Velasco completes the picture for Inday Sara
TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag (The Freeman) - October 19, 2020 - 12:00am

I will not go into the matter of Speaker Lord Allan Velasco's intelligence because, as my second bible Catch-22 asserts, there are people who have lots of intelligence but have no brains. Besides, intelligence is not a requirement for public office. I will go a bit into his character, though, not because character is a requirement either but because I have been intrigued by how he has been characterized.

The characterizations of Velasco by those who know him have been as generously effusive as they are invariably consistent. He is humble, decent, quiet, calm, collected, reserved, unassuming, laid-back. The list of unassertive adjectives can go on and on until it reaches the point where one is tempted to scream --- "so why the heck did you ever want to be speaker!

Yes indeed. If Velasco is such a background guy, why was he so adamant in snaring such a frontline position as speaker? Doesn't it go against the grain of his person, the core of his being? My guess, which is already the assumption of many, is that, like John the Baptist, Velasco is merely paving the way for one much greater than he.

And who is this someone so much greater than he, a person so influential and dear it is to whom he would repair to for comfort, solace, inspiration, strength, advice, approval, backing, and endorsement in his tumultuous bid for the speakership? Who is this in whose honor he would go to the extent of naming a daughter after, trapping the child in perpetuity to all that the person was, is, and yet to be.

That person is, of course, Sara Duterte Carpio, the mayor of Davao City, and more importantly, daughter of the president. She is, as The Philippine STAR editor Ana Marie Pamintuan describes her, the eminence grise of the Duterte administration, one who wields power and influence in a certain sphere even without holding any official position.

Velasco the background guy did not become speaker for himself but for Inday Sara. A house full of wolves would not have abandoned the biggest and baddest wolf of all in favor of a lamb and allow it to have the first bite of anything and everything if not for her. With President Duterte clearly still no lame duck, a Supreme Court full of friendlies, a Senate packed with allies, and now Velasco in the House, all bases are covered for Inday Sara.

This is all in preparation for what a growing number of people, from political scientists to armchair analysts, and every conceivable hoi with polloi in between, see as the grand design of Inday Sara to succeed her father in 2022. Maybe it is not the wish of Inday Sara herself, but the thought really is that she has to, with the mischievous ones hastening to add, or else.

There is a trend in Philippine politics, especially where it involves the presidency, for an outgoing administration to seemingly want to ensure that the succeeding one be friendly, or at least not hostile. But the prospect of Inday Sara running for president is not the only draw to which the bees gravitate. With the opposition weak and in disarray, and no other prospects of real strength or resource, she has a truly good chance of winning.

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