There’s a lot of furor over reports that the Cagayan vice governor and 10 municipal mayors were in Manila at the height of hurricane “Ompong.” The truth of the matter was the mayors were called to Malacanang by President Duterte to discuss contingency plans for Ompong’s onslaught in Cagayan
The mayors traveled the nearly 15-hour drive from Cagayan to Manila not even stopping to rest because they did not want to be late for the Malacañang meeting..Unfortunately, Ompong hit Cagayan, Isabela and the northern parts of the country. They couldn’t return right away but did so the next day.
False reports from Cagayan Governor Manuel Mamba were fed to Palace reporters. The mayors decried the misleading reports denouncing their being in Manila while the cities and towns were being devastated by Ompong’s gale-force winds and heavy rains.
“The mayors were called to Malacañang at the instance of the President,” said former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile. He said no one—not even Vice President Leni Robredo—gets inside Malacañang without an invitation.
Enrile said he would be willing to testify at a Senate or Department of the Interior and Local Government investigation on why the mayors were there.
Enrile said he too was in Malacañang because of concern for his fellow Cagayanos whom he felt were not being served well Governor Mamba. He also revealed the vice governor, some provincial board members and the 10 mayors were bitter political enemies of Mamba. Hence, the false report to put them in a bad light.
Lest Mamba impute political reason to his defending the mayors and why he is often in Cagayan on weekends, Enrile emphasized neither he nor his son, Jackie, want to go into politics again.
“I’m fine where I am, out of politics and merely offering my thoughts and experience to President Duterte when asked. My son Jackie, on the other hand, is engrossed in new business ventures in Silicon Valley with his Harvard classmates,” said Enrile.
Going for the Senate
Who said there will be no elections next year? From all indications, the 2019 midterm elections will push through. Both the opposition Liberal Party and the ruling PDP Laban of President Duterte in coalition with Hugpong party of his daughter Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte have come out with their respective senatorial slates.
What is the implication of this latest political development? Political observers expressed the view that this means the prospects of the proposed federalism and parliamentary form of government with huge financial cost could be dead in the water. The same observers also lamented the quality of the current Senate composition which would deteriorate further if certain candidates win in next year’s polls. Old timers recall the glory days of the Senate when the illustrious names of Claro M. Recto and Lorenzo Tannada. Their intellectual debates filled the halls of the old Congress, which was then located on Burgos and Kalaw Streets.
We are not going to comment on the proposed senatorial slate of the PDP Laban—Hugpong coalition. I have made enough enemies by calling a spade a spade so I shall leave it to the readers and voters to separate the chaff from the grain.The PDP Laban-Hugpong coalition party line-up: Special Assistant to the President Christopher “Bong” Go, former Philippine National Police director and now Bureau of Corrections chief Ronald dela Rosa, former broadcaster Jiggy Manicad. Mindanao Rep. Zaid Mangudadatu, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque, relectionist senators Cynthia Villar, Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel.III, JV Ejercito, Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Taguig Representative Pia Cayetano who is seeking a return to the Senate.
In a worst-case scenario, we are going to have in the Senate, a SAP, a former policeman, a former broadcaster, a Muslim, a presidential mouthpiece and boxer Manny Pacquiao.
The administration party slate is not yet final and could undergo some changes depending on the outcome of poll surveys to be conducted before the filing of candidacies in the third week of October.