Columns

OFFLINE: They’re both lying

There are two persons widely believed to be eyeing the presidency after Bongbong Marcos. Unfortunately, both are playing coy about their future plans. Actually, they’re plainly out and out lying about what they want to happen when Marcos Jr steps down.

The two are none other than Vice President Sara Duterte and Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez. In the past few days, both have stated that they have no interest in running for president in 2028.

I have a compound word for their statements. Half of the word is bull and the other half is sh!t.

The pair are typical Filipino politicians who say one thing and mean the exact opposite.

When the time comes, they will both claim that they have no choice but to heed the clamor of the Filipino people.

They are typical of the worse of the worst of Filipino politicians who believe it’s some kind of crime to be honest and say that yes, they would like to be president.

In a perfect world, targeting the presidency is a valid goal for politicians who have a record to fall back on. All they need do is to convince the electorate that they are the best person to handle the extremely difficult job.

In some rare instances, they can be honest just like then Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte. He did say that the people would regret electing him to the highest post in the land, and he was absolutely right.

What Duterte did not say was that he was a maniac who had no respect for human rights and who was perfectly willing to sell the country down the drain to China. Oh, and his spiritual leader was a money hungry lecher who would be involved in all sorts of crimes in the US.

There was also some uncomfortable talk by both Digong and Sara involving rape, which made for some very awkward conjecture regarding father and daughter. But everything that Daddy Duterte actually did was bothersome enough, and practically says that he did not raise any of his kids right.

Sara has not helped when her actions from the start said that she was more than willing to take a job that had a huge budget and for which she had no qualifications.

Assuming the Education portfolio which has either the biggest or second biggest budget among all government agencies was something that didn’t quite smell right.

To paraphrase an old saying, if it looks like a skunk and it acts like a skunk, it must be awful smelly.

At least Sara did not get the Defense portfolio that she was originally eyeing. Marcos Jr may not be the sharpest knife in the kitchen, but at least he knew enough not to give her what is turning out to be the single most important portfolio these days.

I shudder to think what she would have been capable of had she been named Defense chief. The country would have taken multiple steps to become a province of China, for sure.

During the budget hearings, Sara showed that she was capable of not lying but also not speaking the truth. Her flaws became all too obvious when she refused to answer the simplest of questions, preferring to pass the buck to her undersecretaries and assistant secretaries.

The Speaker, on the other hand, has been playing it smart, if also quite devious.

Romualdez has stated the standard replies to most questions asked of his future plans. He says again and again that the job of Speaker is the most important task at hand. Correct, of course. It’s the best generic reply that he can give.

But his actions – done in his behalf by his subalterns – show that he is paving the way to a presidential run, and it all began with demoting Sara’s #1 supporter, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Romualdez knows that the sly ex-president is more than capable of playing dirty, which is why he originally gave her a cushy sounding title at the House, then demoting her twice.

Romualdez has also cut the already short lady down to size by pirating the majority of Macapagal-Arroyo’s partymates to join his Lakas-CMD. The PDP Laban of Arroyo and Duterte senior used to have more than a hundred congressmen in its fold. Now there are only 15 left, and that number is expected to shrink further.

Thus, Sara’s hold on the House of Representatives is so weak now that loose talk of impeaching her may come to fruition sooner rather than later.

Sara’s hold on power has become so precarious that Daddy Digong last week warned that the Armed Forces and the Philippine National Police were “uneasy” now, even as he further warned that the Speaker was forging links with the underground communist movement in preparation for 2028.

He, or course, should be the last one to talk. During his time as Davao City mayor, Digong Duterte openly welcomed the New People’s Army top his turf, going so far as to attend the founding anniversary of the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

If it was his version of reverse psychologically, thereby forcing the men and women in uniform to pledge their allegiance to the VP-cum-Education secretary, it did not work.

The worsening problem caused by China’s non-stop intrusions into Philippine waters has made the Armed Forces uneasy. And they may not see the desired leadership from either Marcos Jr or Sara Duterte.

Here is where Speaker Romualdez comes in. He can present himself as the strong leader that the country needs to prevent China from encroaching further and further into Philippine territory.

He very likely has the edge here, as Sara’s eagerness to become president despite her lack of performance as both VP and Education sec will be used against her.

This is not to say that Romualdez is the better person to lead the country five years from now. But at the very least, he can present himself as the more decisive leader than cousin Bongbong.

I can’t say that between him and Sara that the Speaker is the lesser evil. What I’m still waiting for is a young leader to emerge who can say he or she is seeking the presidency in order to undo the mess that Digong and Bongbong left behind, and mean it.

A Sara or Ferdinand Martin presidency in 2028 will only mean that the Philippines is nothing more than a banana republic which can never attain developed nation status, because it cannot produce honest and competent political leaders on a regular basis.