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LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph Gonzales - The Freeman

What to expect after the surreal results of the 2022 presidential elections?

The term of the sitting president expires in a little more than a month, and already, the speculators are churning out bizarre, quite improbable but seriously exciting theories as to what will happen before the next president, whoever she is, takes her oath.

Natch, there’s the speculation on which bootlicker will successfully lick his way into an appointment, which power-hungry vulture will be victorious, and which formerly lord-it-over high-and-mighty arriviste will fall by the wayside. As they say, pass the popcorn.

The most frenzied rumors has their laser-focused attention on the supposed unity between the Marcos and Duterte families. Now that the unholy alliance has paid off, the bystanders are watching and waiting to see if that unity will hold. Will Sara Duterte, vice president, curtsy to her president? Will Junior keep her by his side, within striking distance? Will the marriage of convenience birth strange mutations, the government growing strange limbs and unfamiliar shapes?

Or will that alliance crack? Will both camps hie off to their separate turfs, north and south, and rule from there? (That will leave the Visayas islets untethered, and subject to the vagaries of island politics).

The direst of the doomsayers are interpreting current events in the worst possible light. The fact that Congressman Martin Romualdez has laid claim to the position of House speaker this early has been seen to be a way to defang former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, rumored to have comfortably assumed she would retake her former position as speaker.

The incredibly pliable Arroyo, in an exquisite gesture only a seasoned politician could conjure from a supremely deep arsenal, immediately laid down and bared her throat in submission, throwing her support behind Romualdez.

The necessity of rendering the wily Arroyo toothless is bruited to be all about taking precautionary measures to avoid any impeachment measure being brought (and successfully proceeding) versus the president-in-waiting. Which is curious, because all the while, I thought she was firmly ensconced within the Marcos fold.

Or is the Marcos family delivering swift payback, because they too have harked to the phrase: “Never forget?” As Marites Vitug recounts in her book Shadow of Doubt, Gloria was quick to celebrate the forfeiture of the Marcos billions when she was president. After the Supreme Court ruled in 2003 that the $658 million in Swiss bank accounts were ill-gotten wealth of the Marcoses, Arroyo didn’t waste time to announce that she was going to use the money to give to the poor farmers (ooh, the caboodles of moolah within reach!).

How that pronouncement from the then-president, ranked by Reuters in December 2007 as the most corrupt president this country ever had, must have rankled the Marcoses. Fast forward nearly 20 years, and the thousands of shoes are now on the other dainty foot.

Meanwhile, the venue for any forthcoming impeachment trial is also being cleared of landmines. The position of Senate president will be awarded to a loyal lackey, not to an untrustworthy, land-grubbing indio.

Did Sara really desire to be head of the Department of Defense, close to where she could cozy up to the sexy generals? And did Junior really head off that potentially explosive coupling by flicking her off to the Department of Education (and to think, we groaned at the potential for more insidious and more invasive historical revisionism that this DepEd appointment could engender)?

All these maneuvers assume, however, that the president-in-waiting will get to occupy the post. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court still has a couple of cases before it that could affect his ascension. So let’s think about which president appointed those Justices.

On second thought, let’s not go there. Yet.


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