he already knows what’s coming, but has to keep his loyalists intact until the last moment.

Trump said: “I will not, this administration will not be doing a lockdown. Hopefully whatever happens in the future – who knows which administration it will be? I guess time will tell – but I can tell you this administration will not go to a lockdown.”

The COVID-19 pandemic was the occasion’s topic. The US has added more than half a million new cases since hitting 10 million on Monday. At this rate, the number could pass 11 million in four days, making for the fastest addition of another million yet, Johns Hopkins data show.

The announcement of a Pfizer vaccine soon to be ready for the market does not give immediate relief as it will take some time to have massive vaccination going.

At this point, as a fellow journalist, we would like to insert how The Guardian (an independent media outfit relying on donations) put the historic US election:

“The American people have chosen decency over dysfunction, fact over fiction, truth over lies, and empathy over cruelty. The Guardian welcomes the opportunity to refocus our journalism on the opportunities that lie ahead for America – from fixing a broken healthcare system, to repairing global alliances, to addressing wealth inequality and corrosive racial bias.”

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Nota Bene: All Postscripts are also archived at manilamail.com. Author is on Twitter as @FDPascual. Email: [email protected]


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