Inanities from the Palace

posted February 21, 2019 at 12:50 am
by  Emil Jurado
Do they have nothing else to do?



Inanities have been coming out of Malacañang. It is as if President Duterte and the people around him have nothing else to do.

There is the silly idea of changing the name of our country to Maharlika. It was the late President Ferdinand Marcos who first suggested it. He was, as we all know, infatuated with the word “Maharlika.” This was how he called his guerilla unit during the Japanese occupation. He even wanted to name the highway extending to Mindanao Maharlika, but it became Marcos Highway.

The fact that Marcos abandoned the idea of renaming the Philippines should convince Duterte that it is not a good idea to begin with.

Can you imagine what would happen if we were suddenly known as Maharlika? Our Philippine banknotes would be demonitized and our agencies and buildings would be renamed.

If we changed our name to Maharlika, I wonder if I would have to change my surname as well. “Jurado” is Spanish, meaning “judge.”

There is also that plan of the Presidential Communications Operations Office to have a caravan all over Europe to explain why Maria Ressa was arrested for cyber libel, and to insist that the Duterte administration did not violate press freedom.

Does Secretary Martin Andanar want another junket?

This will cost us taxpayers a lot of money. This is ridiculous. If the EU countries continue to believe that press freedom was violated, then that is their problem.

This is not the change we are clamoring for!

As far as I am concerned, the greater tragedy is the deterioration of the moral fabric of our society. And now it’s nearing election time again, and all we can see are candidates with the lowest regard for moral standards.

* * *

Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Elections Act mandates candidates for national office, like the Senate, to spend no more than P3 per voter. Since there are 61.8 million registered voters, the most that candidates can spend is P185.4 million for their campaign.

But according to the findings of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and confirmed by the Commission on Elections, close to 20 senatorial candidates have already spent a combined P2.4 billion to prop up their respective campaigns.

Sadly, the Comelec has neither power nor means to determine where these candidates are getting their funding. But, my gulay, the law is clear about the limits of campaign spending. In other words, some senatorial aspirants are already violating the law. To think that the findings were made before Feb. 13, the official start of the campaign period.

According to PCIJ, the P2.4 billion has gone to television, radio, print and outdoor advertising last year alone.

Top spenders were Bong Go (P422.5 million), Imee Marcos (P413.1 million) and Mar Roxas (P401 million).

Harry Roque had already spent P174 million before deciding to quit the race.

Several questions arise: The salary that a senator will receive for the entire six-year term will only total P18.7 million, or one-tenth of the allowable amount. So how does a lawmaker recover the funds he or she has spent?

Of course we know that part of the campaign funds come from donors. The candidates can always claim that it was their contributors who sprung for the campaign.

But do we really think the Comelec can disqualify Bong Go, the President’s favorite candidate?

* * *

President Duterte has warned local government units against using government resources in favor of any candidate. I think this is BS.

Do you think that administration favorites like Go, Bato dela Rosa and Francis Tolentino pay their own way during sorties? Do they spring for the performers, lunches and dinners and the transportation of the people who attend their rallies?

It’s customary for the LGUs to spend for everything. This is a distinct advantage of being allied with the administration. Ask anybody who has gone through a national campaign. This is also why some enterprising barangay leaders sell crowd support to candidates.

Topics: Ferdinand Marcos , Maharlika , Comelec , Bong Go , Rodrigo Duterte , Fair Elections Act
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