This is the moment

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

The optic of president-elect BBM in a huddle with his well-received economic team is a powerful reminder that, however universal the approbation of his Cabinet choices, he remains to be the principal. Should the reins of control be loosened or tightened in any of his alter egos‘ spheres, it shall still happen as he decides.

The make-up of his team is arguably the most critical announcement a president-elect makes post proclamation. And, because president-elect BBM’s choices have been mostly spot on, their coming appointments have taken center stage and are expected to provide the man with a running start. President-elect BBM has also made several maverick appointments, including the inspired choice of Professor Clarita Carlos as National Security Adviser. Eminent qualifications aside, her gravitas alone should spook all threats back into their foxholes.

If the choices inspire confidence, however, it’s not solely because of who they are. Rather, it’s equally because the president-elect knew to choose them.

Clear vision. To many, this writer included, what was truly reassuring was his first post proclamation pronouncement affecting foreign policy. The day after the Senate President and the Speaker of the House raised his hands, he sought to correct our shambolic strategy toward China by the firm caution that “there. will. be. no. compromises.” His stance toward the US he also laid out in subsequent audiences with US State Department officials. It was confidence that was behind the decision to reboot the marginalized relations with the US and drop the zero-sum game mindset.

We are not surprised as the president-elect is being consistent with the posture that has defined his career in public service. Even during the time of the Bangsamoro Basic Law debates at his last Senate stint, his ardent contra-conviction was always punctuated by the overarching theme of sacred and inviolable sovereignty, independence, self-reliance. In fact, we concede this to be one big reason behind the strength of his candidacy.

And even while the now familiar refrain of the Marcoses rewriting the narrative continues to be heard, no amount of rewriting can erase from our minds how, in the era of the first president Marcos, pivoting from the one-sided US connection did not have to mean de facto repudiation. Rather, he clarified that identity of interests should also be determined from the perspective of our own national interest and also of the regional alignments he so masterfully nurtured.

Events of the past month have proved that the president-elect is a man not to be underestimated. Whoever said he is a push over must be eating crow. He has assembled a team that will certainly not leave an amateurish impression and he clearly knows how to proceed, beginning even before Day 1. Why wouldn’t he? The man has been preparing for this moment for the last 35 years.

Mockin‘ Robin. Senator Robinhood Ferdinand Cariño Padilla is deathly serious about his Federalism platform that he has embraced the challenge of leading the Senate committee on constitutional amendments and revision of laws.

Expect to see the Padilla committee working double time on proposals, led by his own, to amend the Constitution for the purpose. The senator is right to not bother with the ballyhoo and the dare he’s? and how dare he’s? about his qualification. The legislative process has laws as output. In theory, yes, lawyers could fabricate them better. But the only qualification we ask of our candidates is that they be of the proper age and able to read and write. The only duty we repose on them is that they make the right decisions. Senators will be surrounded by lawyers to spell out the alternatives for them. They just have to choose wisely. In the end, senator Padilla’s Constitution is an instrument written and read by the ordinary layman of whom there is no qualification but being able to read and write.

Anyone still with a problem best ask the 26.6 million who gave him the highest vote total in Senate history.

All the world’s our stage. Filipina mothers have been bringing the pride on the world stage of professional sports.

The UEFA Champions League in the sport of football is bigger globally than the NBA Finals (yes, Virginia), MLB World Series and NFL Super Bowl combined. This year, the last team standing is Real Madrid CF of the Spanish La Liga. They prevailed over fellow finalist Liverpool FC of the English Premier League. Crucial to Real Madrid’s victory was its world-class defender, David Alaba. Alaba was born in Austria to a disc jockey who is also an African prince and a nurse who is also a Filipina beauty queen.

In tennis, Filipina-Ecuadorian teenager Leylah Fernandez, who plays for Canada, was on track to make the semifinals at the French Open. That is, until she was sidetracked – by a stress fracture on her foot. It was thrilling to watch her cut a swathe through her bracket, defeating taller more powerful hitters with craft, finesse and superior focus.

What should have been a routine two-set quarterfinal for her opponent, the injured rising star grinded into a best of three. Players of today withdraw from matches at the slightest sign of physical or mental adversity, averting the risk of further damage. Not this kababayan. She played through the discomfort, hobbling, wincing and grimacing rather than surrender. Tennis great Pam Shriver paid Leylah the ultimate compliment: “that was old school.”

Both are celebrated here as they take pride in their heritage. At the Stade de France post game, Alaba on the pitch had flags of his multiple nationalities draped around him: the green and white of Nigeria and the red, white and blue of the Philippines.

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