League of extraordinary gentlemen

SEARCH FOR TRUTH - Ernesto P. Maceda Jr. - The Philippine Star

The story of president-elect BBM and the people continues its transmutation into an avalanche of firsts. After combining to rack up that inconceivable 31,629,783 vote and a 83.11 percent voter turnout, here they come again managing the fastest canvass and proclamation of a president.

All are looking forward to how the man will carry out his mandate. The principles of the unitary executive, command responsibility, qualified political agency and alter ego come in to play to justify how he can do it all through his handpicked team of men and women.

Incoming first lady Liza Araneta Marcos shared how the epiphany on running came as they watched the movie “Ant Man.” Continuing the cinematic metaphor is apt as PEBBM has assembled a veritable team of Avengers or, if you will, a League of Extraordinary Gentlemen to help in achieving his goals.

The seasoned economic managers have been hailed for their competence and the continuity they signal. Markets are reassured and confident that, under Ben Diokno, the programmed fiscal reforms will still happen. He’ll be able to raise it internally through his internal revenue and customs bureaus but also, since he speaks their language, he will find ways to get foreign money from banks and mulitilaterals abroad.

Arse Balisacan’s macro viewpoint and his grasp of measures and indicators complement his superpower of looking far into the future. He will be the architect for the president-elect in forging the Philippine Development Plan post-2022 and getting back on track to Ambisyon 2040. Security, social services, education etc. provided by the state have to balance in this long-term mix, notwithstanding the contrarian neoliberal prescriptions.

Fred Pascual has both big and small business savvy to grease the economic machine. Imagine him, former UP president, as the traveling salesman for our exports, securing investments, helping local businesses prosper and ensuring our competitiveness worldwide.

Manny Bonoan is at the helm of the agency that is all about doing/building so that the people feel the effects of the government taxes at work. As an old DPWH hand and CEO of the tollways corporation, his operations experience is a good fit.

It’s a delight to see genuine labor sector expert Benny Laguesma make a comeback to his old post at Intramuros. His legal background has been a boon in how he has managed to have government, management and labor play out their tripartite roles in pursuing industrial peace. Already, he has disabused the minds of those expecting quick fixes to perennial problems like endo. Not magic wand but steady hand.

Susan Ople makes her father proud in everything she does. And she will continue to do so in the key Cabinet post catering to our most important resource, the overseas Filipino worker. Not even the authors of the Department of Migrant Workers Act of 2021 could have foreseen that the country’s foremost expert on OFWs would preside over this dedicated infant agency which melds the worlds of labor and foreign affairs, two departments once ably led by Ka Blas.

These names should calm jitters, big time. The more interesting voyeuristic experience comes from appointments that inspire excitement rather than calm.

Like BenHur Abalos at the DILG. We particularly appreciate BenHur’s exposure to the metropolitan agglomeration discussion as MMDA chair. Increasingly, urbanization will necessitate the appropriate planning for the nation to bear the carrying costs of burgeoning metropolises.

Boying Remulla is a dynamo of legal knowledge. The challenges to PEBBM’s qualification and capacity will haunt him. Expect them around every corner, even against his issuances and directives. PEBBM is not about to swat them away with the iron fist doomsayers are predicting he will revive. Boying’s battle-tested temperament is a bonus here as he is the perfect foil against the relentless.

Trixie Cruz-Angeles is the surprise of the batch but she will surprise us in a good way. The articulate Trixie is no neophyte in communications work. Her past engagements speak to her overpowering ardor in fronting for her principal. We have always been believers in the outwardly tender image that masks the she-lion underneath.

The SAP is no ordinary assistant. Anton Lagdameo was a successful businessman and graduate of Wharton before his tour of duty as a three-term congressman. PEBBM promised to strive for perfection. The organization of a president’s official house is always the first test and, so far, he has strived well. Only Presidents Marcos Sr. and Estrada could boast of Cabinets of equal star quality. Political capital has not been wasted on his choices. What he has done here is res ipsa loquitur.

She was Polaris. For many who spoke at the services for Ms. Susan Roces, a common theme was that her star shone brightest. In her constellation of fellow stars, to be spoken of reverentially is no small feat. Whether it was her bearing or breeding, charm or acting chops, the great Susan Roces left stardust in her wake and it had us all spellbound.

Younger Filipinos introduced to her filmography later in life know her primarily as Lola Flora of Ang Probinsyano. Otherwise, as Mrs. FPJ, a title which daughter Senator Grace Poe-Llamanzares explains was fully embraced by her. But she was Susan Roces long before that, a persona she merited through her industry and professionalism. Her classic showcase of work set her apart. And now, she is immortal.

She was my mother’s great friend and sister, kindred souls who jointly weathered the vicissitudes of seasons. She was daughter to my grandparents and beloved Tita to my generation. Every interaction with her was an honor and a pleasure. She was one of those special individuals with whom you were always on best behavior. Not that you wanted to impress her; not that she earned or deserved it, which she did. It was best behavior because this is also what she always gave to you.

Thank you, Tita Swannie, for enriching our lives. Yours was a gift to all who knew you.


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