Minimizing political upheavals

OFF TANGENT - Aven Piramide - The Freeman

The early findings of the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee, chaired by Senator Richard Gordon, in its hearing last Tuesday, on the multi-billion peso expense by the Department of Health seemed too shocking that I hope President Rodrigo Duterte, Secretary Harry Roque, and other brilliant spinners can find some explanation to mitigate the damning impact.

Among the horrors that I am still trying to cope with was the information that Senator Franklin Drilon’s questioning uncovered. I fear that should I write about my perception on it in this column, the unraveling data might add to the anger of our countrymen as to push them into action far more historic than the so-called EDSA Revolution because, to me, the kind of plunder apparently committed by this administration of President Duterte seems unprecedented in its inventiveness and unparalleled in its enormity.

True to the off-tangent nature of this column, however, let me veer from the nauseating findings of the Senate investigation towards a more imaginative topic --three as a number. Three is the number of harmony, wisdom, and understanding. In time, we mention three scenes namely past, present, and future. Or birth, life and death. A great speech has three parts; the beginning, the middle, and the end. In the Olympic Games only three are awarded medals; gold, silver, and bronze.

There were three less earth-shaking events that took place the other day. Number 1 was the President Duterte’s “talk to the nation”, during which he tried to intimidate Senator Gordon with veiled threats of ordering an investigation into the latter’s turf called the Red Cross. It looked to me that the president was nowhere physically and mentally near himself as when he campaigned in 2016. He began, rather tentatively and in disorganized lingo, with a call that the Commission on Audit should look into the transactions of the Red Cross, headed by Gordon. The middle part could have been a legal basis how the COA could open up the books of accounts of a non-government office and which aspect of the Red Cross deals stained the hands of Gordon. None of that sort came. The blank was glaring. The absent data eroded the opening statement. Well, there looked like an assertion that the senator was dishonest which could serve as the conclusion.

Number 2 was the appearance of Senator Ronald de la Rosa, who reported a 2019 net worth of P33 million which he probably can leave to his three children. He started his time in the investigation admitting his closeness to the president as if telling the committee that he was there to attempt to distance Duterte from the emerging corruption. It would not be difficult to surmise what prompted the senator to show his discomfort. He realized that the corruption issue could mean the political doom of the president and his allies. The middle of his presentation was made up of leading questions directed towards his poor attempt to cover the DOH deals under investigation. He looked funny. His concluding line had nothing to with the gist of his appearance.

Number 3 was a local event. Cebu City Vice Mayor Michael Rama, announced that he will be a candidate for city mayor in 2022. To his blue-blooded supporters, the declaration was most welcome even if it came rather late. Why late? Rama’s friend, Atty. Josephus Jimenez, very early in the present administration, wrote about how the vice mayor had been “marginalized”. It was Atty. Jimenez’ view that Rama’s most ardent campaigners were denied the proverbial victor’s spoils and his endorsements meaningless. I also saw how Rama was backstabbed by supposed political allies. With his announcement, he clarified his stance and put an end to treacherous election-related maneuvering behind him such that his more decent friends can now focus on his candidacy.

I like to imagine that this write-up lessens the horrifying implications of the Senate legislative investigation.



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