Running mates

AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman - The Philippine Star

Wouldn’t it be better if the president and the vice president are elected as one, under the same ticket? How horrible it must have been for Vice President Robredo to be isolated from the affairs of the state during her term in office. Same goes for the presidents and vice presidents in the past. They’re like oil and water put together. They just don’t mix.

Nevertheless, we need to make the right choice for the next vice president in 2022. Hopefully, we can get a pair that matches so that they can start working together and get this country going. So, who will it be?

Candidate #1 – Vicente “Tito” Castelo Sotto III was born on Aug. 24, 1948 to Marcelino Antonio Ojeda Sotto and Dr. Herminia Castelo Sotto. He completed his elementary, high school and college education at Colegio de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros, Manila. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree major in English.

He is married to Helen Gamboa, an actress and singer. They have four children: Romina, Diorella Maria, Gian Carlo and Ciara. Sotto is a former actor, comedian, TV host, music producer and songwriter. He served as the vice mayor of Quezon City from 1988 to 1992. He became a senator from 1992 to 2004; was re-elected in 2010 and 2016; currently serving as the Senate President since 2018.

Candidate #2 – Sara Zimmerman Duterte-Carpio was born on May 3, 1978 in Davao City. She is the second child of President Rodrigo Duterte and flight attendant Elizabeth Zimmerman.

Inday Sara, as she is fondly called, attended San Pedro College, majored in BS Respiratory Therapy and graduated in 1999. She later took up law at the San Sebastian College-Recoletos and graduated in May 2005.

In 2005, Duterte-Carpio passed the Philippine Bar. She then worked for a few months as a court attorney at the office of Supreme Court Associate Justice Romeo Callejo Sr. She is a reserve officer in the Armed Forces of the Philippines with the rank of Colonel.

Candidate #3 – Willie Ong is a cardiologist and internist. He was born on Oct. 24, 1963 in Tondo, Manila to Yong Ong and Juanita Tan Ong. He completed his elementary and secondary education at Xavier School. He pursued his pre-medical course and graduated with a Botany degree at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. He completed his Doctor of Medicine degree at the De La Salle Health Science Institute. He specialized in internal medicine at the Manila Doctors Hospital. He earned a degree in Cardiology from the University of the Philippines. He also finished his masters degree in Public Health from the same university.

Candidate #4 – Francis Pancratius Nepomuceno Pangilinan was born on Aug. 24, 1963 to Donato Tongol Pangilinan Jr., an engineer and entrepreneur from Pampanga, and Emma Monasterial Nepomuceno, a public school teacher from Nueva Ecija and Marinduque. He is married to actress and television personality Sharon Cuneta.

Pangilinan completed his elementary and secondary education at La Salle Greenhills and completed his college education at the University of the Philippines, Diliman with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, Major in Comparative Literature. He is also a graduate of the University of the Philippines, College of Law. He pursued post-graduate studies at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government with a Master of Science degree in Public Administration with an area of concentration in Strategic Management.

Kiko, as he is fondly called, started as a public servant serving Quezon City as a councilor from 1988 to 1992. He was a Senate Majority Leader from 2004 to 2008. He has been serving in the Senate since 2001 to 2013; 2016 to present.

Candidate #5 – Lito Atienza was born on Aug. 10, 1941 in San Andres Bukid, Manila to Jose J. Atienza Sr. (a public servant) and his mother Encarnita.

He completed his elementary and secondary education at the Ateneo de Manila University and his Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Santo Tomas. He is married to Evalina Ilagan. They have six children – Kim, Arnold, Maile, Chi-Chi, Analei and Lani.

Atienza is a veteran politician. He started his career in the sixties. In fact, he was one of those who survived the Plaza Miranda bombing in 1971. He has quite a long story to tell, starting as a youth leader, was a victim of martial law, Manila mayor and a member of the House of Representatives.

According to the 1987 Constitution, an individual aspiring to become the vice president of the Philippines must meet the following criteria: He/she must be a natural born Filipino, a registered voter; must be able to read and write; at least 40 years of age on the day of the election and must have resided in the Philippines at least 10 years before the election is held.

To be honest, I’m quite annoyed about the educational requirement. I expect that our Constitution demand more than just being able to read and write. In this day and age, we must realize that we need to level up. If we require professionals to get licenses, what more the president and the vice president of the land. We no longer live in the primitive ages. It’s about time we require higher standards for the leaders who will govern this nation.

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By the way, the Omicron variant is another reminder that COVID-19 is still alive and kicking. It has indeed become a game changer. While most of the countries have begun to open their doors to boost the economy, Omicron enters the scene and has created a standstill. Even would-be travelers this Christmas season have cancelled their flights and hotel bookings. This is a wait, watch and see period as we try to closely observe Omicron’s behavior.

So far, the following countries have either closed their borders or put restrictions on travelers coming from South African countries to avoid transmission of the Omicron COVID-19 variant: Philippines, Hong Kong, Japan, Israel, South Korea, Thailand, Nepal, America, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Angola, Egypt, Mauritius, and Rwanda, among others.

According to the WHO, at least 23 countries across the world have reported cases of the new Omicron variant of COVID-19.

Reality bites! The pandemic is not over. Let’s continue to be vigilant.


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