Losing an opportunity

posted September 13, 2018 at 12:40 am
by  Emil Jurado
Malacañang labeled that dialogue between President Duterte and his legal counsel, Salvador Panelo, a “tete-a-tete.”

To the dismay of many, including the business community, what emerged was a scripted conversation between Mr. Duterte and his minion.

Everything he said, except for that challenge to the Magdalo group, was a rehash of what he has been saying all along.

It was a letdown because people were expecting the President to present measures to alleviate the misery of the people, reeling from the double whammy of inflation and a looming rice crisis.

Businessmen hoped that President Duterte would enumerate measures to curb inflation so they could plan their operations better.

Alas, he missed that opportunity to connect with the people. Instead he talked about the alleged coup against him and the fact that he was the one who raised the salaries of soldiers.

I have seen coups in my nearly seven decades as a journalist, and I can say that for a mutiny to succeed, it should have a people power component. That was the mistake of the Magdalo group. They thought the people would support them, but they were wrong.

This is also why President Duterte appears confident that he would stay in power, in the wake of reports of destabilization. Surveys show he continues to enjoy high trust and satisfaction ratings.

But it will be high prices and the looming price crisis that matter most—not Trillanes. He is not a gut issue as far as millions of Filipinos are concerned.

History has shown that people’s hunger has fueled revolutions. Is the President listening?

I am bothered, however, that Malacanang chose to change the format of the usual press conference. Why did the President all of a sudden refuse to answer questions from the media? Why did he prefer that scripted “tete-a-tete” with Panelo?

Duterte insisted he is not silencing his critics. Oh yeah? So why was Trillanes’ amnesty revoked?

So, can Trillanes be arrested? I don’t think so. The Supreme Court, while denying his petition, also ruled that the matter should be with the Regional Trial Court which rules on matters of fact.

Didn’t President Duterte say he upholds the rule of law? Then he knows what to do—leave the matter to the courts!

* * *

In the wake of the impending abolition of the Presidential Commission on Good Government, Malacañang may well know what is going on at the PCGG. Of some 300 corporations that were sequestered by the Cory Aquino government after the downfall of strongman Ferdinand Marcos, how many are left, still represented by so-called presidential nominees or fiscal agents?

I know for a fact that PCGG commissioners have taken the place of these fiscal agents or presidential nominees by virtue of a memorandum from the Office of the President that all presidential nominees in sequestered corporations must submit their courtesy resignations.

And soon after, believe it or not, PCGG commissioners assign themselves or just take over the positions of fiscal agents, receiving double compensation and perks. My gulay, some sequestered corporations even for their directors.

Shouldn’t the Commission on Audit look into this anomaly since the commissioners seem to be having a holiday?

* * *

The Senate race in 2019 is tight with reelectionists, returning senators and viable names entering the picture.

The winnables, not necessarily in this order, are Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte Carpio, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos, and Senators Grace Poe, Cynthia Villar, Sonny Angara, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito and Koko Pimentel.

They have the distinct advantage of name recall and bailiwicks.

There are also former Senator Pia Cayetano and Jinggoy Estrada, and also former MMDA chief Francis Tolentino.

This means that newcomers have only slots 11 and 12 to fight for.

There is a question, though, if both Jinggoy and JV, sons of former President Joseph Estrada, will run. Personally I think Jinggoy’s chances are greater.

* * *

As all cases in business, whether solicited or unsolicited proposals, government has the last say.

Take the case of the unsolicited proposal of Ramon Ang of San Miguel Corp. for a P750-billion aerotropolis on 2,500 hectares of land in Bulacan. Ang has been reassuring the government that the government would not spend a single centavo on the project.

Santa Banana, the National Economic and Development Authority already approved the project. But the Department of Finance is imposing certain conditions on the project. Finance chief Sonny Dominguez questioned if San Miguel can afford it.

Of course it can! And Ang has already tapped credit from no less than two international banks.

Dominguez cited what happened to the airport in Cebu, where the Aquino administration gave too much concession to Megawide-Indian partnership. In the end, our government had to bear additional costs.

So why should the fault of the past administration hound us today? We need a new airport like yesterday!



Topics: Malacañang , Salvador Panelo , Francis Tolentino , Antonio Trillanes IV , Joseph Estrada , Sara Duterte Carpio , Presidential Commission on Good Government
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