Incoming President Rodrigo Duterte

Leading the way

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  • Leni RobredoThe fault dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves that are underlings —Cassius in William Shakespeare’s : Julius Caesar

    Congratulations to Chairman Andy Bautista of Comelec and President Benigno S. Aquino III for a credible, clean, and peaceful elections. Of course there are sore losers, but as Bautista stressed, “There was no cheating.”

    Davao City mayor Rodrigo Duterte, 71, is our president-to-be come June 30. If it’s true that he thanked God for his victory and is showing signs of slowing down his invectives and slurs against women, children, the Pope, the Church, then I can give him the benefit of the doubt for the sake of the nation to perform his duties well. His emotional cry at his parents’ grave after his victory gave him a humane face.

    The lights at the end of the tunnel are the people he has gathered around him who hopefully will guide him how to govern this country. They include long-time friends of his like Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez, businessman and former Cory and Ramos cabinet member. Sonny had always told us that Davao businessmen like him supported Duterte’s way of ruling his city, whether human-rights activists approved of his strong-man tactics or not.

    Dominguez who headed the finance group of the campaign and now the Transition and Economic team gave Duterte’s eight-point economic agenda already and it’s interesting to see that there are no radical changes: As far as I can tell, improvements on the income tax system, expansion of the conditional cash transfer program, focus on tax collection, reform of the bureaucracy, more infrastructure spending, more scholars in the educational system, expanded Philhealth, and a future peek at constitutional reforms for investors and private businesses. In other words, the goal is to do better than the Aquino achievements.

    Other  “probables” in the new cabinet include Bebot Bello, also of the Aquino and FVR cabinets as Justice Secretary, Art Tugade an old Duterte friend, and to be the spokesman based in Manila, Peter Laviña, and Duterte’s long-time executive assistant, Lawrence “Bong” Go, in his mid 40s. Bong has the complete confidence of the new president like Jun Delantar is Pnoy’s devoted executive assistant. Then there are Jun Evasco, Bingbong Medealdea, and Atty. Salvador Panelo. In the background during the campaign were expert political strategists many from the PGMA team like Gabby Claudio.

    Bebot who did not run as under his partylist this election is “hopeful that President Duterte will deliver his commitments.” We sincerely hope so, too.

    Belated birthday greetings to Secretary Mar Roxas. I can understand it wasn’t such a joyful day given his failed bid, but with his loving family around him, I am confident he was able to cope very well.

    The group Silent Majority which supported him and his teammate Leni Robredo has only the highest words of praise and admiration for this competent and hardworking decent man who may have been the best president we shall never have. Another celebrant (yesterday) is my one and only daughter Sandee, wife of Andrew Masigan and mommy of my only girl apo, Amanda Julia.

    Now, how many of us were stressed out this week?

    I know I was and I had visited my dermatologist Dr. Adrian Buensalido to treat my sudden, angry red rashes on my cheeks! He took one look at me in disbelief when I entered his clinic and blurted out “What happened to you?”

    “The elections…” I replied. And he smiled and understood my rashes. Stress, anxiety, the heat, and then exasperation over the loss of my presidentiable and a few senators I voted for but did not make the “magic 12.” Thus my bloated face that has generated shocked reactions even from my good friends.

    Well, the rashes have subsided with Dr. Adrian’s ointment and no soap on my face rule plus the happy news of Leni Robredo holding her lead in the vice-presidential race. David slaying Goliath! From one per cent recognition factor! How awesome is that? Happy too that election lawyer Romulo Macalintal is Leni’s legal counsel now.

    The trouble with the malfunctioning election machines were tolerably fewer this year, but voting was still a hassle with long lines in the sun and no systems in the precincts. Except for those in gated subdivisions, we common voters lined up for many minutes and even hours. Seniors were sometimes brought to the front of the lines, but as in my case, only after firmly telling the volunteers that seniors should be priority in the lines.

    As I write this, the dust has not completely settled on the second highest post in the land with Senator Bongbong Marcos crying “cheating” all over the landscape. Ironic accusation because the other countries like America, China, New Zealand, UK, and the European Union have congratulated President Benigno Aquino III for the “mature and speedy” elections we just had!

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