La Gloria can still do a lot in Congress

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Bobit Avila - The Freeman

I’m in Manila right now as the media guest of Cebu Pacific Air and they billeted us in the spanking new Savoy Hotel just a short walk from the Belmont Hotel across the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3. This hotel doesn’t have huge rooms, but they are quite comfortable and above all, very well-priced. For Cebuanos who travel to Manila on a business trip, this hotel is very well-located as it is not far from Makati but close to the airport so you can’t miss your flight. It is located just outside the Resort World Hotel where you can watch beautiful movies or plays.


The front page of The Philippine STAR yesterday blared “Noy: What can Gloria do as Speaker?” Apparently former president Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III made that question given the reality that the Mid-term elections are coming next May and unfortunately for House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, she is barred from seeking a third term because she is on her last term as Congresswoman. But just for your information, the person making that question has been known to Filipinos as an incompetent person, which is why he would like to know what Gloria can do.

I know of certain things that Speaker Arroyo can do, but I won’t mention it so as not to alert the former president. But perhaps the most important thing that La Gloria can do is to ensure that the next House Speaker is someone who belongs to her camp. Granted that after the elections she is no longer a member of Congress, however whether you like it or not, La Gloria always had friends who support her. They were the same friends who visited her in the Veterans Hospital when PNoy made sure to put her in a hospital jail, so who knows if the next House Speaker could be a loyal Arroyo friend?

Who knows, La Gloria might be able to convince the newly-appointed Ombudsman Samuel Martires to incarcerate PNoy for his role in the Dengvaxia controversy or perhaps the Mamasapano debacle. At this point, I’d caution PNoy not to test the mettle of House Speaker Gloria. While she didn’t have hurtful words for PNoy, we just can rule out anything between now that the May elections.


With their lessons learned from the removal of former Supreme Court chief justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno because of shortcuts implemented by the Judicial Bar Council (JBC), Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, ex-officio vice-chairman of the JBC has vowed to be stricter with the screening process for Chief Justice that their choice must be eligible. Whatever it is that the JBC is telling us, it is a way of saying that the JBC’s approval of Ma. Lourdes Sereno fell short of the JBC’s stringent requirements; hence this is the reason why the SC removed her as Chief Justice.

I’m glad that the JBC has learned its lessons for playing politics with the president. Come on, Ma. Lourdes Sereno was appointed Chief Justice by former President Aquino simply because she was his classmate. Worse was that her appointment disturbed the appointment process in the High Court where most justices would already retire before Sereno would also retire. That would have ensured that the Liberal Party partymates would have a friend in the Supreme Court for many years. Thankfully that ugly episode is over and the Judiciary can return to its normal functions now that the JBC is stricter.


According to President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte, the peace talks with the Communist Party of the Philippines may resume after his term of office expires. This only gives you an idea that peace talks will no longer be given any importance. At this point let me say that the CPP had the best chance to talk peace with the Philippine government under the leadership of President Duterte because he was close to the CPP when he was Mayor of Davao City. But finally Duterte realized that the CPP does not really want peace, so in the end, there really is nothing to talk about with the CPP.


For email responses to this article, write to vsbobita@gmail.com. His columns can be accessed through www.philstar.com.


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