The Magellan Formula: 15 months for Cayetano, 21 for Velasco
WHAT MATTERS MOST - Atty. Josephus B. Jimenez (The Freeman) - July 13, 2019 - 12:00am

Since the speakership of the House has been settled, the anointed ones should start formulating the legislative agenda for the next three years. The solution to the fight for leadership was not Solomonic but a Magellan formula. That is 1521; 15 months for Alan Peter Cayetano and 21 months for Lord Jay Alan Velasco.

Before the president made his decision, I texted my good friend, 2nd District Representative Caminero, and 7th District Representative Peter John Calderon, to test the waters. As usual, Rep. Willy was demure and was non-committal and Rep. Peter opted not to reply, perhaps invoking his right to remain silent. He used to promptly reply to me before the elections. I was then wondering how the 10 representatives from Cebu would vote. I didn't think they would vote as a block. Rep. Raymond Mendoza of TUCP may go with his niece Yedda Romualdez, the beautiful wife of Leyte's Congressman Martin Romualdez. But now, the elections on July 22 will just be ceremonial.

The president had to intervene because the congressmen couldn’t reach a consensus. They were bickering in pursuit of power and position. What is the difference between choosing the leader of the House of Representatives and plain horse trading or “tawaran sa palengke”? We were disgusted that the fight for House speaker turned into an embarrassing bargaining for term-sharing and rumors of millions being circulated and supposedly big taipans putting in billions to influence the choice of the fourth most powerful leader of the land. To be House speaker is to become the third in line for succession to the presidency.

The new leader should be mindful that the House is supposed to be the august chamber of venerable men and eminent women who have distinguished themselves as icons of wisdom, integrity, and honor. First to occupy the position of speaker was our own Don Sergio Osmeña Sr., who led that House from 1907 to 1922. The Grand Old Man of Cebu gave honor to our province by his leadership, parliamentary expertise, and legal erudition. He was succeeded by such honorable men as Manuel Roxas, Quintin Paredes, Jose Yulo, Benigno Aquino Sr. (father of Ninoy), Jose P. Laurel (twice), Daniel Romualdez, Cornelio Villareal (twice), Ramon Mitra, Jose de Venecia (twice), Manuel Villar, Feliciano Belmonte Jr (twice), Pantaleon Alvarez, and GMA, the only woman so far.

I agree that former senator Alan Peter Cayetano is the most qualified, being an experienced parliamentarian. But his party, the NP, didn’t have the numbers. Rep. Martin Romualdez has the bearing and leadership qualities, but then again, without the president's blessing, he couldn’t muster enough votes. My heart belongs to Rep. Jay Lord Alan Velasco, being my former Law student in UST, but I’m not eligible to vote and he is too young and too inexperienced in the rough and tumble of political maneuvering and backroom deals. Polong Duterte threatened to join the affray but his dad has a stronger threat to resign should Polong run for speakership. Inday Sara exacerbated the ruckus by proposing Isidro Ungab, a dark horse. Bebot Alvarez has been forgotten by power brokers.

What was abominable was that our trapos reportedly made this race a virtual negotiable instrument, with alleged millions being promised. The late Don Sergio must be turning in his grave. That is why Duterte had to settle the issue once and for all. That is leadership. The only question left now is who will be minority floor leader. Would it be Manoy Edsel Lagman from Albay or my friend Lakay Mark Go from the cool pines of Baguio? Abangan.

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